We’ve landed. Hollywood is almost exactly as I’ve imagined. Big and flashy, billboards everywhere you turn, tall palm trees lining almost every major street, and an unnecessary number of cosmetic surgery offices.
That’s only Hollywood. We’ve also seen some beautiful and quiet residential streets with well-kept homes and neatly trimmed front yards, and we’ve traveled the length of Santa Monica Boulevard to feel the dip in the air temperature as we stretch closer and closer to the ocean.
I’m honestly relieved when I ask Austin what he thinks about this area, and he answers that he’s looking for a more peaceful place to call home. I still can’t get rid of these butterflies in my stomach. Maybe it’s nerves, maybe it’s being completely out of my comfort zone, and feeling tired from a long morning of travel. I’m so happy to be here, experiencing all of this, but at the same time, I feel on edge, and it doesn’t help when I start thinking about the tasks that lay ahead: finding a place to live and finding steady employment.
I’m ready to work hard and struggle and sacrifice to find something I love to do. I’m willing to put forth the effort to reap the reward. That willingness doesn’t make it any less easy. And as much as I’ve been looking forward to this move, I still can’t escape feeling tiny against a huge backdrop, and feeling like maybe I don’t know what I got myself into.
I keep reminding myself though, that I felt something similar my first day of college. A mere five years ago, I was feeling small and meek and nervous about a huge transition in my life. But I made it through, with flying colors. I managed and made it work and got past those feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. I made friends, I excelled and felt happy and learned so much. I just need to keep reminding myself that now, I’m not only older and wiser, but I have my best friend here by my side. Austin may not feel as nervous as I do, but that’s why I love him, because he is different than me. I know that he’ll comfort me when I need it, and I’ll do the same for him, and we will both treasure this new experience together.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011. 10:00 a.m. MDT. Flying somewhere over the mountain ranges of Colorado. We are due to land at LAX at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time and our pilot tells us we will be arriving early due to the gorgeous weather on this coast.
Even though this is just a short visit, it’s incredible that we are on this plane right now. All morning, I’ve been reminding myself that after all these months of planning and looking forward to this trip, it’s actually here. It’s exciting and full of angst, as we don’t know what to expect. What we experience this week will shape our lives on the West Coast and help point us down the right paths.
On our earlier connector flight into Chicago, the woman sitting with us in our three-person row was very friendly and interested in why we were heading to Los Angeles. After mentioning that she has a few friends who have been living out there for around 10 years, working in the film industry, she kindly took our contact information to give to her friends, in the hopes that we could soon connect. After this encounter, I’m reminded of a line in “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, one that I cherish and frequently recite in my head: When you want something, all the the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
In September of 2010, Austin and I opened up a savings account and began making weekly deposits. In the beginning, we put in a small amount each week – as much as we could afford after we paid bills, loans and bought groceries. Then we began to set goals for ourselves: $100 or more per week and any extra money we made from freelance gigs or dogsitting would go into our savings account. We called it “California Savings.”
It wasn’t just a random name that we gave our nest egg. A year ago, we decided that since we both want to seriously work in the film and/or television media industries, we needed to change our location to increase opportunities for ourselves. We chose Los Angeles, California.
One year later, we have a plan, a departure date and money saved to help us make a big change in our lives. On Wednesday, October 19, 2011, we will leave our jobs on the East Coast for the last time. Early Monday morning, October 24, 2011, we will drive out of Massachusetts in our packed-to-the-top Ford Escape, and begin the week-long journey across the country.
Along the way, we will be filming with Austin’s Canon T2i, and capturing photos of each place we visit. I’ll be writing to document our experiences and update our friends, families and followers on our journey.
This is our leap of faith. We don’t know what will happen, but that’s the beauty of taking a chance on something you really want. Take action, learn, adapt.
Wherever you are in your own journey, we wish you well.