We didn't go on annual family vacations. My parents were divorced. Vacations weren't a priority of ours. I had been north of the Mason Dixon line once. I went to Disney World when I was five. I didn't get out of Mississippi much.
So when I got older and I started hearing stories about vacations and adventures, I decided that it was my turn.
I wanted to go. To see. To do. To explore. To experience. I wanted to go on road trips.
If there was an opportunity to get away, my friends would tell you I was good for it. Nashville. Atlanta. Gulf Shores. New Orleans. Dallas.
It wasn't until May 2017 that my chance to get above the Mason Dixon line came. Wayyyyy West of it, actually.
I got a chance to live in San Francisco, CA, the tech and start-up capital of the country.
Home of Uber, Adobe, Facebook, and Google just a train ride down to Silicon Valley. The most expensive housing market in the country. The city that eggs in a grocery store are $4. I believed I could never live in SF because it was way over my head, but I thought the opportunity to temporarily live there was once in a lifetime.
I fell in love with San Francisco and did things I had never done before. I went hiking. I ate fancy food. I met some of the smartest people on the planet. I learned about the advertising industry. I worked on accounts like The North Face. I helped put a full campaign pitch together in 2 weeks. I experienced. I observed. I fell in love with California. I found a piece of myself in San Francisco.
"What's next?" -Everyone. All. Summer. Long.
In the same breath (of a summer. Lol), I got to live a lifelong dream and go to Los Angeles. We stayed in West Hollywood and went to Santa Monica. You know. Tourist things. I was getting my trip fix. I learned a little about my soul in LA, but that's for another article.
Two weeks later, I flew to the East coast and saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time. It registered to me that people from all of the world come to New York City just to see these things. I was an American. It felt like a right of passage for me. The same trip taught me that I hated New York City. I had an interview with a MAJOR agency, and respectfully declined when I realized that wasn't the place for me. Also, the rats?? People are mean. And they just need to vacation to the West coast or go to a BBQ down South and take a chill pill or something.
Throughout the turn up, the networking, and the photos, I was using these experiences to learn more about myself. Within every city and every experience was there was something new to learn. Whether it was what I liked and didn't like about its lifestyle or about myself. Whether it was the types of people I wanted to surround myself with, and the circles I wanted to avoid.
It was all guiding me in one direction. I just didn't know what direction it was yet.
But the whole time, I was doing something wrong.
This summer I battled with anxiety. One piece of this puzzle was not knowing what the future would bring. I set timelines and deadlines for myself. I was hard on myself. I would decide to stay in on Saturday nights and look for jobs on LinkedIn. Fast forward to when things got real around July 5th. I told myself I had to have a plan and a job by August 1st or I'd be a failure.
I thought that it was up to me to have life all figure out that very day. That very moment. I realized I was doing this wrong.
I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I would be moving to Dallas and working at an agency I had admired for years. Then I would save up, get my life together, get used to adulting, and move back out to California in 3-5 years. August 1st came and I had no job. I was wrong again.
It was my last day in San Francisco that things changed. I received an offer in San Diego, California. Cool. But something didn't feel right. The next day I flew to NYC and attended the Face of Talent, a week long of networking, workshops, Happy Hours, and agency visits. It would be my last day in New York City, 10 days after August 1st, that things became clearer to me.
I received an offer from a place in a city that I literally never looked in. I didn't look because I thought I was in over my head. I mean, it's the most expensive city to live in in the country. But it was an offer that I felt amazing about. It wasn't in Dallas. It wasn't in San Diego. It was in San Francisco. It was the same people that took a chance on me back in February as an intern that decided to take a chance on me on August 11th, 2017.
Life is a road trip. It's not about getting it right every single time. It's about getting lost and having to figure it out and getting back on the right track. It's about opening your heart and your mind to places, people, and experiences different than what you are used to. I thought I knew exactly where I was going and how I was going to get there. I was wrong. It took a few road blocks and curves to put me on the right path... but I'm where I'm suppose to be. I was trying to create my own road and God said, "Nahhhhhh." The right time for me to be in California was not in 3-5 years. The time is now.
Life's really just a road trip. Buckle up and enjoy that sh*t before it's over. It's ok to not have it all figured out. Embrace the detours.
I'm going going back back to Cali Cali. Can't wait for you all to ride this new wave with me.