Have you ever found yourself missing a place you once lived in or visited? Then you find yourself there again, only to realize that you missed it more than you thought you did. Well, this happened to me while I was in Milwaukee over the weekend. I know what you're thinking, it's cold as hell there, how do you even love that place. Fair question, let me explain.
Back in 2013 I did a motorcycle ride to the 110th Harley Anniversary party. When I left Milwaukee to head back home to Pennsylvania, I went by way of Canada. Prior to crossing into Canada, I had stopped for gas. A lady pumping gas into her car kept looking at me. She eventually got the guts to walk over and start a conversation. She had noticed my bike fully loaded with gear and dirty. She asked me where I had been, and where I was headed. We talked about the places I had been and all the people I had met. She asked me where my favorite places where and why. At the end of the conversation, she said she lived where she felt relaxed. Where she felt like part of a community. I told her I didn't feel that in Pennsylvania, and that was probably why I always ended up back there and then left again.
After that conversation, I drove across the Canadian/American boarder and was cruising along. Then it hit me. A thought hit me so hard, I about lost control of my bike. It was like a movie scene, when all of a sudden you are holding your arms out and rotating 360 degrees and there is a light that shines down on you and the scenery behind you is just all white or blurred. It was a total ah huh moment, to say the least.
While I was riding, I was looking around at this new country. Which did not feel new. It looked like America, I mean there were stores, shopping malls, gas stations with different names. All in all, it is the same shit. This had me thinking of all the places I had traveled to in the USA. It was really all the same. The landscape changes, and so do the faces....that's it! That's all that changes! So, that brought me to question, where do I love the landscape and the faces! Ha, I know it sounds silly, but this was the ah huh moment.
So, what does all of this have to do with Milwaukee? Well, I love the landscape! I'm in love with the people, the food, the city, the community feel and the cultures. It seemed to be such a perfect blend of all of these things. There are no mountains, but Lake Michigan has a magical feel to it. It is hard to not be attracted to the purity of water. I feel like I have found Zen being around the water. Out of all the bodies of water these eyes have seen in my 39 years of living, its these waters I crave. It was hard to leave, it's been hard adjusting back to PA life.
Pennsylvania just has nothing zen about it. I feel like I am suffocating each and every single day. Sure I have plenty of family and friends here. I mean, this is where life began. This just doesn't seem to be a place that inspires, or cultivates creativity. It masks happiness and creates struggle. I see it everyday in peoples eyes that I pass walking in the street, or seeing their faces while driving their cars, or just people watching at the gas station. You just feel the anxiety, pressure, routine, all of these things that breed the "keeping up with the Joneses" type of mentality. It is in the air, and seems to be suffocating everyone.
Once you cross PA state boarders, and I don't care who you are, it is as if you dropped all the boulders off of your shoulders. People change, you sense happiness again in folks. I don't know what it is, but something must change!