That may be. And really, who would want to? Being a foreign correspondent is one of the greatest jobs on the planet. You travel. You meet interesting people. You expand your own horizons and challenge your own assumptions on a daily basis. You learn that the world and its issues look very different, depending on where you sit. You offer perspectives, stories and analysis that just might help bring a corner of the world to life for people who might not otherwise know or care. You enjoy the company of restless and deeply curious souls, who make every conversation a pleasure, and every shared reporting trip an adventure.
And yet — I never intended, when I moved abroad at age 23, to stay away forever. What a wise person once said about anthropologists could just as easily apply to foreign correspondents: “An anthropologist is thrice-born, first in the country of birth, then in the country s/he chooses to study, and finally when s/he returns home and looks at it with fresh eyes.”
So after 27 years of living in China, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and London, and reporting from some 40 countries, I’ve decided to test novelist Thomas Wolfe’s adage ‘you can’t go home again.’ I’ll be sharing my impressions here of how the transition goes – what’s hard, what’s easy, what I miss about my life as a foreign-based foreign correspondent (most recently, over the past decade in Beijing, for the PRI/BBC radio program “The World”) and what I appreciate about the new one.
Please come along for the ride. I’d enjoy the company.
For starters, you can listen in to an exit interview I did in Beijing with the excellent Sinica Podcast’s host Kaiser Kuo: http://popupchinese.com/data/1319/sinica-a-goodbye-to-the-magistad.mp3
And here’s a reentry interview I did with The World, when in Boston this week: http://pri.org/stories/2013-09-30/after-25-years-asia-reporter-mary-kay-magistad-finds-herself-breathing-little