I’d been looking for it for a long time.
Bouncing from city to city, town to van – road tripping for discovery and exploration while always hoping underneath it all that The Place would find me and I could finally settle in to call it “home.” Mountains, beaches, cities, deserts: each place had attractive qualities that shared space with the slightly unsettled. Knowing that the destination is only what a person makes of it, each approach was taken lightly and as openly as possible. Friends were made, jobs were worked, new activities intertwined with the familiar, but that oh-so-cozy sense of finding THE spot never fully manifested.
Frustrated, maybe a little more than disappointed, the search continued. This path was riddled with ruts and pot holes: the bumps hurt and the end of the journey was never in view. Like searching for a life purpose and expecting immediate results, the answer was most likely not going to be where I was looking (although it would still end up being right in front of me).
After all, having dreams is essential for a life well-lived, but they can never come to fruition if we don’t pause to see where we’re currently standing. It’s now we connect from point A to point B.
For many years, I’d vehemently avoided returning to the place I grew up for more than a visit. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I felt like going back after years of living in new, exciting locales was giving up. What the meant exactly, I couldn’t tell you now. Despite struggling in more ways than one in the place I lived at the time, I was in love with the scenery and the spirit of it and my pride was bound and determined to force it to work.
My father’s life exploding around him was the trigger I needed to return for a long-term “temporary” stay. Now it’s been almost three years and, after years of him beckoning me to return, he would be chuckling at me and my stubbornness if he were alive to see the result.
I found a sprinkling of local friends who I sincerely love and enjoy. I’ve been able to pursue my career and “purpose” dreams in new ways. I have a community of supportive family and ancestral/historical ties to the place. I love the land and the access I have to decent kayaking, climbing, backpacking, horses, camping, and fresh air. And my roots have grown stronger than they’ve been in a long time, especially as I met and fell in love with my match and we’re starting a family together.
What I’ve realized after all this is that I’m always going to be peeking around in case something or someplace catches my eye:
the vagabonding, wanderlusting, travel-bug-bitten core of my being will never just shrivel up and go away.
When too much time has passed since the last adventure, that segment of myself begins a quiet protest that grows in intensity and volume with very little time until the thirst is quenched. One of the common threads between all the places I’ve lived has been realizing that, while calling it home, opportunities to get away from that place are absolutely required. Cars, airplanes, and even feet are always available means of transportation for a healthy, refreshing change of perspective.
Calling this place home now feels pretty good – the protesting teenager inside is settling down, knowing that we can have as much fun here as anywhere and life continues in much the same way as any other sought after location. It’s what we make of it. The exciting part is that now I’m sharing what were once solo adventures with a wonderful travel partner (my fiance) and, soon, a little one who will look at the world through bright, fresh eyes. And, in turn, that will open a whole new world world to us, too.