The Real Life Runaway stories are a monthly true story about someone who once ran away from home. Whether they moved away for the first time, like in this story, studied abroad, or literally ran away, these stories are all about our common desires for exploration, fresh starts, and clean slates.
I was 23 with the world ahead of me when I ran away from home. The world ahead of me happened to be Minneapolis, or #MPLS as the locals call it. I moved from Dallas to Minneapolis with my coupe ford focus, Bonnie. We ran away together in November of 2015 with 4 boxes, 1 TV, 1 guitar and 2 Ikea lamps. (They kind of looked like Pixar lamps.)
(My apartment when I try to look cool on Instagram, feat. pixar lamp)
That’s all I wanted to pack because it would make my running away from home story more epoch (see what I did there?). Here’s some free advice: don’t do what I did. Having things like beds and couches are plenty epoch.
So we ventured and trekked and journeyed to #MPLS, and I’ve realized something you should know: no one tells you the things you actually need to know about running away from home. Hopefully I can help with these three things no one told me about how to pack for running away from home.
It matters what you take with you.
Post-quitting my job in Dallas and pre-starting my job in Minneapolis I wrote down what I wanted my dream life to be like when I ran away. I dreamed all the dreams, and life was full of expectation and hope. I didn’t need to bring a lot of things with me because I was full of aspirations and journal entries. I would highly recommend this because eventually life will suck and the thing that’s going to keep you going is why you ran away in the first place. We all run away for different reasons, so whatever yours are, make sure they’re good enough to rely on when life sucks.
Some things just come with you whether you like it or not.
What you take with you is your choice, but what comes with you is chosen for you. You can only run away from these things for so long. The baggage you were trying to run away from has legs for days. The fresh “sparklyness” of your new home will wear off. One day you’ll wake up and be left with yourself and you may not like what you’re left with. Here’s what happened to me:
When I moved I was “talking” to a girl in Dallas. She was great and I had a limited about of friendships no friends so we just kept talking. It’s not that I didn’t like her but I knew (kind of) it wasn’t right and wasn’t going to last. I kept it going a lot longer than I needed to because of one reason: comfort.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s been a couple months and I’ve come to accept it’s true. Judge me, but you move away to a place where you only know two people. If there is someone willing to talk to you for hours and keep you from being lonely you might do the same thing. It’s terrible, but it gets better because I learned something even worse about myself: I sometimes use people for my personal comfort. What I thought was a one-time relationship thing became my personal MO. I would call friends and family when I needed something from them. I would reach out when I was bored or lonely or needed someone. I was the worst. I thought leaving home would rid me of this, but it found its way in without me asking. I’m working on this and it’s getting better, but I’m learning that just because you don’t pack something doesn’t mean it isn’t coming along for the ride. Here’s my suggestion: unpack it, deal with it, and don’t run away from it. It might be easier to run away from your new home, but you can’t leave you behind.
The only thing that matters is what you do with what you have.
It’s been about 8 months and Minneapolis is home enough for me to not get lost on my way to work and the places I love to go. There are baristas who know my name and a couple of friends I would be sad about leaving. I’ve learned more about myself than I ever cared to know. My cross-country journey with Bonnie will be one that changes me forever. What I’m learning about running away from home is that there’s truth to the resounding cliché that home is what you make it.
(My normal view from my favorite coffee shop Urban Bean)
There are days when I want to pack Bonnie up and run away again and days when I want to sell Bonnie for a bike and never leave. I don’t know if I’ll run away from home again, but I know if I do, what I pack will be different.
I’m Stewart Poindexter, and I didn’t have the heart to talk about myself in the third person. I’m a writer, filmmaker and photographer. I have a blog of my own, Thank God for the Summertime, and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.
Also, I love to write and would love to write for you in some capacity if you want. My email is stewartpoindexter @ gmail.com so let’s talk!