It's no secret that I am not a fan of where I live. It is convenient and makes sense, but in many ways, it is stifling. Mostly, it stifles me professionally. There aren't the professional outlets for publishing that I would want. It is void of the writing communities that I hear about in larger cities. When it comes to meeting people in book publishing, there is zero, nada, nothing here, especially in the YA arena. As I've mentioned in past posts, I have tried the local writers' groups that concentrate on writing for children and young adults and while everyone was very nice, there was not a lot of openness to new writers to be part of writers' groups or many opportunities to workshop writing. It was disappointing, to say the least.
But, it is what it is. I am in this city and I have incredible support for my daughter and me. I don't foresee us leaving anytime soon, although it is always in the back of my mind. We live a very comfortable life where I don't have to worry about some of the things others do, like paying for private school education, traffic delays, high crime, and lack of activities. The city has grown a lot since I moved here in 2001 and is a good value in terms of high quality of life for low cost of living - it just depends on how you define the quality.
Since I am here for now, I decided to make the most of it and get to know this state. Over Memorial Day weekend the BF and I headed northeast to bike along the Mississippi River. It was the first time I've ever done something like that. I love to bike but have never dedicated a trip to it. I wish I had done this a long time ago.
What a wonderful way to get to know an area. The trails weren't as hilly as I thought they would be, and the sights were far more interesting than I expected. The architecture of this river town was different than what I'd seen in other parts of the state and it felt like I was on one of the coasts. Being near the water was calming, even if there were no relaxing waves to listen to as I drifted to sleep.
Aside from the sights, it felt amazing to combine activity with vacation. I am an active person. even on vacation. I like to keep busy from the moment I wake up until I collapse from exhaustion at the end of the day so I can experience as much as possible. My BF likes to relax when he vacations. We joke about how different we are when it comes to leisure, yet how we are able to balance our likes and make it work.
Exploring parts of this state gave me a sense of reason. It reminded me that while my career is not where I want it to be, there is more to life than how I make a living. I have a job I can more than tolerate that allows me to give my daughter and myself a life that allows for getaways like this one. Not everyone can say that. It was a bit of a wake-up call to quit my bitching and stop seeing the glass as half empty and be glad I have a glass to fill.
Sights along the Mississippi River: