My job…that sounds very glamorous and obnoxious out loud…is to see the world and somehow articulate it on paper. I have the responsibility of fitting unforgettable experiences and indescribable destinations into a number of paragraphs to convince others to follow in my footsteps for a lot more money. While I haven’t seen everywhere or experienced everything, every small perk of my job has been as glamorous as it sounds. But while that sounds very lucky, I worked my ass off to get it.
When I came to New York I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t really know what I was going to do professionally, I had no idea how much it was going to cost, and my college experience did not prepare me to write 500 cover letters. While I was blindly following the general concepts of making money however I could, taking any job remotely related to writing or travel (including a fishing and hunting magazine), and taking advantage of the fact that I lived in New York City, every step of the way has been so different from what I expected.
I was hit by an Escalade on my third day here. I worked at a diner with the most bitter customers alive ever for a full year. And then I spent six months crutching around the most walkable city on earth. Things never go as planned, especially if you plan.
What I also didn’t expect was to have the most incredible group of people around me through it all, and none of you were in my plan. I never thought the day I pledged a stupid sorority in college that four of the girls in misery with me would still be by my side six years later. I didn’t expect my brother’s high school girlfriend to let me stay on her couch for two weeks or be a constant source of inspiration and support in adulthood. I didn’t expect to fall in love with the guy training me on the phones at my stupid diner job, to bond with another waitress so closely we would sneak Kahlua into our coffee together and eventually become roommates, or to take a trip to another continent with my first real intern.
I didn’t expect to meet one of my best friends on a night I felt hopeless and alone in church, to become friends with my sisters sort of ex years after they dated and even love his wife, or to be in a city with my brother’s best friend for the third time. And I certainly didn’t expect my boss’s daughter to be by my side through an entire day of surgery years after we met in a different city where we were no more than coworkers.
The truth is that I thought New York itself was enough for me, and even if it is, God gave me you all anyway. And as much as I’ve learned about the unexpected, I am still surprised that He is taking me to a much lesser city, away from you all. The truth is that I went back and forth with this decision so many times, because I wasn’t positive the choice wasn’t between my own selfish gain and my much more meaningful relationships.
But my passion and my desires very obviously put on my heart by Him, are to travel for a living, and if for no reason than to have adventures with the ones I love. When I look back at the last three and a half years here, those adventures are too numerous to name, and they’re what make my heart swell when I think of New York. It wouldn’t have been what it is if I’d done it alone.
I will never forget sledding in Central Park with Kristin, running a half marathon untrained with Josh, golfing for the first time with Mahaffey, riding roller coasters as adults with Jessica and Mamoona, moving into my first apartment with Lauren, the summer of the Yates, weekly lunches with Cali, and the ridiculous things I can’t even admit from dates with my three sisters. Most of all, I will always cherish everyone’s help and support before, during, and after my surgery.
When Katie first moved back and the guy I was dating met her, it drove him crazy how much we talked about our memories from college and studying abroad. It’s probably driven all of you crazy at one point or another. And it’s no secret that it brings back the feelings that I came here to forget. But he always told me that it was only a matter of time until we made enough memories here in New York to replace all of our old stories.
This may have been the only thing that guy was ever right about, but it has served true with each of you. I have adventure upon adventure with all of you that will soothe my soul when I am lonely or discouraged in my next big city. They are the memories that inspire more success to fund more travel. And while I am choosing to further my career in the decision to move, it is and always has been with the purpose of adding adventure. And I’m confidently anticipating the ones to come both in DC and around the world with each of you at different points.
You always have a place to stay, wherever I go, and you will always have a place in my heart as I go. For now, I at least want a place on your wall…or nightstand or wallet…and have provided the means to make that happen. I have photos from my favorite adventures with each of you as a keepsake and a few more sappy feelings if this wasn’t enough.
Never, ever hesitate to call, write, email or text. I owe you all the world and I promise I am here even when I am not here. I just ask that you don’t forget about me and that you keep adventuring. There is nothing like leaving New York City knowing you took full advantage of it while you could. Thank you for making it the best years of my life. I may not ever get it all down on paper, but I will never forget it.