Travel-blog: Follow the Sun

Much has changed since my last post.

For starters, I have moved across  the country – from the great lakes of Michigan all the way to the shining sea in sunny San Diego. Twenty-four hundred miles is a long way, and driving alone has it’s ups and downs – and, no, I’m not just talking about the hills of Iowa, or the evergreen mountains of Colorado, but they were a beautiful part of the journey.

It sounded too good to be true. I had just gotten home from the Chicago trip and the next day my parents were talking to me about a job offer in San Diego, CA.

“What’s in it for them?” Was my first thought.

“He was just a really good guy,” was essentially reply I got from my parents. But it wasn’t until my uncle convinced me to give him a call that I took the idea seriously.

Long story short, my parents had a boat for sale. An engineer living in SD found the ad, and flew to Michigan on a red-eye to come see the boat a few days later. My stepdad and grandfather were straight with him about a few minor problems the boat could have down the road – but, overall, the two of them keep things clean and tidy, to an impeccable degree. The engineer liked the boat, and he liked my family.

After an offer was made, the three of them drove around some more. My stepdad inquired as to what kind of work the engineer did. The engineer explained his background in college and how it led to his current profession. His undergraduate degree was similar to mine, so my stepdad acknowledged the fact.

“What was his GPA?”

My stepdad continued to explain that I had graduated with honors and had a GPA above 3.5.

“Oh, really. Well, if he wants to move to San Diego, I could get him a job.”

After a day on the water, the three of them shook hands, made a deal on the boat, and that was that.

When I called to talk with the engineer, I was half expecting some corporate jerk. But, as it turned out, he was a genuine guy. He asked me about my latest job, and I explained to him what I did, why I had left and what I was up to now. Then he told me the job itself wasn’t my dream, and that I shouldn’t settle for it if I wanted bigger things. However, he also acknowledged that taking the job could put me in a position closer to the life I was trying to design. Additionally, he said I wouldn’t have to stay if I didn’t like it, that I could come home in two, three, six months or even a year. There was no pressure to stay.

It’s interesting that he took the same approach my family took in selling him the boat, and used it to sell me the job; honestly, and thoroughly explaining the downside, as if we were actually neighbors inhabiting this amazing planet. Compassion and thoughtfulness are pleasant qualities this life has to offer – it’s a shame life isn’t full of it…or maybe it is and we just forget to acknowledge it…

After we had talked for a half an hour or so, he simply said, “Take some time to think about it. It’s a big decision. If you like the idea, and want to give San Diego a shot, give me a call in a week or so.”

I talked it over with my friends, my family and my girlfriend.  The idea looked pleasing. I wouldn’t have to be cooped up all winter, there were fitness places on every corner, or I could exercise outside. Oh, and did I mention – IT’S FLIPPIN’ BEAUTIFUL 99% OF THE TIME. No one could deny it was a great opportunity for a guy like me – even though I would be far away from many loved ones, potentially lonely, and in a completely new environment.

Two days later I called the engineer back. And about four weeks later, I was driving my car to San Diego, CA.

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“Are you nervous?”

“How do you feel about moving so far away?”

“What exactly will your job be?”

These were questions I was asked frequently leading up to my move. Truth was, I had lots of mixed feelings about the move. I didn’t know a lot about the job. I had nowhere to live. I had no close friends living in SD. And I was going to have to sleep in a bed alone, without my girlfriend, Nicole – whom I had been living with for over six months. It would be different, I would be lonely, and uncertainty would live in every moment; but, for some reason, I am drawn to that sort of situation.

“A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.” – Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity

I was going be challenged like never before – and, man, that felt fresh and exciting! I would have to be resourceful, centered and ready at all times. I wasn’t going to be able to zone out while driving the same streets I had navigated since birth. I was going to be a little hungry, and nervous, stepping into the unknown. For some, that’s not appealing. But, for me, comfort and security don’t automatically equal happiness.

We are human beings for God’s sake! We are capable of amazing things! We just have to learn to trust our deepest intuition, learn discipline, and stop lulling through life half awake. Life is rich and vivid, and full, if only we would let it be! 

However, in order to do that we must remain open and loving. The universe doesn’t hate you. You are a child of God, and your Buddha nature is inherently good. 

Bad things do happen; but, when they do, it allows our light to shine through! Think of how close our country became after 9/11, or the collective efforts to bring aid to those in need after Katrina and the tragedy in Tohoku, Japan. 

It’s true, this whole move could end up being nothing but time spent. Nothing significant may happen, and it could just be the same type of people in the same type of situation, the only thing different would be the weather. 

Or, this environment could be immensely stimulating, inspiring me to be more creative than I have ever been for. I think most of it will have to do with intention. 

Interestingly, as I began writing this post, I was drinking an americano in a coffee shop. A song titled “Wiseman,” by a band named Slightly Stoopid. I have listened to this band for many years, but never once heard this band played in public in Michigan. Could this be the right place for me? For now, I think it is.

“Said the man, who feel him a fool, for he be the wiseman.

 For the man who don’t think he’s a fool, he control his destiny. 

But he’s too cool for himself,

For himself, 

For himself. 

All I need,

Is something to keep me movin’ on…”

Closing ourselves off in a blanket of false security just creates tension and darkness. It is only when we remain open and vulnerable that we allow ourselves to be truly happy. 

Until next time.