Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Dreaming of distant horizons
When I was nearing college graduation, a number of friends were joining the Peace Corps or heading off to do a year of Fulbright Research. I took a job at a law firm. And, right now, as we have no plans to be going anywhere exotic for the next 3-7 years, the Peace Corps is looking pretty good. Except for the minor details of a husband and kids. Family Peace Corps?

I took a personality quiz* the other day. You know the kind that boil you down to a few letters: IPFJ or JPNE. Me? ENFP. Which means:


I told Hans that I’m an ENFP: 

“So I’m an ENFP. That means I’m and extroverted dreamer. I love social events and being with other people, but I also love getting to know someone and their emotions. Also, I don’t hide my emotions and I’m easily excited.” (Yeah. I don’t have a poker face.)

He almost spit out his beer, gathered his composure and said: 

“Well, I’d say that’s not all exactly wrong.”

[A little Swedish cultural lesson here: If a Swede likes a meal, especially a northern Swede, like Hans, they say something like: “I’ll be able to keep it down.” Or, “It’s not that bad.”]

The positive aspects of an ENFP: I’m a dreamer, an idealist, and a free spirit. I’ll take them.

I do spend a lot of time dreaming. I’m currently reading two books at once, not something I like to do but I can’t put either one down. The first is the account of a family’s sailing trip around the Bahamas and Caribbean and their travels in South America. The second is about a scientific expedition in Antarctica where the team purposely froze their boat into the ice and used the boat as their base to conduct research on penguins and ice floes in Antarctica in the winter. 

I can definitively say that I will not be sailing to Antarctica. I will, however, be sailing in the Bahamas again, hopefully soon.

My happy place: sailing in the crystal clear water of the Bahamas.
We’re at the dock for the next three years while Hans does his residency. He gets a few weeks of vacation each year and I’m already planning 10 weeks of vacation for the 3 that he actually is allotted. But I’m not content to dream about the vacation weeks. I’m dreaming about our future lifestyle. According to my test results, “ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom.” Yes.

My free spirit is taking over my thoughts. Where will it take us? What adventures will we embark on? Will we circumnavigate? Hop from campground to campground in eastern Europe? Rent an apartment in a South American city for six months? 

Quito, Ecuador. Amazing geography, a beautiful historic city, and friendly people.
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I realize that I will only ever dream about expeditioning. It is doubtful that I will go on an adventure that will be physically demanding or uncomfortable. It’s not that I need or want the Ritz Carlton, but I’m more interested in people and culture than summiting the highest peaks or sailing to the most remote anchorages. 

So, nearly 15 years after college graduation, I realize that maybe I should have joined the Peace Corps after all. It certainly would fit my personality type. Seriously. Is there a Family Peace Corps?

*You can take the same quiz here

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