On The Move
I once counted and discovered, not surprisingly, that I have lived at thirty-eight different addresses over my lifetime. When people ask where I am from, I tell them something akin to “all over” and inevitably they ask if I was in the military, as if those are the only individuals who move frequently. (By the way, they’re not.) I happen to be open to adventure, mixing it up, trying new things, and a host of other impetuous tropes. Everything from temporary room to college dorm, from government housing to my own apartments, I’ve chosen a bit of a nomadic life, and I’ve be subject to rental properties being sold out from under me. When people tell me they hate moving, I feel them.
In three locations, I was the first-ever resident. I’ve occupied studios all the way up to three-bedroom units, and I’ve both been assigned and selected the roofs over my head. From my parents’ home to the places I’ve raised my sons, roommates sometimes share the spaces with me. I’ve lived in buildings with elevators and lugged groceries up multiple flights of stairs. On the outside, there’s been gorgeous places, like the mountains of Wyoming and the red canyons of Utah, but also the interminable winters of the Upper Peninsula (see The UP from July 2012) and the bottom-of-the-barrel collegiate housing in Indiana (see What I Remember When I Try To Forget – Part 2 from July 2021). Across five time zones and two countries, I don’t want to even consider how many boxes I’ve packed.
The Right Season Matters
After 1988 and 1992, respectively, I never went back to Indiana or Michigan. I did a fabulous job of sticking to my, “Oh, hell, no,” plan until I realized I ought to find out if my memory of the unappealing places held true. Curiously, I found the Hoosier State to be about the same as when I left (see It’s Been Thirty Years from February 2019) but crossing the UP when the weather proves more inviting, I realize I never enjoyed the opportunity of seeing and exploring the top half of Michigan while living in my two addresses in the UP. Navigating snow, lots and lots of snow, working part-time, tolerating one roommate and changing diapers on the other, I never went to see my surroundings. I often left to see other sites in other states, but I just closed my eyes and waited for the eventual move out of Michigan.
When I cross the Montreal River from Wisconsin, the trees and hills and the turns of the drive show me the side of the wooded landscape I missed the first time. I enjoy a stroll to the dock at Lake Gogebic State Park. I scratch out a message to the universe on the south sands of Lake Superior. Despite the rain, I camp at Straits State Park and leaf peep from Ironwood to Marquette to Munising to St. Ignace. Maybe the difference stems from the fact that I choose to be here, not forced by the Department of Defense (maybe a couple of the moves were with the military, but comparatively few). Of course, it may simply be the absence of winter. I’m glad I’ve come back to see it again. While I cannot fathom a time when I will ever unpack boxes here, you never know where the wind will blow me, to toss out one more travel trope. I kind of wouldn’t mind visiting the UP again in my lifetime – in the summer, of course.