For as long as I can remember, one thing has always been a priority in my life: adventure. I’ve always wanted to be on an adventure in a new and unique place and constantly dreamed of it. Eagerly daydreaming of possibilities from my books and diligently putting extra change and birthday money in my piggy bank, I always found ways to prepare for my great escape. Growing up in a small town in Southern Utah and then heading to a small town in Colorado for college, I was anxious to experience city life. I was thrilled to live and intern in London and I headed to visit family in San Francisco to see if it might be my residence after college. Indecision held me back as I made my way to Denver, a small city that became my home base, and I continually yearned for more in a city. Even though I had two brief summers in San Diego and most recently I finished my time in Chicago, my sense of adventure still isn’t satisfied. It seems as much as I love being in a city, I yearn to be out in the wild and the unknown. In the middle of downtown Chicago or in Lincoln Park, I enjoyed finding patches of green and even ventured outside of the city to find gardens and conservatories. Was I not a city girl, after all? Did I only think I wanted to be in a large metropolis but was really a country girl at heart?
Looking back on my travels, I remember wanting to break free from the small towns I felt trapped in. I recall falling in love with the skyscrapers of Shanghai and being fascinated by the Chicago architecture as I looked down from the Willis Towers. Going to my next big city was always what drove me forward, whether I was exploring the streets of New York City and Times Square or if I wandered through the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego.
It seemed as though a city was all I needed, but looking through my Instagram photos and folders on my computer, it seems that wasn’t the only thing driving my travel desires. Hiking in Roxborough State Park or Hanging Lake in Colorado, I rekindled my love for the mountains. Hearing the waves break along the coast of La Jolla awoke my desire to discover nature throughout the world. Even my recent visit to Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago only encouraged me to continually find greenery no matter where I go.
Which one have I decided to become, a city or a country girl? For the time being, I’m still on the fence and wonder if I could be happy with somewhere in between. One truth remains, my desire for adventure and wanderlust hasn’t settled, and for now I don’t have to choose. As I continue to venture out into the world, I’m optimistic that perhaps there is a place with a perfect mix of a large city and the outdoors; a place to call home.