An Ode to a Decade of Mendocino

Sometimes time passes slowly, and sometimes it flashes by in an instant. And somehow it’s often a strange mix of both. Fleeting but infinite.

When change comes, it sweeps through my life like a tidal wave, knocking everything over, uprooting my best laid plans. It is probably because I so carefully lay those plans, over-analyzing every step, that changes have this affect on me. You think I would learn. But I am, after all, a stubborn Taurus…

Recently I took a chance that set in motion a number of big changes on the horizon. I applied for a full-time position at a creative agency. The sort of place I had always wanted to work, but years of working remotely had spoiled me into stagnation. Maybe the isolation is getting to me. Maybe I’m just getting old. But the time seemed ripe for trading in my freelancer freedom, flexible schedule and nonexistent commute for something different. Something more stable and sustainable.

And just like that, I had a phone interview, followed by an in person one. And as this was a connection through my festival work (once again, thank you Tulku and Enchanted Forest…), I quickly became excited and felt like it was a great fit. Last week I received an offer from The Hybrid Creative in Santa Rosa, who was recently acquired by Kush Bottles, a growing company focused on marketing for the new legal cannabis industry. Instead of getting into an industry as the bubble is bursting, I’m excited to be entering a new frontier, on the come-up, in a space that truly allows for some creativity.

This week as I sort through my storage, let go of what I can, see friends and stop by my favorite spots along the coast along the way, I reflect on what my time here has meant to me. And what it has done to me. I am so excited for the next leg of the journey, but letting go of something I love has never been my strong suit, and change is hard.

Today I stopped at a new stretch of the coastal trail in Fort Bragg, on the Noyo Headlands. I walked to the edge as I often do, I sat down on the rocky earth, and I looked out at the ocean. And then, I wrote this…

Now that I know we will be parting soon, Mendo, I have to stop by all my favorite ocean lookouts when I pass by. I only wish I had done it more…

This place is something truly special, a gem of a tiny community I fell in love with instantly and have spent my hardest but most rewarding years. The rugged Pacific laps the rocky edge of the west coast as I reflect on the journey that brought me here and the one that lies ahead.

Luckily I am not going far, but for the first time in my life I am moving somewhere that is entirely based on only my own choices and desires; I am embracing this change of my own creation and running towards my fears. It is both exhilarating and melancholy…

I first came here with someone who had been here before and very much drove our decision to move here. And while everything else about that relationship was toxic and hurt me in ways I am still struggling to understand, I am so grateful that it brought me here. Mendocino, you have nurtured me through the hardest heartbreaks I have ever lived through. The redwoods have stood tall by my side and the community has been there for me when no one else was. The people I have met here have shaped and shown me who I am. The friends I have made are for life. The healing this place and these people have brought me has literally saved my life and taught me more than any other education I have had.

I have never been more excited to start a new chapter even though it terrifies me a bit that it is all on my own and was a fairly sudden decision. I will miss being able to pull off the highway to a beautiful ocean view at random, being seeped in the deepest silence of nature, and feeling truly alone yet supported and whole. The Mendocino coast is a bit hard to get to, and being behind the redwood curtain is isolating. Luckily I really needed the alone time. And now I am craving change. And a bit more diversity and culture. And inspired by those around me and what is to come, I bid farewell to the place and people who have been my home the past ten years.

Thank you, Mendo friendos. You know who you are. You lifted me up when my heart and my world were shattered, twice. You held me as I shifted careers, made difficult decisions, and explored new waters. Thank you Mendocino. No matter where I travel, nothing compares to driving around that last curve before the ocean view opens up or speeding through the towering redwoods with the windows down and the music blasting… hitting the county line and sighing “home.” This place has changed me, carried me through so much pain and growth, and reflected my own magic back to me when I couldn’t see it on my own.

The people here are something else. It’s a bit of a weird mix, and it takes a certain weirdness and tenacity to survive out here. It’s a bit hard to believe this place is even in California. It feels like another planet sometimes. But the people. Wow. You are so inspiring, creative, imaginative and FUN AS HELL. Especially the women. I love Mendo men too of course, but the female friendships I have made here are just what I have needed. You ladies taught me the true strength and resiliency of the feminine. I seemed to be closer to my guy friends growing up, but the women I have met in Mendo have helped me grow in ways I never knew I could. The entire community’s steadfast support, help and reflection has helped me learn to love and heal myself. The friends I have met here have believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. Thank you.

Thank you for the memories, the trips to Usal, the BBQs and dinner parties, the music and dancing. Thank you for the sunshine and the fog, the amazing climate and the rich soils that have helped me find my green thumb and fed me. Thank you for the learning, the medicine and magic, the growth, the conversations and adventures. Thank you ocean waves who drowned out my tears and the friends who stood by me as I put myself back together again and again. Thank you for the connections, the smiles, the parties, THE FESTIVALS and the sunsets. Thank you for challenging me, and for changing me.

Thank you Mendocino, I am so grateful to have called you home. I’m not sure when exactly it will be, but I know our upcoming goodbye will not be forever. Sonoma, and since it’ll be so close, Bay Area, I’ll see you soon… ???