Sometimes traveling means going back home. Sometimes it means re-grounding yourself and remembering where it all started.
I moved from my home of Long Island, NY, three years ago and I set my official goal to visit all 50 states before I turn 25 a little less than a year ago. Living in Nashville, TN has opened me up to a whole new lifestyle and a whole new way of traveling. Living in New York was all about flying to California and Florida and the occasional road trip to New Haven or Boston. Living in Nashville means that Memphis, Knoxville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Louisville, Asheville, Birmingham, Cincinnati…all these cities are a less than a five hour drive from my apartment. I’ve been able to completely redefine road trips, day trips, and weekend trips.
I reached a point a few months ago where going “home” to NY seemed like a waste of a good opportunity to visit a new place instead, but I’ve realized something: I don’t need to rush.
The whole reason I set this “by 25” goal is because I know that visiting all 50 states will only get harder as I get older and more established in one place. At 20 years old, I don’t have a full time job, I’m still in school for another semester, and I can take off almost whenever I want. That’s going to change very soon. But if it takes a little longer for me to reach all 50 and I have some really good trips “home,” that’ll be okay.
No matter how much I move and travel, Long Island will always hold my roots, my family, and my start. My love for travel came from family vacations that started from when I was a newborn. All those vacations were road trips leaving from my house on Long Island or flights leaving from LaGuardia airport.
Here, on Long Island, is where I spent hours looking for Disney discounts, put together individual packing lists for everyone going on the trip (I was a weird kid), and put together scrapbooks and collages at the end of it all.
Here, on Long Island, is where I learned to love leaving but love coming home just as much.