I'm an explorer by nature. Seriously, I think it's in my blood, despite not leaving my childhood home until I was 25. I've felt unsettled for as long as I can remember, living in a home with my husband for 8 years that I constantly wanted to move out of, but never knowing where I wanted to go.
It's no wonder we finally moved into an RV and became nomads. It's no wonder when we travel we leave for months on end. I just want to explore. And for a while there I didn't quite understand what I was searching for.
I thought I was trying to find myself. Maybe so, but that's not the whole story. I thought maybe my wanderlust was a product of not wanting to have children and thus not needing to settle down somewhere. Maybe so, but that's not the whole story either. I thought maybe I needed to travel far away simply to heal the emotional wounds from being stuck taking care of my sick mother for so many years. That's also part of the story, but not quite "it."
And then it randomly came to me one day a few weeks ago when I wasn't even contemplating it:
I'm looking for my home.
I want to find somewhere to live that begs me to stay. Somewhere I don't want to leave. I want to spend my time in a place where I'm inspired by the sheer beauty of it. I crave to be enlivened by the monotony of life because I LOVE WHERE I LIVE.
I've never known what that's like. But I've gotten a taste of it here in Mammoth.
For the first time in 36 years I am physically living somewhere that I can envision staying and being happy for a very long time. I can totally see myself growing old here.
Mammoth is a sweet little town that has almost everything I love but not quite. Frankly, it's missing skydiving and Crossfit. Other than that, it's perfect. And I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone gets the guts to open a Crossfit here (maybe me one day, who knows?)
But then I realized it's not Mammoth I love so much, it's the mountain life in general. Truth is I've never spent much time in the mountains. A weekend of camping here, a day hike there, a ski trip once in a while, but nothing too extensive. So this daily mountain life is a new experience for me.
I've now been living here for the past 2 1/2 months, and I love it. Fresh air, like-minded people, no traffic, more outdoor activities than my lazy ass can keep up with, and breath-taking beauty everywhere I turn.
So, I'm sold. Completely sold. I want to live in the mountains when we finally settle down. Mammoth is a great option, especially since it's close enough to our original home in Southern California that it's convenient to go back, and we have friends visiting constantly (so fun!). But I'm not necessarily sold on Mammoth.
I have a feeling my wanderlust will begin taking us to more mountain towns across the US and Canada, looking for home. Looking for that place that begs us to stay. Looking for that place that has EVERYTHING we want in life close by.
But until then, until I'm really sure, I'll keep looking. At least I know what I'm looking for now.