The time has finally come to reveal the details of the next chapter of Life, a.k.a. my next big adventure. If you follow me on social media, you already know one part – I’m moving!
I’m no stranger to changing my home address. I’ve driven (or been driven) across the country at least six times in my life for various moves. Before this last apartment, where I lived for four years, I had moved four times in five years (not counting the temporary move to Pennsylvania and then back to California in 2016). I guess for me, home is where the heart is! Geographical location is less important.
This latest move has been the most challenging and complicated that I’ve had to deal with to date. It’s multi-phased because my apartment lease was ending before the closing date of the house I’m moving into. So over the last two weeks or so, I moved myself and my two dogs out of my apartment and into my dad’s apartment. Shout out to Concierge on the Coast for helping me with the final packing! Getting everything delivered since last year paid off. I saved boxes for months and only had to buy a few Home Depot boxes to supplement.
I had to sort things into three categories: stuff the dogs and I would need while living with my dad, stuff we’d need for the cross-country drive (hint hint), and stuff we wouldn’t need until we moved into the new house. My brain threatened to leak out of my ears trying to keep track of it all. Getting everything finally moved out of the old apartment and turning in the keys was a big relief. Nothing went smoothly, but it’s done. One more thing checked off the list!
What about dance?
Another thing sadly checked off the list this past week was private lessons with Teacher. Even though I’m staying in the area until mid July, I don’t have the funds to buy another lesson package on top of paying for my move. So Tuesday, we danced our last waltz. At least for awhile.
It was sad and weird to know it was our last in-person lesson. It wasn’t the final goodbye; I’m still going to make it to some group classes and a practice party before I hit the road. But I could still feel the ending of our 8-year-long chapter as the new one takes shape.
I don’t intend to give up ballroom just because I’m going to be living in a different area of the country. I’ve already reached out to some studios, though unfortunately there aren’t many. Teacher and I are going to try lessons over Zoom (thank you, pandemic, for showing us that option!) after I get settled into my new home. I’m already planning on building an at-home dance space. The cost of living is going to be much lower, so I have this fantasy of being one of those fancy pro-am students who flies across the country for coachings and meets their teacher at a competition a couple days ahead of time to take a bunch of lessons right before they compete. We’ll see. I don’t think I want to be that fancy; frequent travel is tiring. Maybe I’ll be the kind of fancy student who flies their teacher to them! Whatever happens, at least I know I have the solo practice at home down.
However ballroom or dance in general fits into this next chapter, I decided months ago that I’m just going to let it happen naturally. I’m moving to an area I’ve never lived in before and so I’ll need time to simply get to know the area! No need to put the extra pressure on myself to find a new studio and coach right away. I’m feeling the FOMO as I watch my dance friends return to the competition floor, and it’s hard knowing that it could very well be another year before I’m in a position where I could compete again. But I know in my heart that this move is the right one for me at this stage, so I’m actually not that devastated about not competing.
What about the blog?
In case you’re wondering, the Girl with the Tree Tattoo isn’t going anywhere! Topics may shift a little as I explore my new life (be sure to follow social media for road trip updates in July!). Just like I’m not putting any pressure on dance to show up a certain way in the next chapter, I’m not putting pressure on the blog to look or read a certain way. It will be what it will be, but always authentic and from my heart. I know the long distance will present special challenges to working with Teacher and keeping myself motivated while spending so much dancing time alone. But hey, that issue alone will provide plenty of content for the blog!
Ok, where the heck are you moving?!
Have I dragged it out long enough? Finally time to share where I’m moving. One more hint?
Ok, how about this one?
I’m moving to Maine!
The first photo hint is your short answer to “why Maine?” There are more trees and less people there. Isolating during the pandemic really highlighted how much I’ve disconnected from nature since living in Orange County. Sure, there are city parks. There’s the Pacific Ocean. You can drive about two hours and be in the mountains. But it’s extremely difficult to escape the concrete, the crowds, the traffic and the constant artificial noise. Not to mention the expense! It’s been wearing on me for years and I’ve noticed it especially wearing on my fur babies in the last few. It’s time to return to nature.
When I first decided that I was going to move closer to nature when my lease ended, I looked all over the country. I just wanted to find somewhere affordable with more trees than people, but still relatively accessible to civilization. When I hit on Maine, something clicked and every time I started to look elsewhere, something kept pulling me back. I was being called to Maine, and even though I didn’t know exactly why, I knew it was the right move for me.
I’m so excited about this new adventure! The process so far has been a little ridiculous in its obstacles, twists and turns. Many days, I’ve just stared at whatever plot twist just presented itself and said “seriously?!?” Then I swore for a few minutes, took a breath, and figured out how to pivot and who could help me. My support system has been vital and I’m incredibly grateful for the friends and family who have showed up to help.
If you happen to be a ballroom dancer who lives in Maine, please reach out! It doesn’t appear that there are too many of us, so I’d love to connect. I’d also love to hear from anyone who has done the long-distance thing with their dance coach. Does it ever work long-term?
Thank you to everyone who has followed my dance journey this far. I hope you’ll continue with me down the next path, wherever it leads!