I just moved from Beaufort, S.C., to Elkhart, Ind. this week.
It’s clearly a big life change so obviously, after months and months of ignoring Tumblr, I woke up this morning and decided I need to blog about it.
I’ve moved quite a bit in the last 12 years or so. It started when I was 11 or 12 when my family moved from Milwaukee to Green Bay, Wis. From there, I moved to Missouri for journalism school, had a 4-month stint in Belgium, then journalism jobs brought me to South Carolina, and now to Elkhart. Since 2008 I’ve changed my address six times.
Through all those moves, I was able to take everything I own in one trip with in my car (Well… that’s not entirely true. I have a bag of clothes, a guitar and a box of books in storage at my parents’ house right now). It’s kind of sad, but I also saw it as a point of pride — I liked the freedom of being able to pick up and leave with no strings attached.
Moving this time, however, felt different.
Partly this is because of how hard it was to leave Beaufort. To me, it represents my first attempt at living and surviving in the “real world” on my own. As it turns out, Beaufort isn’t the best example of the “real” world because everything there — the people, the scenery, the lifestyle — is pretty surreal. Leaving those friends that treated me like family and the community which I’d grown to care so deeply about made me realize I don’t have too many more “big moves” left in me.
As I drove up through South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and finally Indiana, I felt more and more at ease — kind of like I was coming back to my natural habitat. I enjoyed the beaches, the marshes and the flora and fauna of the South, but stretches of farm fields and herds of white-tailed deer and cows are part of my genes. I actually laughed out loud in sheer joy when I saw a group of men enter a gas station wearing blaze orange and camo gear. I don’t think they were even going hunting — it’s just normal attire for many Midwestern areas. Come to think of it, it’s an outfit my dad sports year-round.
My excitement grew the further north I got. I’ve had a couple days to settle in and explore my new home and, I’ve got to say, it’s pretty much butt-ugly compared to Beaufort landscape-wise. To the layperson, it looks industrial. It’s flat and drab (with the exception of the beautiful fall leaves). There’s evidence everywhere of how hard this town was hit by the economic recession. Vacant houses are everywhere and the empty shells of closed business sit on nearly every street as constant reminders of how much the people here have sacrificed and lost.
True, the landscape can’t compete with Beaufort, but I still feel happy and comfortable with where I’ve landed. It’s familiar and wonderful in its own way. The leaf-strewn yards remind me of the one I grew up playing in. The late October weather is exactly how it should be — mid-50s, sunny and crisp. I can’t wait to have a white Christmas, even though I know I’ll be cursing the snow by February.
My parents are planning to bring furniture down for me this weekend. I’ll be shopping for a dining room table and chairs in the coming weeks. I don’t know how long I’ll be in Elkhart — hopefully for the long term — but I do know this: If I can help it, I won’t be traveling by the carload anymore. If I move again, I’m likely not going far and I’m going to need a moving truck. I know fall is typically a time for harvest but I think I’ll start this new chapter by finally, after nearly six years of jumping around, planting some roots.