Preparing for the Great Adventure

The last time I took a cross-country trip was in August of 2007. After five years at AOL, company-wide layoffs forced some challenging, yet exhilarating changes.  I had a comfortable life in Florida. With the help of my boyfriend, I had enough money to pay the mortgage on a house, see all the latest movie openings at the local theater, attend medieval recreation events. I even had a little time left over for writing, which I still didn’t do as often as I would have liked. Still, when I decided to leave my job at AOL and travel to Europe, I knew I was making some changes that would affect me for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t just agreeing to take the challenges that day presented, but I was agreeing to a new way of life and agreeing to whatever changes were going to come after. I didn’t exactly know that right then, but it gradually became more clear. Europe was wonderful! Spending time in some of the oldest countries in the world, every city block and alleyway rife with history,  I felt like a global citizen for the first time. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself. A world traveler. I liked the sound of that. I didn’t see as many sights as I might have liked, and not knowing all the languages was challenging, but traveling brings a different mindset to the world. It makes you feel like you can do anything. It gives you the confidence you need to realize you can handle anything life throws your way. It makes you sit up and take note of how BIG the world is and how easy it can be to miss it if you don’t keep your eyes open. The other thing is. . .there’s no going back. Perhaps the part I didn’t exactly understand when I was trolling through Europe. When I actually got home, it became abundantly more clear. Taking risks broadens your horizons. It changes you. Once I was back in Florida, I realized there were no jobs left. I thought I’d get employed in insurance. I was one step away from being hired when it was discovered that hurricanes had dried up the budget that would have been used to hire me. Suddenly, my safe bet was a no go. I had two choices: I could continue looking for work under every rock and crevice, OR– I could take a huge chance to follow my dream of being a writer. I heard of New College of California through a friend I had graduated with at the University of Alabama. The two of us had been in the University’s New College program: an exclusive arm of the college that allows independent and focused students to create their own majors using all of the classes in all of the departments that the university had to offer.  Masters degrees using the New College mode of study were only possible at this one school in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district. At that time, San Francisco seemed like the farthest thing away from reality. I thought there was NO WAY I’d ever be able to end up there. But, I applied to the school anyway. And I got in. (I didn’t know then that EVERYONE gets in, but at the time, it seemed like quite a victory.) I decided to try my house on the market, which admittedly, my agent did not think was doing so well. Still, after one day on the market, the house sold. For my entire asking price. Not even so much as a counter offer. I felt that the universe was telling me that leaving Florida and traveling all the way across the United States was the thing I was supposed to do. So my boyfriend and I loaded his truck with our belongings and headed for California. On the way, we stopped at several places on the Southern route to California. We saw San Antonio and the Alamo (it’s in the middle of a city. Who knew?) We saw Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns. We saw Meteor Crater.  (Yep. A hole.) And we even saw the Grand Canyon. But, I had still gone before to make sure we had a place to live. And since I was starting school, I had a deadline. This current journey is different. I have no timeline, no solid agenda. I have a vague idea of where I’ll end up. I’m not exactly sure what the path has cooked up for me along the way.  But, it’s pretty much a done deal. With company restructuring having reclaimed my job, I decided to supplement my vocation with a vacation. I’ll travel until I get tired, or until I’ve spent enough money or come up with viable, impossible to resist employment. . .But, beginning on the first day of March, I’ll officially be “road tripping.” I’ll be taking pictures, writing blogs about my findings, and trying to keep everyone updated on who I’m meeting, what I’m seeing and how much I’m learning by keeping a travel blog. Ultimately, though, I’m not sure what I’m looking for. And I’m even less sure of what I’m going to find. I do know this one thing though: life is too short to live it with your eyes closed.  So, beginning now, my eyes, and my future, are wide open.

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~ by ImaginaryCanary on February 3, 2011.

2 Responses to “Preparing for the Great Adventure”

  1. I can’t wait to hear all your stories… I am so excited for you, I wish I hadn’t squandered my chance to do something similar.

  2. I look forward to hearing about your travels and seeing the pictures you take along the way.

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