My suitcase sits open on the floor, as it has for the past month, clothes semi-organized. The pieces worthy of hangers are strategically placed throughout the room so not to disturb my rentor’s territory. Attempting to be a mindful packer for this time away, I left many comforts behind: my cookbooks, the little crystals that sit on my side table, those shoes I love dearly but never wear. Mind you, I did bring four different types of lentils.

The absence of these things means I’m not home. And yet, I don’t have that feeling of unrest or nostalgia that often accompanies us on our travels. The feelings aren’t there at first, as the excitement of newness overpowers. After some time, once you realize how much you miss the speckled cereal bowl and the breakfast routine that accompanies it, those feelings start to creep in. You think it might be time to go home.

I needed to not be home. There’s a great deal of guilt that comes along with that, as my home is a good one. I fear sounding ungrateful for wanting to leave it all. But I knew if I didn’t get out, the comfort would soon swallow me whole, dampening this longing I had to be elsewhere. I wasn’t going to find peace by ignoring the urge and staying put.

This is what happens, right? We have our dreams, and eventually we find reasons to conclude they can’t be made possible. Our aspirations are defeated by life, and we settle for where we are. And our dreams change, too. We realize we don’t need the life we thought we wanted in order to be happy. In fact, we’re happier without it. But I think we owe it to our dreams to at least try—and really try: more than just dipping our toes, we ought to go in waist deep.

Perhaps a result of all the manifestation podcasts I listen to regularly, I was overcomplicating the situation terribly, as I always do. Toss aside all the limiting subconscious beliefs, the more complex reasons for why I might be feeling the way I was—what I really needed was just to be somewhere else. I’d get wherever I needed to go by leaving where I was.

I type this from my stoop of my temporary Brooklyn brownstone. Maybe I wish there was grass beneath my feet rather than concrete, but the chatter of the birds, the slight morning breeze makes up for the lack of green. And behind me, inside, the stairways are slightly tilted, the floors creak. The sunlight shines brightest in my bedroom in the morning and the kitchen in the evening. The wallpaper. All of this makes up for the lack of green, too.

There’s a constant buzzing in this city, and I don’t mean the noise. A liveliness that comes from people on a mission—tired, overworked people, but people with passion and determination. Big dreams. The energy blankets across the boroughs, incessantly humming. Yet I’m thoroughly exhausted. I wonder when that stops. Perhaps only if you’re fully committed to such a place, do you hold the spirit to thrive in it?

A deep breath of air is interrupted by some foul smell. I have to simultaneously look up for oncoming traffic and down for potential dog poop and miscellaneous oddities. My germaphobic ways are having a hard time adjusting to the subway. But even so, I walk down streets I’ve never before walked, passing people I’ve never seen before and will likely never see again, and I can’t help but marvel at the nature of it all.

A man on a bicycle rides by, reggae music playing from a speaker attached. The next biker has a small dog sitting in the backpack strapped to her chest. The buzzing.

I’ll be somewhere else soon, but this is nice.

Kelsey Gleason