I was recently invited to speak at my local library about the creative process of writing and illustrating children's books as well as the process to self-publish. It was a really great experience being able to share so much information with so many people, answer many questions, and talk about many things that occur behind the scenes that no one really talks about. During my talk, there were MANY questions from the audience, and I decided to take a few of those questions, and answer them in a blog format in order to reach more people, and share some of the information that came from my talk.
Here goes! The first question I am going to answer, is why would I leave sunny California for Virginia?
So, several things happened in my life to push me away from California. In the summer of 2012, I attended the Deaf Nation World Expo in Las Vegas, NV. It was a huge event where people from all over the world come to this expo to meet other signers. During this time, I met many people from all over the world. It made me realize how little I knew about the world, and how much I had been missing out. I met a friend who at the time was a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Gallaudet is the only university for the Deaf in the world and I was excited to have met someone that was a student there. He invited me to stay with him and his roommates in DC and get to know the east coast. I took him up on his offer, and in September 2012, I was in DC. This trip made me realize that I was living under a rock for most of my life. I hadn't traveled anywhere, and I was feeling rather small and naive. I hadn't lived yet. Another reason that I decided to move, was that I was feeling unsuccessful. Because of the high cost of living, I felt like I was never going to be successful on my own. I would never be able to afford an apartment on my own, and buying a house was going to take me my entire life. I wanted to have my horse close by, but there is no land in California. I knew that the cost of living in other states was much lower, but I hadn't experienced it for myself yet. I wasn't enjoying the idea of having to live at home until I married. I wanted to be able to do it on my own.
When it was time to come back home to California from my East Coast trip, I sat at the train station at Union Station in DC, thinking about what my life would be like if I decided to miss my train, miss my plane trip, and just stay in DC. I would find work, and start my life anew with whatever I had on my person at the time. I decided that this was what I wanted to do, but I came to my senses, and decided to go back to California, to move out "the right way". I would go home and pack my things, I would drive my car, and bring my horse and motorcycle with me. I didn't want to leave my possessions behind. I didn't want my belongings to become a burden for my family back home. So I promised myself that I would be back to Washington, D.C. before I knew it.
I arrived home in California and began my planning. I packed all of my belongings, I researched for places to live in the east coast, places where I could board my horse, places to work, and everything that I thought I would need to make it all work. At the time, I wasn't working very much because my current job was only part time. I funded my move with my student loans that I was getting for the new upcoming semester, which I had intentionally registered for, but knew I wouldn't attend. I knew I would have to pay that money back, but it was just enough to get me to the east coast. I think I started with a little less than $2,000. I ended up buying a horse trailer for about $800, and hired my uncle to help me fix it and make sure that it would make the long trip. I paid all my bills in California, and tried to save as much money as I could for the move. I sold several of my possessions, but ended up bringing the majority of my belongings with me. I asked a dear friend of mine, Cara to fly to California from New York, and help me drive across the country. She was a seasoned "cross country driver", and I knew she would be perfect for accompanying me. It took me one month to plan as much as I could, and by November 9th, around 2am, I left California...
The story of the trip, on my next blog.