When you live abroad, you live in limbo. For some reason, even the highest degree of acheivement as an ex-pat doesn't really count. It's not the "real world". To make it really count, you have to go home and do it for real.
I decided to leave Taipei because I knew so well how much I loved it... how easy life was there. If I did not challenge myself I would wake up a 35 year old doing EXACTLY the same thing and wonder where my life went.
After almost 2 years of hilarious bliss, I could not bear the thought of leaving Taiwan. I loved it so much, I cried when I imagined not living there. Taiwan was the first place where I woke every morning loving exactly where I was and what I was doing. I learned to speak Mandarin fluently. I was making music every day in the best studios. I was talking in psychotic childrens' voices and getting paid a LOT of money to do it. My picture was on billboards and magazines throughout southeast asia. I was on Taiwanese television. I had a wonderful, supportive, brilliant, creative family of loving friends. I had done pretty much everything I'd wanted to do. I was a tremendous success. It had gotten too easy.
Going straight back to America just sounded depressing. How do you leave a life of exotic mayhem and daily celebrated chaos for red-white-and-blue flags and streets where people actually stop when the light turns red? How do you go back to a country where a war has started, that you've never experienced?
How do you go back to the most hated nation in the world?
Armed with the knowledge that I could always return to this secret little gem of the orient to visit (or live, if necessary) I went out to see if there was any place else in the world that I loved just as much. Or better.
I decided to take the long way home. I decided to circumnavigate the globe.