Finding a place to call home after a year of traveling and moving.
January 10, 2023
Well, I'm finally settled into my new town after a ton of cross-country trips last year. I had no idea it was so many until Google shared this insight with me. Normally, I don't like being tracked, but this was kinda fun to review and realize I did a lot of traveling last year.
I left California in June to go care for a friend's aged parents in Lakeland, Florida. The opportunity was presented that I would basically be there if anything went wrong at night and I would have the days free to work and travel.
However, when I arrived, it was clear the parents needed more care and after many months of trying to get the family to provide in-home care, find a way for the couple to move into assisted living, or find help through the various senior resources, it became clear the situation wasn't ever going to change. I made the difficult choice to leave, but it was very sad for me because the couple was really special and I had grown to care for them.
I enjoyed swimming with the mom and helping her regain her sense of balance. Also, helping her remember positive memories of times spent with family and church friends over the years. The stepdad was another sort and I began to realize I never want to live into my 90s. He was in constant pain, stubborn, arrogant to a fault, and determined he would be fine without his walker, despite falling numerous times and injuring himself further. We eventually developed respect for each other, but it was rough going at first.
It was a very sad situation and to be honest, I'm glad I'm no longer responsible because it was too heartbreaking to see them decline so quickly. Last year I experienced numerous friends passing while caregiving for my Dad and visiting my aunt in her skilled nursing facility. I began to feel like I needed to breathe and do something completely different which is why I left California for Florida. Plus, the political climate in California is stifling.
After a month of almost full-time care of the couple I was responsible for, the daughter told me to take off during the day because that was our agreement. It killed me to leave them because they really needed full-time care, but for my mental health, I began to pursue full-time work, look for an apartment to move out to, and explored various parts of Florida I considered moving to.
I also joined a fun group of women called Lakeland Ladies and made friends through there that I have kept to this day. Really quality people too. We went and explored a local natural spring and the beach on one excursion. What was funny to me about Florida beaches is the water is warm, like bathtub warm, which was disconcerting when I'm used to freezing in the Pacific ocean. It was also extremely shallow very far out which was also difficult to get used to, especially when sharks were an issue if you went out too far.
I'm used to swimming to the end of the pier and back and not being able to touch the floor of the Pacific ocean. As a result, I enjoyed the natural springs more due to the refreshingly cool water, deep floor, and opportunity to feel cool during the heat. Because Florida is hot! I bought more shorts living there than I have in my entire life!
I was able to visit St. Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando, and numerous smaller cities around the major ones. What I found fascinating was the brilliant purples and reds in their sunsets. The skies would explode with colors I'd never seen before and many times had to pull over to take a picture to capture the vibrancy. I still have a desire to return and travel around because there is so much I didn't have a chance to explore.
I enjoyed living in Lakeland because there is a burgeoning tech scene and I was able to attend one of their Catapult pitch fests. Very interesting startups and founders. Also, very a unique cool building devoted to the startup community which had a young, dynamic female leader in charge who was very welcoming. I gave her some referrals to the events, VCs, and other tech-related resources I knew from my time in that field.
I also enjoyed living in Lakeland because I was an hour or so from Orlando and the same distance to Tampa. Thus, I was able to explore both areas very easily. I especially enjoyed traveling to Orlando because I was able to reconnect with my friend Lana who had left California a few years before me. We both cried when we saw each other because she had been one of my best friends in the business and we used to do many events together. She recently had experienced a major health scare too and I was so grateful I was able to see her doing so well.
When I left Florida I went to live on a friend's ranch in West Texas which was a very unique experience. I will always remember fondly my time living on the ranch among the horses, cows, and dogs because those became my companions living so far away from any city and my friends being so busy. Plus, the animals were so fun to watch and be around. They always made me laugh at their antics.
The closest town, Valentine, had 200 people. You drive an hour and there's another arts community of roughly 1500 people called Marfa. Drive about 45 minutes further and you arrive in the city where I currently reside with a population of 6,000 people called Alpine.
We have numerous Dollar Generals, one big grocery store called Porter's, a smaller natural one called Blue Water that I just learned about and need to visit, and a nice variety of restaurants ranging from Mexican to Thai to American to Chinese to Italian to BBQ, one cafe called Cedar Coffee Supply, and Sul Ross University.
This is a major adjustment to living in Los Angeles, but I found an apartment here that I really liked just before I left to housesit in Austin for a week to look for a place there and have decided this is where I will rebuild my life. My friends tease me that they're going to poke a hole in my tires to make me stay still because I've moved so much.
When I mentioned that I wasn't sure I would meet anyone here, my friend said, well, you haven't met anyone while you're moving around. Maybe it will happen when you're in one place. That made me laugh and I still chuckle thinking of it. Who knows?!
There's a big Valentine's Day celebration taking place in Valentine, Texas on February 18 that looks like a lot of fun. Here are the details: https://valentineinvalentinetx.com/
Now that I'm settled and have my office set up, just need a chair which is being delivered by Friday. I'm excited to see what the year holds and am grateful for the remote jobs I have and the opportunity to begin acting again.
Now to find a local job to help me to meet people and make friends. Otherwise, I will remain in my apartment working all the time and I refuse to be a workaholic anymore. Time to find some balance and achieve some personal goals, in addition to, business and financial goals.
Also, continue exploring Texas. It's so vastly different than anywhere I've ever lived before and I find it fascinating. The sheer expanse of natural beauty with no buildings in sight is healing and inspiring.
I'm going to start a virtual goal-setting group similar to what I used to run in the 90s once I decide which platform to build on. Every group I ran had people accomplish the 3-month goals they set out to achieve and I know having the accountability, support, and encouragement of like-minded people makes a huge difference.
I'm going to take a few goal-setting seminars myself to learn from others and add to my own experience and background. I'll be sharing more later.
In the meantime, if you want to join me and my friends in starting out the new year in a new way, consider joining us for the 21 Days of Prayer that Church of the Highlands is offering. It's free to participate in and very encouraging. Get ready to see what God can do when you place Him first in your day.
God bless and enjoy your year! I plan to!