In September 2011, I went to Zimbabwe for about 10 days. My cousins took me around the country to different landmarks. We went on Safari and saw tons of wild elephants, giraffes, hippos and monkeys. We went to Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world, and marveled at the lack of safety railings. You could (and many people have) be looking over the edge a little too close and straight up fall to your death. It was terrifying and invigorating. But Zimbabwe was also insanely expensive. Like, if you want to buy an Igloo cooler, it'll cost you $200 (actual example!). So being recently unemployed made the Africa trip a more anxious experience than perhaps I was ready for. But it was still a welcomed distraction from making life decisions.
Once I was back on the mainland, I started making preparations to move to home to Jacksonville. That meant getting rid of a lot of stuff and looking for work. Through a generous contact at church, I was able to have multiple phone interviews with the media department at the PGA Tour. I felt pretty legit! Even in Jacksonville, Florida I would be able to use my degree. With BENEFITS and everything. Didn't think those still existed? Me either. I've never had them before. But this was my chance!
So maybe there was a light at the end of my mysterious, anxiety ridden tunnel.
I decided I would officially make the move at the end of the year. It would give me a clean break. I had been in Utah for 6 years and wanted a bit of time to let go and prepare for life changes. I savored those last few months in Utah. I spent time with friends, my aunt Jackie (who lived in Lehi), and the beautiful mountains.
The plan was that my mom and brother were going to fly out to Utah for Christmas then drive back with me in my car. Oh yeah! And to be economical, I just stuffed everything I owned in there too. My mom, Zac, me and MASSIVE amounts of stuff driving cross-country. Was there enough room? Not really... But we were renegades, dang it!
Before we left, I went to go-cart boy's house. It was a freezing post-Christmas evening. His whole family was there and they were doing something precious like baking or playing a board game. I gave them all hugs and said my farewells. I didn't cry, which was pretty BA of me because this was a big deal. I had spent a lot of time (perhaps too much time, I see now) waiting for our awesome friendship to turn into something else. And I'm not exaggerating about the awesome friendship. We were really close. I was going to miss him, but only because I had no idea what (or who...) was waiting for me in Florida. I gave him a hug, handed him a letter and got in my car (more accurately, I shoved my body in between my guitar and a box of shoes, struggling to close the door behind me).
Then we drove away.
About 4-5 days later, we all had knee and back and rib and foot problems, but evenutally my family and I made it back to sunny Florida.