My first few weeks as both a New Hampshire resident and an employee of Yankee Publishing officially mark my transition from city-mouse office worker to semi-country-mouse assistant editor, and a simultaneous return to vehicle ownership, packed lunches, and the kind of workplace creative energy I haven’t felt since my days as an undergraduate. For a longtime city dweller like me, the transition has been a colorful one.
I grew up in Westford, Massachusetts -– a rural-suburban kind of town, meaning that I lived in a neighborhood with families, but we had room for a chicken coop in the backyard. Nature was readily available, and I spent a lot of time in the woods exploring.
After high school I went to college and then spent seven years in the Boston neighborhoods of Brighton, Brookline, and, most recently, Somerville. I commuted into the city for work by walking or public transportation. I didn’t own a car and didn’t want one, though sometimes – such as when I was trudging up the hill on Vinal Street, saddled down with overflowing canvas totes of groceries — I thought the convenience of trunk space was vastly underrated.
As the years went by, I began to miss the sights and sounds of rural New England, and the ease of quickly transporting myself into fresh country air and the beauty of a country drive or ocean swim. I got out of the city for daytrips and long weekends as often as possible, but it never seemed often enough.
I knew I was ready for a change, so when the opportunity to work for Yankee Publishing (beloved source of all things New England) as a full-time assistant editor in its Dublin, New Hampshire, headquarters presented itself a year later, I packed my bags and headed for the Monadnock region.
Instead of in Somerville, I now live in charming, historic Keene, New Hampshire, and I’ve swapped my MBTA Charlie Card for a car. Now, instead of a 40-minute city bus ride, my commute to work is half that and looks like this:
(In the spirit of full disclosure, however, I will say that the city bus was a heck of a lot cheaper.)
Instead of getting coffee from a large chain on my way into work, I make it at home or stop in at the Dublin General Store and refill my travel cup for 75 cents.
Instead of a high-rise Boston office building, I work here, at Yankee Publishing in Dublin. Behind these red walls a talented and passionate group of folks work hard to put together a magazine and a Web site that both celebrate and reflect the unique spirit of New England -– a mission I’m equally devoted to, and so proud to now be a part of.
In my first few weeks, I’ve been inspired by the energy and encouragement of my new coworkers, enjoyed lunch from a variety of local independent “general-store”-style cafés, and (last but not least) convinced myself that I do, in fact, remember how to drive.
Like any city mouse, I miss some of the urban benefits that I left behind, but I have no intention of turning back. I know that I’m a country mouse at heart, and I’m home.