In a few months, my life is going to drastically change, and that is entirely my choice.
I was born and raised below sea level. Heat and humidity have surrounded me all my life. Snow has had little to no presence...and by snow, I meant sleet. The terrain around me has always been flat, with few to no hills to change it up. All of these little details add up, but you get the point.
I have loved all of those things and the countless others that make this place uniquely its own. Please, don't ever doubt that growing up here – in such a wonderful environment – has helped shaped me in more ways than I could probably list.
The South will always be a place I call home in my heart.
But now it's time for me to leave this home and move on to another.
In less than four months, I'm moving to Wyoming; a sharp contrast to what I have known before.
I'll be living more than approximately 6,735 ft. above where I am now. There will be freezing temperatures and extremely dry air. There will be snow...piles and piles of snow that I'll have to shovel away some days. There will be mountains to climb and rolling valleys to wander and an ever-uneven landscape for me to explore. So many more factors to consider, but again, you get the point.
It's all going to be different, and I couldn't be more excited.
A lot of people have asked me if I'm ready to make such a big change; if I know what I'm getting myself into by selling my soul and taking this massive leap out on my own.
To them I say, yes; I've done this before and I know this is what I want to do and where I want to go with my life.
They're the easy ones to deal with...and then...there are other people who are trying to convince me to stay.
To the people who are trying to talk me out of doing this, listen up. I've heard so many arguments against me going, and whatever your intentions are, whether it be joking or serious, you don't understand.
I've worked so hard for this. I've spent the better half of the last three years of my life doing whatever I could to make it back up to Wyoming, and to Yellowstone National Park.
So to sit here and be on the never-ending receiving end of your criticisms and arguments against my ultimate dream in life is a bit frustrating, to say the least. And though I've explained my points time and time again.
I've heard everything from "you won't want to deal with the snow and the cold" to "why don't you like it here? You grew up here." It seems that people keep finding new ways to convince me to stay, but above all, there is one argument that REALLY upsets me beyond measure.
"You're leaving your family behind."
Yes, you're right, I am. I am leaving them over 2,044 miles behind as I head out NorthWest to a secluded part of the country with little ways to stay in contact to the people who mean more to me than anything. If you think even for one second that fact hasn't eaten me up time and time again, you have never been more wrong about something in your entire existence. Of course I realize this, and it took me longer than most of you realize for me to conclude that I can part with my family and friends. At the end of it all, it's going to hurt both me and them when I leave, but the thing is, if I were to stay and be miserable that I didn't seize this opportunity, it would hurt a whole lot more.
Also, it's not like I'm never going to see them again or avoid all contact. I will call my family every chance I get, believe me.
Honestly, I don't know how to convey that the choices I've made to leave are the absolute hardest decisions I've ever made in my life. But this is what I need to do.
I know this choice has hurt some people, but honestly, I sold my soul to the open road, and I left my heart in Yellowstone National Park.
It's time for me to go back to that.
I can't keep apologizing for my happiness.
All I can do is ask that you understand that this is what I want and this is what I need.
I hope that someday, you can feel the same way, because then you'd understand that what I'm going through with leaving isn't easy. But it's going to better me in the end, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make my family proud of me.