How I Learned To Love Home After I Left It

Four months ago, I packed my tiny car to the brim with as many possessions it could hold, and embarked on the 27 hour road trip from my hometown in Ohio to Salt Lake City. Moving across the country and away from my family and friends has truly been a journey of self-discovery (and a journey of learning to cook for myself). I fall more and more in love with Salt Lake each day, but sometimes, I can’t help but nostalgically think of my Midwestern hometown.

Every since I was old enough to grasp the concept that the world was bigger than Ohio, I knew I wanted more. I spent most of my teenage years dreaming and wishing for big cities along the coast and foreign lands. Living in a small town of less than 50,000 people always did not feel right to me. Something was always off, like I was constantly walking around with a pebble in the bottom of my shoe. With wishing for bigger things, I was also wishing away my time in my small hometown. This is something I now deeply regret. As cliché as it is, my hometown shaped me into who I am, which is someone I am proud to be. I’ve realized that I can still love my home and the time I spent there, while still knowing that I want to continue to grow somewhere else. 

My family was insanely supportive of my decision to move. They have always know I’ve had aspirations outside of Ohio. I won’t lie, being away from my family, friends, and my three fluffy golden retrievers has been the hardest part of moving away. Knowing I have their support makes it a lot easier. 

I’ll randomly reminisce about other parts of home. I miss the local dairy bar that makes the best peanut butter milkshakes, or the bluebells that bloom near my family’s house by the bend of the river, or talking in an empty parking lot with my friends late at night, or watching the a slice of sunlight cast itself over the cornfield outside my bedroom window. When I catch myself missing these things, I’ll remind myself that Ohio is only a flight away. Also, I’m starting to find the small things that I love about Salt Lake. When I drive home every night with the mountains surrounding me, I know I’ve made the right choice. I know Salt Lake is where I’m meant to be now, and I know Ohio was the place I was meant to be for the first two decades of my life. 

A place is just a place. It takes people and experiences to make that place feel like home. I’m lucky enough to have home in multiple places.   

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