On a trip hiatus – that’s our status. We spent three months in a continuous cycle of settling in and packing up across six states, and while making a clockwise loop around part of the western United States, our destination led us right back to where we started: Kansas.
The Sunflower State, which is where we’re rooted, gave us a much-needed pause and retreat of a different kind. No, Kansas doesn’t have grand tourist attractions, unless you’re considering the Wizard of Oz-themed businesses and extraordinarily Midwestern charms like gigantic balls of twine. But it’s a place where we’re surrounded by family and can ride through acres of untouched prairies by day and sit outside our camper against the backdrop of pastel sunsets by night.
Rather than driving on unfamiliar roads plotting out our next spot to temporarily call home, we’re parked in the backyard of a family member along a gravel road we could drive blindfolded. We haven’t climbed any mountains – we’re thankful that our hometown at least exists within the rolling hills of Kansas. We haven’t encountered any animals other than a few red foxes and the herds of cattle roaming our pastures. We haven’t signed up for any adrenaline-seeking expeditions but have off-roading vehicles, a flying machine, and miles of countryside to appease our appetites. We haven’t explored national parks or monuments but have found amusement and diversion in events like barbecues, weddings, wineries, fairs and festivals. We haven’t tried the newest restaurants or foodie stops, but why would you when the best cook you know lives next door?
While Kansas might not offer the traditional allures travelers seek, it has plenty if you know where to find it. And being former locals, we know just where to look. We plan to return to the nomadic life next month, but this break from mobile living has given us an outside perspective and admiration for a place some couldn’t locate on a map. (This is a true story. Many people have asked us where Kansas can be found in the U.S. when we list it as our former home.) Dorothy put Kansas in an unforgettable cliché when she said, “There’s no place like home.” Maybe we’re just fortunate to call this home ours.
*Photo of the Tallgrass Prairie taken by Jim Richardson