I just left Columbus and I already miss it. And it’s hard for me to understand why..
I’ve got used to move from place to place, travel light and be only excited when had a chance to move to the next stop. I’m not used to develop attachment to places, and I definitely didn’t expect to do to place like Columbus – 2 years ago I didn’t even know about its existence. It’s in the middle of nowhere, far from the ocean, no mountains to climb, nothing particularly interesting to see! Only when I started to be an active member of Couchsurfing.org and host people who come to Columbus for travel or business I realized what I love about Columbus so much.
At the beginning I didn’t even know what to tell to people that come to Cbus, where they should go? Should they see downtown? In America almost all of them look the same. The zoo is great, but it’s far and impossible to get there without a car. Campus is beautiful and definitely worth walking around and get exposed to campus life. German village is just a bunch of nice and old buildings. And then I suggested them to do what I usually do during the weekends or after work – walk around Short North (the arts district, neighborhood where I lived) to check some galleries and murals, don’t forget to give a quarter or two to nicest homeless people that you will ever meet and hear the most sincere “Have a nice day sir!” Get a cup of coffee in one of the many local coffee shops, start a conversation with a people next to you, probably they will tell you something interesting. Go to the farmer’s market and learn about local agriculture, taste these amazing fruits and vegetables, and try to understand why it’s so difficult to grow organic food (a hint – big corporations and government subsidies for the plants that people don’t eat). Take a nap in Goodale Park. Get dinner at one of the amazing restaurants in the area. Don’t miss Happy Hour they are my favorite hours, especially because bars like Bodega or Surly Girl have great selection of beers on tap (and it’s so cheap!), but if you don’t like beer check the local meadery Brothers Drake, I’m sure you will find something that you like. Even if you by yourself, don’t worry, you will start talking with interesting people while you are trying to get to the bar, good conversations and good laugh promised. And after you done with drinks go get a pizza at Late Night Slice, probably you will wait for a while, but it worth it, and waiting in a line will become in experience on it’s own when you ask somebody near you about their night, probably they are drunk and bored so interesting story guaranteed.
And it’s just if you don’t want to leave the Short North. I can tell more or less the same about other good neighborhoods of Cbus – Clintonville, Short North, German Village, Brewery District, Grandview.
And now imagine doing that almost every week with my crazy friends. And during 2 years I met many of them. And I know that all of this sounds like a lot of eating, drinking and wandering around the city, but the only thing that adds a lot of meaning to that is friendship. And probably that the reason why I couldn’t understand at the beginning my attachment to Columbus, I looked for the reason in the place and not in the people. So no wonder why Epicurus said “Of all the means which wisdom acquires to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is friendship”.
During the last few weeks when I was packing and preparing my bike for the trip during the day and spending time with friend at evenings I also realized how many friends I have in Cbus and how great they are. I came to the city without knowing anyone and now it’s hard to believe that I leave and maybe will never see again many of these wonderful people.
Last weekend was a culmination of June, a month of preparing, everything was ready for the trip and I only stayed for Comfest. This festival is more symbol for me than a good music festival – even when from outside Columbus looks like a typical Midwestern city with vast suburbs and tons of boring and selfish people (all true by the way), but if you look inside you find wonderful people that created amazing alternative culture that made me happy. And even if there are not too many of them, sometimes it looks like they are the majority, and hopefully one day they will be.
“It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and honorably and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and honorably and justly without living pleasantly. Whenever any one of these is lacking, when, for instance, the man is not able to live wisely, though he lives honorably and justly, it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life.”
Epicurus, from Principal Doctrines
P.S I completely forgot to mention an amazing scene of local music, so check out one of my favorite bands here, “The Apes”.