Strange, perhaps, but before last week when I received the following email from a reader asking me that question — What drives you? — I never really thought about it.

“What drives you? Seriously, what drives you to seek out the lifestyle you seek? Weird question maybe, but I’m wondering.

You seem to be moving around a bit and searching for different adventures … Do you have an end point? Or are you just collecting memories and moments and keeping life interesting?”

After I read that my brain farted, like, a baker’s dozen times, mainly because I can’t believe someone actually cares about what I’m doing and why. (My God, have I bamboozled you all?)

But for real, I pretty much wrote back, “I don’t know.” But then, shortly after, the proverbial slime fell from the ceiling. (Come on! A “You Can’t Do That On Television” reference? It’s no wonder I’ve been able to bamboozle you all!) That is, I began to rack the tiny amount of brain matter I possess that’s not simply devoted to finding the perfect bean meal, and really began to wonder: What the hell does drive me?

Boredom? Some unquenchable thirst for adventure? Curiosity about the world? My hatred of office cubicles? My yearning to be the Jesus of Jorts around the world? That aforementioned quest to find the Holy Grail of bean meals? Truly, a million possible reasons started bouncing around the gray matter of my mind.

Weird that while it seems this answer should be obvious, I really don’t know what drives me.

For instance, what made me up and move to Moscow after graduating from college with no job? Just to see if I could do it? Maybe. I’m the type of idiot who tends to dare myself to do things most people are probably too logical to do. You know, like start an obnoxious blog and get fired from her job. Or get a job in a sex shop to do research on some mysterious novel I’m working on. Or hop off to Chile, knowing only three words — frijoles, vino and baños. (Although, let’s be honest, those are probably the three most important words in the any language.)

But there’s more to it than that. After all, if its simple discomfort that drives me, I suppose I could’ve simply stayed in DC and just moved to Georgetown or something. Or, you know, gotten a job. *shudder*

So what the hell? Am I running away to foreign lands because I hate America?

God, no! In fact, contrary to a lot of other Americans who fancy themselves world travelers, I’m not so embarrassed of my own country that I feel compelled to say I’m from Canada. (Sidebar: Ew.) And actually, I like telling people I’m from the States. Not only does it give me a chance to set the record straight that we’re all not just a bunch of douches, but it also gives me a pretty damn good excuse to start a “USA!” chant every now and again. Or, like, every day. Um, or maybe even right now…


But I digress, albeit patriotically. Maybe I’m thinking too much.

“Whaa–?!” you say. “How is that possible?” Don’t worry, I was just as confused as you are about that possibility. However, then I said to the oversized portrait of The Lord hanging ominously over the bed I’m renting from a Chilean family, “Jesus, I think maybe I just like traveling, adventures and learning about cultures radically different from my own.”

And even though Jesus didn’t answer back in my “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Marissa” moment, I think I might have stumbled upon a good chunk of the answer: I’m simply a nosy bitch who prefers Cuba to cubicles.

Or maybe it’s even simpler. Perhaps the main factor driving me to seek out the life I’m now living is my simple ability to ignore questions like “why” in favor of questions like “why not.” (Or actually, in my case, it’s more of a “Why the f*ck not?”)

And as far as reaching an “end point?” I figure I’ll reach one naturally when I die.

Now who wants to hike the Inca Trail?

Or better yet, although not really because hiking the Inca Trail sounds like the sh*t, what drives YOU? Like I said, I’m a nosy bitch.