I’m a traveler at heart. I love to go out and see new places, experience new things, and meet people who have completely different life experiences than I do. Even though I’m always looking for the next adventure and am currently looking to get back out on the road, I’ve found that since my travels, I’ve had the desire to rediscover my own hometown and the secrets I never sought out before. I grew up outside of Des Moines, Iowa, and while some may never have heard of it, it was the center of my life for many years.
If anyone has been to Des Moines, they know it’s nothing like Chicago or New York, which is just the way we like it. We like to say Des Moines is a big city with a small-town feel. When you’re out at the farmers’ market on a Saturday during the summer you will likely see someone you know or if you go to the Iowa State Fair, you may see a friend you grew up with and haven’t seen in 15 years. It is a city that gives off the warm fuzzies but is also a dynamic place as well.
Des Moines is a growing city in the heart of the U.S. The city has been ranked as one of the best places to live not only for the standard of living, but also for the growing arts, sports, and culture scene. Financial companies, the opening of unique restaurants, and the revitalization of the downtown area has helped boost this once lazy city into a welcoming, fun, and funky place. I knew all of this before I left but saw everything through a new lens when I returned home.
After traveling through 25 countries and seeing places that look vastly different than Iowa, I know my forever home isn’t in Iowa. However, traveling across the world has made me appreciate the place where I grew up and taught me to learn more about the city of my childhood.
There is a reason why they say, “you miss things when they are gone.” It’s very true. I missed the Asian fusion pizza at Fong’s, the way the leaves turn to reds, oranges, and yellows during the fall, and the Saturday morning markets. When I returned, I went out and explored the old haunts I used to frequent, but the wanderlust that drove me to travel to places like India and Bosnia, drove me to locate new and exciting places closer to home. Since I’ve been back, I’ve gone to new restaurants, discovered Des Moines’ growing street mural scene, and partaken in events I ignored when I was younger. All of which I would never have done if I hadn’t gone away for so long and come back with the lessons I learned.
It’s kind of funny when you think about it. How can traveling halfway across the world help you relook at something that is so familiar? Your travels don’t even have to be far or on the other side of the world. You can take a weekend trip a few states away and find when you return home, you appreciate it more. But going on a trip can open your eyes to new things on your travels, force you to meet others, and leave your own personal bubble, all of which you can do even when you are back home.
Everyone says travel can teach you so much about yourself and the world around you, and it does. Travel can also help you relook and understand where you’ve come from as well. Those wanderlust urges we all get don’t necessarily have to make you take out your card to book an airplane ticket but it can get you out into your neighborhood and rediscover the familiar.
Guest Author: Chris Slack
Chris is a travel and lifestyle blogger who left the legal field and office world in 2017 to experience the world around her. Chris has traveled to 25 different countries and is looking to travel to more in the future. Chris’s blog, Wandering Feathers, focuses not only on her travels and experiences but also how these travels have affected her day-to-day life and future. Check out her blog: wanderingfeathers.com