Storytime – Being Elsewhere

You can always say I can’t sit down in one place for a long time, in terms of months and years. Sure, I may have called East Tennessee home for so most of my life, but it’s especially bothers  me in the spring. And these past few years particularly, it’s not been that different.

It could be a ton of things that give me that feeling. Daylight Savings Time ending, the sudden warm temperatures; or the deja vu I get at waking up early and feeling I should be waking up in a hotel or rest area instead of my bedroom.

But I can mostly attribute it to traveling so much when I was younger, and feeling something is wrong because I haven’t traveled in months. And not just the frequency of trips, just traveling in general.

I’ve not really been out of state by myself since I’ve graduated. I used to go to New Jersey/New York once a year, and now it’s turning out to only go every 2-5 years. I also used to frequently go on cross-state and out-of-state trips 3-5 times a year. I rarely even go to Knoxville 3 times a year, and that usually doesn’t count.

And I think that stacks with my nomadic lifestyle. I don’t go out with “friends”, if rarely. I definitely do go out and take care of things, like gassing up my Jeep or buying the groceries. But it feels like I’m not close to what I need to do, and I definitely don’t feel like I’m doing something special most of the time.

This doesn’t mean rolling around in Cancun, or being hipster crazy and living life up in San Fransisco to clarify. It isn’t about a lifestyle; this is more where I feel like I belong, and how I fit into the world.

I think my subconscious self knows that I need to be somewhere else, and being on the road gets me either some sort of equality, fulfillment or comfort to meeting that. And it’s a place I’m capable, well-seasoned and belong. Life happens out there, and I’m mixed up with in to some degree.

Nobody asks you what’s your ethnic background or “are you local” when you walk into Sheetz in West Palm Beach at 2AM. You aren’t waiting on someone’s stray cow, chickens or goats in the middle of I-80 at 65mph as you tear into New Jersey. There’s something else to look at other than mountains and billboards about moonshine. And you definitely don’t feel like an alien not talking in a Southern accent to the toll booth attendant or a random passerby.

When I find that place and balance, I’m sure I’ll have a sense of belonging that I don’t get bored sitting in one spot. I’m pretty sure I may have the random need to be on the road, but it would be more of a “get out because I’m bored” and less of “I don’t belong I need to go elsewhere.”

But until that point comes, my heart will always call to go somewhere else. A smell may hit when you’re outside, making you pause as you wish to be on an Interstate hundreds of miles away. Or you stop at Walmart, wishing you made a left instead of a right and continue driving all night until the next morning. Or that you’d open up your eyes, hoping the weather, sights and sounds and smells are different.

So when I do have it in my About Me that I love to wander, I mean that quite literally. I do need roam, I do need to explore the world, and I do need a new home. Because there’s certainly nothing for me in the rural backwoods of East Tennessee, or most of that state for that matter.

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