7 thoughts on leaving New Orleans

February 25, 2013 — 11 Comments

I’m back!  It’s been a tough two weeks of packing, moving, and planning the trip, but we’re almost ready to take off.  Leaving New Orleans was really hard – over the last three and a half years we’ve had some incredible experiences and made some amazing friends.  It hasn’t really hit us yet because it seems like we’re just on vacation, but as we realize we won’t be going home to New Orleans I’m sure I’ll have to write some more to help alleviate the pain!

Here are seven thoughts on moving and leaving New Orleans:

1.  Nothing is permanent

We’re leaving New Orleans, but we can move back.  We’re taking off to travel the world for nine months, but if we don’t like it we can come back.   My wife quit her job, but she can get another one.

One of the toughest parts of changing is being afraid you can never go back.  Situations are rarely permanent…

2.  Amjad’s advice on friends

We were incredibly lucky to get some amazing friends in New Orleans.  Some were locals who took us in when we were new to the city, some were also new to the city, and others were our neighbors.  We really enjoyed our time with them and will miss them dearly.

When we talked to our friend Amjad about this and our fear of not getting friends like this again, he turned the concept a bit.  He said it wasn’t just luck that we got friends like this, it was because we were open to meeting new people and worked to establish these new relationships.  We hope (or should I say plan?) for this to continue on our trip.

3.  It’s good to love something so much that it’s hard to leave

We spent 2.5 years remodeling our lovely little shotgun house.  We made it exactly the way we wanted it and we definitely left a little piece of ourselves with it.  It was really hard to leave.  Maybe that’s a good thing we can love something so much that it’s really hard to leave?  Here’s a quick preview of our house renovation:

House before and after

4.  We have a lot of crap

When we sold our house, we sold a decent amount of the furniture including beds, headboards, televisions, and a few other things.  We also went through our stuff and donated a few carloads to Goodwill.  However, we still have a lot of crap.

How much crap?  We managed to fill a 26 ft Penske truck pretty full.  It’s scary to see how fast we can accumulate stuff as we just moved here three years ago and there’s definitely more now.  Maybe it’s a good thing to move every few years so you can purge your stuff!

Penske Truck

5.  Growing through experiences

We stop growing when we stop experiencing new things.  Some people stop growing after high school, some after college, and some never stop.  Have you ever noticed that the people who stop experiencing new things after high school remain the same as they were in high school?  The same is true at every other level… don’t stop growing.

6.  Dealing with fear

If you’re doing something big, you’re always going to have fear.  Fear is actually healthy, you just need to learn to deal with it.  We definitely have fear as my wife quits her job, as I go on a nine month leave from my job, as we sell our house, and as we set off to travel.  We’re staring it in the face as we move forward.

7.  New Orleans is an incredible city

We love New Orleans.  We love the culture, history, cuisine, architecture, events, and people  (and I’m sure I left a few other items off).  If you’ve never visited, make sure you add it to your list… I’ll write some more on it later.  But for now, this is a song that will stick with us and possibly with you if you’ve been there before.


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11 responses to 7 thoughts on leaving New Orleans

  1. Dan, I love this post. I could feel the love for the city you made your own. I can also feel the excitement and some trepidation you have for what is to come. I feel very lucky to have met you and so look forward to following you on your adventure of a life time. Be well my friend and do stop by to visit on your journey. You will always be welcome in our home. 🙂

  2. Dan — good luck on y our journey. You will be different people when you return because of your life experiences around the world. You will always make new friends because you are open to the possibilities. You’re young. Do it now. You may never get this chance again.

  3. One journey always leads to the next and the next. You are the rare type of person who goes after their dreams. It’s hard to leave great people and great places behind, but somehow the voids are always filled with new and unexpected delightful things. Oh, and those old kitchen cabinets. They are exactly what is in my current rental. I definitely won’t be sad to leave those cabinets behind 🙂

  4. The renovations look amazing. The story is, leave Alsace better than how you found it. Mission accomplished.

  5. You really did do a nice job on the renovations! I can’t imagine living and leaving so quickly – I tend to live in one place for a long time. When I do travel, I am so happy to be back in my own kitchen. But I like reading about other people’s adventures. Looking forward to your next one.

  6. I can relate to most of this. My husband and I have always left a place better than we found it. I do envy you the journey you are about to begin. You are young and now is the time for this. I can’t wait to hear each update as you travel and make new friends. 🙂 Safe journeys my friend.

  7. Moving is always hard physically and emotionally. I have a family that likes to move very frequently (this year was the first year that I haven’t moved for the past four years!) and although it is rough, it is great to experience new places and meet new people. I am in college so I haven’t been affected that much, because my college has become my new constant home in my life but it is still weird that the concept of going “home” isn’t to a place where I grew up to know my neighbors and friends, but it is always somewhere new.

    And as for the stuff, it does help you keep everything to a minimum! You never realize how much junk you have until you have to move and cut the amount that you have had stored in half and that can be refreshing. Good luck with your travels, it will be a great experience!

  8. This is a great post. And I feel you on so many levels. I’ve actually moved back to my home town after seven years of being away and there’s always a myriad of things that run through your head each time you leave a place. When I left the Tampa Bay area initially, I was still very young and newly married, so it was the difficulty of leaving my parents, entering a new way of life and moving to a new part of the country (Boston, MA). Then I moved to Atlanta and felt the hope of starting a new career in a new city. Then coming back here, it was bitter sweet. It was great to be around my family again, but I made a few tremendous friendships that I still cherish. As you said, the key is always being open to the new relationships and adventures that lie ahead.

    New Orleans is an amazing place. I love it every time I’m there. I’m going this summer and I can’t wait!

  9. Leaving to travel is a huge step but I think traveling is one of the best ways to experience life. Two summers ago I traveled the Mediterranean for three months and it was probably the best thing I could have ever done for myself. Whenever my grandparents bring up how awesome of an opportunity it was for me, they never fail to remind me how nervous and a bit worried I was and how as soon as I left, all that nervousness and fear seemed to just disappear. The way I talk about that journey now makes it seem like I was ready for it from the get go but it’s true. I was fearful. Sometimes I look back and think, had I not been so fearful would it have been the same experience and I don’t think it would have been. Being worried and finding out everything I had been nervous about was okay made those things that much better. I will never regret making that decision and you will come to find out you won’t either. One of my favorite sayings I will offer to you at this exciting time for you is “Leap and the net will appear.” Good luck on your travels.

  10. I understand that leaving a place is tough, but it doesn’t sound like anyone in the comments knows what it’s like to leave New Orleans. I lived there for four months and have been gone for about as long. And I still find myself daydreaming about Bayou St John or walking home from work in the Quarter. I’m actually moving back in a month just because it hurts too much not to be there. I’m curious to see how you’re holding up.

    • There really is something to the song, “Do you know what it means, to miss New Orleans…”. We absolutely fell in love with the city and our uptown neighborhood – and all of our friends there. We’re still traveling the world, so I’m not really sure it’s hit yet that we moved away. However, it might get a lot harder when we move back to the US and if we don’t move back to nola. Enjoy 🙂

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