I’m constantly wanting to go. Just go. Anywhere and everywhere. I have such a lingering feeling of wanderlust at all times.
It honestly gets me down if I give it the power to. I see other people going and doing and exploring and traveling and just really living and I wonder what I’m doing.
Even people who are traveling for business or with internships just make me feel like I’m behind.
Journalists don’t generally make millions starting out, so my travel fund is low and my trips are few and far between. I try to make little trips here and there to pacify my excessive desire to travel, but it’s not the same as leaving the country or exploring a new city or getting the butterflies of being on a plane.
I always planned to move far away from where I have lived my whole life as soon as I graduated college. I was off to New York or Chicago or at least Nashville. But God had other plans.
I ended up in the last place I had planned to be: Huntsville, AL.
When I moved to Huntsville for my first postgrad job in news, I absolutely hated it. I thought there was nothing to do and no one to do it with. I wanted out as soon as possible.
I looked at jobs everywhere. Anywhere but Huntsville.
And then I started actually living where I live. I stopped going back home every weekend or back to my college town to see my friends. I dove into the city I was in.
I joined a church here, met friends at events, and actually started seeing the beauty around me.
I met some of the best friends I’ve ever had and a great guy who ended up the best boyfriend I’ve ever had.
I got promoted at work and got some opportunities to see more of the city I was now a part of. It’s like I was living in a different place than where I had originally moved.
But what was different was me and my attitude.
Instead of wishing we had events and places to go that other cities I had, I learned to appreciate what was right at my fingertips.
I got involved with non-profits and volunteered at places like food pantries. In work and outside of work, I was realizing more and more that there are thousands and thousands of people all around me each with intricate stories and joys and fears and quirks and lives and they all mattered. They mattered whether they lived in Huntsville, AL or Los Angeles, CA. The place doesn’t matter – it’s the people.
People grow the produce that I buy at local farmers markets. People own my favorite brunch spots. People own coffee shops where I take breaks. People own stores where I buy clothes.
All those people have important lives and friends and families and dreams and ambitions and love.
Amazing things happen with space exploration, military intelligence, creativity, art, music, and growth all around me every day. Smart, kind, hard working people live around me and make the city I’m in great.
There are fancy events and free concerts and new organizations and new city developments being made all the day. This city is on the rise and is making a name for itself and I’m a part of it.
But it doesn’t matter that there actually are cool things to do here, it matters that I found people to do them with and I appreciate that there are thousands of important lives being lived that do them, too.
Don’t hear me wrong, I think traveling is very important and it’s a huge passion of mine. I’m always craving a new city and a new experience. I think travel opens our eyes and teaches us about other cultures and people and places like no book ever could. I think travel feeds the soul. But I also know that travel can be expensive and not everyone can do it.
So, instead of always wishing I was somewhere else, I have decided to always be where my feet are. I can travel throughout my city and my state and go to shops and stores and restaurants I’ve never been to. And kayak down new rivers and listen to new local music and go to art festivals and museums I’ve never been to. I can learn about people and places and things right out my backdoor.
Let’s not focus on where we are going or where we could be going. Let’s not let the desire to go eat away at us and keep us from staying fully in the moment where we are.
Many people leave home and move far away and have amazing experiences. Many people stay close to home and never leave. Neither person is smarter or better – they are different. And they can learn from each other.
Be where your feet are and take those feet across every inch of the space around you. Soak it all in and appreciate it. And then you will appreciate other places a lot more when the time is right for you to explore.