Monday, May 9, 2016

Home is Where the Heart is; or Northeast Towards Home

I just finished Willie Morris’ North Towards Home which follows his life growing up in a very racist Mississippi in the 1950’s to his time spent in Austin, TX for college and then finally up to New York City. It was interesting to me that he chose North towards home as his title as it would seem like he had not yet found a home. He shunned Mississippi and Texas but he also does not paint New York as an ideal place for the heart to reside. And that is sad. I may be lucky but I think no matter how far I travel or long I stay away, New Hampshire will always be home.

Coming from the Northeast, there was a mass-exodus of my classmates who opted to try life out west where everything is bigger. And while a few of them are still out there, most come back. I don’t blame them. The time I spent out in Colorado working as an adaptive ski instructor was great and I love how powder makes me feel like a good skier. The peaks are definitely bigger but so are the personalities. Then my time working at a PT clinic in Park City was great-so many good rock climbing spots, huge mountain passes to bike through, and very friendly and welcoming people. But golly, I missed the water. Those places get so dry in the summer and everything dies and turns brown. In Colorado, you don’t even own your own water. It's great there's some big hills, but if you can't take a shower without hard water or even jump in a crystal clear river to cool off, who really cares?

Meanwhile back in humble old New Hampshire where our mountains have eroded over the millions of years that they’ve been around before the Rockies, they are just right for me. Not too big to make me work too hard, but not too small that it’s not worth hiking. Just right.

I’ve been to London, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Beijing, Cape Town, Frankfurt and many more over my years of travel and none hold a place in my heart like Boston. Again, not too big, not too small. Just right. And only an hour from where I live in New Hampshire. I love the walk-ability of the city, the history, the amount of various activities to do and just how quickly you can get out of it and back into Nature. Kenny and I camped 20 minutes outside of the City last year for the Adam Ezra Boat Cruise and we could have been in Northern New Hampshire for all we knew based on how quiet it was. Some of my favorite top-rope climbs are right there in Quincy Quarry and the Blue Hills provide plenty of trails to run.

But you don’t travel to Boston to run travels when you live in New Hampshire. From where my apartment is, I have a selection of dozens of trails to choose from, which while living there I didn’t fully appreciate. Now living in Guyana where I really have the choice of 3 running routes, I certainly do.

After this year of Caribbean vacations, New Hampshire clearly does not compare in that regard of crystal clear ocean waters, but where it lacks in its shoreline(the smallest shoreline of any coastal state in the US), it more than makes up for with its beautiful lakes and rivers. What? You don’t have to worry about a little fish swimming up your urethra when you swim? No, pirannahs, raw sewerage, caiman or anaconda either. New Hampshire may not have the biggest lakes nor the most, but I’d argue it does have some of the best. Just right.

The hospital I work for is a fairly good sized hospital, big enough to strive for excellence and demand competence and high quality work, but small enough where you know all your co-workers and can collaborate and consult about patients. Not too big, not too small, Just right.

And then you have loved ones. With the exception of one brother(who gets annoyed with me easily so it’s probably good we see each less frequently), all my loved ones live within about an hour of me. Even my furthest flung cousins are less than a 4 hour drive. But we’re also not living like Everyone Loves Raymond where we are all on top of each other and getting into each other’s business. Not too far, not too close. Just right.

So as I finish up my service in a couple months and have to decide next step plans, it is very tempting to consider working in some far-flung clime, there is an even larger part of me that is pulling me north to my home. And that may be just right.

Until next time,


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