770 Miles

770 miles.

That’s the distance separating me from most of my friends and family right now.

JMU_Oct13_2

Ah, Virginia. I miss you so much: your Shenandoah Valley skyline drive in the Fall; the mountains and the beach and the capital all within reach, how 2 inches of snowfall warrants a Snow Day; your 4 clearly defined seasons. And, of course, more than any of your balanced climate, I miss your people.

Plan and simple: I miss living in the same state as most of my friends and family.

I think about this physical distance separating us a lot. In some ways, it feels restrictive. Living close is something I took for-granted, and I miss being able to spontaneously drive down from D.C. or JMU to see my family for the weekend. I can’t do that from Tallahassee. I mean, it’s about a 12 hour drive, so if I left at 5AM on Saturday morning I’d make it home just in time for dinner and then I’d have to start the drive back in the morning. It’s nice to know that I could get jump in my car and get there in an emergency, but thank goodness for phone calls and emails and texts and Skype.

There are some things I enjoy about living 770 miles away.

  1. It makes time with friends and family more intentional. I may have to work harder to see my long-distance friends and family, but it makes our time together that much sweeter. I really appreciate when someone makes the effort to visit, so I treasure that time way more than I probably would if it was a weekly occurrence. I recently started video chatting with some long-distance friends and it’s really helped “bridge the gap”. We talk weekly-ish and that’s way more often than we were all getting together and talking when we lived within a couple hours of each other.
  2. We can “meet in the middle.” Sometimes, when I see my Virginia friends and family, it’s not in Virginia OR Florida, we meet somewhere in the middle and it’s like a mini vacation. I’ve met Virginia family and friends in Charleston, SC; New Orleans, LA; and Orlando, FL. It’s such a treat to explore new places and it makes our trips even more memorable.
  3. I’m a Floridian. I do love calling this place home. If Bret didn’t apply for this program at Florida State, I may have spent my whole life in Virginia. I don’t think would have been a bad thing, but I’ve come to love calling myself a Floridian… especially this winter! And now that I’ve lived in Florida, I feel like I could thrive in a lot different places.
  4. It puts distance in perspective. I used to think a 2 hour drive was a LONG drive. It’s not.

I remember when I had a summer internship in Richmond some of the interns had traveled from Michigan and Pennsylvania. Since they were spending the summer in VA, they wanted to sightsee go spend a day at Virginia Beach and I thought, “you want to drive TWO HOURS to spend a day at the beach, and then drive TWO HOURS back that same night?!”

Then I moved to D.C. and I drove 2 hours home on the fly. Here I am at Occupying D.C., but I could have been home for dinner.

occupydc

It was the same way for Bret. First he moved two hours away for school and that seemed like a long distance. Then 6 hours for his Master’s. Then 16+ for his Ph.D.

So, now, two hours is nothing. I routinely drive 2 hours for day trips to St. George Island or Panama City. It’s no big deal.

We drive a lot together. We love exploring that way and it’s cheaper than flying. I doubt we’d take as many day/weekend trips if we didn’t live in a new place. And, fortunately, Bret and I both have laid back driving styles and we road trip really well together.

Sometimes I feel like this distance is temporary, and we’ll be moving to the North Carolina/Virginia/D.C./Maryland region in the near future. Other times I wonder if my adjustment to this distance is actually preparing me for the next big move to California or Washington State. It’s weird to not know where you’re going to be living or if 770 miles will seem far in retrospect, but only time will tell.

For now, I’m looking forward to all the friend and family visits coming up in the next few months. We are so fortunate to have friends and family visiting from D.C., Virginia, and Pennsylvania. I love having something to look forward to and I can’t wait to see you 🙂

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