I wish I could sit here and say this was an easy decision for me as well, but as the people closest to me know, it wasn’t. Nor was writing this post for the world to read. How can I possibly put into words how much of an impact making this decision has had on my life, as well as give the proper credit to the people who shaped me and made this dream of mine come true? They both, took time. Talking about home and leaving “home” for me right now, is and will continue to be hard. Because I miss it, dearly. But I also know that this decision I made, this decision that I’m going to write about, was the right one. For me, and for us…
I was raised in a tight knit family with a larger than life “hero” for a father (a real life hero, he was a fireman y’all) who did, and quite honestly still does, everything within his power to make sure my brother and I have everything our hearts have ever desired. He is my rock, my stability, and the strongest man I have ever known. He’s the reason I believe in fairytales. My mother, my best friend as well as the adventurous one, has a traveling spirit that I am quickly realizing we share, and I even embody, more and more. Thirty-five years ago she left her small midwestern town to move half way across the country, without knowing a soul, to start a new life in the “big” city. She has been my confidant, my backbone and the first to support me in every decision I have ever made.
Along with my parents, my grandmother “Mamoo,” my great Aunt Jojo, and last but not least my Aunt Cindy worked hard day in and day out to not only be present for every phase and activity throughout my life, but also to be able to take me to museums, musicals, art exhibits, shows, and anything else that brought culture into my life and opened up the small world I was living in. They are the foundation and reason I am the person I am today, and for that alone, I am blessed. Also, I am lucky to have a large family in Nebraska that I honestly don’t see as much as I would like but have also provided me with more love than I could ever ask for.
Unlike Colt, I only have one sibling, my brother, Connor. I have never been more proud of someone in my life. He is the most kind hearted, funniest human being on this planet. And although he happens to be my younger brother, whom I may or may not have tried to give advice to on multiple occasions, he’s also the person I look up to the most. For his drive and determination. His success at work. For his spirit to see and explore and just flat out live life. Doing all of this at the age of twenty-four, continues to amaze me.
I can’t talk about my family without including my other “family”: Uncle Terry, Story’s, Stacy, Buddy, Spradling’s, Roz, Cathy Doyle, Laura, Ashley, Prayr etc… Every one of these people has shaped me for the better, and I know that at any point I could turn to any one of them. I’ve been lucky, not only for my immediate family, but for my extended family as well.
I was lucky enough to be able to travel from a young age, wether it be my summer trips to visit my grandparents in Nebraska, or family vacations, and even weekend tournaments around the country playing select volleyball. I realize now, reflecting, that I was happier when traveling. I’ve always been a shy person, a guarded person, but through travel, I felt like I could break out of that shell for the first time. Growing up I lived to make my family proud. I wanted those good grades. I wanted that volleyball scholarship to college. I wanted that business job in Dallas that would make me feel like I had “made it”. And guess what? I achieved them all. Yet something was still missing. Something I couldn’t pinpoint until Colt came into my life and pointed it out to me with a blaring neon sign ( Which I tried to block out with a pair of my way too expensive sunglasses) for far too long. All that traveling had changed me, and the white picket fence life I thought I should want, I realized, wasn’t for me.
It had just marked four years at a job that I honestly and truly loved and was happy to have, yet I knew that my life was coming to a crossroads that I couldn’t avoid. I had been feeling “stuck” for some time. My passion and creativity felt stifled and I didn’t feel the true happiness I expected to feel from following the path you’re supposed to follow and being able to afford the things you always thought you wanted. I grew up craving stability, needing stability, yet I was also craving change, but I didn’t know how to go about that change or in what shape or form. That change would come in unprecedented fashion. Turns out, it came in the form of a 6’1″ fußball player with a dream and a one way ticket to Austria.
I’m still adjusting to this new life, adjusting to a different type of normality. I have good days and bad, but I needed this change. I needed to explore and try and find my new adventure.
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often though, they hurt.” – Anthony Bourdain