On Finding Your Bliss (and That Trip We Took)

A month after you thought you wanted to read it, our blog is finally here! Here’s what you can look forward to: posts and photos about every stop we made along the way, posts about our new life in Oahu, tips on how to plan a big move or a visit to Hawaii, and Trev’s adventures in trying crazy new foods like pineapple, mango, kalua pork, and sushi (these have all already happened).

We left Massachusetts in a car full of suitcases and dogs and somehow made it to Honolulu.

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There was a time when it felt like we’d never get here. Since then, we’ve travelled over 8,000 miles to make a new home. I guess I’ll start off this blog by telling you how this trip changed me. Before we left, I was in a constant cycle of anxiety, numbness, and denial. I was so overcome with everything that needed to be done that when people asked if I was excited (which they did constantly) I couldn’t bring myself to say yes. It was hard to articulate at the time, but it wasn’t that I wasn’t excited. Both Trev and I have lived within a 30 miles radius our entire lives. This wasn’t just a move, it was re-invention.

We were comfortable, but that was exactly the point. It’s really easy to get comfortable in a life that’s handed to you. That doesn’t mean it’s what’s right for you. Some people are perfectly content to live their lives in one place in a comfortable, safe job. That’s not us and we both knew it. Upheaval is not what I’d expected, though. What’s strange is it wasn’t the physical act of packing up the house and making a million reservations and all the paperwork that was difficult. This was a mental hurdle.

My biggest revelation was that it’s actually easy to change your life. The hard part is thinking about changing your life. I spent months making color-coded spreadsheets, time-zone crossing phone calls, and sending detailed emails. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of work went into getting here. But just about everything scary happened before we left. Once we were on the road, we were free. I hate to say this because if you’d asked me before I left, I would have told you I had built a nice life. But somewhere in California I realized I was actually miserable. Not in an ugly-crying-while-listening-to-emo kind of way, but in a something-fundamental-is-missing kind of way. I was hungry for adventure and change and all kinds of things I was missing by settling for what had been handed to me. Just because you’re born somewhere doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Just because you have a good, stable job, doesn’t mean you have to stay either.

There was an actual moment, a place I will do my best to describe, where this idea took root. I was standing on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway, overlooking the ocean. The beach was a humble stretch of sand occasionally interrupted by massive stones erupting through its surface. I stood on a sandy path, looking out over a sheer cliff. My hair swirled around my head and I could hear sea grass rustling all around. The wind was warm and cold at once, carrying the scent of salt water and springtime. Something stirred in me and I realized I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. That is so rare in life. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. In that moment everything felt right; I could have cried with happiness. That feeling, that moment, was life-affirming.

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I want that feeling for every person I’ve ever cared about. I found my true self 3,000 miles from home on an oceanside cliff. Yours might be a bit closer. You could find it in your backyard playing with your kids. Or playing live music on stage. Or in the middle of a busy city street in Florence or Sydney or Hong Kong. What this experience has taught me is not to waste a single minute settling. Find your bliss, your true happiness, and follow it. Throw yourself headlong into it.  It won’t always be easy or practical, but it will always feel right and that feeling nourishes the soul.

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