Crossing State Lines

I’m no stranger to moving.  Although my childhood home has been a constant since I was two years old, I’ve moved a lot.  It started at the age of ten when my parents split up.  I spent a week with my mom, then a week with my dad until I moved out for good.  Every Sunday, I would pack everything important into a laundry basket and move across town.  I wasn’t moving from house to house or town to town, but I still got practice for later in life.

Growing up in the same house(s) in a little town in rural Oregon, I always romanticized the idea of moving. It sounded glamorous to move to a new house, or better, a new town. There would be a new room to set up and new places to explore.

When I was seventeen, I embarked on my first real adventure.  I became a foreign exchange student in an Austrian high school for six months. This was the first time I moved with just a suitcase full of clothes.  It wasn’t my last.

Shortly after coming back to America, I went off to college.  Compared to Austria, moving an hour away from my home for college wasn’t such a big deal. I spent four and a half years moving from crappy apartment to crappy apartment during college, as most students do.

After college, I couldn’t seem to find a job anywhere.  Even the local Staples didn’t want me–probably more because of my blase attitude about working for Staples than any lack of qualifications.  Eventually, I found work as an AmeriCorps*VISTA that took me across the country to New York City.  This was the second time I packed as much of my life as I could into a suitcase and moved.  Actually, I had two suitcases this time.  Moving back to the west coast a year later wasn’t so easy.  I had to ship boxes back.  I should have just gotten rid of stuff. Most of what I shipped is still in those boxes in a spare room at my dad’s house along with whatever I left when moving away for college.

I knew better when moving to California. Whatever didn’t fit was given away or thrown out. It’s not easy fitting everything you can’t spare into a mid-sized sedan.  Furniture that not easily disassembled was left behind.  All my dishes and most other kitchen tools as well.  I got rid of about a third of my wardrobe.  Those favorite old clothes I’d been holding onto since college, but never wearing went to thrift stores for someone else to find and fall in love with.  Some just went in the trash because they had been worn until there were holes along the seams and stains from long forgotten meals.  For everything else, I was lucky enough to have many friends who were only too happy to take my castaways.

Every bag I owned was filled with clothes and bedding and all the tchotchkes I couldn’t bear to part with.  I used every available space in that car.  The back bumper looked about ready to brush the ground and I couldn’t have fit a passenger without dumping cargo, but I could see out the windows and there was enough room for me.  I was ready to go.

I made it to California with myself, my car, and my stuff intact.  Two months in: I love my job, the weather is perfect, and I’ve met some pretty cool people.  No complaints so far, but I’m already looking forward to my next big move.  It’s scary moving to a new place, especially when you’ve never been there and have no connections to the place.  But it’s also exciting and full of possibilities.  Those untold possibilities have lead me all over the country and even, briefly, overseas.

Someday, I hope to find a place to make a permanent home.  Until that day comes, I will continue to take every opportunity to move that comes my way.  The thrill of moving to unexplored territory is too enticing to ignore.


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