This past August I celebrated a milestone. I’ve officially been on my whirlwind adventure for 5 years. I left New York in 2013 of the same month. My trip back home this past June was actually the first time that I had been back since leaving. I was recently reminded of my milestone when I received a DM from someone who had found an article of mine online. I’d written this post for Blavity.com while I was living in Los Angeles and had just started to come out of feeling homesick. It’s a list of 11 things that I did to help get me through the days where I just wanted to book a ticket back home to my safety net.
I can’t believe it’s been 5 years already! On one hand, it feels incredibly short for the amount of time I feel I’ve been away. On the other hand, 5 years is a long time to be away from home much less find yourself living in two different states during that time. I spent the first half of the time living in sunny Los Angeles, California. Living in Cali isn’t as awful as I make it seem if you happen to strike up the conversation with me. How can you hate living in sunshine and high 70’s with the ocean just a short drive away? That wasn’t what made me hate it. Cali, at least Los Angeles, just didn’t feed my soul. Of course part of my move was to explore some sort of acting career, however, when that dream started to change shape, I’d started to feel constrained by the vastness of LA. Constantly having to traverse its highways became a sort of vise grip on my days. Why isn’t public transportation any better? And can anyone please tell me why it is that I always have to drive all the way down to Crenshaw or Inglewood to get a decent pack of kanekelon hair for some box braids or a plate of oxtail and rice and peas?! I had to do too much to feel comfortable in Cali. Plus, after year 2 my bones were already yearning for a new adventure, a new landscape.
Fast forward to May 2016 and I had moved all of my belongings to Seattle following a short trip to visit my friend Corey in March. Seattle represented the city life I was craving on a smaller scale. I don’t have to drive everywhere? Transportation isn’t complete trash and I have a handful of beauty supply stores to choose from?! Sign me up! There’s about one good Jamaican food restaurant in Seattle but that doesn’t even bother me so much because the food scene here is INSANE! I still had to adjust to living in Washington though. It wasn’t lost on me that I, who deals with Anxiety and Depression on a daily basis, would be moving from constant sunshine to a rainy and mostly overcast state. Plus, everyone who knew I was moving made it their mission to remind me of Seattle’s suicide and depression rates. Thanks, guys. I hated Seattle my first year. Not seeing the sun for days, sometimes weeks is a huge blow to maintaining my emotional balance but I’m definitely more in love with Washington as a whole now. The crispness of the air alone is reason enough to stay. The summer here is the most beautiful I’ve experienced while living in America. I can’t even begin to describe the transition from summer to fall. That’s when Washington really shows its colors. I’m slowly building my own safety net here and every day I try to explore more of my new community in some way or another, and while Seattle may not be my final resting place, I’ve definitely been enjoying this beautiful little city.
It’s been five years and I still get homesick. For me though, it’s more of a longing and yearning for the people I left in NY. Most of my family is either on the East Coast or back home in Jamaica. I get asked a lot about how I am able to just pick up my things and move without fear. My answer is always the same, I’m gonna die eventually. My only fear is not experiencing as much of this world and the people who inhabit it