Many have said, “everyone’s moving there now.” Yes, this year it’s the fastest growing city in America. Many of my friends have moved there, people I love, people that encourage me, uplift me, challenge me to be the man, the artist, the human that I know I can be.
But that’s not why I’m moving there.
When I was driving on my way to Nashville last month for 10 days, I told myself, “I’m not going to Nashville to find out if I’m to move there, and I’m not going to think about it.” That should be when you get the hint that the opposite will occur.
In past years, I’ve tried moving to three different cities (Louisville, Portland, Charlottesville). Louisville was a 3-time attempt, Portland 2-times, and Charlottesville once. None of them worked out. And though I love each of these places, they weren’t meant to be.
After the first seven days in Nashville, I was consistently taken back by each encounter, each conversation, and the feeling of my presence in the city. Every time I turned around, memories, ideas, dreams, passions, callings, all came flooding back.
It got to the point where I was like, “God, what are you doing? I didn’t come here to find out if I’m going to move here. Why are you consistently tossing all of these things into the mixture of my mind and heart?”
So I thought about it - not too much, as I’ve found thinking can lead down some indecisive paths, usually leading me to change my mind to something else. Instead, I continued listening to my divine intuition, and to the Spirit.
I’ve struggled a lot in my life with indecisiveness, with making decisions, with being confident and not changing my mind every two seconds (thanks modern society and this technological age). For me, I’ve only really planned for 1 month in advance - maybe three, but no more. That’s just what comes naturally to me.
One morning in Nashville, peace and a intense confidence just rested over me. I looked over at my friend, Taylor, while sitting at Crema coffee and said, “I’m just going to say it, Taylor (pause for reflection) - I’m moving here. Period.”
The next morning, I roll into Crema again for my morning coffee. I sat down in the corner spot in the back of the room by myself, taking in the desaturated light and sweet aroma of Crema coffee, while sipping on my Americano.
The next second, I see a friend I’ve made, Monica (who works at Crema), come over and hand me my muffin and then strike up a conversation with this guy (Jacob) sitting next to me who also works at Crema (which I didn’t know at the time).
They were talking about roommates and looking for housing, and trying to figure it all out, and I just looked over to this guy and was like, “I’m looking to move here… You looking for a roommate?” His answer, “Yeah man.”
A couple weeks later, we chatted and decided to room together, and 5 days later secured a place that I have only dreamed of. The next second, all the work I could need, and more, to provide for the rest of the year came in. All the money, all the work, all the peace and knowing that I’m in the right place.
This year, I’ve been fairly nomadic; traveling a lot around the country and the world. It’s been incredible, and it’s what I set out to do in January. I have absolutely no regrets.
But now it’s time to find some structure, find community (and keep pursuing it even though it may be uncomfortable - because it’s easy to be alone, and I know that feeling pretty well, as it comes naturally in my life, plus as an artist).
This year, I’ve made it my goal to be as unstructured, in the “where” I reside, as possible, and as my work takes off more and my heart yearns for connection to community, I find it vital to be rooted in one place; to be challenged, encouraged, organized, accountable, and blessed to do the things I’m looking to in the future.
I’ve been so blessed to have had the opportunities to travel and experience the world this year. I couldn’t be more grateful (and it’s not over).
Appalachia - you’ll always be my home. Your mountains and shallow valleys and vast forests and kind faces - your familiarity I will miss, your deep roots I will never forget - they are ingrained within my very DNA. I’m not done with you.
For you West Virginia - I’m not done with you either.
Stonestreet Creative will be based out of Nashville, TN and Charleston, WV. I look forward to doing work within both of your beautiful states, and beyond. My Appalachian roots will always reach deep and stay strong.
I’ve got a place, I’ve got a roommate, I’m packing up and will be off October 21st driving south towards those beautiful Tennessee fields, rolling hills and golden sunsets.
Can’t wait to take in your sight, Nashville - all those friendly faces, great coffee, incredible Mexican food, farm potlucks and Huck Finn vibes. I’m stoked.
See you soon, Tennessee.