Everyone has a quest in life. Some sort of desire that pulls them in one direction or other. What is a quest? I just heard someone say recently that a quest is a question that needs to be answered in your life. I like it. And I think that you can have more than one quest in life and it can change as you go.
One quest that both Curtis and I have had all our lives is the quest to travel and live other places. I was once engaged to an Australian in my early 20s and as much as I was excited to be with him, I was probably just as excited at the prospect of starting a whole new life in Australia. There was something so thrilling about that. Who would I be in Australia? That didn’t pan out but it kick started a love of international travel and a strong desire to live somewhere else for a while.
I’ve not been abroad for 7 years now. And I am really itching to get back out in the world again. But even more than that I want very much to go somewhere I’ve never lived and see what it’s like to live there. Also, to see who I am somewhere else. I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life. I’ve never lived anywhere else. I’ve always been within an hour of all my friends and family which has been amazing but I think that it also always gave me a whole lot of safety nets that I got tangled and trapped in. I think I haven’t dared as much in life because well, it was just so easy to be complacent. It is also really strange that I never ventured too far away because my whole life growing up I always imagined living other places. New York, London, Australia, an island somewhere… I never felt like I would stay in Southern California, yet here I am, in my 30s still here. It’s really odd that I never just packed up and left and I blame it all on fear and insecurity coupled with a desire to be an actress and therefore having a necessity to stay close to “the industry”.
When you live so close to family and friends who have known you since you were young, it can sometimes be hard to know who you are versus who they all see you as. You carry the weight of who you used to be with you and even if parts of you have evolved or changed they all still see you the same. Well, at least I have found that to be true in many respects.
I’m curious as to who I am without that baggage surrounding me. I’m curious to meet the me that I always felt was part of me, but who I have stifled by living in one place and not making more daring moves.
Not to mention, I have never felt fully at home in Southern California. My family is all from New Orleans, LA and I am the only one born here in California. Yet I am also the one that has always planned on leaving. Also, weirdly, when I met people they never thought I was a Southern California native. They always thought I was from somewhere else. Most said I seemed like I was from the Pacific Northwest or Northern California when they met me. I’ve never really felt like I quite fit in here.
But the passion to move was really re-ignited when I fell for that little gem of the midwest, Chicago, on a business trip with Curtis a couple years back. I just loved it. It had such a great energy! Curtis felt the same but we are both scared of Chicago winters and he can’t stay an employee of his day job in Illinois so, we didn’t pack up immediately.
But the longer we stayed in Southern California the more we realized how over it we were. Neither of us is a desert person. We both prefer a bit of moisture in the air. The dryness here just kills us. And yeah, the weather is beautiful most of the time, but it’s kind of on the hot side and getting hotter. If you don’t like dry heat (and we don’t) it’s not necessarily the best place. If you like rain it is not the best place. Southern California also has terrible public transit and is very, very sprawling and spread out. And very, VERY crowded. So, if you do not like driving or extremely bad traffic this is not the best place for you. And if you don’t like paying through the nose for housing and rent, this is not the place for you. Lastly, because of the aforementioned climate, we are also in a huge multi-year, very severe drought and water rationing is on the horizon. So yeah, if you like water and green things, this is REALLY not going to be the best place soon. Well, Curtis and I do like rain, moisture, water, green things and we do not like dry heat, traffic, expensive overpriced housing and crowds everywhere. So, clearly this was not the most ideal place for us. For some people, it was, is still and always will be their heaven. And that is fine. It just hasn’t been for us.
We had stayed here despite all of these things because as I mentioned, as actors this has always been one of the “places to be”. For a long time that was true especially since Curtis had such a thriving career. But in this past decade things have been rapidly changing and also, Southern California has not been kind to us career wise lately and in fact has actually been a real jerk to us over and over again. So that last thread keeping us here out of “necessity” was cut. We were finally free to seek out the adventure that we have postponed for so long. And we got excited. Really excited. The quest was unleashed!
When our friends in Oregon heard of our desire to move they instituted a campaign to get us up to the Pacific Northwest. We hemmed and hawed and were not too sure at first. But then I started to research Portland. And it seemed pretty cool. Since people had been telling me they thought I was from there for so long, it seemed like an appropriate place for me to check out. And so, over a year of delayed trips later we ended up finally checking out the PNW last November and, well, we really loved it. The energy there reminded me of the energy of Chicago. It felt alive and inspiring. It just really meshed with us. I guess the best way I can explain it is this: In L.A. and Orange County I feel like most of the people there are on a different wavelength than the one that Curtis and I are on. But Portland felt like it was tuned in to the same thing. We felt a sense of belonging and ease. I didn’t feel uncomfortable when we went out at night like I did in L.A. In L.A. I always feel out of place. I never know what to wear and I just feel uncomfortable in my skin a lot of the time. But in Portland I felt right at home. No wonder everyone thought I was from there my whole life. 😉
So, that was the beginnings of our current quest of moving to Portland.
We will miss our friends and family, obviously, but we will be down at least a few times a year for work stuff and visits. And in the meantime, new adventures await!
Some people are fine staying in one place forever, I’d venture to say that most people do actually. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But for some people, like me and Curtis, there is something compelling and thrilling about the endless possibilities of a new life and starting over somewhere. There is this quest to move within us. Maybe we’ll come back someday. It’s possible that we will realize that we miss it here and we will come back content in our decision to stay. But we won’t know if we will miss it if we don’t go away. Though I think that if anything we’ll most likely just keep trying new places if we decide the PNW isn’t for us. Our dream life is to be able to take our work all around the world wherever we feel like living for a time. So, I think it’s time for us to finally get this adventure started. Travel and living in different places is good for you. You get fresh perspectives. It keeps your mind open and stretches you to confront things that you think about yourself. I’m excited at all the unknown possibilities that await us.
We’re really excited about it. We are heading to New York in a few weeks first. Curtis and I will be there together for a week and then I will be staying on for another 10 days. I can not tell you how excited I am about that. We’ll be staying in a friend’s apartment and I am so excited to see what it is like to live as a New Yorker! That has always been a dream of mine. Maybe we’ll live in New York someday. But first, to the Pacific North West we will go!
As soon as we get back from NYC we will focus on our big move! Let the quest begin! Exciting things on the horizon! Adventure awaits!