Why I Will Never Be Fully Satisfied Anywhere, Ever
Happy New Year everyone! Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, I’m just taking a closer look at one of my personality flaws, and seeing how travel helps it.
I was born and raised in the midwest. Technically, I’m from the city St. Louis, Missouri, as I was born there, but I moved into the suburbs when I was still a toddler. And there I sat for the next 16 years. I don’t belong in the suburbs, this is something I realized long ago, but now that I’m 25 and have traveled and lived in other places, I am wondering – do I belong anywhere?
Bear with me, this isn’t a teenage angst-filled rant
I don’t mean that in a no one understands me! kind of way. What I mean is – Will any place ever be awesome enough to make me want to settle down there forever? If you know me at all, you’ll understand why the suburbs kind of make me feel like I am suffocating. It’s hard to live in a place that still supports Todd Akin after he made all those legitimate rape comments. (Yeah guys, that was my state. Go Missouri?) However, it’s not just the suburbs. Even in the bustling city of Buenos Aires, I eventually felt the need to move on. Now that I am back in St. Louis, I am itching to leave again. I constantly preach that St. Louis is an amazing place to visit, but not such a wonderful place to live. (More on that, here). So how can I find a place that satisfies me?
Here’s a few of my issues
I love the seasons. Kind of.
Midwesterners often say they would “miss the seasons” if they moved somewhere that was warm year round. I want to say I would, but as I scrape ice off my windshield and feel my fingers begin to go numb, I wonder, would I really miss them? The great thing about being a traveler is, you can just go visit a season. Want some snow? Go see it for a week! Want some fall foliage? Check out the beautiful leaves in some forest-filled town. Want to lounge on the beach? Head to Mexico.
Of course, that’s a little bit idealistic. I may be a freelancer, but I still have to work quite a bit to pay the bills. I have to admit that the best thing about living in St. Louis is that the cost of living here is insanely cheap. I share a 900 square foot, two bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and we only pay $550 a month for it. I constantly struggle with the idea of basing myself out of St. Louis, a city I do not love, for the benefit of its cheapness, which would allow me to allocate more funds for traveling. I already know that we’ll be moving to a new (yet still unknown) city next fall. I am both worried and desperately excited. Will the new city satisfy me?
I suck at relaxing
I think part of the draw of settling down is the idea of being able to relax. Here’s the thing: I totally suck at relaxing. I have been a workaholic my whole life. Traveling has helped my idiotic tendencies quite a bit, but when it comes down to it, I’m a girl who likes to be doing things and seeing places. While some people dream of a perfectly designed house that they can spend the rest of their life in, I dream of a comfortable but small and affordable place that can serve as my home base while I travel around throughout the year.
I have the best friends ever
I know this doesn’t sound like a problem, but when it comes to choosing a place to live, it can be a real issue. A lot of long-term travelers found that most of their friends flaked out on them, and they grew apart. While I had my share of fair-weather friends, all of my best friends have stood by me. They have also spread themselves throughout the United States. Being a frequent traveler means that I can visit them often, but it also puts me on an emotional rollercoaster. In September of this year, I was a bridesmaid in my best friend Abby’s wedding, alongside my other best friend, Rachel. Seeing them together, living in the same city, talking about their favorite restaurants and their lazy hangouts – it killed me. I was dying of jealousy. I wanted to tear up my return ticket and live in one of their closets forever and ever. Obviously, that was a bit irrational.
When I lived in Buenos Aires, I just accepted the dull ache of missing my friends because I knew I absolutely couldn’t be with them. Now that I am back in the US, I have the exciting yet terrifying option of choosing a city where my friends already are. But which friend?! Of course, I would never choose a city simply because my friends are there, but it would certainly push me over the edge if I was trying to choose between a city with a friend and without one. Pedro and I have some cities in mind to move to next fall, all centered around the schools he wants to apply to. I find myself pushing towards cities that are closer to my friends, but I know when we get there, I’ll miss the friends in cities we didn’t choose. Will the indecisiveness never end?
Does your head hurt yet?
This is how I realized I will never be completely satisfied anywhere, ever. I will always want something or someone that isn’t there. And you know what? That is why I travel. Most people are lucky to see their college friends once a year when they all go home for Christmas. I, on the other hand, can choose to visit them throughout the year. The same goes for all the seasons, and basically everything else. It’s true, I will never be 100% satisfied with any single city – but I think that’s ok. It will keep me traveling. Exploration is my form of relaxation. It’s my path to happiness.