On narrative arcs, random events, and how I’ve come to flee the country

“Things separate from their stories have no meaning.” — Cormac McCarthy

How would you describe your life so far? Has it followed a clean narrative, with dramatic arcs at appropriate milestones like your first love, the start of your career or a death in the family? Or has it felt more like a series of random events that have piled upon one another forming your present self, holding no more meaning than a pile of dirty snow or an episode of the Real World?

As a journalist by trade, I thrive on stories. I make sense of the world by connecting the dots into the clean narratives that you read or hear about in the daily news cycle. But I have to admit that when I lost my job at a daily newspaper several months ago, I felt like I was caught up in some horrible shitwave that swept over and laid waste to the story I had crafted for myself — the one about the intrepid young journalist who makes his way into the majors through raw drive and determination. I moved back in with my parents and faced the crippling question of what to do next. I started watching a lot of tv. I gained 20 pounds. I stared into a deep abyss of frozen pizza and Jersey Shore reruns, and it looked back into a confused young man who felt like he’d been bitterly cheated out of the life he was painstakingly building.

So was it random chance that I found a job in Peru while idly browsing international job listings, or was it the grand narrative arc that would bring me from rock bottom into something amounting to self-actualization? I don’t know yet, but in two months, I’ll be moving from northern Wisconsin into a new life in Lima, a giant metropolis perched upon the Pacific’s Ring of Fire. I’ll use this blog to document the journey, from brushing up on Spanish at home to (hopefully) hiking the Inca Trail on my way to Machu Pichu. Expect tons of pictures, stories of people and places, and lots of lengthy descriptions of food.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

4 thoughts on “On narrative arcs, random events, and how I’ve come to flee the country

  1. I lived in Lima for 5 months two years ago, and reading your blog is bringing me back to my first few weeks in the city. It’s an adventure you will cherish for the rest of your life, to be sure, and the people you meet in Peru make the smog and garua worth the trouble. Since your favorite restaurant closed, you should check out Gaston Acurio’s restaurants. They’re a bit spendy (by Peruvian standards), but he’s a world-class chef and his food is incredible. Astrid y Gaston, a classy dinner restaurant usually requiring reservations, and Torta, a lunch place, are in Lima, pretty close to Miraflores, too, but he also has restaurants throughout the country and internationally. And you should check out Cruz del Sur on your next bus adventure – they’re the safest and most comfortable. It’s nice to see another Midwesterner braving the city. Keep up the great writing! (I’m also an out-of-work journalist – maybe I should be heading back to Lima!)

  2. Rachel — Thanks for the words of wisdom! I’ve been itching to try Astrid y Gaston since I’ve arrived, but haven’t had the chance (or the funds) to do so. It’s definitely on my to-do list, though. Thanks for reading, and hopefully you can make it back to Lima sometime. They tell me things have changed a lot here in the last two years!

  3. Pingback: Peru: One year later | Roving Reporter

  4. I interned in Peru assisting for film productions, and now I am looking to work in Lima. I wonder how did you find a job online which you were able to apply for without a work permit? Or did you in fact have one? Many of the jobs I find won’t accept my resume without a permit.

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