6 Lessons Learned by Living in 8 States

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Gypsy Woman

I’m often called a gypsy-a person who wanders or roams from place to place.

I’m okay with that, even if the term is somewhat dated.

My genes seem marked by curiosity, wonderment and adventure.

Travel and exploration are my greatest desires.

Assimilating into and understanding new environments and cultures bring me a complete sense of fulfillment.

Omaha, Nebraska is “home” today.

Home has also been

  • South Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota, and
  • North Dakota

Where Is Home?

I stumped when asked, “Where is home for you?”

I’m not a smart aleck but rather than list an address, I sometimes respond, “Wherever I feel welcomed and accepted and where my husband and son and his family are. Today, it’s (insert current city/state.).”

Home has never been about a house/address for me.

It’s about a feeling.

I adapt and adjust to whatever space and place I’ve landed in.

Unusual, perhaps, but comfortable and familiar for me.

Lessons Learned

Today I can look back at the eight moves I’ve made to date for education and career and easily identify lessons learned.

1. Fear is a Barrier

FEAR is the # 1 reason I hear most from those who’ve never relocated to another community.

Starting over new in an unfamiliar place leaves many with a Fear of

• Change
• Failure
• Loneliness and/or being alone
• The physical part of moving and relocating
• Unknown
• Rejection

I’m still searching for the reason I don’t own these fears.

All I can say is that success of one move makes the next and the next and the next easier.

Like anything, giving oneself permission to fail and growing one’s confidence by doing lessen these fears.

Most decisions are not lifetime sentences.

Give yourself permission to change your life, even if that means moving.

2. Adults Have Dormant Friendship Skills

On my 7th move-to Sioux Falls, SD- a woman I did volunteer work with whom I call “friend” today pointed this lesson out to me.

She admitted I was her first new friend since college.

This confession, in our shared late 40’s, stuck with me.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Learning to Catch SD Snowflakes

She’s right. Most of us easily make friends in school and college, some at work.

But how many new friends have enriched your life since these bygone days?

What a loss, if none.

Jobs, children, caretaking, etc. seem to take over a certain part of lives, leaving little time and/or energy for new friendships.

How about this?
Find a “new” person and/or family who’s recently moved into your neighborhood, town or community. Reach out.

Including someone is often the best gift you can give, especially someone new to your area/church/workplace, etc.

Ask the “new person” to coffee, for a walk, to dinner, to connect on social media, to book club, etc.

You may find your life deeply enriched by dusting off your friendship skills and making a new friend, especially in your mid to late adult years.

And, if you’re the one who moved, keep in mind, adults aren’t like kids in the neighborhood.

They don’t randomly come ring your doorbell and ask if you want to play.
You need to take some initiative and reach out. Get involved.

Entrench yourself into the community. Meet “new” friends.

3. Zip Codes Aren’t Walls

It’s said that most people never travel farther than two zip codes away from their house.

https://nypost.com/2018/01/11/a-shocking-number-of-americans-never-leave-home/

Why? Sometimes it’s lack of funds or physical limitations. Often, it’s just lack of interest/curiosity and ambition.

I’m forever stunned hearing that residents of (insert state) have not visited popular tourist destinations or geographic or natural sites unique to that location.

I have. I’ve a real need to know about the place(s) I live.

I want to see the landscape, meet the people and eat the cuisine.

Integrating into the community/state makes me feel “at home.”

4. Good People Exist & Stereotypes Aren’t Truths

Stereotypes beware. I don’t believe you!

Yes, crime rates tend to be higher in metropolitan areas and meth is readily accessible in rural areas.

Southerners have drawls and Midwesterners sound like southern Canadians or characters from Fargo.

Here’s what’s also true. Good people exist everywhere.

From the Southern neighbors who helped remove hurricane debris from my home to the gentleman who changed my flat tire on a Midwestern interstate, these kind folks exist.

One doesn’t even need to “look for them.” They simply exist.

I believe in the goodness of people, everywhere.

5. Mother Nature Reigns

Hurricanes in the south. Tornados and blizzards in the Midwest. Earthquakes in South Carolina, yes, earthquakes.

Every region has its weather challenges.

The lesson: We are not in charge. She is.

Complaining doesn’t help. Preparedness does.

6. Less is More

It’s not the possessions but the experiences that grow oneself and enrich one’s life.

For obvious reasons, I’m not a collector.

Nor does my identity come from the structure I live under.

I used to have the rule-what doesn’t fit in my trunk, isn’t needed.

Then I married and had a child.

My approach had to become more flexible and expansive. The last move, we rented a 22-foot truck.

I still don’t collect.

I’m still not rooted.

Even if I was, possessions are material items.

I value relationship over possessions.

Your Thoughts & Questions 

How about you?

Are you a Frequent Mover?

What do you value? Is it stability or curiosity or a combination of the two?

SHARE below.

Have an urge to Move? What location piques your interest?
Have some questions?
Ask here.

©March 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

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