It wasn’t even just two years ago that settled into my Capitol Hill bungalow, leaving the vagabond life behind. I’ve loved almost every moment of living in this Emerald City, and yet I have solidified plans to leave.
Seattle has been a wonderful experience. I moved here to find clarity, community, and achieve goals. Fiscally speaking, it’s not prudent for me to stay. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck for much of my professional life— and I don’t regret that for a minute. Living in the neatest neighborhoods (read: paying the highest rents) and surrounding myself with diverse people, I have seen and explored and experienced most haven’t in my short 26 years.
But it’s time to go home. In a bizarre change of plans, my calling is to return to my hometown. Please, simmer down. I’m freaking out as much as you are. But this is why: the rent is too damn high. My mom is retired, and she has a new lease on life (which is, truly, the most beautiful thing I’ve seen). She plans to travel extensively, visiting family across the country and exploring in her own right. Therefore, her house in Missouri will be mostly vacant— and what spells more millennial than free rent?
The other reason is that I’m going to complete my Yoga Teacher Training in January. My dearest friend and instructor since youth has loosely offered me a teaching position at her studio— an opportunity that just drips with energy. In a way, I’ll be giving back to that which gave so much to me; and more specifically, she who gave me so much. While I get my feet wet as an instructor, I’m dreaming of different endeavors to cater to the teen yogi population, from which I benefitted as a youth. I’m talking free classes, scholarships, and a lot of love to kids who need it (all of this is up in the air, but the possibilities are endless).
Bluntly, there’s also a trauma inflicted upon me by the town in which I grew up that I need to investigate— it was terrible for a young queer person. Jefferson City isn’t exactly the cultural beacon of Missouri. But I’m in a position of power now; I have a solid career, a clear mindset, and a bulletproof skin. In my liberal bubble of Seattle, I’m protected by my neighbors who think and act just like me. But maybe there’s more to life than seeking likeness. Perhaps there’s a sweetness in conflict— by coming back , there’s a way to get to the heart of why I left. I want to hold the hatred in my hand, examine it with love, and see what happens.
I don’t like my hometown. I’ve made that vehemently clear throughout my life, and I vowed never to return. Well, never say never. With the flying gig, I have the opportunity and obligation to leave for work and get breathers. And it’s not all that bad— of course, I have some of my family there, plus esteemed souls like my former English teacher and childhood best friend. It will be nice to reconnect with a sense of nostalgia, all the while having a different perspective on living in my hometown.
With every move I’ve made in life, I assumed some sense of finality; when I moved to Chicago, I thought that would be it until I moved to New York. When that didn’t work out, and Seattle called, I thought I’d be there for a very long time. Jefferson City was never on my radar— but like many epiphanies, it hit me all of a sudden. It makes sense. And I’m not putting a deadline on it. It could be three months, it could be three years. I just have a vague outline of things I need to do at home— that includes, but not limited to, spending time on my farm just south of town and doing butch things. Maybe I’ll build a cabin. Maybe I’ll grow a big garden like my grandpa did. Maybe I’ll buy a cute little car and zip around the countryside, blasting music and singing my heart out— something I dearly miss. On 160 acres to play around, I can get back to my roots. But I probably won’t go squirrel hunting again, like back in the day. Yes, I did.
Having a bit more financial freedom, what with the lack of rent and a recent raise, I’m excited to see what this life brings. I’ll transfer back to Chicago O’Hare, still as a First Officer, still with the same company, and I’ll hold about 10% seniority— a world of difference from my ever increasing 60% in Seattle. Columbia Regional Airport (COU) is 25 minutes door to door from my house, and it’s a 45 minute flight; commuting won’t be fun, but I’ll be able to manage my schedule better in this base.
The timeframe isn’t as drastic as you think: I’ll be transferring, effective in June and selling the majority of my pristine furniture as I make my way across the plains. Over the past year, I’ve taken a look at what brings me great joy. That includes traveling internationally and conjuring up blog posts for fun. I’ll also be able to travel more freely and won’t feel regret every waking minute that I’m not in my expensive apartment.
I’m opening up to a lot of new things. My hippie side senses a blossom of energy on the horizon. I’ve challenged myself— and been challenged!— over the course of the last few months, and this is the result of the latest phone call with god. You might think it hokey, but it works for me: everyone has a direct line to Source or god or whatever that voice inside you wants to say. I, however, have trouble shutting up long enough to listen, and this is what it had to say. Getting still with myself, I can’t believe that I’m going through with it. It’s against everything I’ve ever said— but it feels so right.
In a sense, I’ll be a vagabond again, floating between Chicago for work and my hometown— or wherever my travels take me. To the Emerald City, I’m sure I’ll return someday for another stint, and I thank you for your hospitality. And I’ll start the bidding for my cute apartment, fully furnished!