Ever drive through the countryside, pass through a small town, and wonder: how did people choose this of all places, what do they do for a living, and what must it be like to be there? I’m fascinated with the journey through chance and choice to the place and the idea of “Home”.
Recently, I was researching (in an academic way) about where people are moving. Trends clearly show that the gap in population is widening between small towns and big cities. Many small towns will disappear in the next couple decades. The outsourcing of traditional rural jobs in farming and manufacturing is accelerating the process. The essence of Americana is at stake, and for years, small town leaders have tried to make their communities more competitive with urban areas by offering business incentives, constructing parks, organizing activities, creating municipal buildings, and so on.
On the one hand, there’s all this data and theory about what to do. On the other, there are the individuals living with a choice: stay, or go. Kids decide whether to go to a local college or one far away. Graduates decide whether to go home or take a job elsewhere. Locals decide whether to improve the community or find a new one. And there are the people who have moved away from their hometown, miss it, but don’t think there is enough opportunity there for them to go back: this group doesn’t have a collective name, yet.
So I decided to start interviewing people who have faced these choices. I want to learn, in a more personal way than data alone can offer, not only how people decide about where to make their home but also what home really means to them.
In this first episode, I interview Grant in Goshen, Indiana and learn how much a single person can effect the direction of one’s place and sense of home.
Click the red (>) play button to hear the full episode.