August 12th 2016
“Are you sure?”
“Are you ready?”
“Will you come back?”
“…How do you feel?”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
I wasn’t sure what to say.
At least not yet, because moving is a big deal—in action and in feeling. Deciding on it, coping with it and most importantly, embracing it.
And emotions are heightened even farther when
questions are firing from
Here’s what happened:
I decided to leave.
And yes, I was sure.
And yes, I was ready.
And no, I’m still not sure if I’ll ever come back.
…But as for the way I feel?
It was, and still is, a loaded question.
One that I couldn’t answer for months. But one that I feel that I can answer now.
The story is this:
In July 2016 I left the most exciting city on earth for a couple of good reasons:
2. For him:
My long-distance confidant who felt, feels and is beyond worth any life change.
For a long time, he was in Ohio. And for a long time, I was in New York.
And eventually the threshold of missing out on that vitally enjoyable company was maxed out, so we decided to move somewhere brand new together…and it caused a whirlwind for 6 and a half months.
We spent time brainstorming cities sepa rately and promising not to share preferences with each other for one entire month. And after that month, we compared lists in a living room in Youngstown, Ohio, and realized that our greatest overlap—out of every city in the United States—was
We were pumped. And after that decision was made, we broke out a map and began to plan.
Packed up everything. Quit our jobs. Job hunted. Got going away cakes from friends:
(Notice the illegal immigrants crawling up the side as a finishing touch…)
And threw massive going away parties too:
Up until the day I truly had to say goodbye to my friends, my sister and our apartment:
And only after all of that—the process spanning over months and months—did I really have the opportunity to sit down and think what just happened. And how I felt about it. And here’s where I ended up:
I feel fucking fantastic.
I did a lot while I was New York City.
And I think that’s the notion that saved me.
Realizing the amount of growth and experience I squeezed out of this one place. Internships at Oprah Magazine and Calvin Klein, my first full-time gig at Nautica and my next at Michael Kors. I launched my personal passion Olive The People there, hosted 3 storytelling events and 5 New Year’s Eve extravaganzas there, zoomed around Manhattan in a 30 person party bus there, walked through Central Park, the Chelsea High Line and Madison Square Garden at least 160 time there, and dined at my favorite restaurants even more than that. I’ve been to the top of One World Trade, The Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center, jammed out with the Dispatch, held two personal photoshoots, ran into Taylor Swift in the bathroom, worked 11 fashion weeks, witnessed the WTC be commemorated after a decade and watched it all be built back up again.
And even though I woke up every morning in a teeny tiny apartment priced every month in equivalence to the down payment of a two-story house anywhere else in the world, with a rIcKeTy stove originally manufactured in 1882, a sink the size of a literal seashell and a bedroom that could fit my bed, my hairbrush and that’s absolutely it—I was happy.
Because I woke up every day with opportunities, dreamers and the best bagels the world has to offer outside my doorstep. At any given moment I could feel the adrenaline-driven trains zoom to chauffeur me to absolutely anywhere I wanted to go in this 13-mile-long, 2.3-mile-wide utopia. The air was charged with electricity of fast-paced people and the energy of their attitude.
Everything was squished. Everything was loud. Everything felt like home.
The thing about New York City is.
It gives everything this immeasurable high.
And anyone who lived or still lives there has sipped the Koolaid to make them feel the same way. I drank the Koolaid. A lot of of it. And I too became addicted to this big city, working for big brands, hosting big New Year’s Eve parties and doing everything in a big way. I
liked loved the glamour and prestige of that damn place. And I still do. And to be quite frank, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to have that anywhere else.
So I didn’t leave.
But then opportunity presented itself. The vital kind. The same kind that presented itself just days before I showed up to the Big Apple in the first place. The kind that gave me the chance to have that adrenaline rush of newness and experience and growth all over again. And when I realized that it actually might happen.
I cried a lot. And often. But never in a regretful way. Just in a “remember when you had those thrills living abroad, uprooting to college, and starting completely fresh in New York City and how much you
liked loved it in the end?” kind of way.
So I flipped the way I looked at it.
Stopped thinking about it as what I was losing, and focused on what I was gaining.
Better weather. More nature. Cool career switch. Completely uncharted territory where everything has been undiscovered. The everyday chance at having the partner I desired and being able to be the partner I’ve always wanted to be. Keeping a promise to myself that I’ll always take a chance on big changes if they feel just right.
And suddenly the decision felt very easy.
So we started driving. 22 hours.
Only stopping for Corky’s BBQ in Memphis, Tennessee, along the way:
Until we reached our final destination, unpacked, ate beans for dinner on a printer box:
And finally took a breath and realized what in the hell was going on:
We were here.
Officially about to experience a new city. A new chapter. And a new adrenaline rush.
And it felt fucking fantastic.
Now reporting from Austin, I’m excited to share even more absurd adventures with you.
Tacos & Tequila,