For the first phase of my career, I was traveling nearly full-time as a consultant. I spent time in cities across the country - St. Louis, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco... I even had the opportunity to spend a month in Sydney! I had more frequent flier miles and hotel points than I knew what to do with - every vacation I took included a free flight and hotel room. It was a bonus that was well-deserved, given the toll that travel takes after a while.
As a result of that phase of life, I have friends in every corner of the country. I met some extraordinary people and got a chance to see places I might not have otherwise. I also learned a great deal and had a lot of fun. However, I did eventually burn out and make a change, accepting a job that would allow me to establish a life in Boston.
I remember adjusting to that change. Being home long enough to buy a full gallon of milk, take the trash out on the actual trash day, join a gym, meet up with friends after work on a weekday, take some classes I'd long wanted to take... It was an adjustment, but it was a good one. I started to feel like I really lived in Boston rather than just having a Boston address.
This past year, my world has shrunk yet again. I am in the suburbs now, and I no longer have the daily commute to the city. I don't get a chance to go out after work, and getting together with friends from different areas requires some planning. Most days, I travel about two miles - to and from school, and maybe to the grocery store. My world has become small, and I've realized that this can be a wonderful thing. I feel more a part of my community than ever. I see people I know all the time. Getting together with local friends is easy, and impromptu gatherings are a possibility. I used to lament the fact that I had a hard time meeting friends, and now our social calendar fills up as quickly as we want it to.
I had fun during those other phases of life. I sometimes miss my traveling days, and certainly having to pay for flights and hotel rooms is a drag. I'm happy I got to experience it. Mostly, though, I'm happy those days are behind me. I'm creating more than just a life for me - I'm also establishing a home for my family. A place where we all feel connected. After my long journey, I've learned that small can be beautiful.
Me in Sydney