“I realized if I didn’t just go, I’d never go. Going was the key. It didn’t matter where I was headed just as long as I was headed somewhere. ~ Ben Davis”
― Jayden Hunter, Undressed To The Nines: A Thriller Novel
For those of you who know me — and by that, I mean really know me — you'd know that I have always harbored this disdain towards the very place that I have spent most of my life. You'd know that when I first started applying to colleges, I looked for schools across the country because I wanted to be as far away from my train wreck of a home town as possible. Although admittedly I was a bit too ambitious at the time, I did end up going to Florida State University as my college of choice, which is roughly six and half hours away (so I guess it's far enough).
When I first started at FSU, I didn't experience the overwhelming feelings of homesickness that plagued so many of my peers. In fact, I felt the opposite. I dreaded extended breaks in the school year where I would be forced to return home, and I would routinely hope that by some stroke of luck, I'd be offered a chance to visit friends or something else to occupy my time. On Thanksgiving break, I stubbornly returned home for two full days before catching the next bus to Tallahassee to watch the Seminoles play against the Gators.
Now you all may be thinking: "Wow this guy must have some family issues; he didn't even wanna stay for Thanksgiving!" However in all honesty it isn't as simple as that.
As far as my family goes, I wouldn't describe my relationship with my parents or siblings as damaged or traumatic in any way. I actually come from a pretty loving home. My parents have been divorced for about 16 years, but that hasn't caused any extreme rifts in my behavior or attitude, nor has it really harmed the dynamic that I share with my siblings either.
My parents have always held a high regard for education. They encouraged me to continually try to expand my knowledge in all things, whether they be academically based or not. They raised my siblings and I to be our own individuals. Of course they still had their rules as far as the household was concerned, but when it came to expressing our identities, they always took the backseat and allowed us to explore to the fullest extent. My father, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, has traveled and explored the crevices of the world. My mother, who managed to raise four children pretty much on her own for 14 years, has always been the embodiment of independence, strength, and perseverance. If anything, I believe that I have inherited these traits, which probably explains why I am so adventure hungry.
The word "gallivant" pretty much sums up the tendencies that I posses. I am a person who just enjoys wandering around in excitement, being overjoyed at the things he discovers. I realize that this doesn't really explain why I dislike my hometown, but if you really look at the definition of the word gallivant—go around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment—it does give an indication as to why I left.
Fort Pierce, Fl is more or less a retirement community that really isn't designed for people of my age bracket. As far as the attractions go, you'd have to opt to drive nearly an hour away to find something to keep your attention. There is a lot of history, which does interest me, but the city itself lacked the interactive stimulation that really intrigued me. Over the years, seeing the same patches of land, failing businesses, and species of people became really routine. For someone like me, there wasn't a unique flare that could ignite my desires from within. This was more so apparent when I was a teenager in high school, where my days were spent walking a block away to the school grounds, pretending to be interested in subjects that weren't necessary.
I began to miss the thrill of being a kid, where my imagine could run wild. Trees would be beautiful jungle fortresses, the clouds in the sky were islands just out of reach. I wanted to feel the rush of living life on the edge of my seat, so when I finally left home for college, something from inside longing for escape was finally set free.
So yea, the thought of being home ruined me, and in a sense, it frightened me to the core. I am an individual who has always hated the feeling of stillness. I can admit that I am not the best at multitasking, but in order to feel as though I have some control over my own life, I need to have a laundry list of tasks or else I am not engaged in my external environment. It's this type of stress that really drives me, and I feel like I am this way—aside from it literally being in my genes—because I don't want to end up living an uneventful and stale life.
As of now, I am prepping to leave again to Tallahassee to start my third year at Florida State. I am not do back until June 15th, but I will be boarding a Red Coach at 9:50 am on the 14th, to make my way back to my second home.
While I was at home this summer, I decided that I wasn't going to ruminate within the confines of my dark room, and that I would at least try to appreciate this place a bit more. After days of mentally preparing myself for what I expected to be a rather wasteful and dulling experience, I was shocked when I felt an innate happiness as I walked around the downtown area of the city.
It was a Wednesday morning, so there were several vendors who make their living wages by selling their products, preparing for the Farmer's Market. As I walked around, I noticed jewelers, ice cream stands, and a collection of antiques all being showcased at the main square area. As my eyes shifted from item to item, I remembered how as a kid I always loved to look at the intricate designs of each handcrafted knick knack. Feeling the odd textures in my hands had always intrigued me. Walking a little further, I encountered a french man who was selling macaroons with his son. He must have noticed the bewilderment on my face, as he went into a dialogue about what these delicious treats were and how they were made. I didn't tell him that I have eaten them plenty of times, because I didn't want to kill his excitement over his craft. I was however confused to see something as trendy and almost sophisticated as macaroons, being in a place like this.
As I mentioned before, I hated my home town because it was a very small place that seemed as though it had no connection to the outside world. I equated the city to a very small bubble that didn't quite make it off of the bubble wand as you blew into it, remaining stuck to the side before eventually popping.
After purchasing a coconut flavored treat, I began to walk around and really take note of my surroundings. I made my way to the edge of the square which overlooked the Indian River. There were pigeons and gulls intermingling overhead, and I remember seeing fish chasing each other below.
If we look at the definition of the word gallivant again, I think there's something that was missed. The definition says that the act of gallivanting is to go around from place to place in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment. I had always assumed that those feelings were only attainable if I were in an exciting place with loud sounds and bustling with people, and yet here I was feeling pleasure from eating the macaroon and finding entertainment in observing the animals following the laws of nature.
I was finding enjoyment from being home, which was something that I never thought to be possible, and strangely enough, I wanted to discover more. After researching a bit further, I learned that we have various boat tours, nature trails, state parks, berry picking, a few small museums, coastal attractions, and other events that I had been unaware of. For 20 years of my life, I had been walking blindly because I was so dead set on the opinion that Fort Pierce was the most uninteresting place in the United States. I felt so dumb for not being able to see the beauty that has surrounded me for a lifetime, but I was happy in knowing that my perspective had been altered.
I'm leaving on June 14th to go back to Tallahassee. I am excited beyond belief to return on making the rest of my college career, and life incredible. I am ready to move on and go on wild expeditions with my friends in tow, seeing all that the world has to offer. In addition to this, I am interested in coming home soon to try out some of these attractions for myself.
As my friends know, I've always been one who is always down for a new adventure. The difference between the Keanu who started this post and the Keanu who's speaking right now, is the fact that now I know that in order to have the time of your life, you don't always need to go miles away. Sometimes there are new horizons right in your periphery. All you have to do, is turn your head and go.
Published by Keanu Jackson