5 Fantasy Exit Strategies

1. Run away to Brooklyn. Rent an apartment with a claw footed bathtub. Commute to Manhattan during the week and put in hours at a menial publishing job. Drive home to New Jersey on weekends to swim in the pool and cry to your mother. Smoke Gauloises on the fire escape. Let yellowing issues of Rolling Stone and Vogue pile into a protective fortress around your bed. Listen to Cat Power. Fall asleep mostly naked beneath the duvet watching Sportscenter and drinking earl grey. Date a Yankees fan and kiss his hands on the 4 Train into the Bronx.

2. Run away to Barcelona. Eat milk chocolate magnum bars and drink cheap champagne. Burst into charming fits of laughter whenever you get embarrassed about butchering the Catalan language. Wear denim cutoffs, Dr. Pepper chapstick, and very little else. Go dancing at 3 a.m. Whiten your teeth. Tan your shoulders. Braid feathers into your hair. Perpetually wake up with sand caught in the thin cotton sheets of your tiny bed. Listen to the Rolling Stones and kiss all the longhaired boys you can get your hands on without ever having to apologize.

3. Run away to Los Angeles. Sublet a studio in Venice three blocks from the beach. Listen to top 40 radio. Go to Chateau Marmont and charge drinks you can’t afford to a long-dormant credit card. Sleep with a television actor who lives in the valley. Sleep with a musician who lives in Bel Air. Break things off with both of them when gas prices begin to rise. Find Gilda Radner’s star on the Walk Of Fame and swallow a sob when you see the filthy cement around her name is cracked. Walk through the Venice Canals until the sun sets and you forget your own name. Call your mother crying from the parking lot of a 24-hour Ralph’s supermarket. Tell her you want to come home.

4. Run away to Paris. Gaze at the pink and pistachio glow of macarons in the window on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Listen to Joni Mitchell. Meet an Argentinean man in the Latin Quarter for drinks. Melt into his accent and kiss him goodnight, but return to your apartment alone because his face doesn’t look enough like the man’s you are trying to forget. Get lost in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre, admiring Napoleon’s fine red damask. Walk alone along the Seine in an old dress, ten-dollar shoes, and an Hermes scarf. Fumble with the locks on the fence overlooking the river. They all have lovers’ names etched into them and the girl who left the red heart-shaped lock has the same name as you.

5. Run away to Martha’s Vineyard. Write heartbroken stories during the day in front of a large fan that blows curls of humid hair across your tired face. Take a waitress job at The Black Dog at night and try hard not to drop too many trays. Learn to ride a moped. Pretend you’re a Kennedy. Listen to Carly Simon. Eat hand-churned ice cream out of waffle cones. Visit the flying horses and consider how many girls just like you have sat on the same horse clutching for the same brass ring. Get stoned and dance barefoot down the length of the eroded Jaws beach. Date a Red Sox fan. Yell at each other during baseball games, and then kiss and make up between tangled sheets. TC mark

image – Julien Haler


More From Thought Catalog

  • http://typewriterpoetry.wordpress.com b r

    Perfection, with one exception: the Valley is always capitalized.

  • Donnerunbaiser

    This was so beautiful. I felt the pull of each of these places.

  • Mashka

    #2 is def a fantasy of mine. 

  • Anonymous

    That was really lovely.

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    I will retire in Amsterdam.

    • 5 GB IN

      Would definitely be a wonderful place to be, but I want to see the world

  • 5 gb in

    My heart longs to escape this place. Mediterranean breezes call my name.

  • wow

    that was my entire study abroad experience in paris. dead on. holy hell

    • Guest

      You must be a walking stereotype. Enjoy!

      • uniquefuckingbutterfly

        Why do you think any stereotype exists?

        It’s because that type of person exists. Someone has had all those experiences, and might even have *gasp* enjoyed them. 

        I guess your incredibly varied list of personality traits and desires must be inconceivable. No, you’ll never be a stereotype. Nobody could ever possibly imagine or want to have the same painstakingly original combination. Enjoy!

      • gueston

        The people who are stereo types are probably happy living life. As for me I don’t fit a type and one day someone might have the same experience as me and it won’t be a painstakingly orginal combo. Also unique your name is a stereo type I’ve seen it too many times by diff people ha!

  • Anon

    White girl problems.

    • Lala

      not rly applicable but good try

    • Guest

       What an ignorant comment this is.

  • http://twitter.com/dianasalier diana salier

    if you can afford to sublet a Venice studio near the beach, you can probably afford the drinks at Chateau Marmont.

    • http://twitter.com/dianasalier diana salier

      and the ridiculous gas prices.

  • Erika

    Ugh, corny, corny, corny. You’re just the type of Manic Pixie Dreamgirl With A Backpack I used to ignore in hostels.

    • Guest

      Did you ignore them or did they ignore you?

    • Lala


    • gueston

      I ignored them too. I don’t like flakes unless there frosted.

    • srsly

      Sounds like you’re the cliché…actually enjoying life seems a liittle bit too “mainstream” for you, so I’ll leave you to it.

  • Mashka

    here’s mine you can’t really beat it. Move back to Ukraine, avoid the government, live off the land pretend I don’t speak English, take in all the stray animals, wear leopard and neon skintight clothing until I’m 80 with no shame and go swimming in the Black Sea every day. 

    • Anonymous

      I’m gonna marry you.

  • cotton candy smile

    Knit a sweater for a newt at the behest of your Costa Rican lover Armando, who fills your mind with moonlight.   Candles burning.  Tea steaming.  Strawberry glances.  Illuminate June  by hosting a picnic at the bottom of a drained swimming pool.  Words come easily when the stars are whispering.    Run clumsily, twirl whimsically.  Congratulate yourself, for your life (and writing) are entirely indistinguishable from a late ’90s perfume commercial.

    • Brandi

      Must suck to live your life.

    • gueston

      Ha on point with that

  • M L

    I think this is such a great piece!  For you jerks who think it’s corny or say you’d want to avoid the author, then go right ahead.  You should probably start by getting a life and reading other pieces instead.  Ones that are “more worthy of your intellect”, ya creeps.

    • For real?

      Ah yes, because criticizing an essay on a public site is not allowed!  What were we thinking!?

       “Me no want you to read this piece if you no think it special!  You go get life instead of have opinion!  Intellect scary!  No disagree allowed!  You have critique you creepy go away!”

  • Anonymous


  • Callieo

    Move to San Francisco and work at a start-up & rent an apartment the size of a broom closet that will cost more than 3 car payments. Have a love/hate relationship with public transportation and never lend a homeless person $20 because they tell you their parents were kidnapped by ninjas and need to purchase karate lessons. Go to the Mission and make sure you wear a fedora but change in the car on your way to the Marina and make sure you pop your collar.

    • guest

      holy shit those guys had a kid?

      feels bad now.

  • nina

    I have definitely considered 1, 2, and 4 at some point.

  • Anonymous


  • Eye4Talent

    Outstanding, fresh, unique voice. Gave me chills, had me longing to read more. I expect to see you on the bestseller list soon. Equally stunning is ForReal’s pathetic pessimism. Wait for new writers to emerge. Criticize them. Feel better about yourself. Briefly. Remain a cold and timid soul who knows neither victory nor defeat. Remain the critic. Put on your footsie pajamas and say goodnight to Mommy.

    • Hh

      that hurt my eyes to read. 

  • victoria elliott


  • Guest

    Reminds me of my year of exchange in Europe and my travels therein. Although mine was more like: get drunk at 10am.  Walk around the city with some hippies from the hostel. Make out with one of them on the beach at night. Laugh about it the next day on the train to my next destination. Laugh at the Americans/English/Australians who are saying really stupid things in public and embarrassing their respective countries.

  • Karina Napier Anderson

    Run away to West Africa. Spend the first 12 months without a tangle in
    the sheets, telling yourself that leaving yourself kiss-less is all part
    of your master-plan. Though being in West Africa is supposed to help
    you figure out exactly what that master-plan really is. So take raucous
    bush taxi rides through the West African tropics to the dry desert,
    surrounded by stealth black men. Don’t make eye contact. Drink foreign
    beer, avoid whites and cook aromatic yet scary looking cuisine. 1 year
    through, jump into bed with the first white man that appears, because
    dating that other guy from Cote de Voir was a Mistake with a capital M.
    Doesn’t matter if the newbie in your life happens to be bi. At night in
    your cement hut by kerosene lamp, write short stories about your past
    disastrous relationships. Make long distance phone calls to someone back
    home convincing them that life is grand.

  • notholdencaulfield

    join a school trip to rome with your class. let some famous singer approach you. sort of become a star. famous guy singer turned out to be a douche. steal the show. kiss your curly haired bestfriend.

    • Sophia


  • lily

    It’s amazing how much the writer seems to romanticize a period of complete uselessness. These are literally the most mundane adventures I’ve ever read, the kind my college friends have when they go study abroad in Europe for the sole purpose of getting wasted in an exotic country with at the very most, an artificial dalliance with its culture with any kind of meaningful or rigorous immersion. 

    • Eye4Talent

      I would argue that the definition of uselessness is criticizing others through the prism of zero direct experience or original thought. Maybe you can borrow some of each from your “college friends”, who are at least living, rather than critiquing, life.
      Artificial dalliance, indeed.

      • Lily

        That’s the thing. People automatically conflate “traveling around the world” with “learning and becoming a new person” (I”M SORRY, WAS THAT TOO HARD TO READ?) and I absolutely disagree. You don’t become wiser just from traipsing down the Seine in the dawn or from passing casually through the Louvre. Some of the most well-traveled kids I know are also easily the most privileged and shallow as well, and have taken less from their experiences then they have had from a trip to the mall. 

        I’ve only traveled abroad on vacations – a couple have changed me, some have not – and how this article differs in any from the average tourist trip, I don’t know. Good writers turn even the most mundane of experiences into something unique, interesting. That’s why I like Ryan O’Connell – he writes about cliched things, but damn, does he have a way with them. 

        What was so fucking special about doing something that a million other drifting, ennui-stricken, casually glamorous teens have done before you? Did the writer have a profound moment looking at an odd painting? Was there a scene that left her completely changed? Was there something funny or strange or uncanny? Or was the whole point of this article to say that dancing at 3 am in Barcelona is just really cool, y’all? What am I, as a reader, supposed to take from this article other than the fact that the author spent some time living in a Life & Style ad? 

      • Francesca

        dude, shut the fuck up.

      • Lily

        ^great argument. 

      • Guest

        I see your point, and no it’s not too hard to read. But I only have the urge to lash out at people more “priveleged” or travelled than me, because I haven’t had the opportunity to travel the world. I’ve never had the funds to leave the country, and the jealousy that I feel when I hear my friends talk about their study abroad experiences is unparalleled.

        But, envy is envy. If I could waste a summer traipsing the Seine, you can be damn well sure I’ll do it. Give me Barcelona and I’ll probably waste a couple nights drinking too much and not being the Right Kind of Tourist in your mind. And I’ll probably take as little from the trip as I take from a trip to the mall, but then again….

        …. isn’t the ability to turn even the most mundane of experiences (like a trip to the mall) into something unique &  interesting as skill to be coveted? 

    • Janesmith

      hey asshole

    • Annie

      Good job with the multiple syllable words. Oh and i agree with Jane. You’re an asshole.

  • Saba2437

    yall are mean. i think its lovely.  its a fantasy. people romanticize about terrible things, sometimes the simplicity is the most romantic part. its a moment in time.

  • Anonymous


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