Editors Note: Since launching this project, we have had so many people share their stories with us and tell us how they connect to the core theme of Searching For Sero. Amy Hall, an old high school friend of John’s connected immediately. Without further ado, here is her how and mainly where she #FoundSero.
A completely flat day on the water during a surf trip to Indialantic, Florida forced me to spend some time exploring the charming downtown core. I was in a small main street boutique when I saw it. I nearly missed it too. After perusing the jewellery one last time, I walked past all the perfectly arranged nautical home decor and there it was, in the back corner with it’s bright colours popping against the white shelf. It was nothing more than a journal. I debated about buying it for quite some time but eventually left the store with my new purchase in tow.
“Find what brings you joy and go there.” Not only did the quote on the cover catch my eye, it resonated so deeply that it subsequently captured my heart. I left that store with no idea how much it was going to change my life.
My first journal entry was over a year and a half ago. The idea that what you do is as important as where you do it was at the forefront on my mind for the first time in a long time. This had been a great concern of mine over 12 years ago when applying for universities. Many schools offered the same programs and quality of education, but ultimately the school I chose was the only place I could really see myself. There was the inexplicable feeling, faith even, that I would be happy no matter what program I was in, no matter what I was doing.
I did not, however, go through that same process of consideration when deciding to stay in my home town. I had a job offer that was wonderful and that was as far as I thought it through. Yet, sitting back in my room in Florida I was now beginning to question whether a good job, one I enjoyed even, was actually enough anymore. I started to ask myself if I had the choice, is this where I would choose to be? Am I happy here? The point of going to school is to graduate and get a job, isn’t that enough? These are not questions that are easy to answer quickly, but as I mulled them over, in time I noticed that it was taking more and more to convince myself that the answer was yes.
Although I was comfortable in the place I grew up, I was no longer feeling inspired. My heart, my soul did not feel rich like it had in so many other places I had visited. Places I could see myself living even. Staying had always come down to my job, to the what not the where. What if I were to find what brings me joy and go there? The one constant throughout my life, the one place that has always felt like a second home, is the water. Quite simply, that is my happy place. That is what brings me joy.
So, 18 months after having stepped foot in that little store in Florida, I have quit my job, given up my apartment and am embarking on a 3 month scuba diving and surfing trip in the South Pacific before moving west in Canada to Tofino. This may seem extreme (there are lakes near my hometown afterall!) but I always knew in my heart if I were to leave, it wouldn’t be to just the next town over. Although I have spent my life growing up in the water – swimming in my childhood pool for hours, teaching swimming, lifeguarding, working at the lake – ever since I learned how to surf and subsequently scuba dive, I have longed to be by the ocean.
There is nothing like saltwater. It calms and excites; makes me feel so small yet so connected at the same time. I feel at peace. Everything just feels right. If this is what I gain by making geography – the where – a priority, do I really care what I end up doing to make a living when I get there? I have found what brings me joy and am going there, beyond that, everything else is secondary.
— Amy Hall