There’s an old saying that goes something like “once you’ve left the farm for Paris, can you ever really go back to the farm?” Substitute any small town raising for “the farm” and any experience outside of your home zip code for “Paris” and I think that that statement has more accuracy than many of us are comfortable with. There will always be stories of athletes who made it big and then came home to settle down and raise a family. There will always be movies made that show the protagonist to be a fool for running off to New York, when all she was looking for was back home in Lot 35-A and the single wide that’s parked there. Anyways, that’s just fine for movies and people who feel the strong tug of their roots pulling them back home. But it’s different for those of us with wanderlust.
I like to claim how much I’d love to return home, but I’m perpetually full of crap, too. I returned home after spending some time living in Alaska, only to realize how cramped my literal single-wide home on the coast felt after experiencing the wide open spaces of the North Slope. Now home is a state of flight from hillbillies and humidity, but I have no idea why I think elsewhere is devoid of the same kinds of problems, albeit in different flavors.
When I confess to The Wife how awesome it would be to live the life of a successful musician, she looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. She then says “Really? At your age? You like the thought of being on the road all the time, waking up in a new city, away from all this?” as she sweeps her hand in a grand gesture, not realizing she’s pointed out a sink full of dirty dishes and a kitchen full of wild monkey-children. And the answer is yes. Always, yes. I need to be careful where and when to exhibit enthusiasm about how much I like the concept. I love the life my family gives me, to be sure, but I also like the idea of going to a different city each day. I fantasize about life on a tour bus, smashing guitars against my band members heads as a form of recreation, having amphitheaters full of drunken women shrieking our names, all that.
Mostly the concept of being on the road, snorting Tabasco sauce through hollowed out guitar necks and destroying hotel rooms, appeals to my sense of picking up new oddities, studying the customs of local bergs and hamlets without ever having to commit to living in each location for extended periods. I want to see so many more cities and countries than I already have, and really what better way than by getting paid for rocking out stadiums and wearing skin-tight leather pants? That’s right…..there IS no better way. A nomadic life, however, is not conducive to a retirement-earning career with a fire department or a wife that is willing to tolerate long absences in the name of “checking shit out”.
So, for now, I’ll lean against the fencepost that is Missouri, humidity rolling off of me by the gallon and dream about my own kind of Paris. Not one that I’ve been to, but one that I’ve yet to see. That’s the beauty of wanderlust: you always think you’re on the farm and you’ve never been to Paris. Whatever happens, I hope that my sense of wanderlust is never sated, because then? Life might just get boring.