Time To Move On?

Beja nomads from Northeast Africa.

Long ago, I had a friend who was a nomad.  He wasn’t a nomad like this:

Beja nomads from Northeast Africa.
Beja nomads from Northeast Africa. Image from Wiki.

But more like this:

Image from CNN.com.
Image from CNN.com.

Every few months, he’d move somewhere else. Sometimes, he’d stay for upwards of a year, but he’d always move on eventually. He grew up in Detroit, too, and he usually came home in between moves, which is how I kept track of him. But then, I became a nomad in my own fashion and we lost touch. I even went to Atlanta, his last known destination, to try to find him, but our paths never crossed again. I would imagine, he still goes home from time to time, but I’m not there anymore to find out.

I’ve never been overly fond of traveling. I can handle it for upwards of several weeks, but then I want to be home. I yearn to sleep in my bed, wherever that bed may be. I need a home base. I’m much more like a turtle than I am a migratory bird; I take my home with me when I travel.

I’ve uprooted myself twice in my life. Once from Detroit to Boston and then from Boston to Los Angeles. I joke to my LA friends that I made the mistake of moving to LA too early. I should have explored some other cities before I came here, because now I’m stuck. I’ve been in Los Angeles for nearly fourteen years now and I do feel a little stuck at that.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to move on again. When I moved away from my hometown, it took years, maybe even a decade, to mull it over. The first step away from home is the hardest. Moving from Boston to Los Angeles was cake in comparison. I’ve been in Los Angeles long enough now that I think the move would be a little harder than it would have been a decade ago. Plus, I’m no longer the spry young thing I once was.

Nowadays, I yearn, not for one of the biggest cities in the world, but for a smaller city where maybe people know your name. Maybe they only have one art museum instead of dozens. Maybe if my choice is limited to one, I might be more inclined to go. You see, I’ve discovered lately that Los Angeles has too many choices. There are so many options in Los Angeles that I find myself not taking any of them. Even in a whole lifetime, I couldn’t do everything this city has to offer, but that’s part of the problem. If someone hands you a menu with a thousand options, it could take you forever to make a choice. You might even decide to eat somewhere else. But, if the menu is only a dozen items, the choice is easier.

Lately, I’ve been mulling over the idea of a small house in a smaller city where people know you. Even if they don’t know you, they’re familiar with you. I miss my days in Southwest Detroit where, because the neighborhood was so bad, we all knew each other. We would sit out on our front porches shooting the shit. I knew everyone and they knew me. I belonged there. I don’t have that now; I only know one of my neighbors by name. There is no sense of community in my neighborhood.

Perhaps it’s just because I’m getting old. Bars and nightclubs and all sorts of twenty-something diversions no longer appeal to me. I have to go to a show tonight by one of my favorite bands. I’ve had tickets for months. I’m kind of dreading it because it means I’ll miss out on some much longed for sleep. Nowadays, the thought of going out on a weeknight when I have to work the next day is not fun; it seems more like a chore.

I miss nature. I wrote a post not too long ago about just that. Trees. Give me a pine tree, please. I miss the stars and forests and clean air and water of my home. I don’t want to move back home, but I would be willing to move somewhere else that has those things to offer.

Michigan forest.
Michigan forest.

Male has applied to law school all over the country. I’m seriously considering going with him, depending on where he goes. I’m not sure I could survive a real winter again, but I think I’d be willing to try. If it sucks, if I don’t like it, well, law school is only three years. Nothing says I would even have to stay that long. There’s not much that I have here that I couldn’t have elsewhere except my friends, but nowadays, staying in touch is easier than ever. I don’t see a lot of my friends even now and we live in the same city. Honestly, I’m not all that thrilled with my life at the moment. Perhaps a kick in the butt in the form of a change of scenery could be a good thing. If nothing else, I couldn’t be sedentary anymore.

The thought of moving away gives me mixed feelings. It makes me sad to think of what I’d be leaving behind, but I get butterflies in my stomach when I think of starting a new adventure somewhere else. I haven’t had butterfly stomach in a long time. Right now, it’s just a thought, but given my history, these thoughts tend to germinate slowly into action. I guess we’ll see.