Up until this year, I essentially only went on vacation to a suburb in South Carolina twice a year. I had only been on a plane a handful of times: once to California, once to Hawaii, and once to Florida. While the Hawaii trip sounds legit, it's pertinent to know that I was in second grade at the time. I remember the 12 hour plane ride more than the actual trip.
However, in this year alone, I have been afforded the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Punta Cana, Indianapolis, plus a quick plane ride for personal reasons back up to Connecticut and then a long drive down to Charleston. Some have been work trips and some have been personal trips, but they've all been wonderful in their own way.
Except for one nagging, pessimistic, jaded view: it's all the same.
Now let me elaborate.
I love traveling and want to keep doing it endlessly. But when I was on a ferry in San Diego, a woman from Missouri was next to me. Since I was alone and in need of socialization, I struck up a conversation with her and asked,
"What's it like living in what the rest of country perceives as paradise?"
And the answer she gave me wasn't quite what I was expecting. She told me that the weather is great, the people are great, the parks are wonderful, but it never rains. It's always nice, and within a few years, she didn't even notice its charm anymore.
I was sitting there in perfect bliss, my skin slowly tanning, but not in that southeastern unbearable heat. The parks were exceptionally well-kept, the food was great, the water was clean, the beaches weren't crazily populated, and you can walk almost everywhere. Yet even that all can be taken for granted when you have it for too long.
The woman could tell my shock and continued, telling me about how when you have the change of seasons, you plan for it. You get excited for beach days, outdoor concerts, grilling and late patio nights. Then on the other hand, you plan curling up by a fire, playing in the snow, working from home and sledding.
With only one season year round, it's not special anymore.
To make matters worse, when we were in Punta Cana, they too took the weather for granted. And Indy took for granted its culture. Everyone I've talked to while traveling has no pride in where they live. They mention the weather, craft beer, restaurants, parks and major industries, and countless other awesome features, but with no love. Even when I oversell their own city to them, I get a passable agreement in return at best.
But why? Why does no one love their living situation?
Is the grass really greener somewhere else? Maybe, but maybe not. Now I can openly admit that I love Richmond, but I, too, trivialize how wonderful it is. One day, I can totally see myself moving. But is anywhere really paradise when you live there and aren't just visiting it? Is there any place on Earth that holds the same mystery years later as it did the first time your foot touched its soil?
I don't have the answer, but I'm willing to continue my research and travel in search of the answer.