Location, location, location. A topic that is constantly on my mind. I am one of those annoying restless souls who is never satisfied anywhere she lives, constantly yearning for something different. When I was in college, I transferred between schools. When I lived in Minnesota, I wanted to live in Los Angeles. When I lived in Los Angeles, I wanted to live in Northern California. Or Minnesota. Then I moved back to Minnesota. You get the picture.
I marvel at people who are able to settle down in one place and happily call it home. Perhaps that is because they have found the love of their life, or a career that gives them a sense of purpose and belonging. For me, the inner battle has evolved from always wishing I was somewhere else to wishing I could be multiple places at once. Since returning to Minnesota, I have fallen deeply in love with my home state. I am proud of it, of the seasons and the lakes and the kind people and the piercing cold months. I am proud that we are rebranding ourselves as the North, embracing our wilderness and strength. This is the place I am from, and it's full of people I love, and the wonderful memories that come along with loving them. My childhood home is here. My family is here. It is a place of comfort and familiarity. It's a place where it makes sense to settle down.
From the first time I drove north to San Francisco from LA, I was hooked on the brightness of the air, the smell of the fog and the ocean. I don't often remember specific details of events in my life, instead recalling how situations and places make me feel - the ambience, the light, the vibe. Central California makes me feel fresh. There is an openness to it that doesn't exist in the southern regions of the state; there are just as many people in the cities and suburbs, but the wild spaces feel more accessible. You have to bring a raincoat with you, because the fog rolls in unexpectedly, drenching everything in mist.
I visited my friend Kelly over the New Year. She had just moved to the Bay Area, and I was desperately in need of some salt air. My first day there, we drove south to Big Sur, and as we made our way through Monterey and Carmel, and the cliffs came into sight, memories came flooding back. It was like nothing and everything had changed at the same time. I wrote about this on Instagram, how now that I've been to Big Sur a handful of times, the sights retain a familiarity, but each visit is different - the ocean, the weather, the people.
This time, it was relatively quiet, and we got a few quick glimpses of the ocean, but it was otherwise overtaken by a thick blanket of fog, obscuring the sea so that the sounds of seals barking and waves crashing sounded like they were emanating over a loudspeaker, hidden below the clouds in a different realm of existence. We spent the day wandering, and ended it with wine in an In N' Out cup and selfies at sunset.
Most of the places I love cost a lot of money to live anywhere near, and money is something I don't have much of at this point in my life. Even building a tiny house costs a couple dozen thousand dollars. And I don't need anything fancy. Give me some natural light, access to the outdoors, and a cozy nookish spot to sleep at night, and I'm set. I'm basically a cat. But you can't spend all of your time in your home. Region matters. Topography matters. The vibe of a place matters. I can't be the only one who feels that way. The world is so big, and there are so many possibilities. How does anyone ever choose?
As Claude Monet once said (according to the internet, so take the attribution with a grain of salt), “Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it". I think about this quote almost every day. I have such a desire to do everything - to live everywhere, to learn everything, to feel all the feelings. I don't know how to not be overwhelmed by it, to not want to make every place my home. Maybe someday I'll chill out, or maybe this is just the way I'm wired.