In each generation of my family, one of us inherits the itchy feet gene. Not athlete's foot, I'm talking the urge to move. When I was a kid my mother drug me all over creation, just like her own mother did with her and her brothers. My grandmother got it from my great-grandpa. His urge was so strong, he ran away from home at 11, joined the circus, then paid a wino to pose as his father so he could join the army at 13 (he was tall). He fought in WWI, WWII and Korea. He was stationed in Germany, Japan, San Francisco, and Georgia. I wonder if we got it from his mother's side of the family. She was Cherokee Indian.
Roaming is just in our blood and only one of us gets it - the firstborn. Once in control of their own destiny, my aunts and uncles have lived in the same towns doing the same stuff almost their whole lives. As much as I hate the physical process of moving (if hell is custom created, my punishment would be moving every day for eternity) I like to go. I'm not sure if its the urge to run from something or to something. There's only one certainty - the new place, no matter how exciting it sounds, will lose its charm before long and the urge to move will return. Because its not the town or the people. It's us.
We get bored. Bored with where we are and what we're doing. Tired of the people we see from day to day. Disinterested in our lovers and our homes. It's really sad. The American Dream of the family with the 2.3 children, the home in the suburbs and the white picket fence... that's the kind of thing that sends shivers down our spines. We think we should want it, like everyone does, but when we get it, its like a hot, wet blanket thrown over our heads on a humid summer day. We can't breathe. We feel smothered.
The fact that I've stayed in Alabama for 7 years is a triumph. I've only lived in my apartment, my first house, and then my second house in all this time. My mom is only in her second place, so she's lived in her house for over 5 years. I think that's a record for her. Home buying was an exhilarating and frightening experience. For once in my life I actually had something to keep me where I was. A house, a car, more crap than any person can schlep with them. It makes good financial sense. And yet, I hate it. I cannot just up and leave without a huge financial impact. I have a good thing going here. There is absolutely no reason for me to leave. So I do my best to ignore the urges. I stay busy and don't leave myself time to think about it. I travel a lot, so that helps, although I can't help but think about moving to every place I visit.
My mom isn't doing as well. I wouldn't be surprised if I got a call from her one day that said she took Little Sister and moved to Iowa while Stepdad was at work. Moving in the night without telling anyone is our specialty. Anyway, as part of the birthday thing, I told my mother I would take her on vacation to anywhere she wants to go. We settled on Italy. I'm not sure when we'll go, maybe spring 2010. Unfortunately, now mom has Italy on the brain. I was able to squelch her moving to Florida earlier this year, but now she's talking Italy.* ITALY! She's never even been there. She wants some little cottage in the rural countryside where she can get away from all the modern crap we're bombarded with. With all the junk on the news about the election and financial crises, gas prices... I can't say I blame her. I'm not much for goats and churning my own butter, but I could certainly use a simpler lifestyle.
Maybe just a year in Italy. :)
Do you like a change of scene every now and then? Or are you one of those people who are firmly rooted in their home? Is moving to a far away place a dream or a nightmare? What would you like to run away from?
*Update - today she's changed her mind. Now she wants to move to Mazatlan, Mexico. Sigh...