Clare Novak


Beyond Borders

“This is an awesome life; when you forget that, read the previous statement.” Clare Novak

Each person’s journey is a solo experience. My journey happens to be a very literal one as I’ve flown from country to country to live and work. Working in-country moves well beyond the tourist experience. It challenges the limits of your self-image or perhaps simply reveals who you really are. If my current self could travel back to my teenage self and say, “Don’t worry about being a too smart, chunky, girl with ugly glasses. When you reach your 50s, you’ll be attractive, successful and happy.” My teenage self would have made an appropriately sarcastic comment expressing profound disbelief.

But when one  foot goes in front of the other all day every day for more than 50 years, things happen. Somehow you get a very long distance from Middletown, Pennsylvania and yet still live less than 75 miles away. You find that Middletown is still using the same Christmas decorations that were old when you were a kid and yet you’ve seen Pakistanis set up a Christmas tree at a market that caters to Westerners. You’ve seen Santa Claus in Cairo, Kuwait and Islamabad and the incongruence still makes you smile.

Some people will walk with you. Some will wait for you to come back. Others will create an image of you that is more about them than you. There will be the one person who completely understands. The path may be career choices but it creates a life. In life and careers, the good things happen from being in the right place at the right time. The trick is to recognize that where ever you are is the right place. Now is the right time.