July 3, 2020
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
– The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho –
When making big decisions in life, I follow my heart. Eventually, my mind follows with thoughtful evaluation, planning, and execution. Basically, lots of pros and cons lists on Excel (literally. I use this template to create a weighted pros/cons list lol). Yet, it’s not logic that solidifies when I’m ready to follow my heart. Usually, I follow the signs from God and the Universe to remind me that I am headed in the right direction. Little synchronicities begin to pop up and life seems to flow effortlessly in the direction of my heart’s desires.
EXACTLY four years ago, I stepped off an airplane in Sea-Tac airport with two suitcases in hand. I was ready to embark on my first travel Physical Therapy assignment in Olympia, Washington. I envisioned a nomadic lifestyle with plans to move every three months for different travel assignments.
What I found as I lived this reality was something profoundly beautiful. I saw possibilities unfolding right where I was. This led me to lengthen my first travel assignment, pursue a second one, and (finally) settle into a full-time job in the Evergreen State. I knew my heart needed to look no further for a home as I traded my idealized view of a nomadic life for stability.
With my heart planted in the Cascade mountains, I watered my wanderlust spirit with mountain adventures and connection. I have consistently stepped outside my comfort zone and into the unknown. Over the course of these four years, I experienced more beauty, loss, security, discomfort, connection, grief, and gratitude than ever before. Through the coexistence of pain and peace, I found my center and became grounded within myself. I relied on myself for love, compassion, and understanding. I sought the truth and meaning in challenging life experiences. I grew… and grew… and grew. Personally, professionally.
I grew in connection with myself and, thus, the world around me.
Now, exactly four years after I stepped off the plane, I am preparing for the greatest journey yet. In one week, I am packing my things (which don’t fit in two suitcases anymore, haha!) once more.
It’s time to bring my heart home.
A big part of me knew this day would come eventually.
The day when I realized it was time to come HOME.
During my time in Olympia in 2016, I had a few patients tell me to “go back to the East Coast” where I came from because Washington has been getting too crowded by transplants >.>
Well… it’s about time I follow my patients’ advice!
I’m moving back to to the East Coast –
Where I came from and where I belong.
Okay, okay, it’s not because of what my patients told me four years ago, but because my heart has been preparing for this moment and now I’m READY.
Ya know… I’ve been “goin’ at it alone” for a while. No, I’m not talking about being single–but instead just really far from all my main support people. I think back to landing in Yakima for my second travel Physical Therapy assignment where Subaru picked me up in my *brand new Forester!* I was so excited… but it felt a little weird because the only person I had to high-five was the car dealer guy. He was nice, but I couldn’t hug him like I can hug my parents. He didn’t want to go for a drive, belting out lyrics to my favorite song. UGH… lame!!
There have been many moments like that, but I knew I had to keep going until I was ready. Ready to be close. I needed to be aligned and grounded within myself, confident in my values and boundaries.
I have chosen to travel through life at my own pace.
Since 2015, I have lived a plane ride away from my family and close friends after I moved to South Florida. It has truly felt good to have the space (physically and emotionally) to break down and rebuild my beliefs and values. I’ve learned so much about myself and the world and, while I know the learning is far from over, I am FAR FROM ready to keep this geographical distance between myself and my loved ones!
Over the course of the last two years, I have felt drawn back to the East coast. It’s not ALL because of the Seattle Freeze (though it is REAL), the traffic on I-5, or lack of Italian food (what’s a girl gotta do to get a CHICKEN PARM HERO?!), but it’s 100% because I KNOW I can’t live my life/raise a family (one day!) without MY family by my side.
I kept thinking I needed to be “stronger.” Maybe if I kept living this far, eventually it’d get easier and I’d have a family here and we’d live in the Cascade mountains and climb Mount Rainier together.
But… that’s not my reality. And I don’t ever WANT it to be. Because family means TOO MUCH to me. (Side Note: I can bring my family to climb Rainier one day ANYWAYS.)
Take my Nonno for example. He’s my favorite man in the entire world and has instilled me with my wanderlust spirit. He’s also incredibly intelligent, good at remembering dates (NOT a quality we share haha), and has the biggest heart. I love you, Nonno! I can’t wait to hug you more often.
Getting “stronger” meant being really okay with who I am and all the parts of me. Though I get knocked off course at times (perfection is never the goal, let’s be real), I can see the product of all the self-work I’ve done over the years. Things that used to bother me roll off me with more ease. I’m more aware of what my gut is telling me about people (it’s now yelling loud and clear “STAY AWAY!!” at times). I am not as deeply affected by the energy of others (though I can definitely feel it… #empath). I now have the word “boundaries” in my vocabulary (legit had no idea what those were like 2 years ago lol). I have connected more to God and our interconnectedness and all the beautiful ways the Universe is one with each of us.
And most of all? It feels really good to have a center and a grounding within my own heart.
I feel I reached my catharsis of self-growth by exploring toxic relationships, the loss of friends in tragedies, and my past belief systems. I explored these depths with the guidance of a counselor who truly opened the doors and windows to my heart in new ways (<much more on that another time!! Even happy, optimistic people need counselors! ERASE THE STIGMA). I opened myself to healing, surrendering the pain I’ve felt (suppressed and palpated), and turned it into growth and gratitude.
Honestly, if not for all the hard, emotional work, I don’t think I would be where I am today.
Yes, this growth has taken courage.
It’s also taken time.
And I’m so grateful I have taken the time to become who I always have been.
Adventures I’ll never forget
This wouldn’t be a good summary post without admitting that my time in Washington was not all hard work and growth… I meannnn, have you SEEN the Cascade Mountains?! *jaw drop*
The mountains are, ultimately, what kept me in Washington for so long. Through my mountain experiences, I have become acutely aware of our limitless human potential AND the beauty of the natural world. Before living in Washington, I had been camping a handful of times (mostly on sandy beaches in Florida) and had only rock climbed with a guide.
Now, FOUR years later, I have entire bedroom dedicated to my outdoor gear and REI has taken a good percentage of my earned wages. I’ve been backcountry skiing, backpacking, lead sport climbing, mountain & road cycling, AND mountaineering. While I am in no way an expert, I am more than capable of exploring in the mountains and GOSH GOLLY it is so fun!
There are TWO really awesome things about leaving the Cascade Mountains with all this knowledge:
- The Cascades will still be here and I can come back to visit because I will NEVER check all the items off my Pacific Northwest bucket list.
- I can bring my knowledge to my HOME mountains on the East Coast! I still have BARELY explored the Adirondacks of NY and have never been to the White Mountains of NH! There’s also some sweet rock climbing over there. Maybe now I can trad climb?! Ice climb?! The possibilities are endless!
- (BONUS) There’s ALWAYS more to learn!
Path of least resistance
Once I came to terms with my readiness to be on the east coast again, I kept my plans sacred for a while. I wanted to sit with them. Make more pros and cons lists. Meditate on my path.
I have kind of (definitely) always wanted to end up in New England. I just LOVE the charm of the homes there (shutters!) and historic feel. The fall colors, snowy winters… mmm, mmm, cozy x infinity. Since 2008, I’ve been visiting my cousin (/sister/soulmate/best friend/chimchimbubblechunks… don’t ask), Caitlin, in Boston where she went to college. We’ve had some insanely awesome memories there (especially St. Patty’s Day) and I’ve grown to really love the city. It feels quaint and cute, while also having all the fun things that come with a city (including CHICKEN PARM HEROS).
My family is the kind that would go to Nana and Nonno’s house on every Sunday. We have loud family gatherings. We play games for hours (and are pretty competitive, too… haha). We love each other fiercely! I’m close with my parents, brothers, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. On my 30th birthday, my Nonno and I shared a birthday party. I just kept looking around at the party of about 50 people (which sounds illegal right now lol) – family and friends [basically family] – feeling SO MUCH love. I just kept thinking, this is where I belong.
So, through a divine alignment of opportunities…
I am moving to Boston!
OHMYGOSH, it sounds so good to say. I mean… looks so good to type out. I want to say it again. I’m moving to Boston!!!! (my heart is literally racing right now… here come the butterflies in my stomach… oh, this is fun).
It’s happening it’s happening!
With all the craziness of the world right now, I could not be more grateful to have this opportunity available. Honestly, the road to Boston has been the smoothest and least stressful journey. In preparation for this decision, the amount of synchronicities and signs that validated my journey have been chilling.
A country radio station in Seattle played Boston commercials one day, inviting me to head do “Beantown” for a country night.
Getting my Massachusetts Physical Therapy license took three weeks. With ZERO complications.
I got the job I wanted… in the city I wanted… close to the PEOPLE I want in my life.
Praise be! (<eek, that sounded too Handmaids Tale-ish)
Throughout this entire process, I have felt nothing but support. All my family and friends on the east coast have been my constant rocks during these difficult times. They’ve been my encouragement during this transition.
All my friends here on the West coast have also been supportive when I share this news. I definitely don’t hide how close I am to my family, so there’s been no secrets about where my heart has always belonged.
There have been SO MANY people part of my journey that I cannot capture in this post. Suffice it to say (for now) that everyone I have intersected with in this beautiful state have played a pivotal role in my life journey. To all the people I am no longer in touch with, I am also talking about you. No matter the course of our relationship, you have each taught me something. For that, I will forever be grateful.
My heart does not do “goodbyes” as I connect deeply to people and places. I carry in my heart all the things that could have, should have, and did exist. I carry the wisdom of many lessons I’ve learned – the hard ones and the easy ones – through each season of my life. While it’s going to be hard to leave the mountains, my job (best work family ever), and friends here… I know it’s NEVER goodbye.
So, here I am. Preparing for a goodbye and transition I welcome openly.
In ONE week, I begin the cross country drive with a full heart, gratitude for lessons learned, and a spirit ready for my next adventure in BOSTON!
From now on… from now on…
And we will come back home… home again.