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Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve gotten e-mails asking me about my move from Michigan to California. Most are from readers who are interested in making a big move themselves but have the obvious fears. Where to live, how to find a job, how to deal with missing home, etc. These are all natural feelings when it comes to leaving something you are comfortable with and facing something that is unknown. (I have been dealing with these feelings myself lately when it comes to venturing off into self-employment.)
I initially thought my decision to move to California stemmed from having a great vacation. I visited a friend here (and met Jordan) and then returned to Michigan with the “California Bug.” When I think about it more in depth though, I wanted to move to a new, exciting place, because I was at a stand-still in Michigan. I was at the same job for the past three years, doing the same thing every weekend. I was comfortable, but I was getting bored. Then I fell in love with easy breezy beautiful (omg just realized that’s the Cover Girl slogan) California and all of a sudden I had something that could cure my boredom.
At the time, I didn’t think about things like not seeing my family for months (years) or having friendships dwindle from the distance or not being able to find a job. I knew they were possibilities, but I knew dwelling on them could stop me from going. I mean, isn’t that why so many of us stay in our comfort zones?

(couldn’t find the original source, please let me know if you know it)

Once in California, it wasn’t the easiest transition for me. Well, let me assure you that it was full of the excitement and brand new feelings that I had been needing. But I faced a few things that did not help me sit well in California at first.
First off, I moved in with the one friend I had here. Now some of you may know that on occasion, friends who live together end up not being friends anymore. That is this case. This is really my own fault, as I sort of knew inside that it probably wasn’t the best idea for me to live with this girl (we are very different) but as it was my one connection to California I did it anyways. This impacted my social life in California and had me missing my girlfriends (true friends) at home more than ever.
When I decided I was going to move here I started looking for jobs online. I found a photography studio that would be needing to hire some one around the time I was moving. I met the owner a couple days after I arrived and bam, I had a job. It wasn’t full-time and it wasn’t well-paying, but I looked at it as a start. Long story short, it was the most miserable place I have ever worked in my life. The owner….honestly, I won’t go into detail on how condescending the owner was towards employees. I called my mom and said “I have to quit. I know I don’t have anything lined up, but I have to get out of there. This is not why I moved here.” The next day, the most terrifying day of my life, I told the owner I was quitting, and he threatened me. He threatened my life. I walked out, sobbing, and went and stayed the night at Jordan’s because I was so scared. (I never filed a police report and to this day I regret not doing so.) It was the scariest thing, but at the same time, it made me 100% (1,000%) sure I made the right decision.
I spent two months unemployed. Thankfully, I had savings. (A savings account is what helped me make the decision to move. I can’t say I would’ve made this decision if I did not have money saved up.) I went through some really crappy interviews for jobs I didn’t really want but the first interview I had that was photography related landed me a job. It is the same job I have today.
So, it was a shaky start. It tested me, it worried me, it scared me. But it changed my life in amazing ways. I will always recommend making a move like this because it really shows you what you’re capable of. And even if you plan before and feel prepared, well shit falls through. Things in life happen that you can’t prepare for. But it’s those moments that really test your strength and character. I have learned so much about myself by taking this risk, and I would recommend it to anyone considering it. xo JA

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • great advice! interesting & definitely unexpected things can happen when you step out of your comfort zone!
    xo, Tina

  • Awesome story…and welcome to California! It’s definitely a wonderful place to live! I’ve moved across the country twice and it is scary, overwhelming, exciting and you are right – great learning experiences and you do find out what you are made of! I am glad it’s worked out for you!

  • Gina says:

    Great post, Julie! I too moved here form the midwest {ohio}. Do you ever think about moving back? At first I was set here, but now I just want to go home.

    I am so happy and grateful for the opportunity to live in Souther California….and for the lack of winter! But I really miss something about Ohio. I never thought I would say that…I thought I was SO DONE with it. I don’t know, I guess home is home and you appreciate things the longer you are away…..

  • i love learning little bits like this more about you πŸ™‚

    and i have never left the general area where i live and i have to say how MUCH i admire you for making this giant leap! xo

  • Leonora says:

    I LOVED reading this and I love how you are coming out of your comfort zones. I will admit, as outgoing and as “loud” as I am I am a HA-UGE baby when it comes to trying new things. I want to practice what I preach about life being too short to be unhappy and “comfortable” in your ways.

    I think you and I might have to hold hands and have a TON of emails going back and forth if we both decide soon to make another “comfort zone” leap <3

    I love ya girl and I am SO HAPPY I got to meet you in the flesh. Although in a way it bums me out too that I got to meet you, b/c your awesomeness is so far away and I know we would be the best of friends if we were closer πŸ™

  • This is so interesting because I moved from California to Michigan. My family is here and I love it.

  • I love your story πŸ™‚ it’s really inspirational! I find my self in a very similar situation.
    I am moving to Paris in a few months and have been so nervous about it. And then I stumbled upon your post. I loved reading it. It helped put alot of my own doubts and fears to rest. You’re very right about a person needing to leave your comfort zone. I am will literally packing my bags and moving to Paris. I will breaking free πŸ™‚

  • mimizuku says:

    thank you for sharing this with us!
    i would love to come out of my comfort zone in the future…
    and i´ll start right now!! πŸ™‚
    xo julia

  • Isobel says:

    Very interesting – and congratulations on your stickability! It always pays off in the end, but it takes guts and is always worst the first time around! Keep your positive outlook and you’ll come through anything.

  • This is a shining example of risk and reward. You’ll never know unless you try! Major props to you for being so brave and kick-ass.

  • Olivia says:

    I embarked on a similar journey when I moved from Florida to New York. It was definitely an eyeopener and my perspective on life in general will never be the same. I feel as if when you break out and do something you’ve always dreamed of, it builds a lot of character and really molds you into a new person with a new perspective. I believe if you stay in one place for too long, or even your whole life, you will never really get a glimpse of what “real life” really is like. Living in a small town (well, small compared to NYC) definitely was like living in a bubble! Sure, people are friendly and things are a little more slow paced- but that’s not always what life is about. Sometimes you need to hear what people are REALLY thinking and I think New York really gave me a dose of that. It definitely taught me to speak my mind more often, because I’ve always been somewhat of a timid person. You have to branch out, and leaving something you’re so familiar with for uncharted territory I believe brought me into my own.

    xx Olivia

  • I don’t even know what to say. Just reading this scares me! I couldn’t imagine picking up my life and just moving away, especially that far! My boyfriend just made a 5+ hour move for me and although it’s really not that far away I know it was hard for him to leave the place he’s known for a very long time. But I think in the end it’s the best for him.

    Anyway, I just want to commend you on not just making the move but for sticking with it. Maybe it hasn’t been easy but what a journey!

  • Cyn says:

    Me and California Love you Jules.

  • Taking a leap is certainly brave but the easy journey is not always the most fufilling. Feeling rather inspired to take risks and grab the moment after reading this πŸ™‚

  • Kate says:

    Fantastic story! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, and didn’t know you’re from Michigan (me too!)

  • You really are a strong woman and I admire your ability to follow your heart =) It’s not an easy thing..

    Hope you’re feeling more adjusted to California =)

  • Once upon a time I took a bunch of risks — moved away and attended a college where I knew no one, studied abroad in Italy where I literally did not know one person on the entire continent, chose a major that excited me but was also completely out of my comfort zone — fast forward a couple of years later and I realized that I hated where my life was going and needed to take a risk on myself and do something I love.

    Now I’ve got my own blog and I’m starting my own handmade business! I am loving the journey it is taking me on and have seen how it has affected the rest of my life in a positive way.

    Thanks for reminding me why it’s okay to do crazy things with your life =)

  • lolly says:

    I still find it crazy how similar our stories are. One thing you definitely had going for you was your savings account and at least looking for jobs. I moved out here on the biggest whim ever. Though it’s obviously worked out, it was HELL for a long time.

    I’m so happy it’s worked out so well for you, too!

  • I think it is so funny that you happened to do this post at a time when this question has come up in my life. Whether or not I would be willing to make a big move, and take a chance. I’ve decided the answer is yes, even though I am not quite there yet, if things work out, I would be willing to do it. This is such a great story, thank you for your honesty!

  • Thanks for the post, I really like your blog. It’s always difficult to leave your home and move somewhere. I am thinking about moving for last few years, but still afraid to make a step. Looking for jobs onine is a good idea, I think that it’s worth to prepare for a new life as much as it possible. Moving is difficult not only psychologically, but financially also, so you never know what to expect. If I will decide to move I think I definitely need an emergency fund, maybe financially it will make me feel more safe.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am about to make my first real move of my life this month and I came back to re-read this post to give me the motivation to tell my family and quit my job. It’s comforting knowing that if other’s can do it, maybe I can, too!

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