Home sweet Arizona

As most of my friends/fam know, I’ve spent the last three or so years moving all over at a somewhat frantic pace (god knows my mail can’t keep up with me!). It was all spurred on after a hasty and messy breakup, moving home to recoup and then moving into my first—and most beautiful—apartment. I lived in downtown historic Troy, NY across the street from my best friend, down the road from my favorite yoga studio, and in a building full of happy, amazing women who I became good friends with over time.

After that I jetted off to live in San Antonio for a month with my sister, brother-in-law, and their corgi; decided I wanted to move there more permanently and moved out of Troy and back home with my parents for a month; moved back to San Antonio “for good”, driving for 2 weeks with my cat in tow and meeting some of my closest colleagues in freelancing in person for the first time ever; moved up to Austin after 6 months in San Antonio; stayed in Austin for just under a year; moved to Phoenix with one of my closest friends and colleagues driving my moving truck while I once again took my car and cat across state lines.

Now I’ve settled into the beautiful Sonoran Desert and am completely in love—I love the dry heat, the cacti everywhere, the mountains in every possible line of view I have, and the spacious apartment I can now afford (Austin was costly!). Most importantly, I have a small network of friends here, which is something I had a difficult time with in Texas. There’s something about Texas that just made me fall under its spell (maybe it had something to do with all of those tacos and beers), but Arizona makes up for all of that with its natural beauty, everywhere I go.

Home to me means a different thing than it used to. Now that I’ve moved and found a life away from where I grew up, I know some things won’t always be the same: I’ll always miss aspects of life in Upstate NY, or San Antonio, or Austin or Phoenix if I ever leave here. That’s just a part of moving and kind of the beauty of how huge this country is. But I’ve realized “home” to me also means being physically accessible to people who understand me for me—I didn’t have that in Austin, and it was painful at times. It also means access to natural beauty and easily accessible places to visit—something Upstate NY also excelled in, but was less available in Texas. It means translating all of my habits and routines to a new setting, with new surroundings, businesses, communities, and people. And it means having a community I can tap into for professional support at times—something I had at home, somewhat had in Austin, and something I’m building for myself here.

Remote freelance work is hard, and can be lonely and isolating at times. I know there are so many options available to me, and I’m lucky, but I love that I can move at-will and work from almost anywhere. I’m happy I’ve found a new home and am already making the most of it. I have lots to discover and figure out for myself—and about myself—here still, but I can happily say I’ve found “home” again for myself. For a little while, at least!

  • Olivia H

    Hi Natalie – Just found your website via DMP and really enjoying it! I am also a remote DPM and definitely agree it can be hard/isolating at times but – amazing to have the freedom to be/move anywhere. I have personally benefited from being able to live in Scotland while I work for a co. our of DC and have family in Boston & SF. Kind of hard to know where your base is with a spread like that. In any case, keep writing! So enjoying hearing your side of things. <3 from someone in a similar place!