“For me. This was a photo of me traveling back to MN after four years of living down south in Arkansas. I had to pull off the road to make sure I got a photo of me with my home state behind me.”
During high school I chose to go to a college that my friends were not going to so I'd be sure to have a new experience. During college I studied abroad in Ecuador, it was cheaper than Spain, and I didn't know anyone personally when we took off from Minneapolis. After college I moved to Colorado by myself, albeit knowing that my now-husband would meet me there when he graduated a few months later. After spending our twenties in Denver, we put everything we owned in a storage pod, quit our jobs, and bought one-way tickets to Buenos Aires.
Returning to the United States meant moving back to Minnesota, a feat I personally underestimated, at least emotionally. That choice felt more like pressure, less like truth or knowing. Either way, the arrival back was the beginning of parenthood and a year or two of discovering how to re-engage with people and locations who may remember you as a different version of yourself. The one who hadn't yet done things like spend her twenties far away from everyone and everything.
We eventually landed in Minneapolis, a community both of us were new to and one that provided a reasonable proximity to the family we wanted to be closer to but enough space to figure out how we would fit in to this new life we were building.
Eleven years later, Minneapolis is more home than any other place I've lived or traveled to.
Eleven years later, Minneapolis has held me while I started a small business I love so dearly.
Eleven years later, I see that the return to Minnesota was the final step in my journey of running far, and then farther away.
Coming home forced me up against myself so that the real home I inhabit -- me -- couldn't avoid me anymore. Eleven years later, I can see that home is where I'd be held most when I needed holding. It's full of beauty, it's accepting of change, and the things I feared were things I can choose.
Eleven years later, reflecting on The Evelyn Locket with a photograph inside of her standing in front of the "Welcome to Minnesota" sign, I put my hand on my heart, feel connected to her experience, and feel my cheeks crease upward into a smile.
Home can be so many things to so many different people. May the one inside us eventually give us a sense of peace.