An Open Letter to the Unemployed and Heartbroken:
I recently started this travel blog after losing my beloved copywriter job and my love-less relationship in the same 24-hour period. It was a devastating, mentally draining and bittersweet time filled with lots of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
This limbo stage of my life marks the top of my shit list, somewhere around #3. Yet, despite the embarrassment, disgrace, shame and derision of disappointment from losing something and someone, the ephemeral saying still rings painfully true.
“Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”
So three weeks ago, I mustered up a damn strong cup of black Joe, most of my belongings, and whatever was left of my broken pride and took a hiatus from this city life. I started over –– life, job, happiness, writing, priorities, everything –– and left my tucked-away suburb of Northern Virginia to experience culture, somewhere else.
I tagged along with my best friend (Hey, Sinead!) to New Orleans. She was going for grad school at Tulane. I was going for sanity. Nonetheless we were on this road trip together, and I would blog about my experiences along the way.
Turns out, starting over was the best decision I ever made. It was on that 18-hour road trip of sweat, tears, singing, sleeping and unrelenting laughter where I rediscovered myself and a few simple facts of life:
# 1) The best way to show love is not saying you love, but treating love in an uncompromising way.
# 2) You should never sign a lease or accept a job offer if you’re distracted, or in love.
# 3) Always remember in all aspects of life: Be patient, but assertive. Accepting, but cautious. Original, but borrowed.
#4) Follow your heart, and everything else will follow.
Rolling into New Orleans for the first time three weeks ago, my friend treated New Orleans like a home away from home.
With an unwavering likeness for this crescent-city-of-gold, even she made the infamous “Ninth Ward” sound pleasant and inviting. To her, those grungy parishes had character; those drunken Bourbon-nites passing daily through the French Quarter were simply saying hello, N’Awlins style; those pot-hole-filled roads simply meant the city’s priorities were focused on more important things; and those run-down neighborhoods like Treme straddled a fine line between history and legend. New Orleans just wouldn’t be magical without them.
Well, if the city meant that much to her, then it was worth exploring.
Whewpf, time flies. Three weeks later today, I’ve tasted the rich, cultural gumbo that is New Orleans and I still can’t get enough. It’s day #19, and that invisible 2-week road trip deadline I gave myself has well expired. But who’s counting, right? I’m going to stay as long as the coffee holds roast or my car or body runs out of fuel. Literally.
If you can’t join me, hopefully my blog gives you the vicarious feeling, or gusto really, to start living your bucket list dreams. Starting in the one-and-only N’Awlins.