Four lanes of traffic filled with red taillights. Row upon row of suburban neighborhoods filled with cookie-cutter houses. I’m starting to break out in hives over the fact that we’ve moved one mile in the last 20 minutes. Phantom traffic jams seems to materialize for no real reason, and what should have been a 2 1/2 hour drive, turns into a 4-hour drive. This is the reality of life back east in our nation’s capital, a place I used to call home a mere 10 years ago. Now it seems like a lifetime.
We’ve made the trip back east to see friends and family during a bit a of a reunion. But it’s a lifestyle and culture that now seems foreign to me. I can’t see myself in this place, and just experiencing it for this one weekend seems to wear on me.
I’ve gotten so used to a quiet life living on a one-lane dirt road, I’d conveniently forgotten this old life of mine. They say “you can’t go back” and in this case I can’t imagine wanting to come back to this. A friend of mine from Oregon used to live in a peaceful river valley along the Rogue River, within a short drive of the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains. He took a higher paying government job in Washington, DC. And perhaps for him, with a child and wife to support, the trade off made sense.
For me, there is no job, nor nor amount of money that could entice me to move back east, to deal with this traffic, this amount of population, with nary an open space of wilderness for miles and miles. Because at the end of the day, no matter how much money you have, it can’t make up for missing out on the things that really connect me to my home. I value the peace, quiet, and serenity of our mountain enclave. I also value being able to walk out my door, take my dogs for a walk down to a serene creek, bordered by pine and fir trees. And I especially value, being able to drive to a trail head 15 minutes from my home and find soaring mountain peaks, moose, elk, and glacial lakes. I think living in a huge city on the east coast would suck my soul dry.
I’ve often thought you can’t really know that you are in the right place, until you experience the wrong place. I’ve been writing about my personal journey to find my rightful place, the place where I was destined to be. I think the reason I’ve been so content in Nederland is because it is that place. And though it’s nice to see friends and family, being in the middle of a noisy, traffic-filled east coast city definitely tells me this is not the place for me.