I used to own a home in Minneapolis and commute downtown for a 9 to 5 marketing job that often turned into an 8 to 7 kind of job. I loved many things about my life then: the strawberries and mint growing in the garden; living two blocks from the Mississippi River; taking the light rail downtown to try out the latest restaurant.
But I also felt trapped. A restlessness took hold of me, and I longed for something different–something two weeks of annual travel never seemed to provide.
“What would you do differently?” my ex asked when I spoke of needing change.
He meant without him. My restlessness had led me to push and pull at every aspect of my life, including our relationship. Life meant having a job, he told me, paying the mortgage (at the very least, paying the rent). That would be true no matter where I went, or who I went there with.
I didn’t have an answer for him. I didn’t know what I would do differently.
But in 2010–after two years of the tumult that comes with starting over–I set out to find an answer. I packed whatever I could fit into my Mazda Protoge5 (it wasn’t much), and headed to Crested Butte, Colorado with my little black dog. I didn’t have a job lined up. I had no idea what I would do there. I still carried the guilt that came from leaving everything (and everyone) behind.
Now, two years later, I know that in many ways my ex was right. Life is as it ever was: I have a job, and I still pay bills. Many days I go to work, work out, eat dinner, watch TV and go to sleep.
But here, working means writing for the local paper and freelancing. Working out means riding my mountain bike on the Lower Loop, single track with a view of Paradise Divide. On weekends, I rock climb in Taylor Canyon (a 20 minute drive) or Utah (a 5 hour drive). Everyday can have adventure.
And there are some things I do very differently. I do not pay a mortgage, instead living in three places in one year (six, if you count the house sitting stints). I did it in part to save money, and in part to meld my life with my more-transient-than-I boyfriend. My favorite home continues to be the one-room cabin with a sleeping loft and no kitchen. It didn’t take long to get used to cooking on a 2-burner coleman stove and keeping veggies in the cooler (though it was nice to finally get a fridge).
My life has taken on a curious blend of the things I sought to leave behind (permanence and structure in the form of jobs and knowing where I’ll sleep every night) and adventure (mountain biking, rock climbing and travel). Where I once thought that having a home meant learning to live with unfulfilled wanderlust, I’ve learned that it’s quite the opposite: the more adventure I let in, the stronger my sense of home becomes.
Hence, the name of this blog: Wander Home. In going out–away from the things I once knew–I found the strong sense of place I’ve experienced yet. Wander Home is where I explore what that means, through the lens of writing, climbing, biking, travel, and more simply, living.