I am not a St. Louis native. I spent the first 16 years of my life living throughout the Kansas City metro area. After my freshman year in high school, I moved to St. Louis with my mom and brother. I had never driven more than around the block when I moved to St. Louis and in my new home in bustling “South City” I had a daunting task in front of me when it came to learning how to drive. After a couple of times of going around the neighborhood, my stepfather’s dad told me to turn onto Grand Blvd., a main street. Once I was outside of the neighborhood I had no clue of where I was anymore and I was now surrounded by other drivers. My stepfather’s dad told me where and when to turn. Basically driving blind throughout South City I began to notice how immensely confusing it was. After this pivotal driving lesson, I earned my driving license and began to hit the roads every day. I was fascinated with how thorough the city of St. Louis was and was extremely inclined to go exploring. Most days after school, I would go exploring throughout the city on my own. I got lost a number of times but always managed to find my way back home without any GPS or directions. Throughout high school I met a variety of people who lived in every stretch of the St. Louis metropolitan area. I had been to Wellston, Old North City, Kirkwood, Northwoods, Lemay, The Grove, Dittmer, Ferguson, Ladue, Ritenour, Clayton and Downtown so I was convinced that I had a good majority of the city memorized like the back of my hand by the end of high school.
Once high school ended, I began to not have much interest in exploring new places anymore. Once you do something a couple of times it can begin to seem a little monotonous and not be that exciting anymore. Now that I go to school and work in Clayton I have been stuck in this community primarily for the past 7 months. About a month ago my friends and I were sitting in my dorm room with friends and we were bored out of our minds with nothing to do on a Friday night. It was about midnight and I could tell most of us were ready to call it a night. Finally I decided that maybe it would be a good time to go out and explore a bit for the first time in what felt like forever. However, there wasn’t a whole lot left for me to explore from all the exploring I did in high school on my own. I began to take my friends around the city and soon realized the more places we visited they became even more interested in our journey. Some of my friends were not from St. Louis so it was a little obvious they would take interest in their new surroundings but even those who were from the area were still as interested as those not native. I asked one of them if they had been out exploring since coming to Fontbonne and astonishingly he responded with, “No, this is the first time I’ve been outside of Clayton.” I was amazed by this. He even had a car too. Our adventures that night stretched from the Mississippi River to Tower Grove to the Central West End. We stayed out exploring until 5 the next morning. At our final stop at a 24/7 coffee shop, my friends kept telling me how great of a time they had going out and seeing new places. I had a great time too. Even though I had been to the places that we went to that night, it was a whole new experience getting to feed off of the excitement from my friends.