I love to travel.
I really do. I love the dreaming & planning ahead, the packing, browsing the glossy travel books & getting personalized trip-tiks at AAA, the breathless anticipation of seeing a bright new place for the first time.
J, on the other hand, doesn't seem to really "GET" it. (And, rather than complain about this, I choose to believe that this is a way I can bless him-- by introducing him to the magic & wonder of a fabulous vacation; and by gifting him with the wonderful memories that will live on for years to come.)
I've got this thing that I like to call my "baby bucket list"-- all the things I would like to accomplish, learn and see before a "baby R" enters the picture in a couple years. And within this list, I have a travel section which is small but mighty :) I have 4 dreamy destinations that I would love to see & explore in the near future-- one of them all ready slated for next year's adventure, and the others... well, I may have to set up a little travel fund and dream for a bit longer. But, you know... just the process is pretty magical:)
You see... when you are in a new place, it is second nature to be completely present. Eyes wide open, drinking in the vibrant colors, sounds and smells of a new place. Logging all these things away into your own personal memory vault; writing all these new feeling and experiences into your life story. Traveling somewhere new brings you face to face with the beauty in the small things, and you are powerless to do anything besides recognize it, and rejoice in it.
And I've been blessed with this multiple times in my 24 years, as I've traveled to and lived in different states (MI, WI, TN & parts of my "home state", Ohio) for my engineering co-ops.Each of those places are precious to me (although some stand out above the rest;), and some of my fondest memories across the board are of exploring my new (if temporary) home on foot.
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before on the blog (... in fact, I'm pretty sure I haven't, because it's pretty personal, and I've really struggled with it in the past); but I haven't always been in love with the idea of moving home after graduation. I guess you could say that "it was never really part of my life plan". From the time I was small, I always knew that I would graduate college, pack up my life in a car (erm. or small U-Haul...) and move out of state, striking off bravely to start a new life for myself. After all, that was pretty much what my family had done for generations before me-- and I just knew that I was destined to follow in their footsteps.
And then I fell in love with J. Who, wonderful man that he is, had one inherent fault. He never wanted to leave Ohio. Actually, he never wanted to leave his hometown. Hm. What's a girl to do? Whelp, I married him, and moved back home-- but not without (I'm sorry to say) some complaints and growing pains along the way. (I'll be the first to admit: as much as I've grown in the past few years, I have infinitely more to go! :) I cried and pleaded, but J stood firm: this was his home, and all that was important to him was here; family and friends. And, you know? I couldn't argue with that. The man had a point. And so I adapted.
And then, somewhere along the way, I began to thrive. It's been such a blessing to be close to family (I love celebrating the "little holidays" together as well as the big ones... and, I can't lie, it's nice not to have to spend 8 hours in the car in order to see everyone)-- and, to my delight, some of my best friends (from high school & college alike) have moved to this area as well.
Perhaps more importantly still, my outlook did a 180. I started to see things that I had never seen before, and I started to fall in love with this town. My town. I fell (back) in love with the quaintness of Uptown, the convenience of the (270), the bustling vivacity of the brewery district, and the quiet open spaces of the outlying suburbs which I now call home. I allowed myself to open my eyes and see the beauty in the details, new and old; to view the pulse of the city.... Like, well... a tourist. And it was good.
Today, I am honored to give you a brief picture tour of my hometown.