I picked up Richard Yates’ novel, Revolutionary Road, at the store less than 24 hours ago and I’m already halfway done.  (I went through high school and university – even majoring in English – but never was I made to read this – or any – Richard Yates novel.  Hmmm?)   

“What I really felt didn’t have anything to do with being scared or not scared.  I just felt this terrific sense of life.  I felt full of blood.  Everything looked realer than real; the snow on the fields, the road, the trees, the terrific blue sky all marked up with vapor trails-everything.”

“And I remember being very conscious of the way my own body worked, and the sound of the breathing in my nose.  I remember we went through this shelled-out town, all broken walls and rubble, and I thought it was beautiful.  Hell, I was probably just as dumb and scared as anybody else, but inside I’d never felt better.  I kept thinking: this is really true.  This is the truth.”

The passage resonated with me; it’s exactly how I felt before leaving for Australia.  The emotions inside became this wonderful cocktail of fear and excitement, and shaken or stirred, it was delicious.  The addictive effect was sensed almost immediately, and there’s no doubt it gave me both a feeling of being indestructible and having a headache. 

And, now, the hangover.  Withdrawal.  What now?  Take two Advil and drink enough water until I can feel my stomach floating.  What move can we take that will serve us up another cocktail as fantastic as our trip to Australia?  Maybe it’s not even a “move” in the literal sense at all…maybe it’s more of a “shift” of some sort…in our ideals and perceptions.

Should another physical move be in our stars, though, the question is, Where do we go?  According to the UN’s 2007/2008 Human Development Report, the top countries we should consider are:

1. Iceland

2. Norway

3. Australia

4. Canada

And, where’s the U.S. rank?  12th.  See the entire list in pictures at National Geographic’s website.