One Year in Charleston
It hit me the other day that I've been living in Charleston for one year now. One year! That's such a crazy thought to me. Since my first visit to Charleston when I was 19, I knew that I wanted to live here. I loved the culture, the people, and of course, the beaches. It was everything that I wanted and more. But life had other plans for me and I didn't eventually settle here until almost five years later. Since moving to Charleston, so much has happened to both get me here, make me stay, and start a life that I couldn't ever imagine. So today I'm going to get a little personal and talk about what brought me to this amazing city. c I first came to Charleston at the ripe, young age of 19, so young! It was a quick weekend getaway with friends in college where we did nothing but sleep, tan, and go out. The life of a typical college student. While visiting, something struck me that I couldn't shake for many years afterward. I've always struggled with finding a city that I belonged in. I thought it was Charlotte so I moved there for college. But after a couple of years I started feeling restless, a habit that would continue for years. I loved my friends, the activities we did, but it wasn't enough. There was still something missing. During those first three years in college, I bounced back and forth each break between Europe, South America, and the U.S., looking for my idea of 'home'. So to give myself some space and new surroundings, I moved to the U.K my junior year for study abroad and settled in London for six months.
After six months in London, I knew it wasn't it. Again, I loved the city, my newly founded friends, the culture, and all the extensive travelling I did. But it wasn't 'home' to me. I felt out of place despite my attempts at assimilating into the culture. There's only so much you can do as an expat to completely 'fit in'. After my six month stay and my visa had expired, I moved back home hoping that I'd have a change of heart. I didn't. I resented being back in Charlotte. I was happy to be surrounded by my closest friends but something no longer felt right. I started to realize that home to me was a city but near beaches and I had to have walking access to everything, or at least limited car use. It had to have culture and a thriving community. I was starting to discover what home meant to me.
So after graduating in 2013, I began toying with the idea of moving somewhere else in the world. The job market was still terrible, nobody wanted a new graduate with only a B.A. in Political Science, and I wasn't happy in North Carolina. Over the next year I decided I would move to one of three places: Denmark, Germany, or South Korea. All very completely countries, cultures, and more importantly, not the U.S. I truly struggled with living here and accepting that this was where I'm meant to live. I was eventually accepted into a Masters program in Denmark, but ultimately fell through due to finances, and I was accepted into a teaching program in South Korea.
But something started to change. Around the time I was accepted into Roskilde University in Denmark, I had started making arrangements to move to Charleston. I was working a marketing job at a tech company and was plainly said, miserable. Those close to me know how miserable I was during this time and how badly I wanted a way out. I received a call one day from my mother who had recently moved to Charleston for a job and invited me to come down. Quit my job, leave everything behind, and just move. And so I did. If it wasn't for her persistence and opportunity to move here, I would have missed out on so many things here. It's incredible what little moments in life are merely stepping stones to larger moments.
Since moving here in June 2014, more has happened than I ever thought possible. I started small by getting a hospitality job for the summer. Something I knew was easy, paid somewhat well, and gave me the start I would need here. I started making friends, going out, and forming a social life. I began working out more, leaving every sad feeling in the ocean and rebuilding my confidence again. Slowly and surely I moved along. Before I knew it, I had a job as a paralegal at a law firm (finally using that B.A degree!) and meeting new people, like my boyfriend, P. Turning down that teaching job was possibly the best thing I've ever done. It would have been a great adventure, but a temporary solution to my problems. It was also around that time when I met P and began seeing him. I'm not saying a boy made me stay, but it certainly helped me realize a few things.
Over the span of one year so much can happen. Since moving to Charleston, I've finally found my home. It's funny as I was brainstorming this post and speaking with P, that it hit me that this is home for me and us. We're facing a lot of big (and exciting!) decisions over the next month and we firmly know we want to stay here. If that's what is planned for us we will but I know wherever we go in this world, we'll do it together.
I never thought moving to Charleston would enable me to regain my confidence in myself again and propel me to start my own blog and turn it into a small business. Looking back over the past year and how I ended up here and not another country, I know it was the right decision.
If you're facing a big decision in life, this is the best advice I can give you: trust your gut and go. Realize that what we call big decisions like moving away from home or taking that new job isn't the be all end all of your life. If it feels right, go. Do it, and do it well. It's the little moments you encounter during those journeys that'll really change you, not the big scary ones. Every little moment I've experienced so far here has truly shaped my life for the better. You never really know what life has in store for you until you take that plunge.
Share your thoughts! Have you ever moved somewhere on whim? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below lovelies!