Travel Writing About the City I Left Behind

College in a big city was the promised land.

At least that’s what I thought.

No more living in the medium-small city of my youth. No more living in my parents’ house, dreaming of a life anywhere but the plains of Southern Minnesota.

I packed boxes, bade farewell to my childhood bedroom, and moved into a college dorm room near Minneapolis.

Calling the Big City “Home”

I became drunk on the campus’ energy, with its swirling web of ideas and interesting people offered to anyone who wanted to gain knowledge and make friends.

The college experience taught me not just how to learn, but how to build a social life. No longer were my days scheduled with obligations I didn’t care for. I could decide whether or not I would attend class, how late I would stay up, and which groups of people I would spend most of my time with. And in college, those I spent time with often impacted whether or not I attended class. Some days, my roommates and I would nearly convince each other to sleep in and skip class just because. Living two years in the campus dorms, we found that community was nearly built in.

There was a lot to do, people to meet, college radio shows to DJ—so I stayed on campus most of the time. On Sundays, I was part of a church plant in Minneapolis with my friends Nate, Brian, Seth, and bunch of good people on the University of Minnesota campus. We walked the streets of Dinkytown and Stadium Village, ordered oversized pizza slices past our bedtimes, and cracked jokes on the porch, surrounded by cool Minnesota air.

My final year of college, a few of us split rent in a small house just north of Minneapolis. We called it The Mint because that’s the shade of green everybody saw as they drove through our neighborhood, even from a few blocks away. And in The Mint, we loved our traditions, like playing Monopoly to pass the winter time.

In the spring, I drove into Minneapolis a couple times a week to intern for a Top 40 radio morning show. The sunrise glistened off Capella Tower as I refilled cohosts’ coffee cups and dreamed of what was next for my career.

Graduation came, but no job offers did. So I left the city and moved back into my parents’ house. Minneapolis wasn’t my city anymore, I thought—and soon Minnesota wouldn’t be my state, either.

I realized—after moving across the country for a dead-end, life-sucking job—how much I missed out on. (More of that story in my book.)

Beyond a few concerts and weekend hangouts, I didn’t spend much time in Minneapolis. But I should have.

Missing the City

So, what does one do when he realizes he lived in a great place?

Visit regularly, get back in touch with friends there, and explore new places whenever possible.

Travel is powerful because we get out of our routine and see the world in a new way. (click to tweet)

That applies when we return to familiar places, but with a new perspective.

So I tried something new: travel writing(ish). I turn to the city I thought I knew, but I’m finding it offers more and more as I keep exploring. Thanks to the folks at Matador Network for publishing my work:

Read “7 facts that make Minneapolis such a rad city

Beyond the flashy title and listicle format, I’m genuinely glad more people around the country have recognized what Minneapolis has to offer. I hope you like it, too.

Happy travels.

***

What’s something you love about a city you used to live in? Share in the comments.

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