I never intended to stay in San Francisco this long (it's now been over 5 years!). I had plans to move abroad that fell through, and ever since then, I've always known I'd move abroad- eventually. As a child, I moved a lot. For a bit there, I was moving every two years, including a stint in England in elementary school and to the Mexican border after that. Moving this much made me overwhelmingly curious about other ways of life and, on the more negative side, I have a hard time sitting still. My current apartment in San Francisco is actually the longest I've ever lived anywhere except my first home I moved from when I was 5 years old.
Over the last few years, I've curbed my desires by spending several months of the year abroad while still being based in San Francisco. However, this was getting increasingly difficult to do as my frustrations with the City began to grow (more on that in a future post...), and I was dumping rent into a place where I wasn't even living. I also was just so *happy!* while traveling. A month away may seem like a long time to some people, but I was absolutely never ready to return to San Francisco. Did I miss my friends? You bet!! But I was finding myself settling into a life that wasn't challenging me anymore, and that's not something I do well.
Meanwhile, I'd gotten a taste of what the "digital nomad" lifestyle is like, and I was hooked. While some people do best with structure, I go stir-crazy. Walking into the same office from 9-5 (okay, let's be honest, in SF it's more like 10:30-6:30!) under fluorescent lights and not exploring new places just really wears on me. I regularly look around the office, seeing everyone just sitting there starting at their computer screens, and it frankly creeps me out. We willingly put ourselves in these boxes collectively staring at a computer for the majority of our lives? Eeek!
I found myself in a situation I just wasn't happy with, and I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year: 2018 was the year I was going to stop complaining and actually act. I'd seen that there really is a different way to live life, and I couldn't get it out of my head- I needed to go for it and turn this "taste" into my full-time.
This whole year, I've been pretty bad about going to my church, so there's only one thing I've written down from any sermons, but it really resonated with me during this journey: "What will require me to trust God most?" and that was definitely quitting without a plan. So that's what I did: After months and months of waiting and pushing to make it work with my current job and not really getting anywhere, I set a date: I was going to leave SF at the end of July whether I was able to keep my job or not. The next day, I bought a one way ticket to Barcelona and texted all my friends in order to keep myself accountable. I wasn't sure how I was going to make it work (I'd saved a decent amount of money but not enough for more than 6'ish months), but I just knew deep down that this was right even if I didn't have a set plan.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you'll remember that I've been in a crazy period of finding heads up "good luck" pennies on the ground almost every single day. Here's the cool part of the story I haven't been telling: I found my very first one the day I made the decision to leave San Francisco. I've prayed and prayed that God would give me some sign that this truly is the path I should be taking, and these pennies have shown up consistently ever since I acted on that feeling in my gut that this what I should be doing. Throughout my life, I've had these little "God winks" show up, and some may attribute them to 'the universe' or 'good vibes', but wherever you think this may come from, it's been crystal clear to me that I made the right call.
And here's the wilder thing- I've also found that when I listen to that gut, God provides. And he did in a really big way this time. I'd accepted that I was probably about to blow through my savings and have to put my love of working in the social good space on hold (something that above anything else gave me anxiety. I LOVE this work!), but I couldn't have been more wrong! Within days of announcing I was leaving with no real plan, I got a LinkedIn message: "Are you interested in a remote Social Media and Content Manager role for a socially conscious company?" I literally laughed out loud. Within 2 weeks, a ton of other "coincidences" happened that helped me land a job of my dreams working for a social enterprise that supports artisans in Bali called Wanderer Bracelets. Yup, sometimes you just have to make the leap and show your trust for the big work to happen.
The very day after I accepted the new position, I sat down with my boss to tell her the news, and she had an offer ready to go to hire me on a short-term basis to continue in my current role but remote. In full transparency, right after the meeting, I booked a conference room and cried. The offer was longer than I'd expected (I'd known a 1-3 month contract maybe could be possible, but this was for longer), and she was so excited that my company was able to make it work. I was too. The timing was ridiculous and frustrating. I'd already signed the contract for the other role, so there was no going back. One business day earlier, and things may have turned out differently. But I also fully believe that everything happens for a reason, and the fact that this opportunity slipped in in remarkable timing is even more clear to me that this was truly meant to be.
I'm still in total shock at how this has all unfolded, I'm sad to be actively leaving a really wonderful chapter of my life, a little anxious at having to start over again (will I make friends?!?), but for the most part, I'm terribly excited that I'm making this dream a reality.
So what's my plan? Honestly, I don't really have one. I'm going to be traveling around for a bit that first month and then will hopefully settle down for longer someplace in September. I'm currently thinking Barcelona but also have Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Cape Town, and somewhere in Greece on my mind (basically all cities similar to San Francisco lollll). I'm just rolling with it. Will I move back to San Francisco? Maybe. I'm very open to that. Knowing that I'd come back to a non-office work environment helps me in thinking of a v. 2 for my life here. But for now, I'm excited for a Mediterranean summer. Hit me up with any recs you have, and please send any friends in the region my way!