Stories from the Road

September | Don’t It Always Seem To Go

It’s an old saying that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, and the same goes for your hometown when you move away. Moving from Raleigh, a mid-size area of a million people, to DC, the nation’s capital full of six million people, is a jump in and of itself, and the culture of each city is noticeably different. Though each are rapidly growing cities full of international transplants, Raleigh proudly displays a noticeably deep-rooted homegrown flavor, while DC has little local spirit weaving it together.

Coming from Raleigh, where people move to because they love the woodsy, hilly feel of the area and the draw toward the technical and medical sectors, it’s a bit strange to be in DC, where people move to because they have top secret jobs with high security clearance, where they can’t tell you where they work or what they do but keep an air of mystery wrapped tightly around their words. I’m just as likely to run into a tourist as I am someone who actually lives there, and it’s not always clear who is who because native DC-ers are much like the rest (minus the bad city driving).

It’s also strange to me that a bigger city with greater opportunities is less accessible. Raleigh is a great hub for exploring the wider area around it, but when you’re in DC, you’re pretty much just in DC. Despite having a car and despite DC being in a central location to a number of other big cities, I never once ventured further than half an hour outside the city. Once you’re in the DC grid, going somewhere even two miles away can require a 45 minute metro ride, and it’s just not worth it most of the time.

I was aware of the struggles a big city brings and I haven’t changed my mind about living in a big city, but it is a work in mental, emotional progress to get used to a city that requires a wholly different mindset to navigate and fit in.

Kate is the snapshots editor of Atlas Addict. Catch her on instagram @bluejacketgirl.

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