a minor fall, a major leap: a major announcement + life change

OTOÑO EN EL PANTANO
Photo Credit: Alfredo Miguel Romero

Because I want to feel something again. Because I want to come down to my knees and feel the earth beneath my hands. Because I want to be itinerant. Because I saw Tiny and said, imagine that. Because I want to do something with my hands other than type. Because I’m tired of a city where death had undone so many. Also, I’m tired of cities. Because I seek an unadulterated sky. Because I wrote a novel about a family living in the West and who knew I’d write myself to where I plan to be? Because home isn’t a place, rather it’s the people to whom you return.

For now, let’s call my project Four Points West. Come September 2015, I will spend 3-4 months in Sante Fe, New Mexico; Helena, Montana; Seattle, WA and San Diego (or Santa Cruz, haven’t decided yet), California. I placed pins on a map and said, this is where you’ll fine me. This is where I’ll lay down my head to rest.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve never left the confines of New York. Sure, I’ve traveled to India, Ireland, Taiwan, Italy, UK, Prague, France, Spain, Russia, Mexico, China, Korea, Thailand, Australia, Fiji, Aruba, Bali, Denmark, Germany, Canada, Cambodia, Vietnam, but I’ve never made another place my home. Next year I will make four unexpected places my temporary home. I’ll stay in AirBNBs. I’ll retake the road test since my driver’s license expired years ago. I’ll take my cat with me. I’ll sublet my home in Brooklyn or let it go altogether. I’ll sit in a place of uncertainty, inconvenience and discomfort because it’s better than this recognizable disquiet.

I’ve a lot to plan between now and then, but I’m exhilarated. I plan on documenting the entire journey, treating each place as if it’s a new territory, a foreign country. And while I hope to continue consulting in brand and consumer marketing, I like the idea of also doing work that requires me to do something with my hands. I guess I want to feel something more than what exists right now. I want to see how far I can go.

Admittedly, I’m terrified. I’ve $150K in graduate loan debt. I’ve credit card debt. New York is easy in the sense that most of my work is here, even if I don’t have to venture into an office. I’m leaving the comfort of all I know in pursuit of something that may be a disaster, financial or otherwise.

But another part of me, a small voice that was once a whisper has grown to a shout, and it says, why not?

More to come…

41 thoughts on “a minor fall, a major leap: a major announcement + life change

  1. EXACTLY! Why NOT?! To offer a cliche that my young and optimistic daughter always says, “YOLO Mommy.” And since my health challenge that started this summer I AM ALL OVER SEIZING THE MOMENT! I want less what if’s as I know you to too! It takes courage but the pay off will be so worth it!!

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    1. I love that, Laurel. I’m nearly finished with Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, and while the subject matter is a bit morbid (a medical + philosophical look at the end of life), it forced me to reflect on many questions: What do I value? What are my compromises? What is most dear to me? What matters as I near the end of my life is the fact that I lived it, every minute of it. And I fear that my most precious life won’t be found by living here for the rest of my life, you know? xo

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    1. Awww, thanks! I honestly can’t wait. Part of me wants to accelerate this, but I’m cognizant of the fact that I have to actually make some major plans and logistical decisions, which will take some time. Ah, time!!!

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  2. this sounds amazing! Happy for you Felicia. I love tour tweets and blog. Look forward to reading all about your journey. Well deserved!!

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  3. This is.. Beautiful. Brave. Strong. Exciting. Dreamy. I admire you so. I wish you a wonderful, magical, experience. I live in Portland, OR. Perhaps we’ll meet. xo

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  4. Exciting… Brave…and why not? I can’t wait to follow this journey! I’ve been to all…Settle, WA I went there once a year, until my friend moved to Japan; Helena, MT I have family friends live there and I love it there. Santa Fe went with hubby on a business trip, and lived in San Diego for 10 years. Wish you nothing but the best!

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  5. This is awesome Felicia and you’re going to be in some of the most beautiful parts of this country. Can’t wait to see all of this go down and your lovely pictures and stories. Also, how you live is so inspiring. I too have college debt and I allow it to keep me from dreaming big. I hope to approach life with much more gusto like you do.

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    1. You know, I used to use my debt (and believe me, there’s a lot of it) as an excuse for me to not pursue what I really wanted to do. And while debt is a real and true reality, it’s also a terrific crutch.

      I’ve lived in darkness for so many years, chased ambition and all the wrong things to extremes, and I guess I’ve found the most joy in living simply, mindfully, and finding what it is that bolts me out of bed in the morning.

      Warmly, f.

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  6. Yas!! This is a great idea. Like you said, no need to worry about visas and pet quarantines.

    I cannot wait to read about your journey.

    Looking forward to chatting. I wonder how you deal with the day-to-day financial stuff. That is what stresses me out beyond belief.

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    1. I honestly stopped thinking about it. I can’t control it. All I can do is focus on doing good work, putting my name out there, connect with people in a real way so it doesn’t feel like shameless networking, and so far the universe has been kind to me. And while I have a panic attack twice a year about making rent, somehow, the world sets itself to rights.

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  7. Hooray!! This is fantastic news. What an amazing adventure lies ahead of you…and who knows (literally) where it will take you! Wow, I love that you are doing it…!

    I went to high school in Santa Cruz and spent a lot of time in San Diego where my folks lived for nearly 25 years (Pacific Beach). Both are amazing but very, very different in feel. I really think that you would get so much out of either and feel free to email me if you want more specific info. 🙂

    Happy NEW Year… 🙂

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      1. I think that you would be inspired by the lack of judgement there. The last time I went back to visit there was a dude dressed as Zorro walking down the Mall (the main drag) and nobody looked…not in that NYer “we are too cool to look” way but just because it truly was no big deal. It is an excellent place to “just be”.

        Other good points? Excellent eats and amazing nature (the ocean on one side and the redwoods on the other) at close range. I have lived in a lot of places and I have to say that SC definitely kept a piece of my heart in a really good way! 🙂

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  8. Congrats on the move! That’s really exciting. I grew up in northern NJ just outside the city, went to school in DC and have lived in NYC for the past 7 years. 90% of the time I’m really happy here and can’t imagine living somewhere else with a slower pace but sometimes I wonder would it would be like somewhere where it is slower. I guess it never is too late 🙂

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