If you asked me one year ago what I would be doing this time next year the answer couldn’t be further from the truth.
Last year at this time, I was living in Tampa, a comfortable three miles from my parent’s house. I had recently quit my job as a bread baker to pursue my passion of food writing and had just applied to the infamous Murphy-Goode A Really Goode Job somewhere I had never even heard of before—Healdsburg, California. I never expected to hear back from Murphy-Goode, of course. I mean, why would I? My video paled in comparison to the other thousands of applicants and to be honest, I was getting by just fine in Florida. I knew nothing of wine and certainly nothing of California, which seemed like an entirely different continent to my small Florida bubble.
When I found out I made the Top 10 for the Murphy-Goode job I totally freaked. It was July 7th and in two weeks I would be boarding a plane and heading to the west coast for the very first time along with nine other finalists who I had never met. I was scared out of my mind. But also felt totally alive for the first time in a long time.
The events during the next few weeks that followed that phone call could only be described as completely surreal. I learned how to play Liar’s Dice. I went shopping. I sat in Barnes and Noble and read books on California wine. I drank California wine. I waved Florida goodbye and got on a really big plane. I landed in San Francisco.
And I never came back.
Just kidding. We all know I came back. I came back on a red eye from LA
, exhausted but determined. California had changed me, had opened up a whole new part of me that had felt dead for so long. You see, after my brother died, I sort of went through all the motions but never really felt anything at all. My life was comfortable but stagnant, predictable but boring. I had always been the adventurer, the one who took risks and went places. Since the following April I had fallen into the trap of mediocrity and was ready to grasp at any lifelines to escape.
It wasn’t easy, of course. In fact, it was downright rather messy. I had to say goodbye to some things in my life and open myself up to new experiences and the unknown. I moved to California the last week of September with nothing more than a plane ticket, a book of poetry and two checked bags.
From there the adventure really began. I crashed futons, I lived with strange boys, I cried on the kitchen floor, I drank a lot
And, yet, somehow it’s all worked out. There were times when I want to scream and pound my fists into the wall because no matter how hard I tried, everything seemed so HARD. I was broke. I was 3,000 miles away from my mom. I missed my friends. But then things started getting easier one by one. I got a book deal
and a little house all to myself. There was no furniture but I was okay with that. For three months I sat in that tiny furniture-less house and wrote my brains out. In March I had one major caffeine headache but a rough first draft.
Here’s some of my favorite photos of the past year. Enjoy!