I moved a lot when I was a kid. It wasn't due to me being an Army brat, the daughter of some CEO, or anything like that. I was born in Colombia, South America, where my father worked as a skilled tool and die maker, but he found an opportunity that he couldn't pass up to work for a large company here in the States. And so at the age of 3 I moved with my mother and four siblings to Puerto Rico, while my father got settled in New Jersey. I lived in Puerto Rico until I was four, when we were finally able to join my father. We lived in Hoboken for 3 years, then we moved again, this time to Omaha, NE until I was 7. After that, we landed in Oak Park Il- a suburb of Chicago- for two years, and shortly thereafter we settled in Chicago, where I lived until I was 24. Upon graduating college, I got the itch to move again, this time to LA cause, lets face it, everyone's got to live in LA at some point in their lives. My next stint was to move abroad to Madrid, when the love bug hit. I moved back to Chicago, where my husband and I dated for awhile before getting married several years later. A few kids and several moves later, I now find myself living in Oregon.
Its no wonder I often feel the urge to pack up and leave. In fact, for the longest time, the very thought of settling down in any one place would send me in a panic and break out in a sweat.
With so much of life to discover, and so many places to explore, why would anyone ever choose to settle down in one particular spot? Like the ever curious child on the beach overturning every rock or seashell with wide eyed anticipation to what may be lurking underneath, how could anyone conform to any one particular way of life forever and always?! It's as if the thought of committing to a certain lifestyle meant missing out on everything else. It all seemed so very… limiting.
Of course when I was younger I didn't realize we moved out of necessity. I just thought it was normal for families to move so much. If you told me then I'd be living in Oregon now for almost ten years, I'd have never believed it, yet that's exaxtly what happened. The original plan was to move here for three years while my husband's newly formed company got off the ground, then plot our next move. Well, life happened in those three years which quickly turned to ten; I had another baby, we got a separation, and I decided to go back to school, in that order. So much for my moving plan.
I don't know if I was born with a nomadic Gypsy-like nature, or if moving so much in my youth shaped me to be that way. But as an adult, I've welcomed the thrill and adventure of moving. Being the 'new kid in town' has its certain almost mysterious appeal. Then there's the joy of exploring someplace new and different, along with the titillating excitement of getting lost. Far be it to allow life to become stale, I always found moving around as a way to address that.
But life has a way of settling us down whether we like it or not. I sure did not envision myself settling in Oregon of all places. I hadn't even lived in Paris yet! Yet here I am. In the same house, with a lifestyle, a routine, around the same familiar faces. And, as I've come to learn surprisingly, the bark has turned out to be far worse than the bite. What I feared for so long actually turned out to be a lesson in self exploration. I've found a certain comfort in the familiar and the known. One doesn't necessarily need to live somewhere particular to learn about themselves and about life. Life is a classroom, with plenty of discoveries to be made right in your own back yard. While the world and exotic lands will always make for enticing backdrop and landscape, sitting at my own kitchen table and sharing a meal with my kids while contemplating the day's events can make for pretty fantastic scenery as well.
I'm pretty sure I will always be a wanderlust nomadic Gypsy at heart. In fact, I have my sights on settling down where it all started for me, Colombia. In the meantime, I have learned to blossom where I'm planted. I'm learning to slow down and enjoy the journey rather then live in anticipation of the future. The unseen and the unknown have certainly fed my sense of adventure and given me a thirst for exploration. But, in its own serene and subtle nature, so has the familiar.