Boston calling.

on April 26, 2012 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 44 comments by

In 2000, my three college friends and I spent our fall break in Boston. We stayed with some gals who had graduated before us, ate amazing Italian food, had a day outing to Martha’s Vineyard, and for me, it was my first big girl vacation [meaning I was traveling without a chaperone].

I fell in love with the city.

The history there amazes me. [I’m a history nerd, big time. Take me to Williamsburg and you have my undying affection.] The weather that last week of October was divine- it was literally everything I pictured New England to be. We ate lobster, with the guts still inside.

And deep in me, somewhere that I don’t see very much, I have always wished I would have applied to Harvard. Undergrad. Grad school. Anything. Maybe I still will, though Nashville has such a death grip on my heart that I can’t fathom leaving.

Boston, and New England in general, represents something unique for me. It reminds me of a carefree time in my adult life. I think we all have those childhood memories, but as an adult, that is the city that embodies that freedom.

I feel Boston calling me. In my real life [offline], I’m being a weird Annie right now- I’m wading through some new waters and having to fight some old demons and as I predicted, Pete Wilson’s book and sermon series are maybe ruining my life a little bit and making me face some things about me that I don’t want to. No thank you, kind sir. No thank you.

When it comes to fight or flight, I say book me a ticket to Boston.

It’s been a few days that I’ve felt un-Annie and a few days that my heart has heard, “just go to Boston.” A change of scenery. An escape. A quiet that, no matter how much time I spend alone here, I’m not finding.

This isn’t a time where I need a retreat- I know me. This is me wanting to run. Tis a different thing, my friends. In situations like this, cowards are the ones who run. Not the brave. The brave face their fears, their struggles, their hurts. They face them and speak firmly to them.

I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. Not this time. But I think I’m ready to try.

I hear Boston calling, but I hear Jesus whispering.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me””watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

. . . . .

Where is YOUR Boston? What city or spot calls to you when you want to get away from it all? [Or am I the only freak who thinks about visiting other cities for an emotional break? I can handle it if I am. 🙂]


  1. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 5:53 AM  |  reply

    Listen to the whispers, dear girl.

    The place that calls to me? The seashore. Definitely.

    Now I’ll be singing Augustana’s Boston all day and saying a prayer for you.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM  |  reply

      The beach. Yes. Great answer.

  2. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 6:24 AM  |  reply

    My first thought of where I love to get away from it all was my home. Then I read Southern Gal’s response and thought yes, the beach. Warm sun, watching the ocean waves and the salty breeze. Vacationing in SC in June….I’m already there in my head. Ha!

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM  |  reply

      God did a great thing when He made the Carolina coast.

  3. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 6:33 AM  |  reply

    I once had 14 addresses in 4 years so yes, I know about ‘moving on’. There are still times that I dream about living elsewhere in another, better life. Having said that though, there is something to be said for building your house one brick at a time, tortoise style. After a while you start to notice a wall, then a room, and finally your home. Moving on means that you never get to build that house. You’re always just looking for temporary shelter.
    Life as always is a paradox, the hardest, most frustrating, tear-ridden parts are normally the most valuable. God Bless You.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM  |  reply

      LOVE these thoughts, Samantha. Thank you.

  4. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 6:34 AM  |  reply

    Oh Annie . . . it’s Boston for me too. Funniest thing? I’ve only ever been there for 24 hours. I just love the idea of it.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM  |  reply

      How did Boston do that to us? 🙂

  5. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 8:26 AM  |  reply

    You’re not alone in this Annie. My want-to-escape-to place is the town of my alma mater. That’s the town I where I really grew up and had some of the best times of my carefree youth. It’s only 2 hours away from where I am now, but I haven’t gone back there because I know it won’t be the same, and I desperately need to believe it hasn’t changed. So get you Annnie. You’re not alone.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM  |  reply

      Yeah, there are times when Athens, GA feels like the place I want to go back to – I get that.

  6. Jennifer McCall
    posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 8:45 AM  |  reply

    This is definitely a familiar feeling of mine and it’s scariest when you realize that is running not retreating. When I want to disengage, I’ll go about anywhere…the beach usually would win though. It’s been a great help for me to know the difference in retreating and running. Your post is super encouraging to me today. Thank you.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM  |  reply

      Yeah. It’s important to me to label it correctly- a retreat, needing that break, is a good thing. Running from your issues? Not so much. 🙂

  7. Megan
    posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:02 AM  |  reply

    Home. That place is the place I called home for 21 years. Every time the storms become too much. Every time I just can’t take it anymore, I want to go home. The one place where I know with certainty I can find some peace.

    Can you tell that’s where I’m at now? Only I can’t tell right now if I’m running away or trying to find retreat.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM  |  reply

      You’ll figure it out, Megan. 🙂

  8. Amy W
    posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:03 AM  |  reply

    There’s a place on the shore near my parents’ house that has great big flat rocks you can sit on and look out to sea. On a sunny day it’s such a peaceful place and no one really goes there so you get it to yourself! That’s what I always imagine in my head when people say ‘think of a happy place’. Unfortunately I don’t get to go there very often, and I feel like running to it quite a lot!

    I’ve wanted to go to New England since I was a teenager – if you do run, can I run there too?!

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM  |  reply

      Yes. Your place sounds divine.

  9. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:21 AM  |  reply

    Yup. My “Boston” is sometimes Boston itself (used to live there; sometimes have to resist the urge to runaway back home) but usually it’s Anywhere New. That alluring idea of starting over completely fresh – “Maybe I’ll move to Seattle. Maybe I could be awesome in Seattle.”

    Obvs I know a change of scenery isn’t going to produce the deep change in me I’m longing for. But that temptation crops up from time to time all the same.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM  |  reply

      Right right right. I know that exact feeling, Kristy. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Kristinia
    posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:29 AM  |  reply

    Upstate New York right on the Delware river where I grew up. I now live in New Orleans but there are days where all I need to go do is stand on the Tow Path on the banks of the river and drop everything to see the water flow down to NYC in its lazy way! I am almost crying from the memories I have had there and the peace I get from just thinking about that place.

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:43 AM  |  reply

      Sounds beautiful, Kristinia.

  11. Lisa in SD
    posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:50 AM  |  reply

    You’re definitely not alone!

    Mine also starts with a ‘B’ – only it’s on the other side of the world. As might be heard if we lived in the world of Winnie the Pooh “What a bother” – even on a good day! Ha!

    Unfortunately, I can’t hop a train, or, particularly easily, even a plane right now, since things aren’t very stable and talking and hearing from God on rooftops there right now would mean teargas and a barrage of iron rods, molotov cocktails, and gas canister explosions.

    It’s definitely a place that has a large part of my heart, and I’ll likely go soon anyway.

    I hope you went – or are going soon – to Boston! And I only wish I could get to the place that calls to me as easily!

    I appreciate your blog. This is the post that finally got me unlurking and commenting!

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM  |  reply

      Thanks for your kind words, Lisa. Glad to hear from you!!

      Praying for you and the place that calls you.

  12. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:02 AM  |  reply

    I do the same thing. My places are Jackson, TN – home of my alma mater, Union University. Just about anywhere in North Carolina or my home state, Virginia – off the beaten path where it is quiet.
    P.S. I am 30 minutes from Williamsburg and go frequently. When ya’ coming to visit? 🙂

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM  |  reply

      Oh girl. When I come visit Williamsburg, I will let you know.

    • posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM  |  reply

      Becky, I went to Union, too! What year did you graduate? I graduated in 2004 and live in Jackson.

    • posted on Apr 29, 2012 at 3:37 PM  |  reply

      becky ~ i live 30 minutes from williamsburg also! we have jets flying overhead so it’s not all that quiet sometimes!

  13. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:06 AM  |  reply

    Well, I for one will be in Boston next weekend. Meet me there? 🙂 xo

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM  |  reply

      Annie + Annie +Boston = a great idea. 🙂 Love and miss you.

  14. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:56 AM  |  reply

    I’m with you on the ‘travel as a head clearing method’ thing and on the history nerd thing, so my go-to place is pretty much anywhere other than where I currently am, especially if it has a historical feel (like Boston, or Williamsburg, or D.C., or Charleston, or . . . well, the list could go on and on). But my REAL go-to place is London. I would go there in a heartbeat if I could…

    • Annie
      posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM  |  reply

      I feel that way about Edinburgh, too. I just know how expensive the flights are right now… so Boston seems easier. 🙂

  15. justanotherabbigail
    posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 12:13 PM  |  reply

    JUST in case you haven’t heard this song (Boston, by Augustana), it is Perfect with a capital P for you today:

  16. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM  |  reply

    Awhile ago, I confronted the running. I run to stay in shape, and I literally had to give that up for a season…The irony was intense and cathartic;even today, being still, really still, peacefully still is a daily challenge and process.

    North Carolina, my retreat, is so much more of a treat now that I have peace traveling with me. 🙂

    I have been praying for you, for awhile, Annie. Be Brave.

  17. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:25 PM  |  reply

    For me, it’s my own college town. It’s that mix of a home away from home with a place where life just seemed simpler. When the going gets tough, I run to Ruston. It helps that my best friend lives there, but I think it does the same thing even if she wasn’t there.

  18. Megan
    posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:39 PM  |  reply

    Hi Annie! I would say “my place” would be where I went to college- windy, flat northwest Ohio, because of all the wonderful memories. I would also put Savannah on that list too. I love your blog, I discovered it from your posts on (in)courage. Thank you for writing about being single and everything that goes along with it!

  19. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 3:58 PM  |  reply

    It’s Boston for me too, Annie. Something about the beauty and history of that city soothes my soul.

    I get what you are saying about running away, too. It’s just easier to start over, to buy that ticket, to put the past behind you and sprint far, far, away.

    There is a time and a place for running away, but what I’ve learned is that wherever I run to, my problems come right along with me.

    A line from a song-“Nothing happens here that doesn’t happen there. So when you run make sure you run to something and not away from.”
    Problems are everywhere. Internal issues will follow you wherever you go.

    Thank you for your words today.

  20. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 7:32 PM  |  reply

    mmm, live free and light. yes please. i don’t know if i have a boston, but sometimes Anywhere But Here calls mightily. and i know i need to dig in again.

    (i studied history at william & mary in williamsburg. if you ever wanna jump the governor’s palace wall, i’m totally your girl:)

  21. posted on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:23 PM  |  reply

    “My place” would be my parent’s house. Even though I have a home of my own now, there’s nothing like coming home to my parents.

  22. nic
    posted on Apr 27, 2012 at 8:27 AM  |  reply

    mine is nyc. i lived there while in grad school. i literally start to get like a 6 month itch, meaning it’s time to go back for an extended visit. and then when i come back from a visit there im in despair for a month because i don’t live there anymore. pout much? why yes, yes i do. 🙂

    you’re not the only one. 🙂

  23. posted on Apr 27, 2012 at 8:32 AM  |  reply

    Well I am moving back to Boston (or it’s greater suburbs) in the next few weeks, so even though you don’t know me, once I get settled, feel free to come stay.

    Having grown up overseas, the place I would love to run away to is a country that I am not allowed to visit because I don’t qualify for a visa anymore. As hard as it has been, over the years I have learned to stop trying to find a place here in America just like it, that place doesn’t exist. It hasn’t been fun or easy at times, but God has patiently taught me to just fully be where I am.

  24. merideth
    posted on Apr 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM  |  reply

    It’s funny that you are talking about Boston because I was just there with my parents last week. We went to visit my grandmother and go to a couple of red sox games in honor of Fenway’s 100th birthday(their stadium, in case you didn’t know that). There is a ton of history in Massachusetts, including places outside Boston. Like Plymith, and Sturbridge. There is a place called Old Sturbridge Village that is similar to places like colonial williamsburg. You might like it. I went there a lot growing up. If you ever want to go to Mass. with a native, let me know.
    Well, as you know, I’m a former New Englander. While I’m proud of the fact I grew up there, it’s not where I run to when I want to relax or retreat from things. I’m with the folks above that mentioned going to the beach for vacation. But, for the most part, when I get that feeling of wanting to run away, I want to go almost anywhere. Europe often sounds good. When things are really hard emotionally, though, I care less about the place and more about the people I’m with. I usually want to be with special friends who have always loved me well and cared for my heart. That always makes me feel better.

  25. Hillary
    posted on Apr 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM  |  reply

    Nashville is my Boston, oddly enough. 🙂

  26. posted on Apr 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM  |  reply

    my place is my parents lake house. after the children get out of school my sister and her children meet us for several weeks each summer. it’s a two hour trip for both of us. our husbands work during the week and drive in for long weekends. the children are learning to ski, kneeboard, swim and anything water related. it’s 45 minutes from the grocery store or anything entertaining. we bring everything we need when we come and don’t leave unless we have to. our cell phones barely work we are so far from civilization! love it!!! the cousins love one another and get along so well ~ and i love spending time with my sister. seriously, there is nothing to do except be together and play. love that time with the family.

  27. Stephanie
    posted on Apr 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM  |  reply

    I think my Boston is Oxford, England. Maybe London, too. Having been to both places…I don’t know, I just feel a “sigh” come from deep within. I long to go back.

    But maybe it was more about where I was in life rather than where I was physically. Either way, I know what you mean.

    And it can be hard to know if we “need” to get away or if it is just us “wanting” to get away. Deciphering those feelings isn’t easy.

  28. posted on May 05, 2012 at 8:19 PM  |  reply

    Thank you Mary Carver weekend links for reminding me to come over here.

    Why has this post made me cry so much? Like, my heart is going to explode kind of cry?

    John and I spent some of our honeymoon in Boston. I thought we were the only weirdos who thought that was awesome.

    And I think my Boston is Hilton Head. Or NYC. Either one.

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