Sunday, May 23, 2010

Places

When I think about place on a very basic level, the places that I inhabit most can be counted on one hand. Home, my car, work and campus. By far I spend the majority of my time in the first two, with only a measly 25-30 hours a week comprising the latter two. This is product of my current lifestyle: I'm very busy and my work and class demands are stressful.

Home is always shifting. I have moved a lot in the last five years, having three different apartments. It takes very little time for me to settle in and feel at home in a new place. I come from a family of homebodies, so being in my home space is very comforting. I've only lived in my current apartment for 9 months, but it definitely feels like home. I also like the freedom I have in this space; living alone provides me the space to escape. My boyfriend sometimes says that I'm too comfortable at home, and that once I get there after a stressful day, it pulls on me, keeping me indoors for the night. I just really like being home. The outside world is chaotic and unpredictable, and after a stressful day I prefer to shut the world out.

My car is a strange kind of place. Mobile, transitional, temporary. Like a protective little bubble that breaks when I arrive at my new location. I have had my Saturn for almost 7 years now and I'm somewhat emotionally attached to it. I'm not sure if many people would consider their car a "place" but considering how much time I spend in mine, and how much I rely on it, it would be foolish to not reflect. I'll consider this place more actively now in future posts.

While I love home, this is not to say that I don't travel a lot. I do. However, for me, travel has rarely been about the place itself. I don't go on vacations to beaches or tourist stops just for kicks. For the msot part, I travel somewhere because someone I know is living there. My best friend moved to Portland when I was a junior in high school, so since that time I've been traveling to the west coast regularly. My other best friend lives in Chicago, so I visit there often too (and will be in just a couple weeks!). I travel to San Francisco and New York often because my boyfriend lives in the former city and his family lives in the latter. I'm traveling to Rwanda with him this summer as part of a business trip.Travel is almost always about WHO is going to be there, rather than what or where. If my people are there, I'm fine.

Now that I reflect on it, the place I spend the most time is inside my head. I tend to wallow around in my own thoughts, sometimes to a fault. Which is why this blog's title is important; it serves a reminder that there are places outside of my headspace. A reminder to come out and play more often.

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I'll be exploring place a lot more in the coming weeks. These posts will be part of my Nature and Environmental Writing course. I'll tag them with NEW so if you want to read just these posts you can click on the tag in the cloud on the side bar.
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