It looks like this blog, which started as an exercise for a 23 Things class, is going to get a lot more personal. At the request of several friends and colleagues, I plan to document – sometimes in words and sometimes in pictures – my next big adventure: moving from Western Massachusetts to Southern California.
This is a journey of rebirth in so many ways. For starters, for the last 20 years or more I’ve been telling myself and anyone who would listen that I’m moving “out west” someday. In the ’90s I spent all my vacation time in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, the California coast, New Mexico, the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, and the mountains of Colorado, backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, biking, and visiting friends and family. When any opportunity to hop on a plane and land myself in the western wilderness presented itself, I took it. The first time I flew to Washington I glued my face to the window from the Rockies westward, hoping for a glimpse of Mt. Rainier. When I finally saw it, glowing pink in the 10 pm dusk, it’s 14,411 feet looking close enough to reach out and touch, I burst into tears. From that moment on, the west was more home to me than was Boston, where I lived at the time. The light was different, and the size of things, and the sense of space. I felt more than the usual post-vacation disappointment each time my return flight made its decent toward Logan Airport. I promised I would stay out west someday – right after after I finished school and found a career that really fed me and found love and had kids and…..you know how it goes.
And suddenly, over ten years passed. Over ten years filled with moving to Western Massachusetts, finishing my college degree, getting a job, being laid off from a job, changing careers, going to grad school, getting married, being diagnosed with cancer, getting divorced, getting another job, getting well slowly, etc. etc. And in the midst of all that, the West faded into dream and memory. I couldn’t seem to find the time or money or physical stamina for vacations there anymore. Not to mention the stomach for visiting a place that tugged at me painfully every time I had to leave it to return to “real life” in the East.
And then, just as suddenly, something clicked and I realized it was time to resurrect the dream. I was ready. I was established in my career. I was healthy and ready to get back to the mountains, back to the physically active person I used to be. My life was stable enough that I was ready to shake it up a bit. I was ready for change! Or to begin preparing for change anyway. I developed a relocation plan. A five-year plan. Five months later, I’ve quit the job I’ve had since 2005 and I’m poised to start a new one in California in August. Another reminder that you can’t control the pace of rebirth – or the magic of it. I’m sure there are adventures to come that I can’t even imagine. Stay tuned to hear all about them!