It was late one evening into my third year in Huntsville, Alabama, after a breakup and a simultaneous second loss I’d rather not disclose.
I was in the final months of being 21, newly single, and I no longer had a clue what I was doing in the South.
A faint voice in the back my mind appeared suddenly and whispered, “Go back to the west coast. Go to LA.”
I gazed up from my computer and studied the thought. I typed in the words “Greyhound Bus” and began looking at prices and times.
With no second thought – I booked a one-way ticket back to the state I was raised in, but to a city I’d never lived before.
I booked the ticket for 8 hours later because I knew how insane I was to do that, and also if I gave myself more time to think about it, I may have decided not to go at all.
After a few weeks in my hometown of Visalia, CA I had the last $300 to my name, in which I found a small place in Koreatown via Craigslist to sleep.
It was not much bigger than a small walk in closet, with a division of curtains as privacy to others who lived in the converted hostel type environment.
I had no cares about how nice it was, or the privacy. I arrived with two suitcases and a Guitar, and knew that by the end of the month if I did not find a job, I would have less than that.
My first full day in LA was very cinematic. I wandered around Koreatown in awe of this new adventure I was beginning. I thought about how long it would take to make friends, to book my first concert, to fall in love, and all the memories I would make here.
Koreatown borders East Hollywood and is in so many ways a beautiful area that makes you feel like you’re somewhere else entirely.
With street vendors, charming cheap boutiques, foreign restaurants, and so many diverse types of people – it’s the epitome of the starving artist culture and yet you walk 30 minutes or drive 15 minutes and you’re in the heart of Hollywood.
Finding a Job
The first thing I did upon moving in, was search for a job.
A friend who had helped me move, wanted to go to Universal City Walk in Studio City, so as we went I handed my resume to all the shops and restaurants there.
I had an intuitive feeling about Hard Rock Cafe, and seeing as how I am a musician – I thought it was perfect.
I walked in and landed an interview on the spot.
You can imagine my excitement.
A week and three interviews later, I was hired.
With that out of the way, I also discovered the Metro, which is an underground railway system that travels all over Los Angeles.
You can also imagine my excitement, because I did not have a car.
3 Years Later…
In the three years I’ve lived in Los Angeles now, I have gathered so many stories, shared so many wonderful and difficult times, met each of my living influences, played onstage with Green Day, Opened for some of my favorite bands, become self-employed, gone to hell and back, moved more times than I can count, almost given up and left, and fell in love over and over again with Los Angeles.
I consider it my home, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.
I came here a starving artist 3 years ago, with nothing and have since built my life and my music in such a way that I am beside myself.
I have made friends for life, and done things that one can only experience in Los Angeles. I wouldn’t trade a moment of the hardship I have gone through in being so young, broke, and determined to succeed because while I am still building, the view I already have is more than I could ask for and it happened because I took a chance, a risk.
I allowed myself to go for it and to challenged myself to survive and thrive in a city like this. We will always have safety, but to live your life completely, to believe in yourself so fiercely – takes courage, strength and resilience that we all have but do not all comprehend. We have one chance at this life, and if you have an inner calling – it is time to pick up and to listen to that voice that knows where you need to go to make it happen.
In a city full of dreamers, doers, thinkers – moving here is hard the battle, while finding your place is another. It is so worth it.
Los Angeles is everything you make it, what will you make it and what will you become in the process?