caroline divide

this post has been percolating for quite some time as my mind is like a vast sea of confusion…

about what, you say?

life. and the next step.

most of my friends have long since settled down into one place. but me, i spent my 20s and part of my 30s moving back and forth across the country and traveling.

with a good portion of my worldly possessions being in storage for the good part of a decade, i’ve been feeling this tug to reclaim them, unpack them, touch them… mostly it’s because i want a place to put them.

the only way i can describe how i’ve been feeling is this:

i feel like i’m standing above some ground fissure, like when there’s an earthquake and the surface starts to split, and i’ve got one foot on each side of the crack. and the fissure keeps getting wider and wider, making my legs separate further and further. that unease, panic of needing to make a choice to pick one side or the other before it’s too late and i fall into some dark unknown of complacency i don’t want to be in. kinda like my very own continental divide.

here, like this:


photo via

what’s the big deal/decision, you ask?

where to move/live next.

i feel more pressure this time because i’m so tired of feeling unsettled and like i don’t have a home. i mean, i have and have had places to live, but it’s been a long time since anything has felt like home. the next time i move, i want to make it last, at least for an extended period of time.

the beauty, and sometimes hindrance, of my job is that i can work anywhere as long as there is internet and a relatively major airport nearby. i love that aspect but man it’s making me feel a bit stuck. more like overwhelmed with the options. because there are so many.

i’m a super independent person but moving with someone or to a place where you know people always makes the transition a bit easier, but this time, that might not be in the cards…

so here are the places that have splashed through my mind at some point over the last few years:

1. new york – this one’s pretty obvious. i have friends and family here and it would be incredibly convenient for my work and work events. expensive though.

2. jersey – i have friends and family here too. close to nyc, with a bit of a break on the finances.

3. los angeles (again) – i’ve lived there and have friends there.

4. portland (again) – i have friends there and i’ve lived there before. loved it, much more so towards the end when i was meeting more people. it rains a lot though. but it’s cheap.

5. seattle – i’ve been there and liked it a lot and for some reason, years ago, i thought about it being a fun option. i know a couple of people there.

6. somewhere in the midwest? – haven’t spent much time there so i don’t know.

7. asheville, nc – lots of friends there. family close by (is that a pro or con?!). it’s beautiful and cheap.

8. and lastly, somewhere in europe – i’ve had this on my life list and in my dreams since i was a kid and in recent years i’ve thought about berlin, especially after visiting there last year.

see why i’m confused? too many options, all pretty good ones also. i’m sick of moving so i want to pick somewhere and make it happen for longer than a couple of years. commitment freaks me out more than you know but maybe it’s time to get over that?

any thoughts/advice/helpful hints/persuasions/love/gentle nudges you all would like to provide? all advice welcome, unless it’s the asshole-y kind.

13 Comments

  1. Rob
    Posted Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Go to Berlin; get out of this Country that thinks it’s the center of the world.

  2. CV
    Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Wherever you go, you will be the same you and what you like/dislike in a place, will repeat itself in another place, just with a different face.

    Think about which place upholds your most important values, which group of people you’d like to be surrounded with, which place will help you grow and most important, why are you moving? Planning ahead or having a vision of your life helps :)

    It’s good to have options! Some people only see one.

    Good luck!

  3. Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Ah, how I know this feeling. I’ve even painted it once: http://razorberries.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/DisasterBound.jpg

    But if I were you, I’d go for the dream. It’s hard, but don’t worry about what other people are doing. It’s your life and you decide what’s good for you :) I’ve moved several times in my life, too, and I’m slowly learning that home is where the heart is, literally! The organ, your actual heart.

  4. Allie
    Posted Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I am in the same boat- I can live/work pretty much anywhere. I’ve lived on the West Coast, in the Midwest and in Europe. I don’t know you, but of all the options you listed, I sense Berlin seemed the most optimistic. Moving out of the country may seem scary, but even scarier is settling for what you know won’t make you happy. Get out of here and go to Berlin :). Bonne Chance!

  5. BC
    Posted Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I was just researching Volcanic Basalt Furniture and was reading your article, which got me over to your blog.

    If it were my decision to make, then I would look at some more exotic places. I mean you have the “so called” dream scenario. Why not live on a mountain side or beach in Costa Rica, or a “middle of nowhere” location[http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/travel/motorcycles-memorials-and-the-middle-of-nowhere.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0]
    I live in a Pueblo Fantasma[Ghost town] in the desert, pop. about 12, with high speed internet.
    Cheers,
    BC

  6. Hank
    Posted Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I moved around a lot from 1996 to 2004. I remember feeling unsettled. I had grown weary from being in or near the big cities, so I chose a place to live that is quiet, safe, slow-paced, and almost boring at times (Abilene, Texas). When I’m wanting some excitement, I just pick a destination, and go visit for a short time. Then, I come home, and do my thing. It works for me. What have you decided?

  7. Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    If you have the chance to live abroad, I would take it. It might not seem to be the obvious option since you want to settle for awhile and Europe might not be where you want to live for a long time. I would select somewhere in Europe and commit to one or two years and then move somewhere to “settle in.” If you choose the midwest, I lived in Cincinnati for 18 years and it’s a great place. It’s a small town with big town amenities (because it’s the home to Proctor and Gamble and other big businesses). Great theater and symphony, major league ball teams, outdoor recreation, a few festivals (including an amazing Octoberfest), and quick trips to Chicago and NYC are easy and the west coast is only four or five hours away. Good luck with your decision!

  8. Ainav
    Posted Friday, November 29, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Berlin is an amazing city. Young, dynamic, lots of ex-pats, still reasonably affordable and with amazing design. If I were in your shoes I would go to Berlin, sign up for an intensive German course and use it as a stepping stone to meet people. Just bring a good winter coat, cause it gets pretty chilly.

  9. Moira
    Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Come to Europe. Give us a chance ;) Seriously: maybe if you cannot decide it is because nowhere you have lived until now suits you 100%. Try Europe, specially if the idea has been on your mind for so long. You can always go back to the States.

  10. Posted Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of the movie, Up in the air. And looks like you are having… kind of a choice paralysis? I have it.. sounds similar.

  11. Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    hi – it’s not on your list, but what about Canada? Specifically, Vancouver. Yeah it rains, but that’s why it’s so gorgeously lush and green.
    Plus, we’re really nice up here. :)

  12. Nina
    Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I don’t think you are afraid of commitment, I think you may be afraid you WILL commit and that it will have been a mistake.

    Just go somewhere, anywhere, and stay for two years, or give yourself two years in that space and do a re-assessment.

    I don’t think you will ever regret living abroad, but all of your choices are good.

  13. Ms Brolin
    Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Hey what happened in the end, where did you end up (for a while, at least)? During the times in my life when I’ve been paralyzed by choices and opportunities, I’ve just let any random thing decide (e g Oh, there’s a Berlin documentary on TV, that’s where I’ll go then, decided!), I have left it up to chance.

    It has always turned out well and it has given me many experiences I would have never had if I’d tried to make a ‘rational’ decision.

    Best of luck, wherever you are :)

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