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  • Writer's pictureMaureen Kenney, Art Nomad

I Came By It Honestly

Something magnificent happened on my way to adulthood. The military happened, more specifically the United States Air Force. Each time Dad received his military orders, we moved where ever those orders dictated. It was exhilarating! From 1963 to 1977 we set down temporary roots in Maine, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, back to Utah, New York, Florida and Texas. What an adventure, traveling in the old station wagon cross country to a new house, new friends, new schools every couple of years. The camaraderie of my siblings sustained me through each journey.  Along the way my wanderlust blossomed, and I relish the joy it has brought to my life. 

The Kenney Kids, yup that's me in the middle, flanked by twins Kris and Kathy who are also flanked by our older siblings Chet and Terese.

The perpetual motion of my first fourteen years provides a sharp juxatoposition to the next fourteen years deeply rooted in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas.  These years see me through four years of high school as a Southwest Rebel; four years as a Horned Frog at Texas Christian University; full time professional employment; three years of graduate school at the University of Texas at Arlington; marriage and divorce.

With these formative experiences behind me, in 1991 I uproot to San Diego, California. Amounting to a two year working vacation, this satiates my nomadic desires for a short while.  I find meaningful work, sunshine, and marry my best friend, Alan. Despite the deceptive perfection of the Pacific Coast sunshine, in 1993 California is imploding around us with earthquakes, floods, mudslides, widespread fires, and riots in LA. Prompted by this insanity, I decide to pursue a long-held dream to live in my home state of Maine.  

So I find myself in 1993 packing our belongings for a West Coast to East Coast move, and am awestruck by the realization that my entire life has been spent in preparation for this monumental task.  No longer an amateur, I have become a seasoned transient, an active seeker of adventure, a warrior in the fight to obliterate stagnation and boredom. With my wanderlust fully engaged, we depart for Maine … magnificent Maine. Mention Maine to others, and you'll see gleaming eyes as these rusticators recall their youthful visits filled with memories of summer camps, visits to grandparents, lobster bakes, snow mobiles and blueberry pie. 

All true, all magnificent. Yet for me this magnificence is counterbalanced by the reality of twenty plus years spent snow shoveling and swatting at mosquitos large enough to carry off small dogs. While I love my home state, the time did come to move on. Where to next? Back to the bosom of my family in 2015, deep in the heart of Texas , where I spend my days once again walking the halls at TCU, this time as a proud Neeley School of Business staff member.

Whether your nomadic travels are physical or existential, I hope you will explore where your inner Nomad wants to take you. The need to nomad is about choices we make based on our own curiosity, and can catalyze hidden energy waiting to be tapped.  It’s amazing what we accomplish when determination, energy, and a solid dose of curiosity come together to enrich our lives.

Originally published 12 November 2012; revised 15 June 2019

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