There's something about living somewhere that automatically makes it less exotic. It happened in Ho Chi Minh City, and now it's happening in North Carolina, though I suppose this time around it's less surprising. And it's not that I don't like it, I do, I definitely do. It's just that...it's comfortable. And maybe when we move places, whether it's the gutters of Mumbai or a penthouse in Manhattan, we just think to ourselves, "Alright. This is it. This is just life." And the sheen is ripped off in one fell swoop, gone with the addition of a simple address.
In this essay, the author writes of being home, saying, "You rise and fall with the sun, but the days lose their luster; they just feel plain. You yearn for things you can never go back to." I'm sure for many, myself included, that that sentiment rings so many bells. At home, adventure seems thousands of miles away. The only thing you can create worth writing about will be a work of fiction. You don't bring your camera anymore because you don't even think to look around. You stop mining your life for stories and for challenges because, "Alright. This is it. This is just life."
And that's a damn shame. For those addicted to travel, at least. It's like telling a gym rat to be content with going to Curves. For those that don't seek to leave, maybe the sheen is still there. Which means, maybe, that it hasn't gone completely - it just has to be found. And therein lies the challenge.
Because it's too easy to leave. It's too easy to write off home. It's too easy to blame America. Too young. Too boring. Too full of givens. Goddamn you, the enlightenment. Goddamn you, the Industrial Revolution. Why couldn't you happen sooner?
I want to fall in love with where I am wherever I am. Shouldn't be too hard, right? I want to keep taking photos and reading area guide books and climb the mountains I can see out my windows. I'm in a place that's just as foreign to me as the terraced hills of Uganda and yet I see such little potential. And as someone tiptoeing into travel writing, that's a loathsome thought. Terrifying and crippling. But it's there. It's gotta be.
In the words of Barney Stinson, "challenge accepted."
I hope to come back with a load of dilapidated barn photos, if nothing else.