If living in a van for a year taught me anything, it’s how to adapt to change. Since the beginning of March, I’ve been rolling with life’s punches (a few of which were way more painful than I’d like to admit), and it’s brought me here: to my new life in Colorado.
But I digress.
First, there was Florida. Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of my transition from journeying with a partner for four years to adventuring as a single woman was the process of packing. Folks, it was just plain awkward at times – and incredibly stressful. The moment all my belongings and gear were stuffed into boxes, I jetted south (again, I had literally just returned to Tallahassee from Miami when sh*t hit the fan) for some spiritual rest in Miami. I soaked up one final week of empanada feasting, dog beach romping, and family festivities before making my final departure from the sunshine state.
I made the 2,106 mile road trip from Miami to Denver in four short days – but during those 96 hours, I learned a lifetime of lessons. I spent a lot of time making sacrifices – small ones, like not listening to the (admittedly terrible) music I love to jam to while driving; and big ones, like being with someone who doesn’t ever want to get married. When Niko ended things, he was really just setting me free. And I’m really grateful for that.
Suddenly, I found myself with an abundance of time and choices. Buy two new pairs of boots, just because? Sure. Sushi for dinner three nights in a row? Why not. I had this epiphany moment one morning when I was sitting in my parent’s kitchen and had this nagging feeling like I was supposed to be doing something or checking in with someone – and then it hit me: It’s just me now. Every choice, feeling, and action is my own decision to make. I can do whatever and be whoever I want.
I feel liberated. As Amble and I crossed over one of my favorite American landmarks, the Mississippi River, on our drive out to Colorado, I rolled down the windows and let out a little victory whoop. I was exactly where I wanted to be in that very moment.
My friend Mike said something to me this week that really resonated with me. He told me, “You said you were going to move to Colorado and you went out and did it. You wanted to live in a van, you did that too.” I think I put out a perception that I truly just do what I want and make my all of ambitions a reality – which wasn’t always true, but now it will be.
This year, I’m going to focus on myself. I’m going to become a better adventurer, a healthier woman, and a doer. And what I do won’t be for anyone but myself.
But before I get all me, me, me – I owe an enormous amount of gratitude to everyone who lent me their ears, hearts, and storage space these past few weeks. I wouldn’t be having this empowered personal moment without all of the support and love I’ve recieved. Even when you’re excited about being alone, it’s nice to know you never have to feel lonely.
PS: Consider this the official end of my little social media/writing hiatus. It was wonderful to take a break and reconnect with myself and really do some deep soul-searching – but I’m ready to hop back on the wagon and get these wheels turning.