On our very first date 4.5 years ago, I asked my husband if he’d ever move away from NYC. I had always dreamed of moving to the west coast and leaving the place where all my family and friends lived, the little cocoon I had built around myself. I wasn’t sure exactly where I’d go, or when. But thankfully he said “of course,” despite his family being on the east coast, too. It was like I was planting the seeds to move all those years ago.
I had this little tiny speck of an idea that I wanted to leave New York, but I didn’t even think it was possible to do it. For the most part, I’d only done things that “made sense,” that felt safe, and that I thought would “look good” to others. Luckily I’ve spent the last 4+ years peeling off the layers of wanting to look good and desperately trying to please others, and I’ve been listening more and more to my truest self. The last few years it’s become more clear than ever – deep down, there’s a more aligned place for me to live, grow, and thrive.
Through our own individual paths and together as a couple, we began dreaming about what that life would look like outside New York. We began making arrangements to take the big leap. We started sharing our dreams with our communities and families, and asking people for help in achieving our dreams. We started taking little actions to move towards our goal (like temporarily moving in with my parents to avoid another year-long NYC lease), despite how they may look from the outside. Bit by bit, we’ve gotten closer to the next chapter.
Not surprisingly, my dreams are coming true. The vision I have for my life is unfolding before my eyes. But just like any real life transformation, arriving here has been thrilling and painful all at the same time. There were moments of synchronicity where we knew how to move forward together, co-designing a vision for what our future life would look like. There were also arguments, with one of us so deep in the fear that we couldn’t even envision life outside what we knew while the other was ready to take the leap at the flip of a switch. All the joyful creation, all the friction, all the peeling back of layers to align and mastermind, it was all so worth it. To find ourselves as individuals and together, I would do it all again a thousand times over.
Together, we committed to moving to a city with a thriving, growing community of healthy people, where we could make a palpable difference within the city. Road tripping for 6 weeks throughout the southern USA, we were fortunate to visit a lot of incredible cities. And boy, did we make the rounds! Driving, eating delicious food, and meeting incredible people along the way, we explored Philadelphia, DC, Richmond, Durham, Charleston, Atlanta, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Austin, Memphis, Nashville, Greenville, and Asheville (we eliminated the west coast so we could be geographically closer to family, turns out that's really important to us!). Each city we visited, we spent time with old friends and gracious Airbnb hosts, getting a sense of what it felt like to be a resident. We put on our figurative “tinted glasses” to look at our surroundings in a new light, and asked ourselves the same questions over and over again:
- What is the energy of each place? Are people friendly? Do they feel happy? (Smiling to strangers goes a long way!)
- Are people healthy and active?
- Is there abundant nature and green space?
- Is the restaurant industry and food culture booming?
- Is there easy access to healthy food?
- Are people connected? And not iPhone and tablet connected -- is there a true sense of community?
We were not only on the trip of a lifetime, we were also in search of our next home! Even with our pretend tinted glasses and our magical list of criteria, my ego wanted to think itself into the “right” decision. But at the end of the day, it came down to intuition.
Intuition can be hard to hear. Sometimes our ego gets so loud, it feels like the truth. Like when that inner voice inside your head tells you not to eat a slice of pizza because you're 3 lbs. overweight and if you gain one more pound you'll die. Or when you hate every aspect of your job, but you stay in a cycle of misery because your inner voice tells you you’ll never be able to find another job that pays as well. Playing it small, exaggerating your biggest fears, and begging you to stay inside your comfort zone? That’s usually the ego trying to keep us safe. But when I get really quiet, when I breathe deeply, listening to the hum of my own breath filling and emptying from my lungs, I can hear the voice, the tingle, the knowing. INTUITION. Deep down, I know what my inner guide is saying. I can hear how to take the next right action, how to navigate any situation in any moment.
I knew that while everyone had an opinion about where we “should” land, while the pesky voice inside my head was screaming to make the most reasonable move, and my ego was campaigning to choose the city that would make me look the best to others, my intuition would steer me toward the place I’m meant to be.
Am I afraid? OF COURSE! The game of life has gotten bigger, and I'm more on the court now than ever before. The master plan we’ve been working towards for 2+ years is unfolding before my eyes and I’m being called to rise up to the occasion. But you must understand this, my dear: fear will always be there. Fear is your ego’s way of saying “play it safe.” And great things never come from living in your comfort zone. Courage is feeling the fear, and doing it anyways. Truth be told, I’ve never felt more courageous than I do in this moment.
So it is with these words that I announce the big news:
As of December 1st, 2016, Alex and I will be residents of Richmond, VA!!!!
We are beyond, beyond excited for the newest adventure ahead. I can’t wait to connect with every healthy foodie, visit every healthy restaurant, shop at all the farmers’ markets, and explore all the parks and trails the city has to offer. It’s time for my husband and I to plant roots and establish our family. It’s time for us to bring our healthy goodness to new territory. It’s time to shine brighter than ever in our new city.
Now that you've heard more about my big leap, what about you? What major changes has your intuition led you to? Or what would you love to do if you were to live out your wildest dreams? I'd LOVE to hear in the comments below! And if you know anyone about to take a big leap of faith, please share this with them! The more we can encourage each other to rise up, the better this world will be!
P.S. I’m currently accepting healthy recommendations in RVA :)