Moving to Oakland and Looking Back on the Last Three Years


3 years ago my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I’ll never forget the phone call. My Dad told me through heavy breaths and long-winded pauses.

I wept into the steering wheel.

My future became hazy and unclear. It was the first time in my entire life when I didn’t have a plan.  

During this time, most of my peers were moving to the city and securing well-paying jobs after college. I had been saving up to get back on the road. 

All I wanted to do during that time was travel, write, and lose myself in some of the world’s most beautiful cities. I had zero desire for normal. I couldn’t bear the thought of doing something that I didn’t totally love.

Then suddenly, this plan wasn’t possible anymore. I was devastated.

One week after I got the news, I moved back to my hometown (Gilroy) to help my family. Instead of traveling to beautiful cities and writing illustrious tales in my journal; I was cooking dinner, keeping house, and bartending at night to make money. Even though I wanted to help my family, I still felt aimless, lacked clarity, and prayed every night for God to give me purpose. 

What was I supposed to do now? 

I couldn’t settle for a 9-5 job that I half-enjoyed. If you know me, you know I am a person who never settles for anything. I will make hard sacrifices if it means I have the opportunity to do what I love.

It took some time, but eventually, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and start making the most out of my situation. I began to use my flexible server schedule and rent-free lifestyle as a means of pursuing my own ventures. 

Because I had such little overhead, it meant that I had the freedom to take big risks. 

I taught myself everything there was to know about social media, digital marketing, and branding.

I freelanced part time to supplement my income.

And I eventually became the co-founder of a company called Event Hollow. (You can read all about that story here).

But 2019 was really the year I found what I was made for. It’s the year where all of my hard work began to pay off. I invested every ounce of myself into building my business as a Personal Brand Strategist. Even though it felt risky, it felt right.

Nine months after jumping into personal branding as a profession, I decided it was time to take the next step for my life and my business. For more than a year now, my mom has shown no evidence of active cancer on her PET scans--this is incredible! Because of this, I felt that it was time to look toward my own future plans. 

This week I moved to Oakland, CA and honestly, it feels like one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It symbolizes years of grueling work, persistence, and absolute dedication to my craft; 16-hour workdays, 6-hour commutes, years of working weekends, and making tough sacrifices just for a shot at doing what I love.

I believe that doing what you love is a luxury you have to fight for. No one is going to hand you your dream job, you’ve got to go out there and get it. Take no prisoners. 

This morning I looked in the mirror and felt proud. 

In 2016 I thought I knew what my dream life was going to look like, and now it is so much better than I ever could have imagined. Today, I hopped on Bart and landed in downtown San Francisco within twenty minutes. As I stepped onto Market Street, I felt a rush of excitement and anticipation for the future I get to create here. Despite 3 long years that included so much pain and many difficult sacrifices, my life today is richer than I ever knew possible.