Think about your hometown; the place you grew up. Do you still live there?
I grew up in a small town in Derbyshire.
I never left.
Despite going to university twice, I could never quite tear myself away from the place I call home.
Except, I’m starting to regret that now.
For the past few years, I’ve been resenting my hometown a little. In fact, sometimes, it gets really bad – And I mercilessly slag it off to anyone within earshot.
I shouldn’t complain. It’s quite pretty. We’ve even got a Costa now. In fact, we’ve well and truly caught up with the twenty-first Century by getting a Poundland, and a Greggs, and a fibreglass life-size model of Mr. Potato Head. (Oh, is that just us? Okay then…)
It’s just, I’ve got itchy feet.
When I was a teenager, I always imagined I’d move to London. Even though I’d no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted it to be in London. By the time I hit my late teens, the capital seemed like a scary place, and I totally fell out of love with the idea.
I’m not a city girl, at heart.
I’m just a small town girl… Living in a lonely world – except I haven’t taken a midnight train going anywhere. (Mainly because East Midlands Trains stop calling at my local station at 11pm, so…)
The most exciting news story to come out of my town lately is that we’re losing our McDonald’s! Bad news for the teenagers that use it as a meet-up place and intimidate the hell out of everyone else by obtrusively washing their Big Macs down with alcopops on the wall outside, but it’s hardly front page news. Nor is it the end of the world. It’s a relatively sleepy town, and while I’m ever grateful for that, it sometimes feels… bland.
But I know I’d struggle to cope with city life, at least initially.
I’m a country girl, who’s built for tranquility, endless green fields, and driving along country lanes. Not a cacophony of city bustle, endless grey, and motorways dominated by burly men with road rage.
Though I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to see people I grew up with living in other places, and doing so well for themselves. Especially when those of us who’ve stayed put seem to be doing comparatively worse, on the surface of things.
For starters, Derbyshire isn’t exactly brimming with journalism opportunities. So, when I do actually manage to wangle myself a shift in a newsroom somewhere, I end up on exhaustingly long commutes. (Let’s face it, who can be their best self and show off their shiny newsgathering skills when they’ve been up since 5am, had three hours sleep, and then spent two and a half hours facing a stranger’s BO-ridden armpit on a cramped and rickety old train?)
I don’t want to leave my family behind either. That’s been a huge factor in keeping me here.
Let’s be honest, there’s nowhere else for me to go right now anyway.
Unless I get a job out of a commutable distance, I can’t see myself escaping the clutches of the place I grew up.
Whether I’m making excuses not to be bold and make the big move, or whether I’ve got nothing to leave my hometown for right now – I’m guessing I’m going to be stuck here for quite a while yet.
And I do love Derbyshire, as a whole. It’s the best county. No debate.
I just never thought I’d still be here in my mid-twenties.