I have been arguing, convincingly I hope, that ordinary professionals like you and I can apply for and obtain exotic short-term working vacations. You don’t need a Harvard Ph.D., don’t have to be Chief of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, and don’t need a Pulitzer, Oscar, or Tony on the mantel to spend time abroad. However, what you do need is the belief that it is a real possibility for you and your family to leave home, job, friends, and relatives for a few months to live in a different place and experience a different culture. You must believe this is not just something “others” do; not something only “a lucky few” get to achieve; not something you see in a magazine and only dream about. You must think “I really could do this.”
Right now many of you may be doing exactly what I did after receiving that initial letter from Imperial College—conjuring up a long list of worries, doubts, and concerns. You are convincing yourself that, although I was able to pull off this summer working adventure, your situation is totally different, and it is impossible for you and/or your family to get away this year and, most likely, the next. After all, there is your elderly mother; the kid who attends Camp Potowotamie; coaching the soccer team; teaching summer school.
One thing I have learned during my years of travel is that there is never a shortage of reasons to explain why a chance can’t be grabbed, an opportunity can’t be seized, or an experience can’t be lived. I would never dream of attempting a rejoinder to each and every excuse you might wish to present. Instead, I simply paraphrase my wife’s final and most persuasive argument made to me all those many years ago: “Dammit, it was an adventure. You should go!”