How mobile are you?

Amish School Lanc PAI’ve been traveling back to Poland so a little late with a post today. En route from Raleigh-Durham to London we had some sort of a radar malfunction (sounds scarier than it was; happily the plane could still fly) that necessitated a detour stop in New York so that they could fix the issue.  Two hours later we were in the air again, but it set the whole schedule back.  The joy of flying!  But as I always say–no complaints as long as I get there.

This is a photo of a friend’s childhood school in northern Lancaster County. He still lives in the area, not far from here.  Though Amish move a good bit, a lot stay right where their roots are.  It must be nice to have your school and youth-years stomping grounds a stone’s throw away.

Come to think of it I was fortunate to basically have the same growing up.  I didn’t have to go through the trauma of moving around a lot as a child; in fact we lived the whole time in the same house. It would be hard to think of it in someone else’s hands.  It is my parents’ place, and when I am there it of course still feels like home, and it did for the past 4 weeks.

Statistically speaking I wonder how many Americans never move.  A third? A half?  Those guesses both seem kind of high, given how mobile people are in the US, uprooting for work and opportunity (Poles on the other hand are less mobile).

I’ve moved around a lot since leaving home at age 18, but I’m glad I was able to be in one place in my younger years–and still have a place to go back to that says “home”.   In a way I guess I’ve had both experiences.

How about you–have you moved around a lot, or basically stayed put?

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    1. Margaret

      I moved A LOT as a child – 7 times. My father was transferred all over central KS with his job. My husband lived in the same town and house his entire life, until he left home for college. Since we have been married (33 years), we have lived in 6 different places – 3 different states. The longest we have lived anywhere is now – for 16 years. My husband adjusted very well to moving – he has wanderlust in his heart!

      Moving so much helped me to realize the importance of family. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and that was priceless to me and my 2 brothers. I’m also very close to both of my brothers, and I think that is because we depended on each other for friendship and encouragement through all our moves.

      There were times I wished we stayed in one place, so I would now have a friend who would have really known me my whole life. But, the lessons I learned, and the experiences I’ve had, have made me into who I am today. And, I believe that is what God wanted for me.

      And, who knows, we may move a time or two more before all is said and done, and I wouldn’t mind at all! :0)

    2. Marilyn from NY

      How mobile are you?

      When I grew up we lived in three houses. One I don’t really remember because I was so small when we moved. The second house we lived in a few years. The third one was a house my Dad had always wanted even as a child. I was about 5 or 6 when we moved in that one and lived there until I was in my 20’s-my parents retired to Florida. Since I graduated high school I have lived in 17 different places-in two different states-if I counted them all. I moved from New York to Florida to take care of my parents when they got sick. After they passed away, I moved back to New York. I had houses, mobile home, apartments, full-time RV, and more apartments. Right now I live in an apartment but long to hit the Recreation Vehicle Full Time road again. What holds me is the price of gas.

    3. I haven’t moved that much. I lived in one house until I was 2 and then we moved to the house I lived in the rest of my childhood. I have moved three times as an adult within the town I moved to for my studies. I plan to move at least once more in life but I might choose to move more times than that in the end. I’m a person who puts roots down deep and moving is not easy for me. I love the town I live in now but we might end up moving to be closer to my partner’s parents and frankly I feel bad about just thinking about it but it will be so if it is for the best of everyone.

    4. Moving around

      We moved around a bit until I was 13 after that our family stayed put. We sold the house when our mother passed. We had lived in it since 1963 and the house was sold in 2000. Eric you are right that it is nice to have a place that is “home”>

    5. I think we have moved since getting married almost as many times as I have fingers and toes. You learn not too accumulate so much. 🙂
      I remember an Amish fellow in Holmes County who said he had never moved in his life, and he was an older man. When he came of age, his parents moved (probably to a doughty house) and he took over the home place.
      My dad’s side of the family seem to have a bit of frontiersman spirit in them. At least that is what I blame my mobility on. 🙂 I enjoy going new places.

    6. Galen

      I grew up 30 mins south of Boston, and once 18, I moved to the “big city,” which at that point, to me, was Boston. As a teen the excitement of the constant goings on and “Store 24” which was open 24 hrs hence it’s name. I would visit my relatives in the Lancaster area and always wonder if I could live there. What would it be like? It wasn’t long before I began to long for grass and an actual parking space instead of the usual morning greeting of that orange monster (a ticket) on my windshield. I moved 45 mins north of Boston to an old seaport town, Newburyport. I love old homes and although some can be found in the Lancaster area, nothing compares to New England. Most of my relatives have remained in PA and about half took over their old homestead. In looking back at it today as a result of Erik’s post, life does appear simpler and almost more sheltered/protected in the Lancaster area compared to Boston, or even Newburyport.

      I like to vacation in Intercourse, PA, and it is a different type of vacation than when I visit Hawaii. The “noise” stops in Lancaster, while Hawaii is China’s Florida. Thanks for sharing Erik.

    7. Christine

      As the only child of a military family, the one recurring wish I had as a child, and even as an adult, was for an extended family I knew and place to call home. That never happens with military kids because even as adults we still never have a place to truly call home. I attended 11 schools in 12 years. My parents had this idea that if we lived in “normal” neighborhood, my life would be more normal. In fact, it was much worse, for other parents thought of us a transients and military family’s were looked down upon.
      Perhaps this is why I’ve always had such an interest in the Amish way of life – their close family ties and spirituality. I entered a cloistered Monastery at 18 and it quickly became my family.It is lovely for those who have a house they grew up in, or family still a part of their lives. Blessings on all!

      1. Carolyn B

        Attn: Christine

        Christine, are you still in the cloister? What religious faith, if I may ask? Are you or your order on Facebook?
        I am trying to follow the goings on of a Catholic religious order, Sisters of the Lamb of God, on Facebook and am interested in other women’s religious orders. God bless,

        1. Christine

          Carolyn B

          Carolyn, I have not been in the cloister (RC) for many years, but thought I would return when my children were adults and settled. I still have many close connections to and remain in touch with many friends in communities throughout the U.S. and U.K.. If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to write:

          1. Military family moving experience

            Christine I kind of had the military family experience in mind when I wrote this. I’ve always thought that would be one with some big positives and big negatives. The exposure to different places/languages/cultures vs. being constantly uprooted. I once thought I might like to work in the State Dept. until thinking about the regular periodic moving from country to country. Sounds fun but it’s a regular uprooting and limited control over where you end up.

            1. Christine

              Erik, it is true moving every few years has big positives and negatives. By the time I was 11 yrs old we had traveled throughout the U.S. a few times and already visited Niagara Falls, the Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon & Painted Desert. We spent nights in old fashioned family run motels on what is now Historic Rt 66 (love Rt 66!). It gave me a great love and reverence for this country and our diversity. As an adult I’ve enjoyed visiting Europe – Poland is on my list of must visit countries!
              All that moving made it very easy to make friends, but also very easy to attach to people…strange enough, I’m also painfully shy. By not living on base it left me in a kind of military kid limbo – living on base, especially in other countries, gives military kids a huge connection. Thanks for posting the the question – have enjoyed hearing everyone’s growing up history.

          2. lisa kuhn


            hi christine and caroline, forgive me if i misunderstand yr thread, but a good friend of mine, rather late in life, decided to become both rc and a sister – the dominican sisters of hawthorne, which was started by a relative of the writer of nathanial hawthorne. they take care of persons who are dying and seem to be a happy community. i just noted you were interested in women’s orders. if this doesn’t pertain, just ignore it 😉

            1. Christine


              Hi, Lisa,
              Thank you for your kind response. I am not interested in religious, but was a member of a monastery some years ago for a time.
              How wonderful for your friend to hear God’s invitation to both Catholicism and religious life. I know the The Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne very well; They do have an age limit of 50 and aspirants must be in very good health since their ministry of caring for the dying is physically and emotionally challenging. Will hold your friend in prayer that she will find the community is her home and persevere.
              Thanks again!

            2. Carolyn B

              Re: RC & Cloisters

              Thanks, Lisa, for the information. I appreciate it.

    8. Carolyn B

      I lived in my childhood home for my 1st 18 years. My parents sold that home & moved within my 1st 2 weeks of college. Coming home for Labor Day weekend, I had to call for directions because I hadn’t even seen the new house yet!
      As an adult on my own, I now have lived in my present home longer than my childhood home which is great because with my disability & neatness craze I’d hate to pack up all this junk any time soon.

    9. Roberta Klooster

      I was in the same country home outside of a small town in PA through college. We moved to the Washington, D.C. area then where my husband got a job with the government. I was in that area until retirement 11 years ago when we moved to a more rural area. My husband has a country background too and we are so glad to be living away from the city! I am blessed that my brother still owns 5 acres of our family homestead and lives there – so I can go back and reminisce. I feel very blessed.

    10. Lee Ann

      We moved from the big city to the country when I was three. Lived in that house for 3 years and then my parents bought the house they are still in. Us kids stayed in the same house, same town our whole lives. Grew up to have friends from toddlerhood. One of my friends now lives just two blocks away from me here in az.

      I left home at the age of 17 for college and moved around some with my marriage. Hoping to stay in this town the rest of my life. Kind of funny to have a childhood friend living 2 blks away that just lived around the corner growing up! Nice to have that childhood friend still close by. Her dad still lives in the house she grew up in.

    11. Alice Mary

      Not all that mobile

      I lived in the same house for 19 years. My parents lived there nearly all their married life (Dad died at age 54 in 1966, Mom at 64 in 1978). The house was a two-flat, bought by my dad and his siblings (2 brothers, 1 sister…another sister died at 16)for their mother, my “upstairs Busia”.Obviously, she lived upstairs and my 2 sisters, parents & I lived downstairs, in a 2-bedroom flat. I moved with my boyfriend (my husband of nearly 38 years)into an apt., then another apt., then our first, second, interim, and third house, which we’ve lived in now for 23 years.

      I like to stay put—if I can! Our junk-filled basement is just too daunting to think of cleaning out in order to move again! 🙂


    12. Lee Ann

      Alice Mary, this is why the military move so often I suppose, keep down the clutter! With the moves I had to make with my husband as he moved up the corp. ladder, I learned to keep clutter to a min. Less to pack up and move! We moved with three kids in tow 6 times in 5 years. Hated the moves as did the kids, but they ended back in the same town where they were born and finished school there.

      As we age, we tend to downsize, which I did a few years ago. Letting go of alot of stuff (to the kids and donations) and moved to Phx again and hope to stay here.

    13. lincolnlady1121

      How Mobile are you?

      I have moved to all those places and now am back to my old hometown where I was born and raised. I guess the Wizard of Oz says it: “There’s no place like home.”

    14. Darlene

      When my parents brought me home from the hospital I spent my first night in the same room that I spent my last night…the night before my wedding. My parents have lived in the same house for over 50 years. Every memory I have of everything in my life (up to marriage) is of that one place.

      I agree with you Erik, it’s hard to imagine it in some else’s hands. However, I know the day will come when the house will belong to someone else and it will be odd to drive by and look up at my bedroom window (and it will always be MY bedroom window) and know that a stranger lives there.

      As for my adult life, one move from apartment to first house and then another move with our then 18 month old son to our current home. My daughter has never lived anywhere else. We’ve been here 11 years this year and considering we just put in a pool and deck last summer… we aren’t going anywhere either!

    15. Katrina

      I guess I inherited the “restless” gene in our family. My siblings still live in the same city where we grew up,& they wouldn’t dream of moving. I, on the other hand, tend to want to move every eight years or so, to completely different areas of the country from wherever I am currently living. I can always find a reason to move elsewhere if an area catches my interest. I currently live in an area that I enjoy very much: very mild winters with no snow or ice and hot blazing summers. This is a place I would like to stay until I retire. And yes, I already have a place in mind to retire to.

    16. Thanks to all who’ve shared, I’ve really enjoyed reading the various different experiences people have had. I have to say I don’t have quite the itchy feet I once did which is probably just a natural part of adding years 🙂

      1. lisa kuhn


        hi, i grew up in san francisco which i loved; it was not too big a city, only 7 sq miles (many people think it is much bigger)and very diverse, so i learned tolerance and to be interested in people from all over the world. plus, there were great parks, museums, the beautiful bay, wonderful food, lovely art etc. we lived in a few different houses right in the city and i spent most of my time in golden gate park. i also had a truly great public h.s. but it was not a district h.s.; it was for ‘high achievers’. one of our current supreme ct justices went there.
        as soon as i turned 18 after h.s. but before university, i traveled alone for 5 months all over europe, starting on valentine’s day – so it was cold!! it was quite an adventure – not so much fun as educational.
        i then went back to s.f. to university where i studied first english, then comparative literature, then went half way thru law school until i became too ill, then got my english teaching credential and taught until i was too sick for that too. meanwhile, tho, i kept traveling – 13 solo trips to europe mostly for about a month each, plus summer studies in spanish at the u.of guadalajara, living w a mexican family, then i was invited on a trip to hong kong which i loved, with a detour to china. finally, after my mom died in 1997, i decided to move to france, partly as i didn’t have much holding me in s.f., partly for a change and to push myself to improve my french and to be open to another culture, and partly in the hopes of getting medical insurance, which turned out to be true. so i am covered at 100% for almost everything due to being disabled.
        i met my scottish husband here then built a wood house here – very unfrench! i miss many things about the bay area, esp perhaps the ocean and the food, but i never regretted moving here, tho it certainly was not easy to do on my own! i’ve been here since 1998.

    17. Jessica M

      Let’s see… my parents moved us when I was 1, 2, 2 (we moved twice that year), 3, 3 (Another twice move), 5, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, and 19. They have now been in the same house for 15 years, but I have since moved one more time and am hoping to make another move this summer. I find the older I get, the more I get to wanting to wander. I think I like starting over where no one knows me and discovering new areas and scenery. On the other hand, I have also wished I could live in the same town all my life and know people I grew up with. All my extended family live in several different states and we only see each other if my parents and I go visit them. They never come to us. Over the years I have lived in the states of Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and California.

    18. OldKat

      Not very it seems.

      Sorry I am coming to this party so late. Couldn’t participate when this was all current as we were moving! Actually “we” weren’t moving; we were moving our daughter to another state where she is starting her first full time job this Friday. BTW: Thanks to those of you that were praying for her as she negotiated her way through that mine field known as grad school and was finishing up her dissertation. She is almost done now and soon will be the first PhD in either side of our immediate families!

      While my family has owned the house that my parents were living in when I was born since 1952; our Dad has been gone since in 1979 and our mom has been in an assisted living center for the past three plus years. I have rented the home out to my niece and she and her older sister are both hopeful they will be the one to buy it; which would be nice in either case. Living in the same home, in the same community for the first 18 years really helped me be more grounded when I left for college. I had a real sense of who I was and what I was all about that made being away from home for the first time much more manageable. We have tried really hard to provide that same advantage for our two children. We are living in the same now nearly 100 year old home we purchased in April of 1985, when our daughter was only 18 months old. That is the only home either of our kids can remember and the only one our son ever lived in until he left for college. I think that being raised in a town of less than 4,000 people has really fostered a sense of community and belonging in our kids that many young adults today cannot identify with. Ironically we moved three times in the first 11 months that we were married, but only twice in the intervening 33 years; staying 6 years in one place and then moving only about 20 miles to our current location nearly 27 years ago.

      We are now looking forward to retirement and are thinking about a move to a community some 175 miles northeast of us. It would put us about halfway between our daughter and the bulk of either of our families. It would put us about 2 hours away from our beloved alma mater and our son and daughter-in-law. We would also be less than an hour from my best friend from college and his wife. Most interestingly, by sheer coincidence, the majority of the guys that were my closest friends in junior high and high school have ended up living in or near our potential retirement community. It would be great to get reacquainted with those guys again after all these years. It is a beautiful spot, located near some wonderful recreational areas and with easy access to some nice highways we could use to get out on the road with the 5th wheel trailer that we intend to purchase. The only downside is that it is the hometown of our arch rival university and I am not sure that I could tolerate all of that obnoxious purple that they wear over there! Interesting subject, Erik

      1. Great to hear about your daughter Oldkat. Congrats! And sounds like you have had mobility on the mind in more ways than one 🙂 It must be hard to consider leaving a place you’ve spent over a 1/4 century in.