The journey of a flatlander

Vermont is one of the most forgotten places within the United States, and Vermonters like it that way. Something I learned so far is that many do not like out-of-staters that much. 

Through my own “flatlander” eyes, I had some idea of Vermont. I knew it didn’t get much airtime on TV compared to California or New York. They’re one of the first states to be called in presidential elections, that’s probably the only time I would hear its name for a good portion of my life. 

So, when I came to Vermont for the first time last February, I did not know what to expect.

I knew I wanted to move somewhere other than my hometown. I grew up in a small Indiana town only about 40 minutes away from Chicago. It wasn’t the best place, to say the least. 

I remember the crime in my hometown and the struggles that came with growing up under the poverty line. I remember kids my age being gunned down just a few streets over from mine. I remember avoiding Gary, Indiana because it was dangerous to drive through. 

So, once college searching came around, I knew I could not stay in Indiana. I ended up applying to 11 schools geographically ranging from Montana to Maine. I even applied to a college in Sri Lanka as a joke (I got in somehow, I don’t even speak their language). 

I chose Castleton out of all of them because I knew that Vermont would be a place I’d like. It’s far, it’s safe, it’s beautiful, it has a culture.

Indiana and Vermont are different in a lot of ways, but in some ways are very similar. There are a lot of farms here, just like Indiana. A good amount of the farms here are on the side of mountains, which is crazy to me. Indiana’s highest point is a hill only reaching about 700 feet in elevation. I never even saw a mountain until I drove through Pennsylvania on my way to Washington DC.

I was out with friends on one of the first nights at Castleton, and I looked up at the sky. You can see every single star in the universe at night here. 

Because of Chicago’s big steel industry, pollution was insanely high in my area. Only on rare occasions you’d be able to watch the stars. The air in Vermont is way easier to breathe, Indiana has thicker air.

I can’t wait for the day I officially start my life here, buy a house here, raise my kids and start a family here. I’m not native, and I know to many that is a cardinal sin, but that’s ok. A green license plate or a huge investment into maple syrup won’t change where I’m from. 

I’m more happy that I am out of Indiana and have come to this beautiful state.


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