As is to be expected, when I told my friends and family that I was leaving Seattle (born and raised, with a 4 year stint at Washington State U) and moving to Orlando, there was surprise and even a little disgust.
As it turns out, many Seattle-ites are fiercely protective of their city and state, and according to them, nothing could be better. Also, as is to be expected, my friends and family weren’t super excited about me moving 3,000+ miles and three time zones away. (Direct quote from my mom, “Could you have moved ANY further away?” The answer? Miami and the Keys would have been further. But I’m not moving there)
One of my best friends (whom, sadly, I’ve been a terrible correspondent with) left to go teach English in Hungary two years ago. She’s got some intense wanderlust and had an amazing journey across Europe, made incredible friends, and had some funny (and scary … a p.m. graveyard walk in Kosovo?!) experiences. Although I’d moved the second furthest away among people I knew, I was still jealous and read her blog the second I knew a new post was up.
My friend went home to Seattle last month – her teaching contract was up, and she needed to rebuild the bank account for her next adventure. Her most recent blog is about how she’s feeling now that she’s home … and she admits, she wasn’t too happy about it at first. She called the town where we’re from “vanilla,” and says that she slipped relatively easily back into the role of working, saving money, and looking for teaching jobs overseas. Exactly what she was doing prior to Hungary in the first place.
When people ask, sometimes I wish I was back home. I’d already have friends to hang out with on the weekends, and I’d be able to see my family whenever instead of having to cough up at least $500 to fly cross-country (and spend at least 11 hours travelling). But, would I have grown, or changed? Seattle wasn’t a challenge anymore. And to be dead honest, the idea of never having experienced anything outside of that part of the country (on at least a semi-permanent basis) scares the living hell out of me.
I still have a lot of places I want to see (looking at you, the rest of the SE U.S.), live (yes, New England, that’s you), and experience (waiting on that hurricane, as terrible as the thought is). It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but not only is that outweighed by what I see and experience … but I’ve actually proven to myself that I’m strong enough to do crazy, young, impulsive things like move across the country.
Had I stayed in Seattle, I wouldn’t have known any better.