New York City gave me 3 things: the ability to maintain a neutral face while a person next to me urinates on the subway tracks, no upper body strength to speak of despite carrying 30-lb laundry bags multiple horizontal blocks, and the clap (once and I took care of it; it happened ONCE, okay?). It might have given me some other things, but I was too tired to notice. After 11 years, it was time for me to leave.
I had originally planned to move to upstate NY for a partner, but like 90% of geographical moves that are partly based on a romantic relationship, it fell through. Ultimately, this ended up being a very, very good thing even though it felt like the exact opposite of a good thing at the time. (It felt like the worst thing that's ever happened to me, actually, and a hookup once took me back to an AIR MATTRESS ON THE FLOOR so that's saying something). Having already given my landlord notice that I would be moving out, and leaping for JOY at the idea of no longer having to live above a musician with no concept of time (cut to me being woken up at 7:30am on a SATURDAY by an electric guitar), I decided to leave the city anyway. I dumped all my stuff at my parents' house in the suburbs for the summer, where I planned on finishing my fifth novel in peace. Then I came down with a case of Lyme's disease AND mono because my immune system is dramatic af. So instead of writing my book, I spent most of the summer drinking chicken broth and having daytime cold medicine-induced fantasies about Rob Delaney from Amazon's "Catastrophe," which I watched way too much of while I was battling an illness that made my face swell to twice its normal size.
But between my Rob Delaney daydreams, I started wondering (slash hallucinating): if I didn't want to move back to NYC, where did I want to move? I wasn't sure. There were, like, 6 cities I had always wanted to know what it'd be like to live in, but I didn't know any of them well enough to just pick up, move there for the course of a year-long lease, and commit to anything. What if I just, I dunno, drove cross-country and Eat, Pray, Love-d this shit? A friend of mine pointed out that my version would be more like Eat, Drive, Fuck and that sounded good to me. So that's what I'm doing. After all, "Now's the time to do it!" has been said to me more times than I've been solicited for a threesome on Tinder (and it's exactly the number you're thinking of if you quadruple it).
Everyone's been asking me for a rundown of places I'll be and dates (which I'll update as I go; I book my sublets in each city ~4 mos in advance so I don't have exact dates for everything yet). Here goes nothing:
If I don't end up in any of these cities permanently and decide to drive back to the East Coast, I'll be stopping in Minneapolis and Chicago on my way back. They're two cities I've always wanted to visit, but know I don't want to live in (too cold).
Here's what a random dude from OKCupid thought of my upcoming trip:
So here we go.
Passionate about everything having to do with the body, Dana Hamilton writes about sex, dating, relationships, body image, and eating disorder recovery. She is a regular contributor to Playboy and her work has appeared in VICE, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and SELF, among other publications.