23/100: Thank You, Maine

On my last night in this amazing state, I want to take a moment to reflect on this place.

I hated Maine until this year, but the majority of that is my own fault.

Despite living in Maine for four years, I had never gone out to explore the state. I stayed confined to Waterville for the majority of my time here, rarely even making it to the surrounding towns, let alone to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world that was only a few hours away from me. I had never been to Bar Harbor or Acadia until this past month, let alone the more famous towns like Camden or Kennebunkport. I didn’t do any of that until my last few weeks here, and I totally missed out on four insanely cool years.

My time in Maine has been transformative. I’m leaving tomorrow an entirely different person than I was when I first came in at age 18. That’s something that I’m really really proud of, because 18-year-old me was an idiot. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but the downs have made me a stronger and the ups have made it all worth it.

So Maine, thank you for being a space of growth, inspiration, and power to me. Thank you for being one of my roots.

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Grace Chandler Baldwin is a freelance writer living in Maine. She loves all things travel, language, and yoga, and has an unhealthy obsession with goats. Find her at www.gracechandlerbaldwin.com.

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