Kansas Smells Like Home

| 12/20/2010 11:21:12 PM

Nearly 30 years ago I temporarily vacated my job, my apartment, my family and my relationship with my girlfriend. With my friend Doug Conarroe, I set out on a month-long quest to find the perfect place to live my life.

I don’t know if I ever admitted it out loud at the time, but my personal goal was to pick the perfect place to settle down and craft an existence based on my 22-year-old understanding of my “identity.”

Beautiful and Abundant 

Doug and I set out in his Toyota one morning in late summer down Interstate 25 from Boulder through Colorado and New Mexico. We crossed Arizona westward on Interstate 10 and followed Highway 1 most of the way north up the West Coast from San Diego to Vancouver, then picked our way back east across British Columbia, down through Montana and Wyoming and finally home to Boulder. We saw about 1,000 longitudinal miles of the Rocky Mountains not to mention the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Bernalillo, Organ and Franklin Mountains, the Superstitions, the Chihuahuan Desert, the Sonoran Desert, Death Valley, the San Francisco Bay, the Puget Sound, Vancouver Island and Glacier National Park. We camped out on the beach at La Jolla and in an Oregon downpour. After nearly a month of wandering around Doug and I both grew tired of the road and we headed south from Kalispell, Mont., in a hurry to get back to Colorado. A Montana state patrolman saw us bombing down the opposite side of a divided Interstate and wagged his finger at us.

I decided I would settle down in Taos, N.M., for life, and I almost did. I lived there for most of the 1980s and discovered that the place really did reflect my identity, until my subsequent identity as a husband and father dictated that I find a locale where I could make a little more money.

My family and I lived in seven other far-flung places trying to meet that goal – but that’s another story.

Joe tully
8/8/2011 12:15:11 PM

Hi Bryan it's Joe! I wonder if you remember me from england!? I've have been reading your intriguing blog. I recognise some of the photos from caroline's iPad! I have just googled you and it came up with " bryan welch: editor of mother earth news, Eco-friendly matter fighter and author of rancho cappuccino blog" so I decided to check it out. Hope to see you soon.

1/31/2011 11:46:46 AM

Yes living in Kansas is a very positive thing to do as long as you can ignore the politics of the extreme right that are taking over. It is hard to ignore the attacks on education, the arts and almost any social concern. This is so unKansas, we were one of the birthplaces of the populist movement, we have had great liberal and innovative governments in the past, but not now. This is so unlike the individual Kansans I know who are good, compassionate people but when faced with the issues vote for the most restrictive and "so called conservative" ideas on the ballot.

1/26/2011 11:28:06 AM

My Great, great, great Grandfather paid 20 bucks for 80 acres of farmland in Shirley township Kansas in 1857. For those keeping score at home that is 5 years BEFORE Kansas became a state and my uncle is farming that, and 1000+ other acres of farmland to this day. I have lived in California, from teh Bay Area to the Sierra Nevada's, from Southeastern KS to my home now barely across the river in MO. I still register my vehicle there as I own land, Kansas will always be home. The smells, the people, the sense of responsibility for ones actions, the fact that it rates in the top 20 for smartest kids in the union, and the simple fact that when your roots are mired so deeply you actually feel it in your bones, Kansas is HOME! Just don't tell everyone that because then they will all want to move there and we'll end up like Chicago, crowded, corrupt, and loud.

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