I’m about an hour from landing in Albany, NY. From there I’ll jump in my sister’s car and drive about two hours home to Castleton, VT…my home. I’ll arrive to the house late at night but my dad will wake up, like he always does, and pour me a glass of wine and we will talk for hours while I cuddle up with Cleo, my childhood dog. It’s been over 6 months, and it’s time to go home.
Growing up in Vermont is a unique experience. Over the years I’ve heard many stories from others about what Vermont looks like in their heads – quiet towns, rolling hills, farms, simple people, maple syrup and cheddar cheese.
Honestly…that is pretty spot on. Add in some family values, dirt roads, and neighborly love and you sum up most of what Vermont means to me.
About 8 years ago I left Vermont. Right after college I wandered West to pursue my M.A. at Pepperdine College in Malibu, CA. During my tenure there I fell in love with the ocean, margaritas, and weekends spent on beach cruisers with friends. It was one hell of a time. In five years I completed my M.A., I worked as a waitress, a barista, a hostess, and then…it happened. I started working for my first start-up.
Addiction set in pretty quickly. Big decisions, a small team, late nights, and crazy ideas. Add in too many vendi iced coffees, Google Adwords opening up, and the infancy of a concept called “social media” and geezzzz..I didn’t stand a chance.
My love for start-ups took me to Seattle and eventually to SEOmoz where I think I can officially wear the badge of “techie.” I live my life online for the most part. You all know what I mean – roll over in the morning and grab the phone, jump out of the shower and grab the phone, get to work and hop online, get home and jump online, sneak into bed at night and check email one last time.
Some call it crazy – I call it connected. I’m connected to the world and that concept has always given me shivers.
But sometimes…I just want to go home. I want to head home to Vermont and leave my phone in my room while I go play with my nephews, or drink a beer with my father. When I go home I wake up early to sun in the window and head out for the same 4-mile loop I’ve been running since I was thirteen. The “techie” in me steps aside and this country girl jumps out…and I freaking love it.
A week away from the office is a lot. For years it has given me anxiety to jump out of my inbox for that long, but I’ve grown to realize that no trip is as valuable to me and my soul than this one. When I’m home I reconnect to why this is all so important – the Internet that is.
I remember just how many of my friends back home need jobs, and how many of them miss people that have moved away. I see neighbors start businesses and ask me how to get them working online. I see my old highschool (which, coincidentally, my uncle is the principal of) begin to move everything online – and those are the things that remind me…
…the late nights are fucking worth it. We are building something spectacular right now. We are paving roads that will be walked on for years to come, and shaping something that is unfolding this very second. Craziness. Absolutely craziness.
Going home to Vermont for me is more than just a perspective adjustment though – it’s also a grounding. Sometimes out in Seattle, surrounded by brilliant people who love to move fast and think big, I forget just how beautiful it can be to slow down and appreciate small things.
Slow down and appreciate the small things…like hugging my dad, like thanking my brother for that phone call last month and his great advice, or even just walking up and visiting my mom’s grave to tell her just how well things are going. It’s those moments that remind me just where I started, and how far I’ve come. We all need those moments.
I wonder sometimes if the techie in me and the country girl are living in there together or if over the years they’ve grown to be more of this unique hybrid. I like to think it’s the latter and that in the years to come I’ll build beautiful things with amazing teams, but always remember to go home…to Vermont…where I can absorb the quiet, run the rolling hills, and laugh with my dad.
One thing is for sure, I am one lucky lady. One seriously lucky lady.