The Ocean Is Calling, And I Must Go

santa monica sunset

What I’m about to write probably comes as no surprise to you.

But it’s both a post that I never thought I’d be writing, and an announcement that feels like such a non-announcement that I’m not sure how to write it.

So here we go.

I’m moving to LA.

Well, at least for the fall. (A few people have told me I’ll miss fall in NYC, but I’m really not the type of person who gets excited about boots and leaves, so I think I’ll be OK.) I’m lucky that my current work situation of being self-employed allows for flexibility, so I can try it out like this.

I first contemplated moving to LA after going there to visit friends for my griefcation. I dismissed the notion quickly, though, knowing that would be a rash decision just a month after my mom died. But over the past year, LA has become an itch that I just can’t scratch. I visited there after my birthday to see if I still felt that way. Yup. And then, again, in June, to decide if this was something I really wanted to try. Also, yup.

Why LA? First of all, why not?

But in all seriousness: I’ve just felt a deep peace there that I haven’t felt in NYC in a long time, or maybe even ever, if I’m being serious with myself. I’ve started to feel so trapped in NYC—most of what makes me happy when I’m home in the NYC area is outside of the city, and also takes longer to get to. The energy of NYC that once fed me, now drains me.

In LA, I’m excited about living by the beach (act surprised that I’m going to live by the beach). I’m excited about being able to get to gorgeous places to go for a quick hike. I’m excited to not feel so trapped—that I can get in a car and drive up the coast…or just drive to Target.

Look, maybe I’m romanticizing LA. I know that when I’ve been there, I’ve been visiting. Living there won’t be all puppies and sunshine. (I know, traffic.)

So here’s my master plan:

  • a friend and I are taking a cross-country Amtrak trip. This has actually been planned long before I made this decision for reals. She has to be out there for work mid-September and has some time in between, and said to me: “Hey, do you want to take a train across the country?” Always down for an adventure, I said yes almost immediately.
  • We’ll get to LA on 9/14: and for the rest of September, I’m going to Airbnb. Going to try a few different neighborhoods: Venice and either Santa Monica or one of the South Bay beaches
  • October + November: stay in one place, which I will pick when I’m out there.
  • December: make big decisions.

I’m so excited. I’m so scared. But I’m trying really hard to focus on enjoying the process and letting it unfold as it may. I already want to know: how does this end? Do I stay or do I go? But if I’ve learned anything in the past few years, we don’t know how this story ends. Any of it. And the struggle lies in the search for control. So I’m going to attempt to give myself over to the process.

As my dear friend Leah says, even if I don’t stay out there, it will have been good for me to have a few months out there.

When I was in college, I actually dreamed of moving out there when I graduated, but at the time, the job market there for me was much smaller than DC or NYC, and I didn’t.

I’m single, and I’m working for myself. I have nothing holding me down right now—and if I didn’t try this, I would regret it.

Fear is telling me this past week or so that things are OK in NYC, I don’t need to move. And that’s actually the relief: I am moving because I want to, not because I so desperately feel like I need out of NYC, like I did feel in the past year. I have the most amazing friends who I will miss, but airplanes are a thing, and I think this will be an amazing thing for my independence as well.

OK! Logistics questions.

LA friends: please lay literally any recommendations on me. I’m also especially looking for workout class recommendations (especially yoga!), therapist/psychiatrist recommendations (I’m setting up consultations but am always happy for personal recommendations) and just your fave things to do in the city. Also, any apartment search recommendations. Oh! And surfing lesson recommendations.

Anyone who’s traveled long term/moved temporarily: what am I forgetting? I had a weird panic this morning about emptying my fridge, and I know I need to figure out a mail situation.

Anyone who’s traveled XC: we are stopping in a lot of national parks: Arches, Rocky Mountain, Grand Canyon (south rim), Joshua Tree. We’re staying nights in: White Sulphur Springs, WV (Greenbrier);  Maysville, KY; Denver and Grand Junction in CO; Moab, UT; Flagstaff, AZ; San Bernardino, CA. We’ll also be driving from Moab to Flagstaff—so happy for any recommendations in any of those places or in between Moab to Flagstaff!

Any recommendations for any of the above greatly appreciated! You can comment or email me at

13 comments on “The Ocean Is Calling, And I Must Go

  1. Kayla

    I am so excited for you and this adventure. And can’t wait to see you on the West Coast when I’m there in October (and of course here sometime this week before you peace out)

  2. Beckett @ Birchwood Pie

    Congratulations on your move! As you point out, you’re in a place where you can live where ever you want, so why not? I agree with you that in spite of all the traffic, there’s something that’s just so peaceful about L.A. I look forward to reading along as you have your L.A. adventure.

  3. Eve

    Congratulations on the move! I live in San Diego, and want to recommend Nekter Juice Bar-the acai bowls are epic, especially if you’re training for a race as a post-run treat! There are so many excellent road races in Southern California, so I hope to see you at the starting line at some point!

  4. Abby

    Wow! I so admire your willingness to follow your heart on this. Looking forward to following you on the next chapter.

  5. Kate

    I’m so happy and excited for you! Whether you stay for three months or three years (or forever!), it’s going to be worth it. California is good for the soul.

    I just did a cross-country trip from CA to MA and one on my favorite areas was driving through Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border. You can simply drive through and see the “monuments” for free or you can pay a fee at the visitor center and drive by them up close, which I definitely think was worth it. It’s like driving through an old western movie. I even got my picture taken on a horse a la John Wayne 🙂 Enjoy the trip and congratulations on taking the leap!

  6. Rhys

    I am so happy for you! Glad you could find a place to land. Even if you don’t stay forever, this is a great opportunity!

  7. Amanda

    It’s so great you’re making this leap and giving it a try! Change and new surroundings can be so good for the soul. I left nyc after living there for 9 years and moved to SF. I was nervous about the change but ultimately was so happy I did it and grew a lot from the experience. Leaving nyc is super hard but the freedom of living in California with the beaches, hiking, great weather etc is the best and makes up for missing nyc. Excited to follow your journey!

  8. Allie

    GAH!!! I’m so happy and excited for you!! I moved out to L.A. directly after college and exactly 4 years after my mom died. I wanted to get as fas away as possible from the east coast. I absolutely loved it out there (I lived and worked in Santa Monica) and made lifelong friends. I have to say that I desperately missed the fall (and winter) and my family so, after three years, I moved home. I have never regretted one single day I spent in California and I think the cross country train is brilliant!!! Best of luck and I cannot wait to follow along on your adventures and re-live some old memories. xoxo

  9. Cindy

    I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to hear about this cross country adventure!

    Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful places. Highly, highly recommend if you can fit it into the drive from Moab to Flagstaff. Bryce is also incredible. Zion at sunset will blow your mind. Hike Observation Point if you possibly can, and if the Narrows are open – GO.

  10. FP

    I LOVE National Parks. It’s a family obsession. Follow the National Park Service on facebook – the photos are phenomenal. I’m so happy you’re going through several parks – the country is amazing out there. I also recommend stopping in any state parks that you happen to pass – there are some real gems out there. I’ve encountered some amazing natural and archaeological sights/sites by pulling off the highway on a whim.

    For Moab –> Flagstaff (I assume this is where you’re stopping at the Grand Canyon – consider the North Rim if it is open/at all doable on your journey; it’s magnificent and much less populated), check out Antelope Slot and Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ. The town itself doesn’t have much going on, but those spots are awe-inspiring. The Slot is operated by the Navajo P&R Department, so you need to book a tour to gain access; we went with Chief Tsosie, but they’re probably all very similar.

    We also did some fun hikes around Flagstaff – wherever you stop, check out a visitor’s center and you’ll get lots of suggestions and local maps.

  11. Kristina

    Good for you! I moved to the west coast almost 20 years ago (WOW!) and have never regretted that decision. From the PNW to SoCal and now to Colorado, it’s an amazing part of the world. I think that, as you’ve mentioned, one thing that the West can offer that the East coast doesn’t as much are those quick, easy trips out an urban city that give you the sense that you are really disconnected from the city/suburbia.
    Enjoy the move – it IS scary, but so exciting!

  12. Kelly

    I moved to Colorado from the east coast about 20 years ago, and every day I am still so glad I made the big scary decision to do it. There is just something about the American West – the history, the sunshine, the dry, arid climate. I’ve traveled all over the world and there is no place I’d rather live than “out west”.

    Try to get to Zion National Park. I’ve been to every Natl Park west of the Mississippi and this one just leaves me speechless – it’s beauty is breathtaking and other-worldly. In the Denver area, Red Rocks Ampitheather is a great place to visit and open to the public at all times (except when a concert is going on of course) and many locals go there to do a morning workout. Also Roxborough State Park about 20 min south of Denver is kind of like Garden of the Gods in CO Springs and is spectacular.

    Sunshine, blue skies, and amazing landscapes are good for the soul. Enjoy your adventure.


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