One year

On Aug. 24, 2010, I sent out my last email as a newspaper reporter. It was addressed to a mass amount of contacts, telling them I’d resigned my job. And with that, I gathered the last of my personal belongings from my work desk and walked away from a decade in journalism. I went home, made a list of things to get done, and proceeded to conquer that list in 107-degree weather. Four days later, I got in my car and began driving.

Freedom. Leaving town under a gorgeous sunrise.

Over the course of the next two weeks, I drove up the California and Oregon coast.

Coos Bay, Oregon. Roads always lead to a new adventure.

I visited Portland for the first time, and fell in love with the city.

Fireworks in Portland

I went to Washington for the first time, making random, short-term friendships with strangers while visiting Seattle solo.

Seattle, Space Needle included

I saw friends I hadn’t seen in years.

10 years later
15 years later

I saw beauty.

Multnomah Falls, Portland

I remembered my past.

Mt. Shasta

And, for the first time since I could remember, I began to realize that the future was wide open. After 17 days and 1,930 miles, I returned home with a new perspective on life.

One year after sending out that “farewell” email and receiving many “where are you going?” responses, I still don’t quite have that answer. I have vague ideas, lofty goals and big dreams. I sometimes get disgruntled, knowing that a year has passed since I started a new chapter in my life, and that I should have done something spectacular by now. But maybe I am getting there.

Roads aren’t usually straight, and the destination is almost always elusive and around the next corner. My road trip had multiple destinations and experiences I couldn’t have imagined or planned. And I think that’s the best way to live life: Treat it like a road trip, with an ultimate destination or two, but make sure to take in as many sights as possible along the way.

Road through Humbold County redwoods

It’s been one year. A year that included a road trip, another visit to Portland, a trip to Illinois and Alaska, a new job, a move to a new city, meeting some goals and setting new goals, making new friendships, and continuing previous friendships. It’s been a good one-year road trip. Here’s to the next year’s continuing road trip.

13 Responses to One year

  1. I remember when you shared the beginning of this road trip of yours. what an incredible year it has been for you…a good year, a very good year. I’m thankful to have been able to vicariously follow the ;parts of the road trip that you have shared. On to more adventures for you with blessings and luck!

    • Thank you, Laura. The year has sometimes been rough, and sometimes it’s made non-crying Layla break down in tears. But when I look back, I see the good things. And sometimes I even see the good results of the bad things.

  2. I hear you — I left my long-time job in July of last year. Since then, I also visited Alaska & Illinois (first time in Chicago!), and funnily plans for Portland are in the works. Still don’t know exactly what I’m going to do next, but it’s still been a good year. :)

    • Oh wow, hello, person-similar-to-me! I think we need to meet, especially since we know a lot of the same running/blogging Bay Area people. Congrats on your one-year celebration!

  3. I for one am so glad you made the move, and I think we need to celebrate the anniversary with some gelato!

  4. Love this. Congratulations, one year later, on finding the strength to let go of and move on from something that was no longer healthy for you.

    I sure don’t have all the answers, but I think you are “getting there.” Just speaking from my own experience, I think the information you need to do “something spectacular,” whatever that is, is still down the road. There are more experiences to have and more things to take in before that thing you’re going to go after — whatever it is — becomes clear. And it sounds like you’re ready to take the most from every step along the way.

    • Thank you, Heather. You’re right: We’re both still finding our way, and we’re both making/watching life happen. Sometimes decisions are hard, and sometimes they just appear in front of us. That’s how it went last year: I hadn’t seen the decision that I needed to make until it was right there on top of me, screaming, “Get out!” So the decision was made. And the road opened up.

  5. Congratulations Layla! This blog is very heartening for me as I’m just at the beginning of my own trip down a similar road. I’m glad to know you don’t look back with regret. And, as you said, you’ll find your path eventually. I think it’s taking the courage to get off a path that wasn’t for you that’s the most difficult – and you’re already well past that! Cheers to another year of discovery and accomplishments!

  6. I’m so glad you decided to change your life. I was sad at first that you were moving, but it ended up being a good thing because it caused us to see each other more! And not only was your gutsy move great for you, but I believe it inspired my fiance’s own gutsy move! So now a year later here we both are — Bay Area residents! Yay us!!!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this! I rarely read other people’s blogs (ya I’m that blogger) but for some reason when I saw Donna’s comment on twitter I just had this urge to read yours. I just quit my job (tomorrow is my last day…) and am taking off from Texas to California for no particular reason. Literally just sent that email out today to folks letting them know that I am going ot be gone come Monday morning. I have gotten a lot of interesting reactions and even from myself, moments of panic and pure excitement all bundled up together. It’s an adventure for sure, and its nice to see that it’s working out for you :-) Thanks again :-)

  8. I love this post, and I hope the next year is full of amazing trips and friends, and meeting your goals!

  9. I love this reflection. I just hit six months in my new life after years in Africa and I know that transitions come with challenges and opportunities both. I’m so glad that you’re here and that I’ve gotten to meet you! I hope the next year continues to grow and shape you and give you a lot of fun memories, too. :)