Seattle, The Human Spirit, and The Art of Living

Soon I will be moving to the Pacific Northwest. For me the move is long overdue and I couldn’t be more excited. I was after all born at the feet of the Rocky Mountains in Pueblo, CO. Fate and my parents frequent bickering and separations brought my family to the east coast in 1984. My ancestors too shared a similar journey in 1696; moving from the highlands of Scotland to the fertile fields of coastal North Carolina. The land which they settled is still there today and still remains in the possession of my family. I will always have a special place for the tobacco fields and cotton tracts outside the small town of Raeford North Carolina. This sleepy little town and the areas southeast of it have been home to my family for generations. There is a road and bridge named after us there and a cemetery filled with the remains of not only my grandparents, great aunts, and uncles, but their grandparents and so on.

Raeford was never my home. My memories there are colored by my parents’ divorce and my father’s frequent absences and addictions. He moved to eastern Tennessee sometime in 1997 and after much meandering and travels my own; I arrived here too in 2000. While I will not say that I have not enjoyed my time here. It does seem that the years since my arrival have been filled with a desire to leave. Moving to the Nashville area did help relieve some of the feeling of suffocation and boredom I suffered. I do like Nashville it’s a cosmopolitan place filled with interesting sights and sounds and a never-ending parade of bars to explore and enjoy. For once though the cliché seems to be true and for those uninterested in becoming a country star I would advise you to steer clear of music city. My time here has not been without benefit though and I will be grateful for the people I met and the lessons I learned about myself. Special thanks go out to my one woman cheering squad Gwen. Without her support and belief I think it would have been quite some time before I summoned up the courage to drown out the naysayers’ and doubters and go after the career I wanted.

Already some people are asking why? Why move? Why Seattle? Besides the obvious answer that there are some good opportunities there waiting for me, there’s also the fact that it sits at the feet of some of the most beautiful and accessible mountains in America. It’s also a hub for technology, writing, food, and new ideas. It’s a city I can relate to and lose myself in. I have learned living in rural east Tennessee that f you are a restless soul, the country is no place to be. I want to be somewhere that if inspiration strikes at 3 in the morning there is a coffee shop or café open to plot my schemes for world domination from. It’s also much closer to Alaska, where I will visit soon and many other sites I plan to explore before they’re gone or melted away.

Beyond all that though I guess the best reason to move is the simplest: Why not? I have dedicated my life to living an unconventional existence. I am looking for experiences to remember and cherish. I want to travel and see more of the world I glimpsed in my short time overseas. I want to live, could there be any better reason to do something? I want to stand on top of a mountain, shivering and cold, exhausted from my efforts and breathless from the altitude and look out at the world spread before and be warmed by the thoughts of knowing I did something great. I think Chris Guillebeau sums it up well in his book, The Art of Non-Conformity. He talks about wanting to feel alive again, not just passing through life, So many of us today are doing just that, we’re passing through life on auto-pilot instead of experiencing it as participants; Observing and critiquing instead of playing.

I also remember a great quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” It would be easy to think this is an extreme outlook on life but is it really, or is it just realistic? I leave that for you to decide, I’ve already made my choice. Finally I think I’m moving because more than anything I still believe in the human spirit. I believe in its potential for greatness and ability to overcome. I look around at the state of things in our country and it brings me down. I won’t lie I often find myself succumbing to the doubt and fear. I worry about the future not just of myself but our nation. I don’t know what will happen or if we’ll be okay. I do know with absolute certainty though that nothing will change if we continue to sit idly by wasting our own lives. Ultimately our lives should be our most pressing concern because it’s the one thing we do have power over no matter what we are told. Time is limited and a precious commodity and I have wasted much already.

I’m entering the Spartan race to show myself that I can still overcome. As I have heard before it’s not so much that I want to be strong but feel strong again, to feel that I can overcome and persevere in the face of tremendous adversity. I want to celebrate the human spirit, and show to the masses on the freeway locked in anger and resentment that, it is still alive. I want to live up to my potential and explore the gift of life that was given to me. Is there any better motivation for anything we will ever do? I’m moving because I want to be somewhere different, to immerse myself into a new environment and if all goes well I plan for Seattle to be just the first on a long list of places I go. Maybe it will become my home base for travel and exploration. It certainly is something to think about. For now though it’s a goal, something to aim at, and look forward to. We all need something like that.

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