I cried upon touchdown and I cried upon departure.
My trip to Alaska was far too short but it was also just the right amount of time.
Aside from bringing some of that California sunshine with me, when I landed in Kenai, Alaskan mountain ranges displaying an unreal backdrop behind me, it felt like my life in California was a far and distant dream.
I soaked in every moment to the fullest, appreciating the beauty and opportunity to be able to come back home and visit like this, to step away and gain some wise perspective on my life, and yet when the time came for me to leave again, I found my strength wavering and my tears beginning to burst.
I wasn’t brave! I cried like a fool and my heart felt like the two pound sinker on it’s way down to the bottom of Prince William Sound, lost in the current of the sea.
I hugged my cat as her fur became wet with my tears, looking around at my room imprinted with scraps and memories of who I was, who I longed to be again, and tried to remain cool and tear free around my mom and dad.
I asked my mom through heaving tears why it was so hard to leave, why I wasn’t a brave adult like the rest of them and once again, Mom replied with the simplicity and wiseness I needed:
It’s hard to leave a place where you’re loved.
And that explained everything.
Home isn’t just “home” for me, it’s this special place that I haven’t entirely appreciated until I learned the value and importance of blooming where I was planted.
For so long, I was so focused on getting out there and pursuing my magazine in a big city without really taking the time to research opportunity where I was.
See, on my last day in Alaska, I was in 602 talking to our new chef for Addie Camp, Maya Wilson, who got started on a food blog and currently has a published cookbook. I was telling her about my unsuccesses in the Bay area with my magazine and having trouble finding the time to get it off the ground when she told me:
Oh, well I have people here you could talk to. I’ve got a publisher, I started my career on a blog. I could help.
So I’m telling my mom this in one of the booths and this woman behind her excuses herself for interrupting, but she heard the word “magazine”, perked up and had to introduce herself.
As a veteran in the publishing industry, this woman used to work for Hearst Publishing in New York City and was a wealth of knowledge. I only had a moment to chat, but we exchanged information and she was obviously excited to share her experience in any way she could, and help me on with my passion.
And this happened in a matter of minutes. In Alaska. Inside of 602, a coffee shop in a train car.
I got farther along in my pursuance of my magazine in five minutes here in small town Soldotna, AK than in six months in California.
It’s been here all along, in a place I simply took for granted.
In a section of an awesome new book I’m currently reading (of which you’ll hear more of as time goes on), it talked about the value of “weak ties.”
Weak ties are those relationships that aren’t part of your close cluster of comfortable and familiar friends, but are individuals who offer fresh perspectives, opportunities, information, and can turn into important connections.
I have a ton of strong ties, but I’ve never really been good at utilizing or seeing the possibility of having relationships with people I don’t know.
Well here’s a perfect example of two weak ties I made in a place I had checked off as being not ambitious enough, or too in my comfort zone for things to flourish.
I’m certainly not saying moving to California was a mistake, because if there’s anything I’ve learned since moving here, it’s been about myself. I stepped out of my comfort zone, I figured out that I can’t think my way through life but have to act upon my thoughts and do something, and I’ve learned a lot because of that.
There’s a reason my heart weeps when I leave Alaska, and it’s not because I’m Sensitive Sally. Alaska is a place that has the potential and the resources to help me become who I’m meant to be.
When I’ll be back? Time will tell.
But in the meantime, I’ll utilize the time whilst in California to continue to stretch myself out of my comfort zone even more, take advantage of the things not offered in Alaska, and I’ll look at each and every relationship I have with people, strong tie or weak tie, as possibilities to open doors I might otherwise keep shut.