I write about traveling to a lot of places from New York to Paris. There is one place that I don’t write about often and that is Merritt Island, Fla. You won’t find it in a lot of travel books, and it is probably not on your places to visit. Hell, chances are you have never even heard of it – despite the fact that it is home to the Kennedy Space Center, the launch site for every U.S. manned flight since 1968, and the now deceased Shuttle Program.
I just call it home.
Merritt Island is an unincorporated town with just under 35,000 residents. While it may not have the sparkle that San Francisco does it was a good place to grow up. Going back now I realize how kind and open people are. (I like to talk to strangers, and I am not met with the coldness you are sometimes confronted with in a big city where people are busy going about their day.) Did I also mention that growing up I was just a short drive to the beach?
But I have always been full of wanderlust. As a small child I use to watch the Travel Channel and pretend I was visiting all the places on the shows. My parents would come home and ask what I had done that day, and I would reply with something like, “I went to Egypt.”
So, I don’t think my parents were all that surprised when I started looking at jobs in pretty much every major metro during my last year of college. It was a big world out there, and I just needed to experience some of it.
It had been nearly 17 months since my last visit to Merritt Island, but the great thing about going home is that everything always falls back into place. I am still that beach girl that likes to feel the sand between her toes and the salty air on her skin.
Since moving to San Francisco I have been fortunate to travel to a lot of places – both personally and professionally. There is still so much of the world I want to see, and experiencing it makes me appreciate home just a little more.