A panel of three well-travelled writers said love is the main reason why people leave their home to pursue a life full of spontaneity as they travel the world.
Novelist Emily Maguire (Taming the Beast), author and activist Arnold Zable (The Fig Tree), and writer and comedian Catherine Deveny spoke to broadcaster and author Sarah Macdonald (Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure) at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
All three had in common that they were inspired to write novels by their various experiences overseas. A love story was the most compelling way to help navigate their works of fiction and bring their novels to life. And love – being the tricky subject that it is – created enough ups and downs to drive their characters to escape and reinvent.
Catherine referred to these romance-hungry folks as “retrosexuals”, people who travel in pursuit of love. Some were escaping from a dysfunctional relationship to travel and put meaning back into their lives, but every story was tied to the emotion of love – whether escaping it or finding it.
There are currently more than one million Australians living overseas, and this number is likely to grow as more Australians yearn to escape the daily grind for a life that arouses their curiosity and ultimately, makes them happy.
“People desire to get away from being who they were, yet want the comfort of being in love. Travelling seems to help them find the happy medium,” said Emily.
Arnold said people like the idea of “controlled chaos”, a juxtaposition that parallels the feelings of love. “When you are overseas, you are immediately open to new things and being in love,” he said.
The panel concluded with a statement from Catherine: “The culture shock is coming home”.