I lived in squalor in college.
That is, I lived in Fisher Hall. Fisher was a small, crowded, uncomfortable building that looked like a place where Nikita Kruschev sent people who really pissed him off. And, while "squalor" may be a little harsh, it also might be a little kind. In all fairness, my time there was after the cockroach problem had been dealt with, so, that's something I suppose.
In any case, this was not that type of building that you would expect people to enjoy living in for a year. Stranger still was the fact that most of Fisher's residents voluntarily lived there for upwards of three years. Some stayed for all four.
The secret, of course, was that the people that lived in Fisher Hall were amongst the friendliest that you'll ever meet. Truly kind-hearted guys. It seemed like the type of place where every resident was probably the "outcast nice guy" in high school, only to find an entire community of folks like him in Fisher. It wasn't the prettiest building in the world. But it was ours.
I remember a few years ago (when I knew everything!) I realized the dichotomy at work here. An unpleasant place to live that people willingly returned to, year in and year out. It occurred to me that happiness in one's living space is borne not of the surrounding environment*, but of the people that surround that person. In short, the key to happiness to where one lives could be summed up in an easy mantra: "It's not the place, it's the people".
It made sense. And I was proud of just how clever I was! Coming up with this mantra all by myself! So, after college, I did the most logical thing, and I thought long and hard about my mantra, and...I moved 2,000 miles away to Austin, TX.
I did not know anyone in Austin, TX.
Now, don't get me wrong: The past (almost) four years have been wonderful. But when you wake up and realize that in order to grab a cup of coffee with your brother, or catch a ball game with your dad, you'll need to arrange for four days off of work and a seven hour tour of America's finest airports...well, at some point you start to focus in on what's really important in your life. The weather down here is great. I've had more adventures than I care to recount. But, I've had enough. It's time to come home.
I've decided to return home by taking a month-long, soul-searching, great-American-novel-writing, cross-country roadtrip. I don't have any set plans or itinerary. I only know three things, 1) I'm leaving at the beginning of November, 2) I'm getting home around Thanksgiving, and 3) I will exclusively be listening to Led Zeppelin for the duration of the trip (and probably posting sanctimonious, self-righteous quotes along the way).
In the interim I'll be posting stories, pictures, and updates on this blog as time permits. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you on my trip.
Bring it on home.
*I can see how it might be easy to think that I don't like Connecticut based on the allusion I'm working with here. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I miss the locale, the culture, and the geography almost as much as I miss the people I'm coming back to. Just thought I would clarify that point.