Way back in February 2016, my wife and I quit our jobs. We moved our furniture back to my parents house and moved the dog over to her parents. We had been dreaming of a trip for the last three years. We had been planning for three months. We were leaving the country and had no idea when we would return. We knew where we were starting, but had no idea where it would all end.
All we knew was when we got back to the USA, we would be moving to Portland, Oregon.
We are both from Alabama. With the exception of the last three years in Atlanta, GA, we had always lived in Alabama. And we did not want to come back. It's not the state. It's the weather.
I could not handle the heat anymore. After a fair amount of research, with a focus on cooler climates, close access to the ocean, and a place to snow ski during the winter, I had found the perfect place. We didn't know what we would do or how we would find jobs, but we both agreed that the southeast was too hot to handle.
So we left Alabama on March 1st, thinking it would be a long time before we lived there again, if ever.
Some time around mid-April, probably around the city of Burgos, in Spain, my wife and I picked up a couple of friends along the Camino de Santiago. One from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, and one from Calgari, Sardinia, Italy a lovely little island in the middle of the Mediterranean. They were both wonderful people, full of life and joy, and good humor. They were also from areas of their country known for having an accent. An accent which people think is funny sounding. And looked down on.
Ring any bells?
We all seemed to have a kinship of being people trying to find their way (which is what the Camino is all about, I think). And for all of us, with the exception of my wife, we had no clue where the way was or even why we were on the Camino. Or if we would ever find out. But as we got to know each other, laugh with one another, bitch, moan, and learn Italian curse words, I realized that each of these people loved where they were from in spite all of the problems of their locale.
And I have always loved Birmingham. I love Lakeview at 4 AM, Thirsty Thursday at a Baron's game, Legion Field, the Alabama Theatre, and living right on the backside of Vulcan. Most of all I loved Pete's Famous Hot Dogs.
So after we left the Camino, and passed through Portugal and Morocco, we were in Italy. We were living the high life. Except for the fact that I still had no clue what I was gonna do when we eventually made our way back stateside. But an idea had been germinating since somewhere near León. And at dinner one night in Rome, I finally vocalized what I had been thinking about for the past month. I told my wife I wanted to move back to the city I love and care about. I want to tell people about Birmingham. I want to show people around, to show off all the great and wonderful things happening in the city.
But Birmingham isn't all great and that has to be shown too. It has a dark, bleak past not just confined to the 1960's. That's what I've been reading and learning. It's what you'll learn too.
So we're back in Bham. I'm doing tours. And it's 90 degrees in mid-October. We're crazy.