I’ve long considered Charleston more of my “home” than Atlanta. While I was raised in Georgia, Charleston is where I did most of my growing up and what made me into the person I am today. It’s where I learned to live with others, where I balanced work and play, where I found out the hard way that college guys don’t want relationships.
There are still so many things I love about the place: people watching on King Street, boozy Sunday brunches at A.C.’s, watching the sun set over the dock at Bowen’s Island, my many college friends still residing there, long walks down to the Battery and the Saturday morning farmer’s market. I get excited anytime I get to tell someone the places they should visit or show them around the city, as I got to do with Christine and Renee.
But on my most recent trip the ugly truth finally took over: this place is no longer home. I will always have fond memories of Charleston and will continue to visit often, but it’s not a place I can move back to, not now anyways. I can’t recreate my four years there because I’m not a carefree college girl anymore. My college friends now have real jobs, fiances and houses. My beloved “Radcliffe Brothel,” the name we gave my house, has been sold, remodeled and featured in the New York Times. My favorite dives are now fine dining restaurants. Hipsters have claimed my fair city to join the ranks of Austin and Portland.
I picture what my life back in Charleston would be like. I’d be working late hours at a restaurant and struggling to pay for the run down Charleston single house I had to live in. I wouldn’t have much time to hang out with friends because I would be working so much. I wouldn’t be traveling or writing nearly enough for my appetite. I would try to subsist on my love for the city alone, which isn’t possible or fair. So instead, I choose to explore and find a new “home.” I’m going to stay in a few places throughout the South for a few months at a time, gathering research for my Southern blog I’m trying to launch. The current plan is to start with New Orleans in January.
I know I will be back in Charleston sometime, especially with the number of weddings I’ve already been invited to, but Charleston and I just can’t be together anymore. We’ve given it four years and I think that’s a pretty admirable relationship.