Moving to Portland: How I reinvented my life through my WDS tribe

18 Jul

Drawn to Portland

When I lived in Corvallis, I loved visiting Portland on weekends. There was so much to see and do all the time, especially in the summer. How did I end up actually moving to Portland after years of talking about it and lusting after this awesome city? It all began when a mentor of mine drew me to a Portland-based conference of amazing people and when I was told “no” one too many times.

Learning to listen to myself

In 2012, I said “yes” and I went to the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland. It changed my life. I had been in a fog since my mom’s death in 2009 and I was searching for a better life, a different way than I was living at the time. I always considered myself unconventional yet I wasn’t really living that way on a day-to-day basis…anymore. I was living in a town that didn’t fit my adventurous ways and working at a job that caged me in a box.  After two and a half days at WDS, I came home late Sunday night and went into work early Monday morning.  It was like hitting a brick wall. My inner consciousness was screaming: “You don’t belong here”!

I had heard this voice before. I had heard it even before my mom was sick, and the whole time she was fighting cancer. But I ignored what it was saying. I didn’t think that it was a great time to up and quit my job. I had to keep paying my bills. I had a husband. I had friends and family telling me “no, you can’t quit”. The last thing I wanted was to be a burden on anyone else. I put my needs on the back burner. Besides, I had no energy left to fight for anything else but her cancer for four years. When she passed I was exhausted. I felt defeated and wounded beyond belief.

Finding my way by making new goals

WDS was the inspiration I desperately needed to wake up again. After the event in July of 2012, I decided to make some one-year goals for myself, for the next conference. I wanted to drastically change my life. I wanted to quit my job, move, be around more amazing people and travel the world for more than a week or two at a time. I wanted life to be more unconventional, every day. Thankfully, my husband supported me in all of these goals. And the people that didn’t support me?  I wouldn’t let them derail me anymore.

Months later, at the end of 2012, things started lining up. Chris Guillebeau, the founder of WDS and my travel mentor, was having a celebration in Oslo, in April 2013, because he had visited every country in the world. Norway being his last stop. I have followed his journey for some time and really wanted to go. I asked if I could have the time off work and was told “no”. I knew it was time to pick what was most important to me. I had wrestled with this soul-sucking demon long enough. It was time to end it and start over. Time to rip off the band aid and start the new journey into healing myself and my soul. I bought my ticket to the party, and booked a plane ticket to ensure there was no way I could continue at my job. I had backed out of quitting so many times before, but I knew that I would never back out on a plane ticket and trip with friends. Part of the healing process is to know thyself and listen to the voice within!

Shortly before the trip I put in my notice at work. They thought I was crazy to quit my job and not have anything lined up. Not to mention going to Europe for three weeks. “Who does that?” they asked me. Obviously not the people that worked there. I was different; I could see that now.  I could see myself going places. I couldn’t stay a caged cubicle bird any longer. I had to fly, literally and figuratively. I worked hard until 5 o’clock on my last day. I walked out the door and got on a plane for the first three week vacation of my life. I was flying off to celebrate a special achievement for someone with big goals, someone I admired, someone I wanted to be like. I was flying off to start an adventure, to craft my own big goals. Life was great! …Then my husband got laid off work.

Where do I belong?

I had an amazing time in Europe, but was worried about spending money; not knowing what we would do when I came home. More had to change in order to live the lifestyle I wanted. Once I returned home we made the decision to move. I wanted to move to Portland for the city life and the people I had met at WDS. My husband thought we should check out Austin, TX or another state instead of Portland, which he considered a “comfortable” choice. He remembered that I wanted to push my boundaries, and Portland might not be enough of a push. We decided to take a road trip and apply for some jobs along the way.

We toured 10 states! The road trip was great, but the decision was clear: we wanted to be in Portland. We put in our month notice at our apartment and I began packing up the life I had led for the previous ten years. I purged a lot of belongings; I cried; I wanted to change my mind but ultimately, I knew I needed to move on. I needed to be in the city. After all, I wanted to do that years ago. It was my dream. Time to make my dream happen.

What I love about Portland

Portland has an amazing food and arts scene, amazing people and a top rated international airport — all things I was looking for and that were important to me for my home city. I wanted to surround myself with the people I saw as my mentors — my tribe — my WDS community. I wanted to be around people that were going places, achieving their big goals or starting something new. I didn’t want to be stagnant anymore. I wanted to grow. I wanted to be with my tribe year round. And I wanted to travel more often without the road trip just to get to the airport.

Now I Belong

Things were scary and different at first, but I wouldn’t have changed it. After being in Portland for just over a year I have grown so much. I have met so many great people through my WDS community and beyond. I have pursued my own business and partnered with others (still working on making it sustainable but at least I started). I have eaten at many great restaurants, photographed my adventures (I sell prints!), had gallery shows and I have gone to several movies, concerts and events. There are so many things to do on any given day. I have sounding boards for my business ideas and more fast friends than I’ve ever had before. I didn’t lose anything by moving to Portland; I’ve only gained. For the first time in years — or maybe ever — I feel like I belong, and that’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Other than skydiving or my mother’s unconditional love and friendship.

Living in Portland is like living WDS year round. It’s a way of life. It’s my community. I’m not a native, but I feel like this is my home. When I travel, I know I have a great place to come back to. I know I that I have a home that I’m connected with no matter where I fly off to.

Portland. It’s not just different; it’s better.

 

P.S. If you think this would help someone, please share. If you want to talk more with me about my story and what I do, contact me. I’m just a girl, making her way in the world.

P.P.S. WDS 2012 post, WDS 2013 post and the other awesome Chris G event Pioneer Nation.

Mom and I

One of the last photos I have with my mom, my best friend and the person that inspired me to travel and live my dreams.

 

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14 Responses to “Moving to Portland: How I reinvented my life through my WDS tribe”

  1. Amy @ Nomadtopia July 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    I LOVE this, Melissa! It’s been so awesome to see you take the leap. I’m glad you’re so happy in Portland, and this is JUST the beginning. ❤

    • Roux July 18, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      Thank you Amy!

  2. Karen July 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    I’m in San Diego about to pull the trigger on moving to Portland. Loved reading this!

    • Roux July 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      Awesome! Glad to hear it!

  3. tdhurst July 19, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    That was great. Congratulations on finding a place where you feel like you belong.

    • Roux July 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Yes. It’s awesome! Thank you.

  4. Mac Prichard July 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story, Melissa, and I look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.

    • Roux July 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

      Thank you Mac! Would love to see you again soon.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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