Kansas sunsets.

The weather may not always be great in Kansas, but at least there’s something that makes up for it. The sunsets in Kansas are beautiful. The sky stretching out for miles and miles lit up in gold and red. No matter how many times you see it, it never ceases to be amazing. If you were to ask a Kansan what the best season for sunsets is in Kansas, most people would say, “all of them.” So where’s the best place to watch the sunset, then? Pretty much anywhere in the state. Just go outside. Get on Pinterest and type in “Kansas sunset” and you’ll see what I mean. I’m sure there are some nice sunsets in other parts of the world but, after you’ve been to Kansas, nothing else can compare.

Not hearing Wizard of Oz jokes all the time.

Outside of Kansas, there are a lot of conversations that go something like this: “So where are you from?” “Kansas.” “(Insert Wizard of Oz joke here).” Then you try to be good-natured with your response and hope that’s the end of it. This never happens in Kansas. People outside of Kansas seem to know one thing about Kansas and that’s The Wizard of Oz. The Kansas borders mark the safe zone where you won’t have to deal with it. I can’t help but wonder if Eisenhower had to put up with this when he was President. “Well, Ike, you’re not in Kansas anymore. Welcome to Washington, D.C.”

Running into someone you know every time you go out.

In Kansas, you hardly have to make plans. All you have to do is go out to the grocery store or go downtown and you’ll run into someone you know. You’re never really alone.

Grilling out.

One of the best things about living in Kansas is when one of your friends says they’re going to be grilling out and asks if you want to come over. Of course, you do. There’ll be burgers, brats, beer, music, great company, and conversation.

Not having to defend Kansas when people ask you where you’re from.

Again, “So where are you from?” “Kansas.” “Oh, that’s too bad.” Oh, really? Maybe you should check out this website: F*ck You, I’m from Kansas. And, honestly, it’s too bad you’re not from Kansas, you don’t know what you’re missing. Did I tell you about the sunsets?

Driving on the back roads.

This is one of the great things about Kansas. You can just hop in the car, head in any direction, and find some great scenery and something interesting, whether it’s an old abandoned barn or something entirely unexpected. One thing I found, for instance, on a gravel road between Lawrence and Ottawa, in the middle of nowhere, is a sign that reads “Nowhere” and a few yards away is another one that says “Somewhere.” I don’t know what the story behind these signs is, all I know is that they’re there for some reason, and I think it’s fantastic.

Being in the middle of the United States.

The geographic center of the contiguous United States is near Lebanon, Kansas. While I haven’t been there yet, I have to say that being in the center of the US has its advantages when planning a trip somewhere else in the country. You can fly anywhere in the US in 4 hours or less on nonstop flights from Kansas City. 4 hours to the West Coast (Seattle, Los Angeles). 3 hours to the East Coast (New York, Miami). 2 hours to Houston. 1 hour to Minneapolis. So on and so on. Or a road trip to either coast is anywhere from 18 to 26 hours drive time, depending on where you start and where you’re going. So, in a way, living in Kansas is like not being too far from anything and then being able to get away from it all when you want to by just staying at home.