As you could tell from last week's post, it's definitely no secret that my husband Kyle and I travel, a lot! And we enjoy it... It keeps life interesting that's for sure! No, we don't travel between and through many states or very "long" distances; we travel right in our backyard throughout central Illinois and Indiana.
I am from a teeny, tiny town called Sheldon, Illinois and my husband is from another small town, just down the road, oh you know, thirty miles or so. We are incredibly used to driving around from place to place because we come from such small communities, and we genuinely enjoy that.
If you need gas, well, you're going to have to drive nearly 15 minutes to fill up your tank. This makes for lots of time spent in the car running back and forth, but it also makes for a fulfilling lifestyle and time to (honestly) reflect while we drive from place to place to get groceries, go to an appointment, or to stop by and say "hello" to a friend.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love and cherish the lifestyle of the community that I grew up in. Yes, everyone knows who you are and what you're doing, but with that comes a great sense of community support and love. It's like one big family because those whom you surround yourself with become family in addition to your family!
Now that we have lived in Jacksonville for a couple of years, yes, it is still a small(er) community, but it is definitely different than the home we know. I find that I can get "stuck" in Jacksonville for days traveling 4 blocks back and forth to campus without ever leaving town. This is so strange to me!
Last fall, I remember that I didn't leave town for over a week, which doesn't seem like long, and then I felt like I had somehow missed harvest. So much work was done over that week and I missed it.
Coming from a small farming area you don't miss harvest. Let me rephrase, you can't miss harvest. It is everywhere. My dad works in agriculture, my uncle, and other family members as well, so it truly is a part of everyone where I'm from.
That's what is so different about living in a town of 19,000 where you have everything you need within the city limits. It has definitely been an adjustment, but change is always a good thing!
Living in a little big of a larger community really makes you appreciate where you came from and reflect on the lifestyles. I know we are talking about a three hour drive between my first home and my home now, but it is definitely something new.
Even with these small differences, I still feel a great sense of community where I am now. The people are welcoming with open arms and so supportive. The community has many resources to help, support, and connect people, which is so encouraging! I love the sense of community that I find in Jacksonville.
I am so proud of my roots, and Kyle and I hope that our careers allow us to return to our roots in the future for more than just weekend visits. No matter what, I can't imagine living anywhere without a strong sense of community. For us, what's not to love about community, support, and being surrounded by those you love?