When I got the chance to live in New York City, I was living my dream. I was surounded by culture, food, people WAY smarter than me, and random walks that felt like a scene from the movies. Turns out fantasy was better than reality though. It was also crowded, smelly, shallow, and most of all, outrageoulsy expensive, especially for an entry level salary with student loans. The movie scene settings were crowded with tourists, our $2000 apartment didn't even have room for a microwave, and it was exhausting doing some of the most basic things. Lugging 10lbs. of laundry down 3 flights of stairs and down the block so strangers can wash your clothes. Grocery shopping and carrying your bags up the block and up 3 flights of stairs. The quality of life was low. Not to mention, once on my commute home from work I came across two homeless people having sex on the sidewalk.
When I moved back to Minneapolis, I realized how much the city has to offer. Yes, the weather is still miserable nearly half of the year. But Minneapolis is one of the most active cities in the country, it's much more affordable, and the people are much nicer. I even took my mom to see Wicked two weeks ago for half the price it would have cost in New York and the music scene is amazing.
But no one writes songs about how incredible Minneapolis is. Minnesota isn't exactly the setting for some of the most famous movies, besides ya know, the Mighty Ducks trilogy and Fargo. So there's still something uncomparable to New York. And to be honest, as much as I don't want to live there again, the awe of the city will never wear away for me. I will always want to visit.
So while I'm visitng my Godmother in New Jersey, I get the chance to hop on the train and go into the city. In fact, just last night I had dinner in Time Square with one of my New York girlfriends. It was a quitecensial New York fall evening and I couldn't help but love every second of it, even the awful smell behind a dump truck. But while I paid $14 for my glass of wine, I couldn't have been happier to have my affordable apartment back in Minnesota waiting for me.
I've done my fair share of wandering in my early twenties and I wasn't sure I'd ever find a place that felt like home. No matter how much I love home, I will always want to explore. My dream was to find a happy place I would feel settled but could still afford to travel regularly.
It's not easy to have things figured out in your twenties. Lord knows, in most aspects I have anything but my shit together. But having the best of both worlds when it comes to location is a really good place to start.