It's been nearly 10 years since I threw caution to the wind, loaded up my car with my worldly (and not-so-worldly) possessions and ventured off to a new place called Iowa.
I couldn't have imagined then as a single man that I would be married and have a couple of kids in 2014.
Yes, it was the summer of 2004. I was living in Illinois when a sports writer job opened up at the Newton Daily News. I was in the mood of taking a fresh start somewhere (No, I didn't commit a crime I was running away from) and decided to take the job four hours away in Iowa.
I didn't know much about Newton, but thought "Why not?" Sometimes you have to leave your friends and comfort zone and I thought there was a new adventure to be had in central Iowa.
I know it sounds clich but I was, in a way, looking to "find myself."
Before I became an Iowan I had no idea what a walking taco was or how passionate Iowans are for their college sports.
In Illinois, we eat tacos not prepared in a chip bag and we follow our professional teams with far more enthusiasm than the college teams.
When I first moved out to Iowa people asked me if there was much difference than Illinois. Well, Iowa has a lot less governors in jail, but other than that small-town Illinois is pretty similar to small-town Iowa.
Illinois people tend to paint Iowans as hicks, but I know just as many hicks in Illinois than I do in Iowa, so that is pretty much a wash.
I lived in Newton for 3.5 years before coming to Marshalltown. I have been and continue to be glad I made that move as well.
I have to say Iowa, and its people, have treated me well and I'm glad I loaded up that car with all my stuff. Even if I did think to myself it could have just been a temporary move.
Now, when I load up the car I have a couple of things strapped in the backseat that have become my world.
That much I do know, but the allure of walking tacos still escapes me.
Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org