That Time I Decided to Drop Everything and Move to Denver, pt. 1

If you read this blog regularly (and I’m not sure why you would), you will recall about a month and a half ago I wrote a post after a trip I took to visit my sister in Colorado. In the six weeks since that post, I have:

  • Revisited Colorado
  • Found an apartment in Denver
  • Signed a lease
  • Quit my job
  • Found a new job
  • Packed up all my shit
  • Said goodbye to everything and everyone that I love in Atlanta
  • Moved across the country (at present writing I am sitting in a hotel on the outskirts of Denver eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. We’ll get to that.)

It should be known that I didn’t initially visit Colorado with the intention of moving t/here– I went to visit my sister. But everything was so amazing and fun and new that I went back to Atlanta knowing I’d never be quite the same– I had to give that life a shot. When this ball started rolling, it was absolutely a domino effect: the universe handed me a new job (two even), a place to live despite my brokeness (the landlord literally telling me over the phone, “Your credit is shit but I’ve got a good feeling about this”), someone to sublet my room in ATL, and signs and symbols everywhere (if you believe in these things, and I do). Everything fell right into place, almost too easily. The real kicker is that I’ve been writing just about nonstop since that first visit, after being in a writers block/slump for over a year. How could I ignore all of that?

So in true Ally Petrilla fashion, I haven’t wasted a second. I dove in. It’s happening. Immediately. I’m doing it. It’s right now.

But the problem with acting so knee-jerk quickly is that it makes it seem like I know exactly what I’m doing. Like I didn’t struggle with doubts and fears surrounding all of this. Like I’m so ready to dump my entire life to make a new one. Like I am absolutely sure of how this is gonna turn out.

Completely inaccurate. I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.

This fact became blatantly clear yesterday morning as my dad and I valiantly rolled out of Sewanee, Tennessee towing my car behind his suburban, both vehicles stuffed to the brim with my belongings. Our top out speed was 55mph. 1300 miles to Denver. After a slow and treacherous first three hours battling traffic and wind, we blew a tire in the middle of I-24 outside Nashville. I thought we were gonna flip over. Luckily my dad is the best car guy on the planet and we were up and running again in 20 minutes, this time caravanning the two vehicles separately. Chevy rode shotgun with dad and I took Memphis with me. Cats do not love car rides, for those of you who don’t know. Memph made sure I knew. I don’t know why my pets continue to trust me. We stopped for gas and crackers two times, pet pee/water breaks probably eighty-seven times. Our average speed was still between 55-60mph because of the empty car trailer behind dad’s suburban. Slow and steady wins the race, right? On day one we got to just outside Kansas City, where a terrible storm kept me up for most of the night. Dad had the advantage of his Darth Vader sleep apnea machine mask, so he didn’t hear a thing. We woke up and had the shittiest hotel coffee on the planet earth. So shitty was that coffee that I not only brought it up, but have now spent another sentence talking about it. Heading out on day two, we spent about eleven hours just getting through Kansas. Flat ass, hot ass Kansas. This is the time to mention that my car does not have air conditioning. In July. In Kansas. Going 55mph. There was a very specific point when I went a little insane, watching my left elbow and knee become more and more burnt as the afternoon sun poured through my driver’s side window. The stops were more frequent through Kansas to let the pets cool off and Dad and I continued our diet of saltines, peanut butter, and coffee (though no one was making us do that…). When we finally fucking arrived in Denver, I was so overheated, hangry, and PMSing that I didn’t want to spend time trying to find a good place to stay and we rolled up into a run-down Howard Johnson, bullied the concierge into letting my animals stay, and shared one bed. There was a sign on the door that read something like “Due to ‘recent’ ‘incidents,’ anyone visiting guests of this hotel MUST ‘check in at the front’ [superfluous quotation marks not my own]” as well as a bar of soap in the shower with hair already on it. Quality control, I’m sure. I went to grab dinner at the truck plaza across the street (yessssssss) and was mistaken for a lot lizard. Welcome to your new city!!! If you don’t know what a lot lizard is, you didn’t spend enough of your formative years frequenting truck plazas.

Now. I recount all of that to say one thing: my life is usually a giant shit show (in the best way possible!), and deciding to move to Denver is just the latest in a 27-year series of life decisions that I have launched into with enough gusto and confidence to overshadow my own uncertainty. So far, this approach has worked out pretty well– I’m always incredibly happy wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, even if I don’t have it all planned out yet. I am always living in some state of adventure, whether that only means trying out a new hobby or suddenly moving cross-country. This new direction will be no different because of one rock solid fact: I am the one constant in all of my life’s variables. That’s a pretty important thing I’ve learned. No matter what the hell I decide to do in life or what happens beyond my own control, I can always adjust myself appropriately. Attitude, baby. So even though those 28 hours spent melting into delirium in the car SUCKED, I’m sitting here in a grimey hotel room laughing and thanking jebus for chocolate fudge ice cream that I can split with my dad (who, by the way, deserves the biggest love and props for accompanying me on this crap). Who am I to be stressed or worried about anything, ever, when I’ve got these opportunities in front of me and no matter how it goes, at the end of the day I can curl up with my cat and dog and be happy just within myself? Life’s pretty damn good.

So all of that being said, what is my plan here? Can’t really tell ya, dudes. I’ve got a job, so bills will be covered– I’m still an independent adult, despite my apparent lack of got-it-togetherness. But outside of that, I don’t have too much planned out. I am here to enjoy the life Colorado can offer, with its vast and beautiful natural resources and outdoor culture. I’m here to push myself out of my comfort zone. I’m here to write, and I can’t wait to get back to making and performing music. My only “plan” is to say Yes to everything. Wanna bike? Yes. Wanna go to this show? Yes. Wanna go camping/skydiving/drinking/talking/meditating/corn husking? Yes, yes, yes. Cocaine? Maybe tomorrow. I’m giving Denver at least a year, and I’ve got shit to do in that time to either prove myself right or prove myself wrong. This might be the best thing I ever do for myself (“might be” = “is probably”). If it isn’t, I get to go back home to a really awesome life in GA. I’ll have some dope ass stories to tell either way, and that’s what life’s about.

2 comments

  • Thanks, I have just been looking for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far. But, what about the bottom line? Are you certain concerning the supply?

  • No matter what you always remain positive and optimistic! Love reading your adventures, Ally! Keep writing.

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