Where The Heart Is

IMG_3566I admit that I spend way too much time watching HGTV’s “House Hunters International.”  I think there’s something so intriguing about the idea of moving to a whole new country and getting to change my life in such a dramatic and profound way.  Leaving the Midwest behind to live near a Caribbean beach, in a charming apartment in Paris, or in a house among the vineyards of Tuscany sounds like a wonderful way to jolt me out of my middle-age routine.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up each morning to a view of the Mediterranean Sea or the Swiss Alps?

But no matter how attractive it sounds,  I’ll never actually make the move.  As much as I would like to live somewhere new and exotic, I know I am far too attached to the life I have created for myself in St. Louis to be able to pick up and leave it all behind.  My husband’s job is here, my kids have both settled in this area and most of my relatives (on both sides of our family) live within a five-hour’s drive.  Almost all of my friends are here, or at least close enough to visit easily without having to hop on a plane.  The simple truth is that I have put down roots here that are so deep that they can’t be pulled up without a profound sense of loss and more than a little pain.

And I’m not complaining, because I know that this is a situation that I’ve created by the choices I’ve made in my life up to this point.  When I was growing up, my family moved every few years, which meant that I was lucky enough to experience living in several different types of communities, from large cities to small towns.  But the downside was that I also didn’t have one place that ever truly felt like home.  I don’t think it was an accident that right after graduating from college, I moved back to St. Louis, the community in which I was born.  I think I wanted to have that sense of living in my “home town,” and the chance to feel that I really belonged somewhere.  My husband and I have lived here ever since, and honestly, we don’t have any regrets about it.

I think that we each have to choose what kind of life suits us best, and there is no right or wrong in either the choice to move to different places and get the chance to experience different cultures first-hand, or the choice to stay put in the community that feels the most like home.  For me, I like knowing that most of the people I love are close by, and living in a city that I know so well.  So I think I will just have to keep “living vicariously” through the people who do have the ability to pull up stakes and move to another continent, and a small part of me will always understand why they want to do that.

But if I ever win the lottery, you can bet that I’m buying a vacation home in the English countryside.  Or Provence. Or maybe even somewhere along the Spanish coast……IMG_5619

10 thoughts on “Where The Heart Is

  1. I moved a lot as a kid too. It could be that this home I’ve lived in now is one of the longest places I’ve lived. It’s hard to leave…and I know where I’m going is most likely temporary too! Someday I hope to put permanent roots down. I’ve made so many friends along the way. I’ve not been close with family, and I admit to not having a sense of ‘community’. It’s a great loss. That’s why I’ve been researching different kinds of communities to land someday…off the grid and eco-friendly. I’ve found one that I’m very interested in too! 🙂

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    • I think it is a definite trade off: I enjoy the sense of stability and community I have now, but I’m also grateful for the different places I lived while growing up. I know it gave me a broader world view than I would have had otherwise. I think we each have to do what works best for us, and know that there are some sacrifices either way. And I hope that the new community you’re looking into works out! Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Hey Girlfriend, I would in fact, find another residence,,,I would just have to decide in the US or some other continent. I will qualify this with no children and no relatives within 500 hundred miles. Patty k

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  3. I’ve always believed it’s not about the journey or destination but is with you on that journey that matters most. Like you, I would rather be here with family and friends around me than on a beautiful island without having those people in my life. But winning the lottery might change all that…:)

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  4. I moved to Germany when I was 19 years old. I lived there for 3 years and loved it! I plan to one day take the children back over there to show them where we lived, and the hospital where my daughter was born. Although it was an absolute culture shock experience for me at the time, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything!

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  5. Ann, I have a dream to move to Italy and buy an old villa and live like an Italian. Slowly eating my way through delicious food and exploring charming villages. So I know how you feel. I loved reading about your desires to move to another country. You write beautifully. If I could live in Italy for 6 months and the other 6 months in Australia so I could see my kids I would be happy.

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  6. Maureen, I completely agree! It would be so wonderful to keep my home here, near my kids and my friends, but still be able to visit a wonderful vacation home in another country. And Italy would be one of my first choices! The food, the scenery, the history, the food…..

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