Is this “settling down”?
My boyfriend and I moved into our studio apartment two days ago. I’m almost 23, but this is my first apartment. I haven’t lived in one place for longer than eight months since I graduated from high school.
Why not? you ask. What have you been doing for five years?
Let’s see. The summer after I graduated from high school, I spent a month working at a YMCA wilderness adventure camp in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (northern Minnesota). I spent another month on a canoe trip, paddling whitewater rivers in the remote Wabakimi Wilderness (Ontario, Canada). Then I took off for what was supposed to be a year of traveling. This was supposed to be my great solo pilgrimage, my journey to lose myself in foreign places and cultures. By losing myself, I hoped to find myself.
Lake Te Anau, South Island, New Zealand
Yeah. That didn’t work out exactly as I planned.
I spent three and a half months in New Zealand, hitchhiking (don’t tell my mother) and hostel-hopping and generally having a grand old time. Then I flew on to southeast Asia – Singapore, to be exact. I spent a week there adjusting to the climate, the food, the culture, and then flew to Jakarta.
I planned to spend several months in Indonesia. I wanted to learn to speak Bahasa, to travel in places whose names had haunted me since childhood: Bali, Borneo, Sumatra. I remember sitting on a train watching the sun set huge and orange over the Javanese landscape and thinking, This is it. I’m here. This is what I have dreamed of. Two days later, I got appendicitis and almost died.
Thank goodness for the two Canadian guys who helped me find a hospital (and stayed with me for over a week while I recovered- I will never be able to repay that debt).
Flew home. Left again, for Europe this time. Came home a few months later with cool pictures and no money. Spent a summer house-sitting. (No apartment.) Went to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for two years, living in student-housing-overflow in a hotel (not an apartment), a residence hall (not an apartment), and a shared house (also not an apartment). Went on rock and ice climbing trips to Colorado, Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, Orient Bay, Ontario, and Pass Lake, Ontario.
Toproping Conan the Barbarian Wears Ballet Slippers, 5.10c, Pass Lake, Ontario
Still no apartment.
After college, lived in several places in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California. Did some more climbing. Once stayed four months in a friend’s apartment, but it wasn’t “mine” so that doesn’t count.
The boyfriend and I fell in love with an area in northern California near the small coastal town of Stinson Beach. Living costs there are prohibitively expensive and we despaired of ever finding a place we could afford. Then a friend of ours told us he was moving out of his studio apartment. Rent was $777/month plus utilities.
Now, in Minnesota, $777/month plus utilities will get you a nice three-bedroom apartment or a small house. Here it gets you one room, a tiny kitchen, and a bathroom. But this studio is two blocks from the beach and 45 minutes -give or take- from San Francisco.
We took it.
We plan to keep it until we can afford to buy land and build a little place of our own. So we’re here for the long haul and it feels strange and exciting. I’m actually going to stay here. For (probably) years. This is home now.
Ed. note: With this post MyFirstApartment.com welcomes our latest guest blogger, Shelby, an adventure seeker finally settling down into her first apartment.