From Austin to Vancouver & The Fear That Almost Held Me Back

Zilker Park Austin Texas

At Kitchen-Chicks we like to talk about more than just food and recipes. Around the kitchen table, we converse about people, feelings, events, politics, literally everything. It is customary when you visit with me or my mom (and her mom, and her mom before that) that you stay up until the darkest hours of the morning chatting and laughing (and sometimes crying). So, this is my first post that isn’t about cooking or food. This post explores how fear can defeat you and hold you back, but if you let go and listen…you’ll make the right choice for yourself.  Bon apetít!

The Beginning

If you know me, you know that I am quite the wanderer. I was born and raised in Texas, but left as soon as the opportunity struck. It wasn’t because I hated Texas, or my family, or my situation. On the contrary, I’m quite nostalgic for Texas and I love my family. My parents and siblings are some of my best friends. It was just that I had a deep need to explore…get out and see what else is in the world. Scratch the itch. Find my people. So, I left. I went to Los Angeles and New York City. The people I met were, indeed, my people. Best of all, during one crisp, spring day in New York City, I met my person.

Let’s go on an Adventure!

My husband is not only my person, he is the best person (for me). He saw in me the adventurer, the explorer, and said, “Let’s see everything together!” and we’ve been trying to do that ever since. We’ve traveled all over Europe together, and drank too many margaritas in Mexico. We’ve driven down the west coast three times, down the east coast, across the USA twice, across Canada and straight down the center of the US. We’ve road tripped from Austin to Colorado and back again. We’ve stayed in icky hotels and the best hotels. We’ve had crazy fights in the car and laughed hysterically at pointless jokes (sometimes directly after the fights). Once we even slept in the back of a Tahoe on an air mattress in a state park, but we won’t do that again. We always jump in and see what comes at us. No fear. We’re together. What’s there to fear?

We’ve moved around a lot too. So far we have experienced living in New York City, Toronto, Cambridge (MA, not UK), Austin, and now my husband’s beloved home of Vancouver, British Columbia. Moving is quite a bit scarier than traveling. You have to be comfortable with big changes to do it. The scariest moments of our lives have been when we had to pack up a UHaul and head out-of-town, but we’ve always willingly gone through with it. It wasn’t until recently that I let fear take ahold of me and stop me dead in my tracks.

Maybe Not That Much Adventure

Today, we live in Vancouver, but it took a lot to get here. If I’m being completely honest, I was terrified to leave Austin, Texas. I had finally made it back home near my family. We bought and renovated our first home as a married couple there. We made friends that were our people. Countless guests came to visit and created beautiful memories with us. The house had a small yard for our dog, and a hammock…it was vacation land. I loved Austin. I still do.

 Austin Texas Congress Skyline  Graffiti Park Austin Texas  Austin Texas Hammock

When we made the final decision to move back to Vancouver, I cried. A lot. How could I possibly leave this place I love so much? How could I disappoint my family when we just moved back…There was guilt and confusion and a bit of anger in me. At the same time, I knew in my gut moving was the right decision. Ugh. Stupid gut.

Fear put doubt in my mind though. It told me to not listen to my gut. Fear told me to stay. “You’re comfortable here, Dolly. Life is great here. Your mom will be disappointed in you. Your dad will be so sad.” And boy did I listen and cling to that! Fear sometimes is the thing telling you all the things you want to hear. It feels good. It knows your wants.

However, at the same time I was doubting everything, the stars were aligning for us in Vancouver. We found our dream home serendipitously on vacation. It was in our price range, and hadn’t sold. It was not much smaller than our place in Austin, and suited our needs (including a patio!). It was perfect, but so was Austin. “You don’t need Vancouver, Dolly.” Ok. I don’t need Vancouver. Easy.

The decision to move was frustrating. Switching thoughts back and forth between taking the opportunity so clearly in front of us, and staying in my comfort zone was stressful. Disappointing people was stressful. Quitting my job was stressful. So, I cried and cried, and yelled, and wrote in my journal. As I worked through my emotions, my husband was there to remind me of the adventurer he’d seen in me when we first met. He helped me weigh the pros and cons of moving, and most importantly, gave me comfort when he knew I was feeling my lowest. He showed me the opportunity and excitement of moving, rather than the fear and resentment I was feeling. He encouraged me to listen to my gut.

So I went to Vancouver. Trepidatiously.

Oh, Hey Vancouver!

We bought a house in downtown Vancouver and I was once again thrust into city living. Not Austin city living. I mean legit, walk-to-the-grocery-store-with-a-backpack city living. Avoiding-eye-contact-at-all-costs city living. Don’t-go-down-that-street-at-night-because-a-lot-of-hard-drugs-are-sold-there city living. But you know what? My husband was right. My gut was right. Fear was wrong. I absolutely LOVE living here again. Sure, my family was disappointed, but they still love me and accept me. I think they are happy I’m finding balance again. They are also my people.

downtown vancouver night vancouver convention center downtown vancouver window cockapoo english bay vancouver inside my house granville island public market

The city has lifted me and my spirit in ways that other cities haven’t been able to. The people are inspiring (and beautiful). The nature is jaw dropping. The food…I mean, the best sushi I’ve ever had is here (haven’t been to Asia yet!). I’m more active than I’ve been in years. I started my own company that actually has revenue! Woo! My heartbeat is back. I feel empowered and inspired from the move and this new experience. I’m so glad I did it!

It is a fair point to say that not every new experience, or change, or move is as successful as this one. Though, even in those situations I’m usually grateful for the new knowledge I’ve acquired. I learned so much about myself during the process of this move. Not everything was positive. Still, I find that change is good, even the more taxing versions of it.

So, What’s Your Point?

Well…if I’m being frank, I started writing this post with the intention of talking about all the best things to do in Vancouver, but it felt so much like click-bait that I couldn’t finish it. So, I started writing about why I live here and well…here we are. I guess what I want people to take away from this post is that fear is not on your side. Fear tells you will fail, that you won’t fit in, that you are making a bad choice. It uses your emotions today as the reason. Fear is wrong though. How you feel today isn’t necessarily correlated with what you will feel tomorrow or the next day or the next month or the next year. Fear is fleeting and because of that you can not rely on it to help make life decisions. Look fear in the eyes and tell it “No.” Then consider everything. Then decide.

Next, I have learned that you must find your person. You can do things on your own, but having your person will make things easier. Your person doesn’t have to be a husband or wife. It can be a friend, parent, sibling, aunt, uncle…your person is anyone that knows the depths of you. Listen to them and consider their opinion. Compare it with your gut. Make the best decision for yourself with the information you have and then take the leap. You will land. You will not die.

Lastly, thank you for reading this. I find blogging to be a bit therapeutic, and along the way I hope people get something out of it too. More recipes in the future though, I promise!

Until next time,

dolly signature



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