When I was a kid, my family went through phases where we would live as transients. We were never officially homeless, but sometimes it really did seem like we were uprooting everything without anywhere to go. At one point we lived in an old school bus that my dad had converted into a house on wheels. We kept our meager belongings in cardboard boxes underneath the bunk beds in the back of the bus. My dad had outfitted the vessel with a gas stove and fridge so my mom was able to keep the home fires burning as we roamed the two-lane highways, ever in search of the next best destination. Another time, we lived in a gigantic tent- just slightly shy of something the Ringling Brothers might roll into town with. Up went the awnings and out went any inkling of a dull life. While other kids were gathered around a dinner table, begrudgingly discussing their mundane daily doings, we were seated around a weathered picnic table, laughing, as my dad beat on a guitar and my mom filled our plates with home cooked delights that she'd made in her traveling kitchen.
I was never at the same school long enough to make any lasting friends- but I did gain some pen pals with whom I would exchange correspondence long after we had moved on to the next town. Summers were often spent in campgrounds, biding time before the purchase of a new house or the start of a new job, or perhaps other reasons that I may never know. Either way, my parents did an amazing job of showing my two younger brothers and I how to entertain ourselves with unconventional pastimes while we were waiting for the next chapter to start. Once, my dad made us a blow gun out of PVC pipe. He placed targets all over the campground and my brothers & I would approach hyperventilation attempting to hit the bulls-eyes with handmade nail darts. He showed us how to make a massive slingshot out of an inner-tube, which he affixed to the trunks of a couple of large trees and we would pull back rocks, stuffed animals, and sometimes each other and fling them with vigor out into the rivers & lakes of the upper mid-west. My mom provided us with copious amounts of books, art supplies, and other DIY paraphernalia, so her little gas fridge always had a constant influx of our creations haphazardly taped to it's door.
As a young adult, I romped from college to college, gobbling up syllabi in nearly every subject possible and never settling on anything for a major. I was far more concerned with taking the many campus' by storm through my songwriting and the gusto with which I could consume punishing quantities of bottom shelf vodka, than focusing my energy on a degree. I traveled the world and ate incredible street food, I got into bad relationships and feverishly wrote songs about the mistakes that felt so right at the time. I had some of the best moments of my life with some of the most hilarious and talented people I've ever known. Late nights spent bar-hopping on a tandem bicycle, singing at the top of my lungs, high on life... and maybe other things. I was always on the move and I always wanted more.
The point of all these sentimental tales of yore is to illustrate that I am a free spirit and I have now been in Saint Paul for ten years. A decade. When I arrived to the Twin Cities, I was a head-strong, small town girl about to move in with a record producer who had worked with Prince and Jessica Simpson. I figured it would be merely a pit stop before moving on to Nashville or L.A. But one disaster led to another and I ultimately landed outside a pizza joint where an "apartment for rent" sign handwritten on a pizza box beckoned. I was lost, defeated, and desperate- so I bit. And there I have stayed for last 3,650 earthly pirouettes. I don't like being in one place for that long. Granted, I have a job that I like. I have a band that I love. I have friends, family, and contacts here. Yet there's an itch that is deep. A nagging discomfort which can't be relieved even with expensive whiskey or dirty jokes. Yes, wanderlust has hit me in the gut and left me gasping for a breath of fresh air. If only I could just pick up everyone and everything that I love about this city and bring us all to a new paradise. I realize that sounds a bit culty, but it’s what I want. Bottom line: I hate winter with a darkness even Tolkien didn't have words for. Now that it is creeping in again, I'm back to the mindset that staying in one place is an abandonment of better things to come, especially here. I'm preparing for another dismal 6 months, attempting to appreciate the 7 hours of daylight, while waiting to be plowed out. But the truth is, at this point I don't even know where I'd go. So for now, I'm off to buy some Vitamin D, a sun lamp, ice cleats, a widow-maker of Brandy, and a new calendar so I can make sure I have plenty of appointments with my therapist on the books. Maybe I'll run into some of you in the vitamin aisle & we can commiserate. I know I can't be alone here.