I’ve lived in 19 cities over the course of 33 years thus far. In the United States, these include urban, suburban, and rural places in the Midwest, the Rust Belt, New England, the Southwest, and the Deep South. Internationally, I’ve lived in Paris, France and London, United Kingdom.
For some of these cities, I lived in multiple domiciles over time.
Why so many places, you ask? I was chasing love, poetry, money, family, ghosts, memories, sunshine, trouble, the unknown, natural beauty of many shapes and hues, and other experiences worth sacrificing for.
What did I get for all this globetrotting? Why, the world. I’ve integrated with numerous cultures and subcultures. I’ve learned about the ways in which people differ and the ways in which they coincide, and that the latter is far more often the case. I filled up my eyes with visions of geological grandeur and the cosmic chandelier up there. I got God, I got a piece of the Devil, I got a lousy t-shirt.
The journalist in me got the story. Whatever it takes, right?
But what price did I pay for all this? I got broke and broken and reassembled, I got lonely and exultant. I’ve both toughened and become more vulnerable. The price I paid was often the same as the reward I reaped; in the end, the difference between those seeming opposites was always one of attitude.
I moved back to Minneapolis, stomping ground of my glory days of youth, last summer with the stated intention to “stay here as long as it takes to watch a hardwood tree grow up from sapling to large enough for children to climb on.” I prefer not to speak of time in linear terms, but in relation to the motions of nature.
I’m also experienced enough to know that just because I have plans doesn’t mean something won’t come along to change them. I’m perfectly content where I am, but the roads and skies and fabled train tracks might one day call my name again. The chorus of their voices can be very bewitching.