Moving around a lot is not as bad as you think. It gave me a wealth of experiences that continue to serve me.

I lived eight places the first 12 years of my life and four more since living on my own.

I’ve lived in the Sonoran Desert, the Rockies, the Midwest, Texas, the East Coast and the Gulf Coast, to name a few areas.

Some people feel sorry for me that I moved all those times, like I was homeless or something. However, I consider it part of my well-rounded education and people skills.

Plus, all the different enriching experiences have given me tons of stories to share.

At the height of summer, I hiked a 14,000-foot peak in the Rockies. As I came around one of the last corners, the terrain opened up and waterfalls of melting snow filled a crystal clear lake.

When we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska I became a Cornhuskers fan. I’ll never forget running back I.M. Hipp, Big Red soda and runzas, a doughy, stuffed bread filled with yummy meats and vegetables.

Weathering winters in Washington, D.C., I quickly tired of snow burying my car and ice making the walk to the metro station treacherous.

In Tucson, Arizona, I learned to appreciate the Sahuaros and the mountains that make the Southwestern city seem like it sits at the bottom of a bowl.

Living in different places has made me flexible, laid back and able to make friends easily. I have my parents but also many friends who’ve become like family.

Our neighbors here, in fact, Dee and Dan, became close, inviting us over for holidays, helping us make home repairs and exchanging gifts on birthdays. Our friend Jim would stand in as my children’s grandpa at their school.

I never thought I would settle down in Northwest Florida and enjoy being a Southerner. I thought this would be just another temporary stop back in April 1994.

But, unlike me, my children have all grown up here. They have friends they met at birth.

I’ve tried to expand their horizons, too, taking them on vacations from Orlando to Los Angeles and Little Rock to Annandale, Minnesota, plus other spots in between.

If you asked them, there is no place they would rather be. And I can’t say I blame them.

Duwayne Escobedo covers Santa Rosa County for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4489 in Fort Walton Beach, on his cell phone at 850-255-1484 or email him at descobedo@nwfdailynews.com