Culture October 24, 2017
"Home typically happens with people rather than in places."
Over the last two decades, I’ve traveled around the world, taken up residence in Chicago, Denver, Boulder, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Sonoma and Sausalito. My work has landed me in New York City, Toronto, Berlin, Cartagena, Washington D.C., Austin, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Miami, Cleveland, Salt Lake City and probably 87 other places that have been stripped from my over-traveled memory. Family gatherings have had me holding court in Kansas City, Savannah, Sante Fe, St. Paul, Christchurch and places in between – some of which were beautiful and full of life and others of which felt like black and white televisions waiting to be smashed.
After so many variations on lifestyle and movement from place to place, I’ve learned that home typically happens with people rather than in places.
I was born on an army base in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Before my Southern accent had fully taken root, my parents moved us to Topeka, Kansas. Along with us came a group of friends who were looking for a city ripe for “educational innovation” (that group later started a private school that I attended my entire childhood and young adult life), and a city not too far from their respective extended families.
So Topeka, Kansas apparently hit the spot.
Georgia gets lumped into the roots simply because it houses some of my very favorite childhood (not to mention adult) memories. My mother’s parents lived there for over three decades; thus, many summer vacations, Christmas vacations and any other random getaways from my so-called life happened in Savannah, Georgia.
To clarify just how much I adore this place, during my senior year in high-school, while most kids would “spring break” somewhere cool with lots of boozy nights, or alternately go on a “missions trip” (neither of which appealed to my sensibilities), one of my best girlfriends and I saved up our money to purchase flights to Savannah.
We spent our spring break days frolicking in the Atlantic Ocean, eating civilized Southern-cooked dinners with my grandparents and then wandering the cobblestone streets of the Savannah Squares and River Street at night.
I knew I wasn’t cool, and that was okay. But I was at peace, and I was happy in that place, that home.
To this day, I’m not sure if it was the smell of the ocean, the Southern charm, the jazz music, or the fried chicken that got me – and I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Like most “bests” in life, it simply is.
While the previous twenty years have been a creative exploration of people, places, things, careers and experiences, the next twenty need to be about the roots. Not discontinuing exploration or curiosity, but rather taking off and landing from a place closer to home.
For now, Nashville, Tennessee is the place.
My home will be close to dear friends, driving distance to the majority of my family and full of possibilities for creativity and meet cutes – oh, and an international airport which seems wildly unromantic to mention, and yet, it’s important. Nashville elegantly and seamlessly checks many of the boxes that currently matter.
I suppose that a place is somewhere to live and work; but a home is a creative work of art that can only take up residence in a soul at peace with her choices.
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