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Mackenna Lee

Disembark, Grow, Illuminate.

Starting over in a new city is tough. New friends, new job, new way of life. Yes, I am serious, the west coast totally embodies a laid-back vibe that I haven’t fully understood yet.

But it also represents a cornucopia of opportunities that embolden you to feel giddy. I compare it to getting on the plane for a long-awaited vacation. You know the destination may not be everything you dreamed for, but you are still excited to get there.

Exploring, I realize, is one of my favorite activities as a human. I get moody and disinterested at the same social gatherings time and time again.

Give me Google Maps and a free day, and I will return with 60 HDR photos on my Smartphone and a sunburn.


Sunburn was very much a real thing on this day.

This is why I have done this three times now – started over in a new city. Each time I learn about a separate part of the world and unlock a component of myself.

While I talk about it breezily, there is nothing glamorous about sorting out local regulations on driving, taxes, and internet. The upstart life has drawbacks in that there are real lengths of time that you spend alone and you become self-assured in a way that makes it hard to re-adjust to joint decisions once you start hanging out with friends again.

As well, without my relentlessly uplifting network of people, my confidence in these drastic decisions becomes meek. I can make sweeping gestures, like moving across the continent, because of my family and friends’ unwavering support.

Even though it ignites me with happiness to try new things, I know it wears on them to hear me jump to another city. To be settled is to be happy.


Popular reaction to “Guess what, I am moving to another new city!”

I’ve never done a Euro grad trip, a stint in Thailand, or a long weekend in Iceland. Not that I wouldn’t want to, it’s never been in the cards though.

Even though I do not do a lot of traveling, I do a lot of living.

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