As anyone who has ever read one thing written by me ever, you probably know that the most settled I have ever been is the few years where I lived in the boondocks at the edge of the woods with my mother, a yappy beagle, and an orange cat. Not very exciting… or so it seems.
Now that I’m back, (poorly) adjusting to post grad life, it seems all the more depressing. I have no one to hang out with, the only thing to do on a Friday night is go bowling (except there’s no one to go with…), and the only bar within a reasonable distance is Applebee’s, which doesn’t really work for me because I’m not ready to pick up soccer moms quite yet.
However, back in the day, this town was the place to be! Well, not really, but we made the best of it. Because there was nothing easy to do (…the closest mall is still 30 minutes away…) we had to make our own fun. Every single day. Mostly because we didn’t have a choice, but even still, it made us able to have fun in a cardboard box. I used to be good friends with a girl who moved to London, and her friends there in the city wouldn’t even believe her when she told them the trouble we got into on the weekends, no mind-altering substances necessary. We didn’t have a bar or a movie theater or a mall to keep us company, so we certainly never gave up being creative trying.
We would take our friends’ cars and hide them around town and make scavenger hunts for them to find them again. We would play golf in the middle of the night, setting up our own courses in abandoned playgrounds. We made our own boardgames, tie-dyed sheets in the backyard and then made them into tents and camped out under them, ran through high school hallways by nightfall, and otherwise caused innocent mischief like only kids can do.
To do these things, I didn’t have to get on a plane or pay an astronomical museum “donation” fee. I didn’t have to try to find a dirty hostel to stay at or figure out why I had to pay for tap water at an overpriced tourist restaurant and I didn’t have to listen to a tour guide with a heavy accent tell me the history of anything. Instead, all I had to do was walk outside and call one of my dopey friends to come over.
In many ways, I think that it was these boondocks adventures that prepared me for a nomad life, one spent living out of a suitcase and scavenging for free meals and trying to solve little crises that only happen when you’re 18, dumb, and broke. Irony is, as much as we all complained about living in the edge of nowhere back in the day (and then, trying to make the best of it by having more fun than anyone who lived in civilization), it was those quirky adventures that made us yearn for it for every year onward, always keeping us upon the life aboard the traveling circus.