When I arrived in Lincoln County from Tennessee late in March, I had to adjust to this area, as I’ve had to adjust to all of the other areas I’ve lived in.

I’d be lying if I said it’s been an easy adjustment.

I’m an African-American from the Carolinas with a city mentality, so in an almost lily-white rural area like Lincoln County, I stick out like my sister’s double-jointed thumb. I can’t exactly “blend” into the scenery, not even at three in the morning, so I haven’t always felt comfortable at times here.

(By the way, I’m sleeping at 3 a.m., like everyone else, unless I get a breaking emergency call.)

Throughout it all, the people here have been very welcoming, so the adjustment hasn’t been as difficult. That’s a good thing, because there’s still winter and basketball season to look forward to!

I’m a gypsy who has called nine states – and even more area codes – home. Motion couldn’t picture the things I’ve seen, and the places I’ve been (get it?).

I can’t say I have a favorite place, because every time I say that, I end up in a place even more beautiful and fun. 

I transferred to Lincoln County from the mountains of Tennessee. As nice as they looked, mountain life and country music is not for a coastal kid who grew up on hip-hop and jazz. Give me my beaches any day! Enough said.

People crap on the West Coast because of its politics and its weird lifestyles. No view is more amazing than having lunch in downtown Portland, Oregon – and seeing Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens from your table along the Willamette River. And, no, I never worried about any volcanic eruptions while I lived there!

However, the people of Portland are a little on the weird side. Weird enough that a pretty successful TV comedy series that ran for seven years was created about them. It’s a pretty funny show, and worth checking out.

It did suck having to get up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning to watch my South Carolina Gamecocks play, especially after having fun on a Friday night due to being three hours behind in another time zone.

Working in Lancaster, Ohio as a part-time sportswriter was part of the classic “travel phase.” Lancaster reminds me the most of Lincoln County in that it is located in a rural county less than an hour, or in this case, 30 minutes from a major city. Fairfield County, Ohio is part of the Columbus metropolitan area, but a world away, kinda like Lincoln County is from St. Louis.

Southern Illinois is not Chicago, not by a long shot! I can’t say I really enjoyed my time there, though there are some really great people there. I spent my off-time in St. Louis more often than not, because there was really nothing to do there, to be frank about it. I do love Chicago though, despite what my fellow media members say about it – and it was a cheap train ride round-trip.

Florida is the most interesting state around, because it’s three states in one. We call the Panhandle “South Georgia” or “South Alabama,” because it’s ultra-conservative and everyone still has Southern accents. 

I lived in Central Florida, or the “I-4 Corridor,” the area along Interstate 4 that connects Daytona to Tampa. Orlando is a transient city where almost no one seems to be from Orlando, so I fit right in – which made those years so beautiful.

You almost need a passport to live in South Florida due to the number of Spanish and Creole-speaking residents there. My cousins are fluent in Spanish because they grew up in the Miami area, and my Spanish is passible enough to keep me out of trouble when I visit.

I wish I could have enjoyed Virginia and North Carolina out of uniform as a civilian. While I will always be proud of my military service, there was only so much I could have done when I lived there because of this little thing called the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 

With all the places I’ve lived in, two questions are always asked of me. Where will I go next? Will I ever go home?

The answer to both questions will always be “I don’t know,” because I will never know. I never knew I would ever end up in any of the other places. Life takes me where it wants me to go, and it took me back to the Midwest.

Maybe one day, it’ll finally take me back home…