(Written on 8.16.2019) I am currently in a plane to Tucson, Arizona for the first time. I have been to Arizona twice before, but only to the Phoenix area and Sedona. Well, I guess I spent about an hour at the Grand Canyon once with my family while on a trip to Vegas in high school. So, let’s call it three times. Nonetheless, I have never been to Tucson.
In middle school, I actually had a really good friend move to Tucson, but we lost touch long ago. Turns out, he still lives there (according to social media), but this trip is not meant for that kind of meet up.
This trip is business. My wife, Kait, worked with a woman, let’s call her Alice, who grew up in Tucson. When Kait and I took a trip to Arizona in the spring of this year, they got to talking and she mentioned how much she loves Tucson and that we should go there instead of Phoenix — too late, trip was booked. We wouldn’t have changed it anyway. It was a quick getaway which involved a day trip to Sedona (see A Spiritual Encounter in Sedona). Turns out my uncle, who lives in Maine and I have only seen/talked to a handful times in my 34 years of life, went to the University of Arizona. One of those handful of interactions (this one via email) was around when we were going or went on our trip. He said the same, “…I went to the U of AZ in Tucson (way better than Phoenix:-))”.
Kait and Alice continued to talk about many things, one being Arizona and another being my line of work and my pursuits in the well-being, spirituality realms. Turns out, Alice was actually planning on moving her family from the NYC area back to Tucson. Also turns out, her sister was moving back to Tucson, from Belgium.
Before we go ahead, it is good to note that I have been itching to move away from Philadelphia and the Northeast for some time now. Not because I hate it, but because I have been there my entire life. I grew up in South Jersey, went to Penn State in State College, PA, went to Drexel University in Philly, and have lived in Philly for about 6 years now. I need to experience more of life and to me that is living in different geographical areas, immersing myself in different cultures, and exploring new creative endeavors. Right now, Philadelphia is not hitting for me. I need nature and warm weather all year round. I need a collective mind, culture of a community, not a community that seems to have a chip on their shoulder and largely live in negativity. I need a community that is open to the infinite possibilities beyond our body-mind.
There are a few US territories that check those boxes, plus others, for us — Hawaii, Caribbean Islands (USVI), Florida (but we worry about diversity and culture in FL), and Arizona. But then there is also the possibility of moving to Kait’s hometown area, Woodstock in upstate NY, and down the line having a place in a warmer climate. The Hudson Valley checks the nature box, and it checks a very powerful box for Kait, being very close to family for the first time since she left for college in 2004. It certainly doesn’t have the year round weather for the indoor/outdoor living. As my mom recently reminded me, I’ve been expressing my strong disdain for long very cold and grey winters since being a student at Penn State. And it certainly is not a decrease in cost of living, damn!
Kait won’t do the West Coast in light of the looming “Big One” that is supposed to wipe off part of the coast any day in the who knows how long. New Orleans is one of our favorite cities to visit, but not to live. The Carolina’s are out for now, too much racism still going on for my liking. Though Asheville is dope, doesn’t feel right, at the moment. Haven’t been to Charleston so don’t know the vibe. Texas, besides Austin, doesn’t appeal to us and though Austin is great, it doesn’t feel right at the moment either.
If anyone has any suggestions as to where we may not have considered, please let me know!
So back to Alice’s sister, let’s call her Nola. It turns out that Nola is also in the well-being, wellness, holistic health field. Part of her plan in moving back to Tucson is to open, for lack of better descriptives, a center that will offer guidance and teaching in forms of private, classes, workshops and retreats. Alice and Kait schemed to get Nola and myself in touch. Kait had mentioned that we love Arizona and are open to the idea of moving.
A couple of phone conversations, some text message exchanges, and here I am on a flight to Tucson to meet and stay with people I do not know. Previously, I would have been ridden with fear and insecurities. I would find an excuse not to do this for those reasons. It would have been too uncomfortable of a situation. I tend to be quiet, and when my insecurities and fears take over I become flat out shy. However, with my introspection and self inquiry practices, I have really overcome those fears in many ways. Sure, they still loom in the background, as they are not fully gone…yet. But I am quickly aware of their presence and the fact that they are only being created in my mind. They are not real, they are not who I am. Even if I feel a pit in my stomach (of course I do!), my body and mind work together. But, I am all too aware that the past only exists in the mind. Acknowledge, try to understand, learn and move on.
What the mind thinks, the body feels. What the body senses, the mind tends to recall in past experiences. This is a common theme that I will be discussing more about throughout Observing Experience.
So here I am, on a plane to Tucson, by myself to spend a weekend with people that I have never met. And I am excited by possibilities and new experiences! Should this go well, I will come back out shortly with Kait and Weston to see if we all agree on moving to Tucson. Avett (our dog) has no say in the matter, he’s coming with us no matter where we go….