My name is Logan Greenwood, and this is my story.
I was born and raised in Anniston Alabama. Anniston is a town that few people leave. During my childhood and teenage years, I often talked with my friends about leaving Anniston. For the most part, we all wanted to and said we would, but few did. Anniston reminds me a bit of the town “specter” from the book Big Fish, where all those who had attempted to leave the town ended up living a sort of half life in a shadowy existence in a town that mirrored the one they had left.
I wanted to join the military or go away to college, and my mom begged me to hold off on the military until after college. Being home schooled, I had no idea how to go about getting into far away colleges, so I ended up starting my college career at Jacksonville State University, near my hometown.
It was during my early college career that my restlessness and wanderlust really started to show. I suffered through living at home and commuting to school through my freshman year, but as a sophomore, I landed a job as a resident assistant. The job paid very little but came with the perk of a free dorm room on campus. Step one of adventure (moving out of my parents house) complete. Little did I know then, I wouldn’t live in the same city for more than six months until I was 24.
I enjoyed my time on campus, but I knew there was more to the world than the bits I had seen, and I was desperate to discover them. Fortunately, I had great grades over my first three semesters, and this allowed me to transfer to the University of Alabama for the spring semester. Now two hours from home, I had finally escaped the greater Anniston area.
Unfortunately, one of my closest friends was killed in a car crash shortly before I transferred to UA, so the move was much harder than I had expected. It seemed that most students had established groups of friends as freshmen, which left me as something of an outsider, dealing with the death of my friend alone, removed from those who were going through it as well. This made my first semester at Alabama more difficult than I expected, but it was still a great time in my life, at least in retrospect. I found a love of academia for academia’s sake, making great connections with several professors, and becoming deeply involved in the cycling community, racing both mountain and road bikes.
So there I was at the end of my first semester at UA, finally getting into the swing of things, thinking that it was where I would be for the next two years. I was studying for finals when a once in a generation tornado destroyed the city of Tuscaloosa, and came less than a football field away from taking out the building I was in. This is one of the most insane experiences of my life. I managed to get out of Tuscaloosa the next day, and finals ended up being canceled due to the damage. Not the end of the semester that I expected, but at least I didn’t have to take finals. I guess I always wanted a life of adventure.
A month or two later, I was at a mountain bike race when my mom called to tell me that they were taking my dad to the emergency room after he had lost consciousness and suffered a seizure. This wasn’t terribly surprising, because my dad and I both developed hypoglycemia in our childhoods. So losing consciousness, while unusual, is not something that would be completely unexpected. Unfortunately, my dad had another seizure while at the hospital, and this one left him unconscious for several days. We would be at the hospital for the next 10 days, my father having brain surgery to remove what turned out to be a highly aggressive form of brain cancer called a glioblastoma multiform. While the tornado had been traumatic, and left me feeling almost as if I were watching life from third person, this was the event that would define the course of my life for the next several years, and to some extent forever, although I didn’t know it at the time.
I left UA to stay at home and be with my father (who regained full quality of life after surgery), working and taking part time classes back at JSU. We had a great few months, taking trips, going to Disneyland and Panama City Beach several times. Things went so well that in the spring, I returned to the University of Alabama, falling back into my old routines, racing bicycles, maintaining my cherished 4.0 G.P.A., and coming home most weekends to be with my family. In retrospect, I remember the year after my dad’s diagnosis as one of the best in my life. Unfortunately, that ended near the end of the semester, when I received a call that my dad had suffered another seizure, and had been rushed to the hospital again.
This surgery was less successful than the first, and resulted in my father needing 24/7 care, so I packed my bags and left the University of Alabama for the second time, this time losing credit for most of the classes that only had a few weeks remaining, and all of which I later found out, I had been the top student in. The next few months were the most challenging in my life. I spent them caring for, and spending time with, my father, until he passed away on June 14, 2012.
Before the reemergence of my father’s illness, I had applied for a scholarship, and admission to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a transfer. With so much adversity in my life outside of school, I felt that I just needed a fresh start, away from the memories of Tuscaloosa. I received news that I had been admitted, and awarded a full scholarship while my father was in the hospital. When he passed, I had only a few days to make the decision to leave my family in August to go to UNC, or take a year away from school, deferring my scholarship and admission until the next fall.
I decided to go, but it was an incredibly difficult semester. While I excelled academically, I was again in a place removed from my support system and dealing with the loss of my father away from all the others who were affected by it. After struggling to find my place at UNC, and dealing with a great deal of emotions, I decided that I couldn’t go back after Christmas break. I made some calls, put my scholarship on hold, and spent the spring semester and the following summer living in Panama City Beach, Florida with my father’s cousin.
This summer allowed me to turn the corner emotionally after the adversity of the previous few years. It also set a precedent for doing the extremely unconventional, and it culminated with my uncles taking me on a two-week whirlwind European vacation, that included Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, and the Netherlands. This summer set a precedent that I believe this blog and many of my future aspirations are the culmination of. It set a precedent for walking away from conventional wisdom in the name of happiness and adventure, and it introduced me to my first experience traveling abroad.
Following this, I made my eighth city to city move in three years, back to North Carolina. This time I would finally break the pattern, and stay put for more than six months. I finished my undergraduate degree at the ripe old age of 24, and met the love of my life (as a random roommate match!). I proposed just before graduation, and afterwards, in the summer of 2015 we sold everything, and moved to Southern California with no jobs and no place to live, taking only what we could fit into my pickup truck and a 4×6 U-haul.
This move was a huge adventure in and of itself and I have loved living in Huntington Beach, learning to surf, and working as both a teacher and a personal trainer, but we both promised ourselves when we came here that this move was the beginning of our adventures together, not the end. Michole had been a diver at UNC, training for the 2016 Olympic trials. She continued training after the move, so we had to stay put for the next year for her training, as her diving career wound down, I began to feel the restlessness that has been with me for my entire adult life. (She didn’t make the Olympic team, but did win a bronze medal at nationals, YAYYYYYY)
We were married on September 2nd, and spent an amazing honeymoon on the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii. The trip allowed us to gain a bit of clarity, stepping away from the grind of our daily lives and reconnecting with nature, something we are both extremely passionate about. We felt a connection to the Earth and to a more carefree life than we had for most of the previous two years of our life, at school and here in California.
We made a decision not to let the rat race hold us down. We are determined to explore the wild places of the Earth, to discover other cultures, to learn from the Earth and the innumerable different people who inhabit it. At times we will no doubt do this in spite of the rat race, and at other times, like when I left UNC, we will simply turn away from it entirely.