It should be no surprise that I love to travel. It is probably one of the most primary passions I have in my life. It’s also one of the first ways that I connected with Brett. Before we met, we had both done quite a bit of traveling around the US and after we started dating, we traveled together almost immediately.
Traveling helps Brett and I feel closer and more in sync with each other. It brings us together in a way that can’t be replicated inside the walls of our apartment.
We also recognize the benefits traveling has on our own persons. I feel more connected to the world. I feel like I understand myself better. I feel more educated, more empathetic.
Another, somewhat unlikely outcome? I feel content.
I live in a small town. Kirksville doesn’t have a Target, Chipotle, Gap, or Trader Joes. There are no micro breweries, no art walk, no independent movie theatre (anymore.) No interstate. No mall.
Whenever I visit cities that have these things and much more (sky scrapers, oceans, major league baseball teams) I think to myself, “Damn. That would be nice.” But I live by a universal truth:
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
Traveling has made me understand that everywhere is Kirksville. Well, except for LA and New York City, everywhere is Kirksville. And everyone is me. And I am everyone. People are just people everywhere.
I am no less a Royals fan because I drive 3 hours to catch a few games a summer than I would be if I lived in Kansas City and had season tickets. Upland Brewery’s pale ale isn’t less tasty because I live in a town where I can’t buy it than instead of being a regular patron. Rihanna’s music is no less twerkable because I’m driving 6 hours to St Paul to see the concert instead of 6 blocks.
You are not where you live.
Let me say something to be completely fair to anyone who has ever thought, “I gotta get out of this damn town.” There are lots of reasons to move. And getting out of the damn town is a completely legitimate one. But for me? I’m in the place in my life now (and grateful to be so) that I am as happy here as I will ever be anywhere else. I might have more retail stores and more restaurants and more cultural attractions available to me, but those things won’t make me more of a foodie, or a music lover, or supporter of the arts.
Further, because travel is such a fundamental part of the lifestyle that Brett and I are cultivating, I’m appreciative to live in a town where the cost of living is low enough to afford us the opportunity to travel all the time. Brett and I typically make a weekend trip (Kansas City, St Louis, Des Moines) at least once a month. We go on a longer trip once a year or so (Chicago, Minneapolis). And now that we are married? I’m ready to go international. We’ve got a cruise planned for our anniversary this year and have our sights set on Europe within the next three years. We’ve got good paying jobs, low rent, and the means to see awesome world around us. I’d trade that for an art walk any day.
Will we move someday? Probably. Will I be a different person for doing so? No.
I think my point is this: if you have wanderlust, indulge it. I am the person I am because I travel. But if you are unhappy with your job, your relationships, or the person you see in the mirror, just remember what Fatty says:
“Wherever you go, there you are.”