I moved from my small Missouri hometown to Kansas City in October 2014. At the time of this writing I have now been here for 5 months. I hopped around the first 2 months with friends and family before settling in the scenic Strawberry Hill neighborhood near downtown Kansas City, KS. As I type I look out the window at this view of the city:
I also got an office job in the same neighborhood within walking distance. It is a low pay office job through a temp agency, but I fell in love with the people, the location, the view, and most of all the stress free work environment.
I came to Kansas City for a lot of reasons: to be closer to friends and family, to meet new people from other walks of life, to be a better sister and aunt, and to find other travelers and entrepreneurs like myself. I had left the teaching profession and was ready for a whole new life. Dreams of traveling, sailing, interesting new friends, a downtown loft apartment, all inspired me. There have been ups and downs in this fast 5 months, but I’ve been able to make progress.
This isn’t necessarily a permanent move. I committed to staying in KC for one year and have always thought I might leave again in the fall. I wanted to survive one winter, enjoy a full spring and summer filled with Royals games, friends, and family, and save up for whatever next adventure I choose in the fall. That could be learning Spanish in South America, embarking on a round the world trip, or it could be getting that loft apartment and traveling for shorter trips every few months. It’s all up in the air, to be determined as I go and with the people that influence me. And if it weren’t up in the air I wouldn’t be happy.
So now…..there is this symbolic little boat race I want to share with you. I don’t know how or where I heard about it but when I lived in my small town I became aware of the MR340 (Missouri River 340 miles). It’s a boat race from Kansas City to St. Louis on the Missouri River. It sounds kind of extreme since the race lasts 4 days and some people, the crazy ones, never stop. They eat, sleep, and pee without ever leaving their boat in an effort to set record time. Those are the people that want to win of course. Then there are others like me that just want to finish. Ground crews set up campsites and grill food each night and in the morning the boaters paddle off again. A lot of people only paddle a portion, a couple days, or stop early. It skews the numbers and looks like a lot of people “fail” but I figure they just got distracted by one of the pretty wineries along the river 🙂
So of course I want to do it. It represents my move to Kansas City and the beginning of my new life, and the first step of “entering the water” as I get closer to the sailing dream. It starts from my roots, where my parents were born and where my family lives now. My mom and dad grew up in the suburb of Raytown and my brothers live here now as KC firemen. They both have a big love for this city and through them I learn about the history and the changes of the city.
When I am at work, every day I look directly down the window at Kaw Point, where that boat race launches. I can see the Kansas and Missouri river come together from 9 stories up and merge toward that skyline then disappear. I jog through the neighborhood and visit the riverfront. And I look out this window and know that I MUST paddle this race. I don’t have a boat or a paddle, but I’ll find one. There are certain things in this life that start off as a tiny idea and then grow into something with meaning. This kind of thing gives up purpose and is the type of life event that propels us. When we get there, it’s just a thing yeah, but what we attach to it makes it matter. I spent New Years morning here watching the sunrise and thinking about where life might go this year.
I may not live in this room or this city for long, but despite the struggles that come with every life change, I know I will look back on these beautiful moments and remember the good things. After every winter comes spring, and after every struggle comes a new opportunity. I’ll keep you posted on the progress as I ready for the race. What life events have you done or always wanted to do? I’d be interested to hear. And if you want to join me on the MR340, it’ll be fun.