It’s officially been a year since my family and I relocated to the Finger Lakes region of New York. Honestly, I can’t believe it. In part because we still have unpacked boxes hidden away for when we have time to go through what now feels like another life and because it all came so fast.
I also can’t believe it’s been this long since I’ve written on my beloved blog (though those wanting more regular posts to know just to follow my Instagram). That bit is because I’ve been really busy growing my business and, when not working, trying to disconnect and take in this wonderful new life we’ve created for ourselves.
Some friends and followers have asked a few questions about life here, and I thought I would use this update to answer some of those and give a glimpse into what has changed for us.
GROWING OUR SMALL BUSINESS
Since I last wrote my husband has quit his high-end, high-paying job in New York City to come work for our agency, Brave World Media, full-time. Even though this was my idea, and I really worked to convince him to do this, I was a mess when he finally did. All the insecurities of owning my own business, plus those pesky voices that made me doubt myself made for a weird, surreal transition. Though I tried to keep an optimistic face, the truth is I was scared…but also incredibly confident that it was the right choice for him, us, our business, and our family.
We decided earlier on that we didn’t want to play the political games or immerse ourselves into a system where it became about who you knew more than anything. Instead, we took the slower route of building on our reputation and word of mouth. So, my husband and I put our heads down and got to work, and it is paying off. This has also made our work feel incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable.
In the process, we’ve really come to appreciate how much more we can do here as small business owners and entrepreneurs. The room to grow and be creative and to really build something meaningful. We work hard and are committed to quality and meaningful relationships, and we are seeing the rewards that come with that, something that easily gets lost and goes unnoticed by so many in the big city.
This November Brave World Media will turn 6 years old (!!!). This dream I had to build something that would help to do more than just marketing and communications has grown into a business that supports my whole family…and because of this move, I get to do it with my husband by my side.
While I know moving overseas to start a business or freelance and become a digital nomad is the big thing now, I also know this isn’t something many people can or want to do. (Not to mention, I have very strong opinions about how these digital nomads are hurting many of the communities they are helping to gentrify…but that’s a topic for another post). There are places that don’t require you to uproot your life abroad and that are incredibly amiable to those wanting to start a business or change careers to something a bit less stressful and chaotic. I am so happy I landed here.
A MORE LAID-BACK LIFE – SORT OF
Being a small business owner also means you don’t operate by traditional 9-5 schedules. It is tempting to always work, but not as tempting as it is to enjoy the outdoors. It is so beautiful here that we make sure to carve out time to take it all in as much as we can, whether that is spending time on the lakes, hiking, exploring new towns and businesses, or just sitting outdoors taking in the sunsets – which are breathtaking!
One thing I have learned about people, in general, is how easy it is to take for granted the things around us. I did for a long time, and it took me moving out of New York City to appreciate what that insane, crazy, busy city has to offer and how many gifts it has to give those who have the grit to stay. I try not to take anything for granted like that again because I miss on so much otherwise.
The Finger Lakes is no different. Some people here can’t see what I see and don’t understand why I love it so much. And there are some people who have never been here or might have just driven through who just don’t get it. I also understand that for some life is harder, with many challenges and far fewer privileges. I understand, too, that not every place is for everyone.
So this is from a very personal perspective. For us, life here has been healthier, more rewarding, and a lot less stressful. We feel like we can breathe and happiness to our core, and we enjoy having so much nature and beauty at our fingertips.
FINDING MY PEOPLE
Before I knew anything, I worried about rural America’s racism and politically conservative reputation…the antithesis of who I am, what I believe in, what I stand for, and who we are as a family. I worried about the lack of diversity especially when so many people told me there was none here. The years, traveling, and many moves have taught me that some of these things can and do exist anywhere, even in my proudly proclaimed liberal former New Jersey neighborhood. And so as a woman of color, I do still make choices considering all of these factors, but these are not choices exclusive to where I live now. In fact, I very quickly learned that there are plenty of diverse, opened-minded, welcoming, and progressive communities in the region – I simply wasn’t talking to the right people. This past year, we have befriended a beautiful mosh posh of diverse people, in large part because we opened ourselves up to it and didn’t allow our apprehensions or preconceived notions to limit us.
Yes, I can regularly enter spaces where I am the only person of color, and yes, even those most well-intentioned people can say the most ignorant things, but our circles are wide, and we seek out other spaces and other people and have learned that there are quite a few more who were looking for us as much as we were looking for them.
I am so happy that I didn’t allow my previously uninformed generalizations to limit me in finding my people and the beautiful spaces they have welcomed us into.
It’s hard to envision the future as we are still adjusting to our present reality. We are currently working on exciting projects with new clients and planning a few international trips before the end of the year. (Yes, we are planning a lot more travel again!)
We hope to grow our agency next year, though our goal is not to get too big so that we can always continue to deliver more personalized experiences.
I want to blog more…my goodness, I need to share with you all the places and things I have tried, visited, and loved!
And lastly, I will continue to share more regularly on social media, but I am so moved by messages I have received from readers around the globe telling me they miss my voice on here. Thank you! I will make every effort to share a lot more over the next few months.
In the meantime, let me know in the comments what else I can share with you about life in the Finger Lakes or a move like this! Happy to share!
Thanks for reading!