This piece was originally published on the House of Snuggles.
One day my alarm went off. My eyes fluttered open and I shuffled to the kitchen to make that ever important first cup of coffee. “God, I hate my job. I hate my boyfriend. I hate my life.” This was pretty much how everyday started. But on this particular day, I was in an especially foul mood. I sat down and gave myself a very harsh reality check. I graduated from college, was still working as a server at a sports bar, having failed relationship after relationship, watching as everyone else moved on to do great things. Overall, I felt hopeless, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t like feeling like I’m drowning, with a boulder tied around my ankles, dragging me down into the cool, watery depths of nothingness, where I would be lost and forgotten forever. Sounds dramatic, I know, but these were the thoughts that were going through my head. So I decided that I needed a big change. I needed to move. Not just anywhere, but far away, a fresh start. I chose the Arizona desert because I knew one person there and I figured that knowing at least one person might make this crazy plan a little easier. After seeing if it would be cool to stay with him and his wife for a bit, I put my diabolical plan into action. Nine months before I was to leave, I told my parents what I was planning to do. My father was extremely supportive and I am forever grateful for that. My mother, not so much–but I had kind of figured that anyway. I started working every shift I could pick up and closed whenever it was offered to make as much money as possible. There was no time to waste. My boyfriend at the time was a little bit confused. I offered for him to come with me, as kind of a test, to see if we really belong together. Needless to say, he failed, miserably. He pleaded with me to reconsider; he just didn’t understand why I would want to do such a thing. He definitely wasn’t the adventurous type and couldn’t see himself more than a few miles away from his family. So, that relationship ended in an ugly way, but it was to be expected. I received resistance from a lot of people, mostly from friends that didn’t want to be so far away from me. I assured them that I would come visit and I felt, in the depths of my being, that this was the right decision. I even sat down with my two cats, Koshka and Calypso, and explained that we were going on a fantastic voyage (Coolio reference here) and that they were going to become desert kitties. They looked up at me with their sweet faces and they seemed to understand.
Calypso (aka baby girl)
The hardest part was explaining to my dog why I was leaving. She lived with my parents because she was old and my father took care of her. I went over there two days before Christmas to spend some time with her and I explained my plan. She looked at me with her tired, brown eyes and white muzzle, and I knew that she understood. Two days later, she passed away. I felt like my heart was ripped out. A lot of people don’t understand that connection you can have with a dog. She was my best friend for 14 years; she was always there when I needed comfort and was my constant companion. I was sick the day I had to move out of my parents house because I couldn’t take her with me. I knew she was in good hands because my dad loved her just as much as I did. I felt that her passing was another sign that I needed to go. Devastated, I stayed strong in my resolution to move and start living.
Six months passed and moving day arrived. I had managed to save $3,000, which I felt should last me until I could find some type of job. I was only taking what would fit in my car, which meant some clothes, some books, my spices, and my cats. On departure day, my dad came over early to change my brakes and to make sure that my car was in good working condition, like awesome dads do. When it came to say goodbye, I was filled with hope and sorrow. I was going to miss him a lot. Pushing forward, I started my car and drove a way to start this amazing journey.
Three years later, I look back. I’m still here in the desert. I am not friends with most of the people I was friends with, including my one friend that lives here. I have experienced what it means to be so completely broke that you’re not sure how you are going to pay your bills and eat. I have experienced extreme heartache over actions of my loved ones but living so far away from everything I have ever known has granted me a new kind of perspective. I have an outsider view of what my life was like back home. I have quite a new perspective on how things should be and what I want out of life. Without the intention of having any romantic relationships, I have since met my husband, who is probably the most amazing person I have ever known and who inspires me every single day. I have learned that the key to happiness is living, breathing, and following your passion. I have also discovered that my passion is food, animal well-being, and trying to make the most out of everyday. I have learned to give more of myself than to take, that animals really do have personalities and emotions, and that people think it’s OK to ride horse down a city street (only in Arizona). I didn’t know what to expect when I started this journey and I still have no idea how my life will unfold. This is an ever continuing story and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter will be. If there is one thing you can take away from this, dear Reader, it is this: chase your dreams and dare to take a risk, you never know what will happen, but in the end you’ll be glad you took it.
More inspirational essays: For My Mother, Who Runs
Also by Krystle: What Our Furry Companions Say About Us
Photo: Krystle Troia-Alvarado; Robotpolisher via Flickr