I had visited Yosemite in high school twice. I loved it. It absolutely changed my world. I specifically remember a time sitting in the woods at Crane Flat after our instructor told us to sit and just listen for ten minutes and then journal for another ten. I sat there listening for twenty minutes before I even picked up a pen. I remember how quiet it felt since my ears were used to the city noises and the freeway buzz constantly in the background, even as I slept. I remember hearing a woodpecker for the first time. All of this was so new to me.
I visited again in April 2014 on a climbing trip and started asking around about jobs in the park. I applied at DNC. I got through the first interview, then the second. Then soon enough I was signing the offer letter for team leader position at Degnan’s Loft.
I graduated from Long Beach State on May 21st 2014. I had been packed since then to come out. I was so excited for the change. I was 22 years old and I had never lived away from home.
June 16th 2014. I left my parents’ house and my two best friends, Erika and Jimmy, came to say goodbye. After many long hugs and one big group hug, I was driving away. I cried as I drove the entire way out of Los Angeles until I was almost to the grapevine. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go; I just knew that it would never be the same again. Everyone has to move out. No one actually wants to be that 40 year old on their parents’ couch. But in that moment, I considered living on the couch because I didn’t want to deal with the feeling of missing people and going off alone. I realized in these moments how comfortable life is and how hard it can be to make a change, especially if you are leaving for yourself, not because relationships drove you away.
When I got to the Valley, I didn’t really know anyone, except my now ex-boyfriend, who was always busy (I’m trying to be nice 😉 ). And I felt alone for quite a while. I would go everyday before work and hike up to Columbia Rock and sit and reflect. It got to point where I was timing my hikes and I could do it in 20 minutes flat. I was a thousand times happier being completely alone in this beautiful paradise than I was with 50 friends and an office job back home in the city.
This is how I knew I made the right choice.