I’ve been planning an international adventure for as long as I can remember. Even as a kid I would daydream about the day I would shake off the webbing of my life here and go on some uncharted life exploration of new lands, people, places, and experiences.
I moved to Boston in 2015 and thought I’d stay maybe a year. Then I fell in love with my job, my friends, and my new lifestyle of easy access to live music, my family, and the fitness scene. Continuing to live in Boston for 4 years was never my intention but that’s how life can surprise you sometimes.
When I came back from a trip to Slovenia in July of 2017 I said, That’s it, I’m moving! I’m off to Slovenia where I’ll stay in the capital with my friend Špela, and while away weekends in the mountains and by the sea. I was so ready to commit to this idea that I even found someone to take over my room in a cute Somerville apartment.
But I didn’t go.
The truth is that it suddenly didn’t feel right. Something kept me in the Boston area, and it was a gut reaction more than anything else. Shortly thereafter my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Living an hour away from our New Hampshire home had never felt more valuable. In the past my mom had always loved coming down for dinners and afternoons with me in Boston, and during the Fall of 2017 I looked forward to the end of the week, when I would zip up to New Hampshire for the weekend to spend time with her, my dad, and my sister. When my mom passed in the Summer of 2018, I was more than ready for a change of pace. So I left my 9-5, my 401k, and my routine of 3.5 years and headed to the exciting waters of a fitness startup!
Though I was advised by some to consider keeping the work aspect of life “normal” during a time of personal transition, I felt an unshakeable desire for change. The changing of variables has often felt more like a comfort zone than any traditional habitual lifestyle; examples include when I buffered an extra unplanned month into my Costa Rica abroad experience and when I lived on Cape Cod and held three different jobs and lived in three different places over the span of just three months.
Sure, there is truth to holding on to certain constants during times of change and grief. For me personally, changing my constants rewarded me more than a constant routine ever could: rising with the sun (my new job has me up at 4:30am), not needing to think about what I wear (I put on a branded shirt, black pants, and sneakers every day), moving on my feet all day (training, assistant coaching classes, working at the front desk), spending my days with kickass people (my co workers are passionate, value a healthy and athletic lifestyle, and are all authentically awesome). These simple things offer more than therapy in my opinion.
Moreover, leaving my job has virtually unlocked a world of opportunity. I am remembering how much is out there, beyond the walls of an office. I can take afternoon trips on the weekdays, while most of the world is still at work. I’ve taught a handful of yoga classes, and I’ve started writing a weekly newsletter for a friend’s needlepoint brand, Thorn Alexander. I have more room to say yes and more room to live creatively. I totally hijacked this label for a lifestyle from the book I’m currently reading by Elizabeth Gilbert. In Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Gilbert says,
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”
I feel this in my bones. I truly believe that we all have the power to unlock new potential within ourselves every day and I also know that takes courage. This past year I’ve been extremely fortunate to not only have the support of close family and friends, but also my friend/boyfriend/bread-baking roommate James. Though I know myself and I’m confident I would do it on my own, I’ve learned recently a little life secret — you don’t always have to do it alone.
And so this international trip is a lot of things: wild, exciting, extraordinary, even a little scary.
It is not thoughtless. This adventure James and I are about to embark on is possibly the most thoughtful and also intuitive thing we’ve done in a very long time. I’m so grateful for the past work and life experiences in Boston - now it’s time to hit the road!