Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


The Power of Place

Where you live may be an accident of birth or may be a life path decision made to get an education, grab a job opportunity or to follow your heart.  Whatever the reason for the WHY of where you live, the power of that place affects the HOW.

I know I am not unique but there are not many people who have moved around the country as much as I have.  I was born and raised in New Jersey, about 40 miles from New York City, at Exit 9 on the Turnpike and about an hour from the Shore to speak the vernacular of that place.

My parents took us camping each summer and we traveled the country.  I learned very easily that the United States has such a grand variety of ecosystems, terrain, cities and also there is beauty all over.  There is a place that will appeal to your heart.   I also learned in all my moves that the place you live has an influence on you.

For people who have never moved away from the place where they were born and raised, this kind of discussion may not be understood. Many feel that the place where they live is the best place on earth, and it may be. But how do they really know unless they have ever lived anywhere else?born in state map

This influence, this Power of Place,  comes from societal attitudes and whether you would call them good or bad depends on your own morals and life choices.  If your education has taught you there is only one right way and you are living it, you may be comfortable, but are you right?  If you believe the way most of your neighbors believe, it feels good. If you find yourself surrounded by people who are just….different…..you have to work to balance fitting in and holding on to your soul.

I’ll give you an example.

When I moved to Nashville from New Jersey in 1975 I stood out as a foreigner because of my accent. People, with their genteel Southern ways, called me a Yamn Dankee. Didn’t fool me for a second that they didn’t want me there.  But I slowly wore on them, like after a visit back home, eating my lunch sandwich on a bagel. “Whatcho eating yo lunch on a donut for?”  By the time I moved to Memphis in 1978 for a better job I was bringing five dozen bagels back each time I flew to visit my parents.  And when I moved back to Nashville in 1994 we had to throw away the idea of starting a bagel shop when we saw all the franchises around town. It had changed from a population of 500,000 to over a million and many were transplants like me.  No more polite veneer.  Nashville, while keeping a few treasured icons, had morphed into just one more homogenized American city with national chain stores and restaurants and common unpolished behavior.

What makes a place livable for you? Do you like it that people around you think like you? Do you like that there is diversity in your area that gives you a chance to learn new things?  How about the cost of living?  How does your area compare to others? Would you consider moving just because you could live more comfortably somewhere else?Price-Parity-2012I think most people would not move….they would rather stay in the place they know and complain. Such is the Power of Place.