- A member of a people that arrived in Europe in migrations from northern India around the 14th century, now also living in North America and Australia. Many Gypsy groups have preserved elements of their traditional culture, including an itinerant existence and the Romany language.
- One inclined to a nomadic, unconventional way of life.
- A person who moves from place to place as required for employment
By definitions two and three, I am a gypsy. Ironically, both of my parents only experienced one or two moves when they were growing up and it was generally in the same area. Yet, from the time I was born, my family and I relocated a lot. People are often surprised to hear the number of times I’ve moved is beyond 17. The majority of it was work related. When I was six my dad became the manager of a movie theater. After he finished training we were transferred to Rochester, MN. A couple of years later we were transferred to Dubuque, IA. After five years in the theater business, he decided to become a preacher, which opened a new chapter to our lives (or several, I should say). It allowed our family to experience life in places we might have never lived otherwise.
While I have no roots in any one location, I have spent the most time in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and therefore consider it my hometown. Located alongside the Mississippi River, it is the largest city on Wisconsin’s western border with a population of approximately 52,440 people. My years in that city have been broken up by various moves covering five different time periods of my life. It was where I was born, it was where my brother was born, it was where I lived in a duplex on the floor above my cousins, it was where I started elementary school, and it was where I lived when I was fourteen.
Dubuque, Iowa holds the most memories, so I consider that the city that I grew up in. It was where we started homeschooling, where we made good friendships that still exist today, it is where my little sister was born, where we got our dog Cooper and lived near a trail and pond. There are many, many memories in that city.
Yet, of all the places I have lived, Prophetstown, Illinois is still my favorite to this day. I spent two years in that tiny town. With a population of a little over 2,000, they are a strong farming community. My family had the opportunity to rent a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. I loved nearly everything about the house, the land, and the community. We were surrounded by corn from local farmers, and we had barns and silos in our backyard. The traffic was scarce, the land was flat, and the stars were bright from no city lights to outshine them. I loved it.
Remember, home is where the heart is. It doesn’t have to be in one location, but wherever you find joy and connections. Whatever draws you to the road this summer, whether it be for work, a change of address, or for fun, I hope you enjoy your experience. I hope you enjoy the sound of the engine purring, the feel of the road beneath your tires. I hope you observe both the big cities and the small because there is life all around you. And when you are driving, and the car begins to feel a little too quiet, here is a playlist for you to enjoy:
- Wake Me Up by: Avicii
- Maybe Train by: Carly Rae Jepsen vs Ozzy Osbourne
- I Bet My Life by: Imagine Dragons
- Somebody Like You by: Keith Urban
- Summertime by: Kenny Chesney
- Take a Back Road by: Rodney Atkins
- Shake it Off by: Taylor Swift
- Chicken Fried by: Zac Brown Band
- Bills (Clean) by: LunchMoney Lewis
- Good Directions by: Billy Currington
- Mama Tried by: Merle Haggard
- Jump Right In by: Zac Brown Band
- Springsteen by: Eric Church
- Dirt Road Anthem by: Jason Aldean
- Heartbeat Song by: Kelly Clarkson
- Grillz (Clean) by: Nelly
- Blank Space by: Taylor Swift
- I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by: The Proclaimers
- Shut Up and Dance by: Walk the Moon
- Knee Deep by: Zac Brown Band ft. Jimmy Buffet
Until next time,