I pulled into Portland for the first time, a year ago today. And as I looked back on the last 12 months, I realized my move from Michigan actually started in May of 2020. That’s when I decided to close my studio doors, purge 75% of the crap I had accumulated over the years, and move my entire life across country. And 18 months later, I feel incredibly happy to say it has truly been an amazing experience.
I think a lot of people dream of picking up and making a huge move, but most people are happy exactly where they are. And that’s how it should be… you really should be happy where you are in your life, in your career and in yourself. But for me, it wasn’t about not being happy… I had a great studio that easily transitioned from in-person to virtual when Covid hit & I had wonderful friends and an awesome support system. For me, moving was simply about knowing at a gut level that it was time to go do that thing I didn’t even know I wanted to do. To be honest, I really don’t know why I so easily accepted that reason – I simply did – wholly and completely.
So on October 1st, along with my adventure loving niece and the always-ready –for-anything Hollis dog as my co-navigators, off I went!
Our first stop was Columbus to visit some of the best humans I know. After a few days being shown around their cool city, we then ventured down to New Orleans to meet up with a friend and experience a city that was high on all our bucket lists. And let me tell you, the Universe was looking out for us because the French Quarter had just opened back up for what was to be a very short time-frame, and while it wasn’t 100% at capacity, it was definitely the New Orleans experience we hoped for – complete with party beads, endless drinks, my first oyster on the half-shell, amazing food and a spooky walking ghost tour.
After NOLA, we planned to head to Southern California and make our way slowly up the California coast. But a call from Portland caused us to detour north through Colorado, Wyoming and into Oregon from the West. My apartment was ready and I had to get there ASAP to get the keys. So we changed our destination from LA to Denver for an overnight stay in a very cool city in Colorado.
And since every good story needs a little set-back to overcome, I blew the engine in my beloved Equinox in Wyoming just short of the Utah state line, while towing a 3,000lb trailer packed with all the details of my life. Honestly, it has ruined me for that state and I could give a shit if I never go back. Plus the drive through WY was really boring and long. But once again, the Universe had our back and connected us to the best human to help us through misfortune. His name was Ron and he was this kind, quirky old tow truck driver who towed Josie (the Equinox) and the trailer full of my life to the local U-Haul where we swapped it all out for a truck. 3 hours later we were back on the road and headed into Oregon.
I had to leave Josie behind and weirdly it was the saddest goodbye of the entire trip. I still miss her. She was the best vehicle and I truly loved her. As for Utah, we missed most of the beauty of this state but I plan to go back one day to make up for it. We traveled the night through Idaho, another terribly boring leg of the journey until we hit Oregon which continued on to be one of the most beautiful drives you can take via an interstate… as breathtaking as they come.
Twelve hours after having lost Josie, we pull into Portland. I had arrived at my new home with no car and some really great memories with my favorite people & my best puppy.
I give my niece all the credit… I was a stressed-out emotional handful the entire trip – and she managed it like a pro. To be honest, I didn’t realize how much it would impact my emotions to do make such a big move and the next 6 months proved to be both the most challenging of my life – but also the most rewarding. The constant “little storms” began to make way for smoother weather around Spring when, ironically enough, the days turned into nothing but sunshine and cloudless blue skies every day without fail. Locals tell me this summer wasn’t “normal” for the Pacific Northwest, but as my first, it was perfect.
Looking back a year later, I can see the direction my path has gone in and just how drastically my life has changed.
I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and I wake up every day with the opportunity to lay eyes on a magnificent mountain in the distance. I live next to one of the best parks in the city and a two-block walk gives me a view of Portland’s stunning skyline. I’ve enrolled in some really cool jewelry fabrication courses and I’m currently on the hunt for light, airy & a little quirky studio space to work out of. I co-host a really fun podcast that focuses on all my favorite topics, and I’ve made some really great friendships since leaving. I bought a new bike that quickly taught me just how many fucking hills this city has, and I finally broke down and bought a sassy new Equinox I named Ruby. I’ve transitioned my coaching to digital courses, and will soon be co-facilitating my first west-coast wellness retreat in Idyllwild, CA. I’m doing ALL the things I love and it’s taking some serious focus & discipline to balance it all, but it’s truly a labor of love.
I’ve developed an incredible level of self-reliance, and I’ve learned that nothing is insurmountable as long as you have a little faith and don’t freak the fuck out (not.easy.).
I’ve learned that effort is the key to showing you your most valuable people in your world, even if it’s random phone calls and zoom happy hours.
And I’ve learned that it’s better to meet people where they are instead of where you want them to be.
But one of the most important things I’ve learned is not to let a little rain stop me from doing anything, especially being outside and enjoying nature… and that mindset has an important place in every part of my life.
Last weekend, two of my absolute favorite people came to visit and I was so excited to show them this city I love. But it was also about reconnecting with home. Geographically, Portland is my home now, but a part of my heart will always be in Michigan because all the best memories and experiences I have had, happened there.
I truly have no idea what the future holds, and while the present is pretty incredible, I believe that if the Universe keeps blessing me the way it has, I have no doubt even more wonderful experiences are on the way.
I encourage you to do the “thing” that calls out to you, no matter how big or small.