After spending my entire adult life in Knoxville, I’ve grown to adopt an attitude about this place – Knoxville is the perfect fit for everyone! Truth is, it’s the perfect fit for me and possibly you too, but not everybody! When I arrived on the campus of the University of Tennessee in the fall of 1991 as a fresh faced lad who’d never really spent much time in a city, the whole world seemed to open up. It was a good time for me, since I was surrounded by similarly fresh faced people in an adjustment period and, while my first couple room mates were a bit of an adjustment and the overly amorous suitemates that lived on the other side of a very thin wall made my first semester … loud… Knoxville was both fun and strange – a challenge I wanted to explore.
From that time on I’ve grown accustomed and grew to really enjoy the rumble, the constant hum that is a city rather than the constant quiet of rural life with a small cadre of friends and family quietly singing hymns at church, the rustling of critters outside and chirping of crickets. That being said I love the country – just in smaller doses. In a life that has included visits to places of every type and variety from the nearly deserted (by man) wilderness of the rainforests near Cahuita, Costa Rica to the relentless roar of wall-to-wall people crammed together and interacting in truly foreign ways in downtown Seoul, Korea or the solitary invisibility in crowds of 42nd St in the middle of Manhattan– where everyone was rubbing elbows and moving in pods but pretending not to notice anyone else. Standing alone in all of these places and myriad others that spanned the spectrum of human interaction there is nothing like coming home to East Tennessee.
Maybe it’s “Growing Up” in Knoxville – maybe it’s my personal character as someone who can’t sustain a stranger in most circumstances, but that first day on campus at old UT, I decided that Knoxville was my place. Walking to class I learned the faces and names of hundreds of the folks I passed every day and set out to meet or know something about everyone that I possibly could. This was a unique challenge on a campus with 26,000 students, plus professors, facilities staff, restaurant workers, administrators, catering and library folks – what I small city within a city I was taking on! It was my first unachievable goal in life and I’ve put a huge dent into it!
What I’ve learned is that there are good people all around – varying degrees of good, varying definitions of good, varying lifestyles and perspectives and talents and strengths and all of them have something I want to know a little about. Knoxville is brimming with interesting folks, situations, needs and a rich cast of characters that are unique to this place. After a few minutes conversation most folks talk about what’s on their minds – I try to picture their perspective and see how they see – something through their eyes. It’s a trip! So many stories are in that sentence that would take volumes to represent – not this time.
Walking down Gay St. in the early evening is one of the finest experiences I’ve ever had – it feels like being back on campus – seeing a steady stream of people going to the theater, to dinner or to meet others in coffee houses or one of the new breweries that seem to pop up each weekend. The character of the city has shifted a bit – more people adopting the hipster vibe (Knoxville was recently ranked 15th most Hipster city in America) – the millennial faces fill in among many of the same people I’ve run into making the same rounds for the past 27 years – I never spend much time anywhere without seeing someone that I know (or knew) since the grand “meet everyone” experiment began at Reece Hall in Presidential Court when I was a boy.
I imagine those other teenagers walking to class grew up, some moved – many are still here and hopefully somewhere in East Tennessee those amorous suitemates have a brood of children who are about to graduate from UT, themselves. I know Knoxville is where I want my family – friends and acquaintances to be when I’m not visiting the parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and original friends back in Polk County.
If you’re ready to find your place in my vision of the best place to live on Earth, give me a call – we can help you find your niche and your new home!
If you’d like to talk about becoming a KW Realtor we’d love to chat!