Back in December, as every New Age, intention-setting girl does these days, I made a vision board for 2017 with a group of 7 groovy ladies in Leucadia. You would be surprised to see what sorts of beautiful life representations show up in an assortment of magazines taken from the donation pile at the library. Somehow, each one of us found exactly what we were looking for- a Tesla, a living room set, a diamond ring, the word “Encinitas,” etc.
It was actually me who was searching for “Encinitas.” All of the other ladies already lived in North County, San Diego and I had plans to follow magnetic north with Jorge once we sorted out our next career moves. How it appears on my vision board is like an excerpt from a ransom note with 3 lines in different fonts reading, “A Royal Welcome…Home…Encinitas.” I distinctly remember hesitating on the last word and thought it might be a little too limiting, but ran the glue stick along the back and threw it down there anyway. Clearly some sort of relocation was on the horizon.
The following month, Jorge came across a job posting for a company in the Peninsula, who also had a branch in Carlsbad. After scrolling through Carlsbad apartments on Craigslist on the flight home together from Christmas break, he thought this might be a great catalyst for our desire to go north. One thing led to another and a job application turned into a flight to San Francisco International Airport, turned into a lot of sleepless nights worrying about the choice to uproot ourselves and move to the Bay or stay in the comfort of San Diego’s perfect companionship: easygoing, lighthearted, sunny, warm and predictable.
“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.” Christian Morganstern
When we challenged ourselves to reach deep into our cores to access the answer within, it always came up as a cottage surrounded by trees, really tall trees with green leaves, the kind you can’t find in Southern California because mostly only oaks, palms and eucalyptus varieties grow there. Even though it was clear that our vision was up north, our hearts still hesitated to admit it. Why leave a perfectly comfortable place? What about our perfect little life in North County next to the ocean? Why tinker with perfection?
All of those questions seem pretty ridiculous to me now, because a decade ago, when I moved to California from New York City, I was deterred from going to Southern California for the reverse of those same reasons: Is it too perfect down there or is there some reality/substance? Who wants a perfect little life anyway? Am I perfect enough to live there? I guess these are the changes life brings when you’re a 26 year-old roller derby city punk versus a 36 year-old surfing yogi. Les temps changent.
Not begrudgingly, but certainly with uncertainty, we pushed through the discomfort of big change. We sold and donated unnecessary items, put notice in at work, ate final meals with family and friends, then loaded our lives into 2 cars and a U-haul trailer. Life on the road is no stranger to me and the move, although emotionally unprepared for it, was easier due to having done the reverse a year previously in a Prius. They always say, “Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.” I know this to be true, but how it showed up this time around was beyond expectations. Magnetic north, huh?
Looks like I just needed to pick up a Venezuelan in San Diego so that home could feel more homey. I have already been to the city a couple of times and feel different there compared to a year ago. My old routes seem more spacious and less congested, the people feel calm and familiar instead of annoying, friends are there with open arms and new projects to collaborate on, not surprised by yet another adventure.
Have you ever been given the chance to experience life a second time around? To return back somewhere and see it completely anew, because you yourself have changed the way you see it? All the dreams that you carried with you, but could not realize in a certain moment due to your own hangups or circumstances suddenly appear more real. A space inside you has opened up to usher them in and place becomes a theatre for your next masterpiece. All you need to do is design the set and write the script.
The most refreshing change here in the Bay Area is that people are weirder than me. They feel more like the environment: less manicured, more unpredictable, moody and wild. No one is the same—diversity is the flavor. People wear mismatched thrift store finds, glitter eye makeup, sit broodingly at cafes and have hyphenated titles. Rarely do I hear the lilting soprano of the Valley Girl or see the curled lip, open-mouthed, glazed stare of SoCal surfer bros. Even strangers want to engage in conversations that go beyond the weather or the pleasantries of life. There are protests every week these days and people are not afraid to speak out about their beliefs. There’s just a little more grit to the texture here that I had forgotten about in the perfection of warm Pacific waters, cutoff shorts and blond nuclear families.
No offense, but this old familiarity with a little freaky feels right. As my sister said, “Good, it’s where you belong. Now, I can come visit.” Even Jorge’s family, who has yet to come see California in 4 years time, has caught the travel bug since we moved. It looks like home now has a lot more allure for our loved ones; I guess if they wanted white sandy beaches they would go to Mexico. Sometimes places choose us and the guiding river of life drops us off on just the right shore: A Royal Welcome…Home.