Wanderlust

I asked The Grandmother the other day if she had ever had a desire to live in a different place.  She’s lived in West Virginia all of her life, not in the same place, but almost.  She said, pretty quickly, “No.”  Every place I mentioned–New England, The West Coast,  The South–she poo-pooed right away for one reason or another (too hot, too cold, too much rain, not enough rain, weird people, volcanoes, tornadoes–you get the picture.)

It occurs to me that she is probably telling the truth.  She is the type of person who likes routine, and the known.  I wonder, though, if when she was younger she might have felt differently.  I can remember when my dad moved away to southern Alabama (then Florida, then southern Alabama again, the Florida again, then southern………well, never mind) he made the comment, “I was due a change.”  At the time I just blew that comment off, but now I’m starting to think he might have been on to something.

I would love to live in a different place.  I don’t mean just a neighboring county, although at this point I’d take that.  I’m talking a different place, with different people, a different climate even.  I am suffering from an old-fashioned case of wanderlust.

Don’t scoff–our country wouldn’t exist without it, or at least not the country the way it is today.  Why did people keep pushing west?  Why did explorers ever set out in search of new lands in the first place? (I mean, besides to rape and pillage and plunder and destroy all of the native culture.)  It’s simple:  some people are happy to stay where they are forever, and some people want to move on, to see and try new things.  I definitely belong with the latter.

I would offer a warning: beware of the Pacific Ocean.  Once you see it, it will never let you go.  At least that’s the effect it had on me.  They say the Pacific has no memory, and maybe that’s true, but what they forgot to mention was though it has no memory, it will implant itself forever in yours.  Now all I want is to live close enough to be able to see it whenever I want, to smell it and hear it and see if it as beautiful as I remember.

I hope no one would read this and think I hate where I live. Not at all.  I’m not so blinded that I don’t realize the beauty of my home.  People come from all over the world to walk across a bridge I drive over at least three times a week.  They come to a park and photograph a grist mill that is five miles from my house, and that my husband once worked in as a tour guide.  They pay hundreds of dollars to raft on the rivers that are but a few miles from my house, and my friends are their guides.  I rake up and curse the leaves that the tourists drive for hours to see.  I’ve hiked and biked the trails, driven the roads, eaten in the restaurants, and visited the parks.  I know what’s here.  It’s my home, and I love it.  Here are some more reasons:

  1. We have no common natural disasters (The Grandmother had a good point, actually.)  We don’t have hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or volcanoes.  Although it’s fairly hot right now, we generally don’t have extreme temperatures.
  2. We really do have better manners than most people.  I didn’t notice this until a recent trip to New York.  Some people can make fun of us as hillbillies, but whatever–we say “excuse me,” you don’t, we’re smarter. So there.
  3. I have travelled to many, many, many different states, and here’s a news flash–there has been white trash in every single one.  I’m not sure why other people don’t realize this.  When I worked at the park a long time ago, a tourist (we called them tourons, but with great affection, I assure you) once asked me if we seriously had dirt floors in our houses.  Really.  I wanted to ask, “Do you have dirt floor in your house, dumbass?” Of course I didn’t, but I mean, come on!  I worked in the tourism industry for years, and I swear to you I have met some of the biggest idiots I have ever met in my entire life, bar none.  I’m talking people who couldn’t read maps, road signs, huge notices on walls, instructions on a toaster over, directions to their cabin, or instructions on how to fill out the camp-site reservation form, but we’re the hillbillies.  Yeesh!
  4. I’m getting off topic here, so I’m cutting off this list.

So anyway,  I’m not knocking my home.  I could make a list of faults for you, but you could probably make a similar one about where you live, too.  I think it’s just a desire to be somewhere different, but maybe that’s not all.  Maybe it’s a desire to be someone different.  It’s not that I want to take on a new personality (although there could be a good debate on that topic I bet) but the fact is, as long as I live here, I will always be perceived in a certain way.  That’s one thing I would put on the list of faults, by the way: when you live in a small community, your family history is public knowledge.  The people that surround me day after day will never allow me to change, or to be anything more than I am now.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go somewhere and define who I am by—-gasp!—–who I actually am, and not by what someone else expects me to be, or thinks I already am?

I don’t know if my wanderlust itch will ever be scratched.  It’s a scary prospect to just pick up a life and move along, especially when it isn’t just your life you’ll be moving.  But sometimes you have to do things, even if you are afraid.  Sometimes, you’re just due a change.

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11 thoughts on “Wanderlust

  1. I had the ridiculous good fortune to live where you live. To drive to bridge, hike the mountains, raft the rivers, mingle with the locals and call it “home” for a bit. I had the silly fortune to be bungee corded right back to the place I left, and swore I’d never return to…and it’s given me perspective.

    Life, wherever you live, is what you make of it. Opportunities and blind spots are available in every zip code, economic level and cultural background. Choosing to say “yes” to new experiences does not require a move.

    I’m glad I’m “back” “home”. It took leaving and loving somewhere else to be able to say that. Moving to West Virginia was amazing two year field trip that has imprinted my soul, and changed my destiny and that of my childrens.

    I’m sorry we’re not there. And I’m glad we’re where we are. But that’s my attitude these days.

    But country roads are taking me home on Friday, and we’ll descend like tourists upon Opossum Creek. I don’t care if I only lived there two years. I planted my heart next to a mountain laurel, and I wasn’t able to dig it all back up.

    Wanderlust is fun. It’s painful. It’s beautiful. It’s a state of mind.

    • Your heart is planted by the Mountain Laurel–mine is swimming in the Pacific. Funny, isn’t it? Now my dad says he’s ready to be back home, so maybe you’re right. I can say this–we will at least be out of Fayette county before Ian starts high school. I can home school him through middle, but I intend to have him enrolled in high school, and it’s not going to be in Fayette county. I don’t think I need to tell you that, Colleen. I have a love/hate relationship with where I am now, but I think it’s in part because when you live in the same house you grew up in with the same grandparents (now elderly) that raised you, you can’t ever really be an adult. It doesn’t matter how self-sufficient you are, how many bills you pay, how much you take care of the house, this will NEVER be my house. Even if they were gone, it would still be THEIR house, you know? I joke about being a homeless person, but sometimes it’s only half in jest. Time wll tell, I guess. Hope you are well.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and following Frazzled Mama. I’m following you back.

    This landlord was the laziest. She never did get us a copy of our lease and my husband never even signed it. Her excuse was always she was to tired. To tired to make a copy and watch someone sign something. That’s really pathetic.

  3. I would love to pick up and move to a new place but that’s not happening in this lifetime. It’s always good to have no regrets in life. Follow your heart. Thanks for coming by and following. Im following back.

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for stopping by my little blog, MiMi’s Mini Tales. I hopped over here for a visit, and fell in love with your blog. I read several of your posts, as well as “about you”. What an interesting and full life you have! I’m your newest follower.

    I’ve lived in the same little town in Georgia for over forty years. I was born in Florida, and lived there the first 8 years of my life. Later, my husband and I married and moved 60 miles away to the big city for 5 years, but in the end we couldn’t wait to get back to the family farm. I enjoy visiting other places, but I’m always glad to come back home.

  5. You’re definitely having a case of wanderlust there, girlfriend, and that’s OK!!! :)) Lord knows how often I wished I was living in another house, in another city, in another country, in another body… (yes, you read it correctly). LOL.

    Having said that, considering how many times I whined, complained, and came up with reasons why I should do all of the above, it may seem like a miracle that I’ve been pretty much staying at the same city for the last 11 years. But the truth is, I thrive on routines. Yes, I’m one of those people who just don’t deal well with *any* changes.

    At least your grandma had her strong convictions over where she wanted to live. Me, I complained about it everyday, and yet, did absolutely nothing about it.

    But yeah, I definitely could relate to your wanderlust. Anytime you want to indulge in one, count me in, will ya? 😉

  6. Pingback: Hi, My Name Is…….Um……What Was My Name Again? » The (not so) Special Mother

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