I absolutely love California- it has a lot to offer and it’s a truly beautiful place to live. But in the back of my mind, I know… this will never be home. And home is where the heart is.

I was born in Orlando, Florida, and lived in the state for 6 years. When I was 7, moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to my mom’s parents and for a job opportunity that my dad had. From then on, Georgia was my home.

The first house I really remember is in Georgia (in fact, my parents and brother still live there). From first grade to graduating college, all of my education took place in Georgia. I met my best friends, fell in love, and learned about myself there.

Last year, I moved away. I was so excited to do so – while I love Georgia, it had gotten so damn stale. I had graduated college and had no real plan. I wasn’t living a lifestyle I was proud of or really even enjoyed- drinking heavily, not really spending much time on my passions or outdoors. My friends were going in their own directions, commitments, and careers taking priority and time away from the way things used to be. Things were changing, I was changing and ready to turn a begin a new chapter of my story.

It’s been about a year and a half since I moved 2,000 miles across the country. I can tell you one thing – I have learned so much from this experience. I have learned about what I truly value and how I prioritize different aspects of my life. I learned about love- Austin and I have struggled immensely and continue to, trying to balance our new lives with our old ones. And I’ll admit, we fail. A lot. We fight, we have stress breakdowns, and we lash out in pure frustration. But I love him with everything in me and will never stop trying to make things work.

But perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned from this cross-country move: chances are, you’ll never be able to ‘have it all’ in life. I moved to California for the adventure, beauty, and possibility. I have found those things here. But what I left behind was strong bonds, powerful memories, and a loving home base. And that is something I will never forget.

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