Moving is never easy, and moving across the country can be even more intimidating. But freelancer Brandi Diaz chose to make an adventure out of it.

It’s 4am, and I’m moving. I’m sitting on the floor of my bedroom, completely surrounded by junk. Junk on the walls, junk on the floor, junk covering my bed, the doorway, everywhere. You would think that because I had months to prepare for my cross-country move, I wouldn’t be watching the sunrise while crying, eating a bowl of cereal, and trying to pack at the same time the day before my departure. But there I was.

The idea of selling off my life to support an adventure had always been a thought in my mind, buzzing around like a little bee, never landing long enough for me to think about it too much. In Boston, I was comfortable, lived close to my family, and had a job I really loved. But I wanted to be on my own, I wanted to be traveling, and I wanted to find a way to do it sustainably. But how?

One chilly November afternoon, I met up with my best friend at a coffee shop to catch up. A cup of coffee and two slices of apple pie later, we decided we would leave the following summer, and make money on the road by working at film festivals around the country.

Between the decision and moving, we had a bit of time to prepare for the big Boston breakup. Knowing that I would eventually have to fit my life into half of a Honda Fit really put time and money in perspective. I started being more mindful about spending, stopped accumulating new things unless absolutely necessary, and had to ask myself which items really aligned with my values. Craigslist, Ebay, and yard sales helped me make a cool $300 on the side. And what I didn’t sell, I gifted to friends and donated to second-hand stores.

I thought getting rid of 90% of my stuff would be the hardest part of this preparation, but truthfully, it was the most liberating. It felt good to be frugal. What I really struggled to wrap my head around was leaving my community. I had spent so many years building relationships with the people I met here, and I was afraid of losing touch. I made it a priority to spend as much one-on-one time with the people I cared about most, and knowing I was leaving made every moment I spent with friends special, and brought us even closer.

It’s been a few hours since I started packing, and the sun is just beginning to peak over the hills. Though I’m still surrounded by chaos, it’s at least contained into boxes now. Leaning up against the window, I try to be present with the last few moments I’ll be spending in my first “real” apartment. It’s a bittersweet feeling, to realize that I’m giving up a comfortable place to sleep, my friends, and a sense of home to embark on an adventure and try something completely new. Am I completely nuts?

Yes, maybe.

But I truly believe that in order to live life on our own terms, we have to take risks. If we don’t take risks, we idle.

Each of us deserves to live a life that brings us true happiness, and one that truly aligns with our values. Because when we’re in tune with our desires, we’re able to see opportunities more clearly, and we end up actually living, not just dreaming. Life is too short to dream.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there, be bold, and take the risky route – it might just end up taking you to where you really need to be.


Brandi Diaz is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker.

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While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner professional.

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