I had the good fortune of attending a scientific conference in New Orleans, Louisiana a few weeks back with a fellow graduate student from my lab. I had never been to NOLA and it was on my bucket list of places to see at some point in my life. Being the “Big Easy,” we made sure to balance our conference-going with a nice mix of fun and play while we were there. New Orleans proved to be an excellent adventure, both from a professional standpoint and a personal one. But I’ve got to say; there really is no place like home.
As much as I occasionally like taking a few days to get outside of my bubble that is living in Lebanon, NH, I typically end up missing it almost immediately. Everywhere else is too loud. Too busy. Too many people. Too many cars. Just…too much. It can be overwhelming. I like the quiet, safe, relaxed feeling that Lebanon, and I think New Hampshire in general, has to offer. New Orleans was flat, hot, and a totally different animal compared to our beautiful, mountainous, tree-filled state.
Soon after I returned from my trip, I found myself coming home from work admiring how awesome my fifteen minute drive is. I’m lucky to have such a short commute, but it’s also so light on traffic and so big on lovely scenery, I almost wouldn’t mind if it were a bit longer of a drive some days. When I arrive at my house, I’ve got a nice big yard, with neighbors that are close, but not too close. I live on the outskirts of a small city. Big enough to have a few options for stores and restaurants, but small enough that I often run into a familiar face while I’m out and about. And at night? I can see SO many stars here. I could get lost in looking at the sky from my backyard. You can’t see that kind of magnificence in the bright lights of a big city.
While I like seeing new places, I always get this feeling of total appreciation for New Hampshire while I’m gone. And I am grateful to be home as soon as I return. New Hampshire is a beautiful place. Sure, there are other beautiful places out there. But nothing feels as comfortable, as welcoming, or as perfect for me as this state I call home.