Surprise! I'm moving to Nashville.
Yep, you read that headline correctly. I am moving to Nashville, Tennessee. Or rather, probably the surrounding area of Nashville. And it's happening in exactly three weeks — September 2nd. To be more specific, I will be driving to Nashville and am not actually going to be there until September 23rd. I'll be doing a Route 66 road trip from here to Chicago and then visiting some friends and family in Ohio before staying in Charleston, WV for a couple nights and finally arriving in Nashville.
No, I am not moving for a job. No, I am not moving for a person — nor do I know any people there. I am moving because I simply love the area of Nashville, and it's the right time.
About six years ago, my dad and I went to visit Vanderbilt out there and it was pouring rain. I got soaked as we toured the campus. We didn't even make it to the Bluebird or any late-night music show. He did buy me my own pair of cowboy boots. And we did get White Castle mini burgers — I always had the frozen ones and I finally got to try the reall thing! For some reason, despite the minimal time there, I just fell in love with the area. I was obsessed. Even when I was at UCLA, I'd be in my dorm room before bed playing "Wagon Wheel" on repeat, associating it with Nashville and wanting to be there so bad that I would occassionally cry. Even though I was completely happy with UCLA and everything I had there. It was weird. I know. I'm weird.
After awhile, I became less obsessed, but it's always been in the back of my mind. It became kind of a joke — like when people asked me where I'd move to if I could, Nashville was numero uno. I meant it seriously, but after such a time, it was one of those things that became easy to say, but the reality seemed so far off. Like a "maybe one day..." but probably not until I retire, and even then. Nashville was a fantasy in my mind. An idealization of something like the equivalent feeling of the Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces" going-out-on-my-own anthem. But very rarely did people from Los Angeles understand why I would move to Nashville over living in Los Angeles.
My stepmom provided a trip for me and two friends after I graduated from UCLA a little over two years ago for a trip to Nashville. We got to be there for five days and it was one of my absolute favorite trips ever. I didn't start crying at night when I got back from that, but I did love it just as much as the first time I was there. It felt like another home.
Don't get me wrong, I love Los Angeles. I've lived here my entire life. I appreciate the diversity, all it has to offer, that most of my family lives here, the people I'm surrounded by. But because I've lived here my entire life, most of my entire past is here. Sometimes, when the past is so present, it's hard to see a future. For now at least.
It was during a time of feeling stuck and not sure where I wanted to go with my life or where I saw my future, that I had a thought of how much I wished I could take the Route 66 road trip I've wanted to take for a couple years and live in Nashville. It was literally the most crazy thought at first.
My life is so comfortable here. I have a stable job that I enjoy with people I deeply care about, I'm able to save money by living at home paying a minimal rent, I love my church congregation/ward, I love my friends, I know the area really well and I know the resources I have to know what's going on or upcoming... so why would I move? Maybe next year I thought.
But I kept thinking about it now.
Maybe it's the long-term conditioning of Hilary Duff's "Why Not," song as my alarm playing over and over after all these years. Or my restlessness and need for a challenge. Either way, after looking at the money I saved, I started wondering, "Why not? Why not me? Why not right now? I can do this."
I started planning the entire road trip. Down to the mile. All the places I wanted to go on the trip, and each cost of that place or experience. Mule riding in the Grand Canyon, staying at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, seeing the Ice Cave and Volcano in New Mexico, awing over the world's largest rocker in Missouri. And so many more. And I realized I really could do this.
Sometimes, all we need is a little faith in ourselves. To just know "you're awesome," like the card my friend sent me above, and you can do this. My latest mantra, as kind of a joke, but actually kind of works in life is, "If you believe it, you can achieve it." So far it's working — even on things as simple as making the bell ring on one of those carnival hammer games (I even achieved it using one hand!).
It's been difficult at times to stick with this plan, to have the conviction I did when I decided to take this step. And there's been moments, like the Diddy Riese night, where I've started to realize exactly what I'm sacrificing by leaving and how this journey is going to be so fun at times, but also really difficult and challenging and potentially lonely. But it's also my journey, it's my choice, and with the confirmation and guidance of the Holy Ghost and God, I feel even more confident about that choice and myself in making that decision.
And although there's been those difficult moments, there's also been moments where things have just fit together so well. Like a friend being able to join me for one part of the trip, and another for another part. And going through and selling some of my items for extra money and getting more than I thought I would. And selling my Los Angeles Taylor Swift tickets in exchange for a floor-seat ticket in Columbus. And choosing a farm to work on when I first get to Nashville, and them being some of the nicest people. And telling people I'm moving and someone saying, "I know this person in Nashville, I can introduce you!"
As many have said, worst case scenario I can always come back home. But as my friend Ashley said, I'm stubborn enough that I'll stay out there for my goal of at least a year before I consider coming back an option. And honestly, as many of the things I might be missing, I know I'll also be gaining a lot too. And I'm really excited about the adventure ahead.
In the meantime, I've been filling my schedule with making the most out of the rest of my time here, of doing all the things in Los Angeles that I've wanted to do for a long time, or revisiting the adventures that I would and have done again and again. And I plan to share all of it with you. Because, as Krystal says, "It's 2015 — share everything."
So look forward to some adventure posts and sharing along in this trip with me.
Have a happy Wednesday!