Homing In To The Definition Of Home

 

How long have you been living in your place? What factors make you feel like it’s home for you? Do you feel like it’s easy to make a decision to move to another city when the time comes for you to do it? This has weighed upon Jason Wrobel’s mind for some time now. Having lived in Los Angeles for 14 years, he feels scared at what a major move will mean to his lifestyle, community and relationships. On the other hand, previous experiences taught him that moving can be a great learning experience and will open a new chapter in his life. How would you respond if you were in this situation? Listen as Jason gets vulnerable about this in this conversation with his friend and co-host, Whitney Lauritsen. Don’t forget to stay tuned until the end for Whitney’s brand shout-out. This time, she’s going to talk about vegan pizza. Now, wouldn’t that be a great consideration in deciding which city to move?

Listen to the podcast here:


 

Homing In To The Definition Of Home

One thing that’s been on my mind and my heart a lot lately, Whitney, which you are privy to and people on the show, longtime readers may also be privy to this. I haven’t talked a lot about it on social media publicly, which is the fact that I’m considering moving out of Los Angeles. I’ve teased it in previous episodes. We’ve talked about it and it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot as 2020 rolls on. It’s been an interesting thing psychologically and spiritually to sit with this idea of moving because I’ve been in LA for almost fourteen years. As a kid, it was my dream to move out here. The idea of moving somewhere else has brought up a lot of interesting emotions of fear and trepidation and wondering if I’m going to make the right decision or a wrong decision.

It’s been something for me that’s loaded and something that I’m not taking lightly in terms of my decision making. As part and parcel, that has been fascinating to see some of our friends and acquaintances moving out of New York City. I sent you an article and another colleague of ours sent me an article about the attrition rate of people in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, moving to places like Nashville, Portland, Denver, Phoenix and Austin. I don’t know if it’s hyperbole or if there are that many people leaving big cities, but it seems this is a thing. It’s been a challenging thing to sit with. What I want to dive into is this idea of the different chapters in our lives. Also, how I feel I’m at the end of this particular chapter. A lot of times, it makes me uncomfortable to think about this and now finally, publicly to talk about it.

It’s funny because to be perfectly frank, you’ve talked about it so much, Jason. I don’t know if you realize how often you talk about this. It’s funny to me that you feel you don’t. Also, what’s funny is that whenever I’ve mentioned you wanting to move in passing to people like my mom or some of our mutual friends, I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned to you before, but the most common response that people have is, “Jason’s been saying that for years.” It’s almost like a cliché thing. Now I’m at this point where I’m like, “We’ll see if he pulls the trigger.” You have been talking about this for a long time, which to me makes me feel it’s inevitable. Part of me feels it’s never going to happen. In your friend circle, everybody’s heard you talk about moving for a long time, so it’s no surprise to hear you bring this up again.

It’s interesting you reflect that back to me because sometimes we’re not fully aware of what we talk about or what we focus on until the people in our lives that we’re closest to, and you are one of the closest people in my life, that’s like, “You’ve been talking smack about leaving LA for a long time.” First of all, that’s fascinating feedback.

Doesn’t your mom say that to you? I feel you probably talked to her about it as much, if not more.

It’s an interesting thing because my mom and I had a conversation about the New York article. This interesting blog post and also this Transplant.to website, which is tracking people’s movements. It’s fascinating stuff that’s happening with people relocating, but there are theories between the financial devastation between the taxes of major cities like LA, New York, and San Francisco. Add that to the attrition rate of young professionals and artists that are leaving these cities. The question that has been coming up is when and how are big cities going to rebound from this? When I say big cities, I mean in particular the four that I’ve been reading about have been LA, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

Those are our four of the cities that have a high attrition rate of people leaving those cities right now and the whole time during quarantine and COVID. To reflect on this feedback of I’ve been talking about threatening to leave LA for a while, it’s a question of does the cost of living and the attendant challenges that we deal with by living in a place like LA merit staying and when will things be back on track? The entertainment industry, live music, going to concerts. Will the restaurant industry rebound here? Will LA get out of its financial deficit? Are they going to raise taxes on us whether that’s a city and state income taxes? Are they going to raise the rate of incorporating a business here? There are a lot of unknowns is what I’m saying.

The big thing for me is I’m at a stage in my life now, and you know this and I’ve been talking about wanting to buy a property for years now. There was some potential talk about the real estate market taking a hit here, which it hasn’t, and looking around for what I’m able to afford and what I want to spend on a house. It doesn’t appear to me that that’s going to happen anytime soon in Los Angeles. I could be wrong. The real estate market could tank here, but my big thing is does the cost of living here justify me staying anymore? That’s one of the biggest things.

Wanting to invest more, put more money aside for retirement, and buy a house, it’s been hard to do that here with the cost of living. Moreover, I’ve lived in all the big cities. I lived in the Bay Area. I lived in New York City. I’ve been in LA for fourteen years. I lived in Chicago. I grew up in Detroit, and I don’t know. It’s not the financial part of it and my goals in life. I might be ready for a different experience because fourteen years in LA is a good run, but I feel like I’m in the mood for something a little bit quieter, more nature and a place where I can afford to buy a property.

It’s interesting to reflect on that because oftentimes when you bring up the desire to move, I reflect on my relationship with Los Angeles and all things considered, I feel pretty content here. Sometimes I feel very drawn to New York City but similar to what you’re saying, Jason, I saw this video. I see a lot on TikTok and I’ve sent you at least one of the videos I’ve seen, but sometimes we’ll see content about what it’s like to live in Los Angeles and the changing landscape, what it’s like to live in New York and how New York is changing. Some people are predicting maybe for good it might permanently be changed. It’s interesting because I feel LA has not changed that much to your point, Jason.

I wonder does New York feels different from the people that are living there now? Does it feel different from the people that are from the outside? To me, I don’t have much perspective over what it’s like to live in New York because I haven’t ever, and some people say that it’s great. Some people say that it’s bad and they don’t want to live there anymore. They’re questioning it too. This is happening in places all over the world. People are starting to evaluate their living situation. I consider what it would be to move out of LA but there’s enough here and it feels comfortable enough for me that I don’t have that big desire. Sometimes when we talk about subjects like 5G, I wonder on an energetic level, is it the best place to live? Probably not. Is it draining? Yes. There’s a lot of things that could be compromising to your health, your security, your safety, or your finances. There are a lot of drawbacks. I wonder sometimes are the pros of living in Los Angeles going to change a lot or have they already changed during COVID?

One of the big benefits of living in the city is the social scene. I’ve often said that it’s so easy to make friends here for me, to make business connections, and do business opportunities. With a lot of those things shifting to be virtual now, maybe LA isn’t as great. When I think back on those, it was like going to events and parties. There are so many that happened in LA and some happen in New York as well, but it feels like most invites I get for New York, I don’t feel I’m missing out on. A lot of the stuff that’s happening in LA tends to be health and wellness-focused and then social media focused. There are so many creative types here and so many cool spaces. A lot of the cool tech companies are based in LA or somewhere in California and it’s very accessible. Over the years, I’ve done a lot. For example, YouTube Space, I used to go there a lot.

I was thinking about how they started that coworking space that you and I went and tested out in 2019 and how clearly that’s no longer happening. All these different events that happened and how they’re moving around. Even Expo East is moving from Baltimore to Philly. Who knows where things are going to shift over time? We might become less and less dependent on our location and it hasn’t hit me quite as hard as it’s hit you. For me, my cost of living is low based on the place that I have. It’s incredibly affordable. It’s not a huge stretch. I got grandfathered into an incredible deal and I’m happy with that. I feel my living situation is good and I’m not that interested in owning property at this phase of my life, unlike yourself. It doesn’t appeal to me that much. Even though it sounds like a great financial decision, it’s not an interest. It can get hot all around the country. The heat in LA isn’t that big of a deal.

MGU 113 | Defining Home

Defining Home: A lot of people, especially young professionals and artists, are leaving big cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

 

It doesn’t last that long, whereas in some parts of the country, it’s so extremely hot and then it’s extremely cold. I wonder too if the temperature is a big factor for me, lifestyle access to the restaurants and the people and all of these things. Right now, even if it’s out of ignorance or naivete, I feel LA has not changed that much during COVID, but we’re not through it yet. It’ll be interesting to see what will happen, but then it makes me wonder where else will feel appealing. When you talk about moving to a city in Austin, Texas, I know a lot of people are moving there and it doesn’t excite me that much. I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s cool. Nothing’s wrong with Austin, but I don’t get excited to think about living there.

Whereas I was excited to move to San Francisco when I lived there. I don’t want to go back and live there at this time. Sometimes our friends that live in Sacramento make us sound appealing. I wonder is it appealing because it’s less expensive and would I feel happy. This is such a rant. There’s a lot of different thoughts that go through my head. You spend a lot of time on your own and inside. One big thing that I’m missing right now is living in a place where I enjoy taking walks outside. From my neighborhoods, I feel like I get bored. I’ve walked to the area enough. There’s not much more to explore and there’s a lot of cars and people around. When I take a walk, I often want to be by myself or I want to be in nature. I want to see something unique.

When I was growing up in Massachusetts, we had incredible trails. Even though they were familiar because it was nature, it was constantly changing. There was always something subtle about it that was different than the walk before. In the city, sure, that can happen. There are different people each time you’re out and sure, there’s some nature. There aren’t any trees where I live, but the changes are not quite as obvious or as exciting to me versus being immersed in nature and being able to go breathe some fresh air and take a break and listen to the birds and all the subtleties that change in that type of environment.

To visit that every once in a while when I feel I need it, I don’t know yet. Los Angeles has had a lot of perks to me that has made it worth living in. I suppose I’m not at that place where you are, Jason. You are examining it. You’ve been reflecting on it for a long time. This has been a long time coming for you. It’s so frequent. My question continuously is for you to think about the long-term elements of moving. I know a number of friends too that are planning on or thinking of moving. I can think of three right off the top of my head.

Are they all Angelenos?

One wants to move her family from LA to maybe Southern California, closer to San Diego. One is planning on moving to Austin, Texas with her family. She lives a little outside of LA. Another one of my friends who lives in a different part of Southern California is planning on moving to New Jersey where her family is. Hearing that, my heart feels sad. I already don’t see these people that frequently, but I see them enough and there’s that comfort and knowing that they’re nearby. When you do make that decision to move, it’ll be challenging because I see you probably more than anybody else even during COVID. I’ve seen you more frequently than any of my other friends. It seems strange almost this time of COVID already created a lot of distance for us. Not you and me, Jason, but for us as human beings.

It sounds scary for people to leave this area because then there’s another barrier. I think about some of my friends that I’ll see maybe once a year, maybe every other year, sometimes it’s every few years and so much can change in that time. Do we need that much distance? Is it worth that distance from one another? Chances are, if you move and I move, who knows when we’d see each other again. That’s an important consideration to reflect on with anybody that you’re close to. Is it worth moving somewhere away from a good friend of yours? That plays a huge role in your mental health.

If we blow that out, for me, it’s almost like the idea of home is a layered, complex and nuanced concept for me. When you say the word home, in my mind, I thought that I would be rooted in a different way in LA after almost fourteen years. I still don’t feel fully rooted here, but I also do at the same time in certain ways in the sense that being far away from my blood family, which most of them are in the Detroit Metro area. Some of my dad’s family’s in Puerto Rico. I have two cousins on the West Coast, but the great majority of everybody in my family is in Detroit. The challenge, even though I knew I was ready to leave back in 2005, was that once I started to create my chosen family, we use the words tribe, set and friend group.

To me, it’s family. It’s a non-blood, a chosen family. In LA, even though I say I have a lot of friends in Austin, which you mentioned. Portland is another city that I’m strongly considering. I have friends there too. I have friends in New York, in Chicago, in Detroit. We have friends all over, but there’s some quality to having been in LA for almost fourteen years where I feel like I have a chosen family and you are clearly one of those members of my chosen family. You feel like blood to me in terms of how we relate and that’s not something I take lightly. Also, if I had to look at why I’ve stayed, even though I’ve had the notion to leave LA because I find certain aspects of living here very frustrating and very challenging, that the people are what kept me here.

The idea of leaving my chosen family. You and I have been close for years now. We’ve known each other longer, but we’ve been close for eight years. I have friends like Adam, who’s been a guest on the show. I’ve known Adam almost all of the fourteen years I’ve been here. I have deep, close friendships. If I strip away the business opportunities, which to your point, I don’t know that being in LA for business is going to be the same as it was post-COVID. We don’t know that it will be that much of a necessity. The food is great. The culture, the music, the entertainment, and all that stuff. What’s kept me here on an emotional level has been the people. The idea of moving somewhere else and “starting over,” it feels daunting in certain ways. It feels daunting to think about making a new set of friends or creating a new community or plugging into a new community. It feels intimidating. In some ways, I’m emotionally invested with the people here.

I’m glad you touched on that because it’s almost a conflict is what I’m saying. It’s the deep connections, friendships, and business relationships I have that are centered in Los Angeles that are important to me, yet I’m extremely frustrated with the absolutely astronomical cost of living here, which I was hoping secretly that the real estate market would tank here. I hope it still does. No disrespect to anyone who’s already invested, but I hope it does tank so that I can have an easier time investing here. It’s frustrating, Whitney, to work your ass off for so many years and I still don’t feel I’m ahead. I still don’t feel I’m any closer to my financial goal or putting more money aside or having housing.

That’s one of the primary reasons why I do want to leave. For what I rent this house for, If I go to a place like Portland or Austin, as those are the top two contenders, my housing costs will be 50% less or greater simply by moving to those cities. Whatever I pay for this house now will literally be cut in half or more. That’s significant. I can’t discount that. All of this rant is to say I feel conflicted because of the depth of my emotional relationships in my chosen family here. My desire to feel I’m not on the hamster wheel of working my ass to the bone and not feeling I’m getting ahead because the cost of living is so high.

It seems like it’s a big financial consideration for you and a lot of people make that same decision. This is an interesting thing too because when you first brought that up, I thought, “It feels worth the money.” It certainly would be nice to feel less burdened by the expenses. My cost of living is not that high here because of my living situation. It doesn’t cost as much as my house, but my car payments are daunting to me, but I made that commitment. I think about that too, how I love my car so much, and this is a great example. Having a Tesla was a dream of mine. I remember before I got it, weighing out do I want to take on this financial weight? I’ve never regretted it. I make it work every single month. There are some months that are a lot more challenging than others, but it brings me so much joy. That’s okay with me. It’s similar to LA that LA right now and up until now at least has brought me a lot of joy and it felt good.

It’s really important to reflect on whether it’s worth moving somewhere away from the people who mean a lot to you. Click To Tweet

I’m looking out the window at palm trees. Growing up, I loved palm trees so much. Being in a city, and LA is not the only place you can see palm trees, but that is a nice thing. Having that nice weather and all of those other things that I listed. There is so much about LA that works for me. It’s worth that financial strain. For you, Jason, the financial strain’s been tough for you. What I wonder though is this grass is greener type of mentality. You could move and then get used to that cost of living and then feel stressed again. The opposite can be true where we think if we make more money, we’ll be happier, but it’s never about the money. Sometimes I wonder, frankly, if you want to move as a way to feel better, but what if you moved and you still didn’t feel better? Now you have all the cons of where you’ve moved to and no longer the pros of living in Los Angeles.

That’s definitely a thing that’s made me pause on it. You don’t want to make the “wrong move,” even though there’s no wrong move and be like, “Why did I leave?” However, the thought that I had was whenever I’ve left any of the cities I’ve lived in, when I left Detroit to move to Chicago, when I left Chicago to go back to Detroit, when I left Detroit to come to LA or New York, the Bay Area. I spent a summer in London. I don’t look back on those moves and go, “Why did I do that?” I don’t know that necessarily I would feel a sense of regret because if I look at all those moves and all the cities I’ve lived in, I don’t long to be back in any of those places. I’m not like, “I wish I could go back to Queens.” It’s never a thought. I love New York. I love to visit, but I certainly don’t miss living there. Certainly not in the situation we’re all in.

I hear your point in the grass is greener thing. To me, what I’ve been ruminating on is almost a feeling. If we take the intellectual part of this out like investments, housing, finances, me thinking it’ll be “easier” if I move somewhere, which you do bring up a very valid point. In my body, there’s a familiar feeling I’m not even sure if I can characterize it. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried to characterize this feeling. When you start to feel you’re over something, it’s almost not the exact same, but it’s a similar feeling that when I’ve been in a job in the past and knew that I was ready to quit, I was like, “I’m definitely ready to go.”

In a romantic relationship where I was like, “I’m definitely done with this.” I’m getting close to the point. The feeling is similar to, “I’m done with LA.” It’s not 100% I’m ready to get the fuck out right now, but it’s in that emotional sphere of feeling “done” with it and getting close to being done with it. It’s a similar feeling to leave a job and a similar feeling to like, “I’m done with this relationship. I think we’re at the end of this.” It’s hard to characterize what that feeling is like. It’s not anxiety per se. It’s not desperation. It’s hard to describe when you’re done with something. Do you ever feel that way? Do you know what I’m talking about when you’re like, “I’m done with this?” It’s hard to describe what that feeling is.

I’m trying to think. I know what you mean. When you describe it, I understand the concept of it. I’m trying to think of when the last time I had that feeling, if ever. I suppose with certain jobs, I remember leaving them and there’s always a feeling of, “Is this the right decision for me?” as you were describing. For example, when I left working for Apple, but what I tend to do, and even in that case, is I will hold onto it for as long as possible. I will only let go when I have to. That’s typically my style, I suppose. It’s not that far off from hoarding or for me to push myself to be more minimalist in my thinking and my things, all the possessions, actions and all of that.

I often strive to finish something, finish a project, be done with it, but it’s tough for me to let go. There’s always that feeling of what if. What if I need this thing again? What if I want this thing again? Sometimes you have to make that decision. I brought up Apple for example because I worked there for 6.5 years or something. Sometimes I wonder, “Would I ever go back to working for Apple?” There were so many perks to working there. I remember when I left, I did have the convenience of moving because my last job at Apple was at the store in San Francisco. I was moving cities. I didn’t know if I would go back to San Francisco. There was this possibility of maybe I’ll come back, maybe this will be a temporary move or maybe I’ll transfer to another Apple store.

I hung onto my position and took a leave of absence. That leave of absence eventually became me fully quitting. It was funny looking back on that because it was tough for me to end that phase of my life and I can definitely relate when it comes to jobs. Relationships are interesting. I’ve done that with some relationships. There’s that phase. You’ve been in this too, Jason, where it’s almost like a gray area. We’re not spending as much time together anymore or we’ll see what happens and I’m dating other people now or whatever it is. One day that relationship is over. Long story short, I don’t know the feeling of being done with something because I tend to hold on more. I noticed that a lot in my life and I don’t think it’s a huge deal. It’d be easier if I could feel done with something a lot faster.

I like that idea of closing the door. As I’ve talked about in several episodes, I’m not a black and white person. It’s not like I want this and now I don’t want this. I’m more like, “I want it.” I’m that gray area person who can see both sides for better or for worse. I feel that way about LA. There’s always part of me that’s like, “Sure, I would leave.” I should say I’m not attached to Los Angeles, but I’m also not at a place where you are where I feel it’s time for me to leave. I also don’t feel you’re truly at a place. If you truly were ready to leave, Jason, you would leave. Before quarantine started, you were pretty gung-ho about moving to Las Vegas. I haven’t heard you talk about Las Vegas since. That’s interesting too. How did you go from feeling so sure about moving to Vegas to now you don’t even talk about Vegas anymore?

Before quarantine started in late February 2020, I was in Vegas looking at houses there. I had a realtor I was working with and we have mutual friends. One of which is Kelly Bennett, who was one of our very first guests on the show. Talking to Kelly and Jen and Jackie, and a lot of our friends and acquaintances in Vegas, it was like there’s a cool music scene. There’s a cool food scene. It’s only a few hours if you want to drive from LA, but we go back to the cost of living.

From a perspective of running a business, there’s a lot of tax advantages there where I would be saving a lot of money not paying certain taxes, state taxes and corporation taxes. For a house that would be $750,000, $800,000 in LA, which FYI for anyone who doesn’t live in LA, that’s a standard price on a house now in LA. That’s a basic house. In a place like Vegas, you get a similar house for $350,000. That’s a huge consideration. I’m going to spend $750,000 or get a similar house in a different city that’s decently close by for $400,000 less. It was all those factors of maybe I can do the music thing and do the podcast remotely.

There’s a cool food scene. There’s a cool music scene, but there were a couple of things. When COVID hit, I was talking to my mentor and my good friend, Ron, who I’ve known for many years. Ron has been in Vegas for about 8 or 9 years. He’s done some performing there. He was on Broadway for many years. He’s done some performing in Vegas. He’s done some wellness work. He’s a bodyworker there. He said it’s been devastating. Cirque du Soleil, all the performers, have packed up and left Vegas. A lot of his performing friends, his singing friends, his musician friends have left. He said that the culture there has been devastated because tourism is down 91%. It was a blessing that I didn’t pull the trigger on a house.

Can you imagine if I would have bought a house and then moved to Vegas? That would have been like, “This is fucking horrible,” for me in the sense that I wanted to go there and perform and do music and get into all that stuff we’re talking about. Part of it was hearing from Ron about how devastating the COVID period has been for the arts and culture scene in Vegas and also do I want to live in 116-degree heat? I was talking to our friend, Jackie Sobon, and she was like, “It’s 116 degrees today.” I don’t think I want to live in that because that sounds awful for my constitution and my dog, Bella. Bella is a French bulldog. We’ve mentioned her on the show a few times. That girl, she doesn’t do well in the heat. She doesn’t function well. All of those considerations, Whitney, is I’m not keen on Vegas anymore. It doesn’t seem a place that is going to rebound well from the devastation of COVID, according to what I hear. It’s also living on the face of the sun and I don’t think I want to live in that.

I know you’ve talked about places like Austin. Sometimes you think about moving closer to your mom in Detroit. You’ve talked about Oregon. Also, you talk about moving an hour or so outside of LA. That’s a very different story. You don’t necessarily have to live in Los Angeles, but I feel like if you live anywhere within an hour or two, in my head, that’s still living in LA. You’re just not in the city. That’s a completely different story that makes a lot of sense. Sometimes about how cool it would be to live in a house instead of an apartment or something. You are living in a house, but I don’t think of your house in the traditional sense of a house where you have all this space between you and your neighbors. I think of my parent’s home or something, but it’s interesting. I’m curious what your perspective is because you have been living in a house. You’ve been renting it, so it’s a little bit different.

MGU 113 | Defining Home

Defining Home: It feels daunting to think about making a new set of friends or creating a new community in another place.

 

I wanted to move to a house for a long time. I wanted to buy a house in LA, but that’s another ball of wax financially. I’ve been in this particular house renting and it’s nice being in a house because I’m not sharing any walls with any neighbors. I’ve had a lot of situations with neighbors in the past and it’s nice having that autonomy. It’s nice to be in a house and it’s nice having space. I don’t have a lot of greenery here. I live in a very dense, concrete, urban part of LA. That’s another consideration. It’s like living in the concrete jungle where I’m literally surrounded by concrete. My front yard is concrete. My backyard is concrete. It’s not the most natural living space, but the big thing for me is not the financial consideration of moving to an area that is more financially agreeable to buying a place and having that be in alignment with my income.

Also, I want more nature. You mentioned an hour outside of LA. I am considering Washington, Oregon, specifically Vancouver, Washington, Portland or Austin, Texas. Even though we’re still new in dating each other, my girlfriend, Laura, she’s been an Angeleno her whole life and she’s also keen on leaving. We talk about that from time to time like, “What feels good to you? What excites you?” We have those ongoing open conversations about it. A buddy of ours, Ryan Carnes, moved to Crestline, which is near Big Bear. That’s about 1 hour and 30 minutes Southeast near the San Gabriel Mountains. He’s been in Crestline and he loves it. He drives into LA for an audition when he needs to, but especially during COVID, he’s been holed up in his luxo cabin in Crestline.

He pays a lot less money there to live in LA than he does in LA. He still has access to the things in LA he needs to. I’ve also looked at properties in Ojai. I love Ojai, but Ojai is not affordable anymore. A lot of people have left LA and moved to Ojai and driven the prices up there. I don’t know. I consider maybe being an hour and a half outside the city, but I haven’t found anything yet that’s been like, “That’s definitely the thing.” I’m looking for 4 or 5 things in this move. I’m looking for a better affordability rating where I can afford to buy a property and have that be compatible with my other financial goals.

I’m looking for more nature and less concrete. I am looking for access to a good community of people with food, music, culture and connection. I want cleaner air and water. Those are the five things that in my mind I have as an aim in my head. I’m looking at those five things. I know they’re there. I know they’re important to me and I haven’t yet felt definite. The reason you ask is if I knew it was definitely time to move, I would move is because I haven’t necessarily decided that there is a place that meets all those factors for me. It could be Portland, it could be Washington, it could be Austin. It could be 1 or 2 hours outside of LA. I haven’t been like, “That’s the place.”

The reason I haven’t left LA is because I don’t have a crystal-clear definite hit on what that next move is going to be. Until I do that, I’m going to stay put because I don’t want to make a move out of desperation. I don’t want to make a move out of stress. I don’t want to make a move out of anxiety. I don’t want to make a move out of feeling pushed out. I want to make a move that this feels the right next choice. This feels like the right next chapter of my life. I’m moving forward with a sense of confidence and clarity. Since I don’t have that for the next place yet, I’m still on a research mission.

If you move and feel fully excited about that, another thing that comes to mind is the option of a more flexible move. One thing that has grown in popularity over the past five years or so is people traveling around in vans. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to this and you’ll see them a lot on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok these videos of people, typically Millennials, but not always that live out of a van or a camper, or an Airstream. Even my friend’s dad who is in his 60s, he’s doing that too. It’s so cool. That’s something I yearn to do and fantasize about doing sometimes. One thing I like about that is being able to move around the country to try to feel out where you want to be and give you that freedom to be wherever you want.

Maybe you’ll do that for a long time or maybe it’ll be a short period of time. Years ago, back in 2012, I met this through my work with Eco-Vegan Gal. This was in the early days of Airbnb, so much so that not a lot of people talked about Airbnb. It was something maybe you knew of but it was nowhere near as popular or as utilized as it is now. This couple traveled around the country continuously from Airbnb to Airbnb. They would rent these places for a month or so, however long they could. They had all of their possessions in an SUV. I think they had a dog and they went around and lived wherever they could. It wasn’t that they were homeless. That was their complete choice. They enjoyed that lifestyle.

I remember that’s when I started to be interested in this idea of mobile living, being able to pick up and leave based on where you want to be. That’s neat but it definitely requires planning and not being attached to something. I’ve even seen houseboats. There’s one style. I forgot what it’s called. It’s still a boat because it’s on the water, but they’re these thin-type boats that go in canals. I was seeing videos about them and how people will move. They switch ports. They go to a different part of the canal or the river or whatever that they’re on and how cities have all these different regulations and how long you can stay and where you can park your boat and all of that. I think, “How neat,” but then simultaneously I get overwhelmed with the idea of living out of a van or an Airstream. It’s like, “You have to buy one. Some of them need to be fixed up.” I saw one on TikTok. The guy was saying his was $100,000, which isn’t that much compared to buying most homes. It’s not always an Airstream. What’s the other term?

For the other big one that’s super popular is the Sprinter vans.

It’s that something in that realm. It’s a luxurious experience. There are some people who buy buses, like school buses, and they convert them. That’s popular, especially for people in their twenties. I see a lot of them doing this and oftentimes, couples will do that and they’ll completely convert it. That’s so cool but I don’t know if I have enough desire to learn how to build that myself. One that I saw was a couple and they had a composting toilet in their van, but it was stored in the kitchen. It was in the kitchen under some cabinet and they would pull it out to use, but they would pull it out and it would be in the middle of their van. Everyone was like, “Are you telling me that you’re close enough to your significant other that you will use the bathroom in the middle of your kitchen in front of your significant other?”

I was reflecting on that. A lot of people were saying, “Most people that have vans don’t even have a bathroom. They have to go find one or use the one out in nature.” That was a good point, but it’s that concept of how your privacy goes away in your space. What do you get in return? You get so much freedom and you get that ability to move around wherever you want. Maybe your cost of living is low. Certainly, it’s more complicated for someone like you, Jason, and especially in your relationship. You have two people plus eight animals combined.

That wouldn’t be a Sprinter or an Airstream or a bus. We need to buy a semi-truck and convert the rear cargo area to a living space. That’s the other thing too. It’s about the stage of life that you’re at too. If you are a person who is a Millennial or Gen Z and you’re partnered and maybe you have a dog or a dog and a cat, you could do something this. You don’t have many physical possessions. This could change, but I’m approaching my mid-40s. I have five animals. I have a house, I have things. I have my musical gear. I have my recording equipment. I like my stuff. I’m by no means a minimalist, but I’m not a hoarder either. I live a pretty minimal lifestyle, but for me, if I were to do something this because I’m not going to get rid of my animals. It’s not an option. They’re family. I would take care of them. It would be me driving them back to Detroit and being like, “Mom, can you take care of these animals for a few months?” Maybe going on the road. It may be not a permanent thing.

If I were to do this on the road type of adventure, it might be for a few months at a time or a quarter of the year. I love traveling. I love going on road trips. I love flying. I miss that stuff, but I don’t necessarily see myself having a permanent nomadic lifestyle. That’s never anything I felt called to do. The idea of packing up a camper or an Airstream or a thing that I’m towing behind a pickup truck and going on the road for 4 or 5 months, that sounds a hell of fun. I just don’t know that given my personality and where I’m at in my life, Whitney, that I would want to do that all of the time.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to leave a place. It feels like leaving a job or ending a relationship, but different. Click To Tweet

There are a lot of considerations to make. I put that out there because it’s tough to move from a place like Los Angeles that you’ve lived for a long time because there might be a lot of elements of living here that you don’t even fully recognize or are conscious of if that makes sense.

What do you mean?

You might not anticipate things that you’re going to miss or things that are going to feel like, “I didn’t realize how important that was to me.” To your point, you might get excited about a city, but there are always pros and cons about them and it’s almost like what’s better. The devil you know or something, the pros and cons of Los Angeles. You move somewhere else and are those trade-offs important for you? It’s trickier in certain cities that there’s such when there’s such a strong culture. Any major city in the world has people that are so gung-ho about it. No matter what happens in Los Angeles or New York City or San Francisco, Portland or Austin, there are some people that are like, “I will always live here and I love this place and nothing is better than it.”

You get very used to it and dedicated to it. I probably have felt the most of that in LA. I’ve lived in Boston, San Francisco and LA for the most periods of time. I love Boston and San Francisco, but it’s not like I have to move back there. They have a lot of pros. I love New York too. I haven’t lived there for an extended period of time, but I’ve never felt I had to move there. I’ve felt very tempted by it. That’s part of it that you check in on is noticing how you feel in your area. Maybe it’s taking a deep, intentional practice around it and writing these things out. I don’t know if you’ve done this, Jason, but a pro and cons list of every single city and then looking at it and saying like, “Am I making this decision for finances alone?”

If that’s the main reason, what could you do to shift it and figure out a way to make it work? Overall, you seem to be happy in Los Angeles. A lot of the reasons that you bring up, I feel like it could be overcome for keeping you here. I’m not saying that because I want you to be here, but considering that because if you leave here, it’s also hard to come back. If you go somewhere else and it’s a lot less expensive, it’s going to be such a shock to try to reintegrate back into the city.

What you nailed is I have felt that completely. It’s the reason I’m being so deliberate with making a decision. I know instinctually that if I leave, I’m not moving back here. I’ll come back for visits, of course. You’re here and Michael’s here. There are many wonderful friends and people I consider family here, but I know that if I leave the LA Metro area or let’s extrapolate it and say leave Southern California, I’m not coming back. That’s a big move. I don’t think that there would be anything to bring me back. That is one reason. You nailed it. I intuitively felt that, Whitney, that if I leave, I’m gone. It’s not a light consideration for me.

It also goes back to writing the pros and cons list is important. I also know though that it’s a mix of what are my future aims? What’s important to me? I’m pretty clear on what’s important to me. I want to save more money. I want a lower cost of living. I want more nature. I want a great community, which I do have here in LA, but I know that there are other cities that have great art, music, food, culture communities, and diversity, and then cleaner air and cleaner water. I’m doing all this not to bash LA and I hope I’m not coming across. I do have a deep love for Los Angeles, but in addition to the culture and the food and the art and the music and the great things, it’s one of the most expensive places on Earth to live.

It’s at least where I’m at, it’s dirty. The air is not great. There’s not a lot of nature unless you can afford to live in it. To your point, it would be good for me to whiteboard it because I haven’t done that yet. Being the fact that Portland/Vancouver and Austin seem to be the front runners. It could be interesting to go to my whiteboard in my office and go, “LA, what are the pros and cons? “Here’s Austin and here’s Portland, Vancouver,” and literally put it on paper and write a list. It’s all been in my head so far. There’s a deeper level of deliberation that can occur when you get things on paper. As much as you and I love technology, and I know you’re gung-ho about to-do lists.

I texted you my to-do list, which is written out on a sketchpad because that’s how I work best. That’s how I get through my work responsibilities. Similar to that, I think that your suggestion is a sound one. I also trust that I know when it’s going to be time to go, it’s going to be time to go. It’s not quite there yet. I feel that it’s getting closer than further. I’m getting closer to some decision than further away from some decision.

You’re taking a great perspective on this and this is helpful hopefully for other people who reflect on these things too. Many of us get to a point where we have to decide, do we want to stay where we are or leave and transform and make that transition? The good news is that it usually doesn’t have to be permanent. It’s helpful for us in our personal development to move. Every time that I’ve lived in a different home or a different city, I have learned something new and they’ve been different phases of my life. One thing I like to reflect on for myself is am I staying in Los Angeles because of an attachment? It feels so comfortable that it has become challenging to change.

That’s part of the reason why I have trouble letting go of things is because I like to hold on. It’s hard for me to make finite decisions until I have to. This is true for me in most of my life. I usually always do things last minute because I thrive when I’m being pushed and forced into things with deadlines. Otherwise, I enjoy staying in the gray area because that gives me a lot of flexibility. There are pros and cons to that too. As long as overall things feel positive, that’s what’s most important. For me, Los Angeles feels good right now, but a lot could change and it does sound exciting to move. It does sound nice when I hear people talk about the nice homes that they have because of where they’re living.

One other person that comes to mind is our friend Caren Baginski who was our first guest ever on the show. It wasn’t technically the first episode because we had a few before her of our own, but she was our first guest on the show. When we went to visit her home with her husband outside of Denver. Their home is so cool. For the reader, you should get excited because you will see a little bit of their home in an upcoming video that I’m going to release soon based on that trip that Jason and I took when we were starting our podcast. That video is almost done. I’ll include it and you’ll see it on social media. Caren’s in it and Kelly’s in it, as we mentioned earlier.

You get to see what their lives are. I remember being in Caren’s home and thinking, “This is so nice.” When you walk into someone’s home that they’re able to afford because of the city that they live in or because their expenses are lower and you think of that as a trade-off. Simultaneously, I get equally excited about small apartments in New York City. To me, I would rather live in a tiny place and be in an amazing city than living in a huge house and be like, “I don’t know if this is the place for me.” The nature thing comes into consideration and it does sound nice having access to a beautiful nature-rich area of the world, but you can even get that in Los Angeles.

MGU 113 | Defining Home

Defining Home: You might not anticipate the things that you’re going to miss when you move out.

 

You do need to write all these things out as analysis, and I’m not talking to you, Jason, and anybody else who’s considering this and reflecting on their lives. We certainly would be interested to hear from you, reader, to see have you made a move recently or in the past. How did you make that decision? Have you been thinking about moving again? What does that feel like to you? When one of my friends who does live in Los Angeles was talking to me about moving, we were discussing it in her backyard. I was sitting there thinking, “How the heck is she and her family going to pack up from this home that they have lived in for so long?”

That’s such a big chain to let go of this house and to go through that process of finding a new house and to pack up everything. That’s so much work. For some people, a move is a huge decision and it takes so much work. For some of us, it’s easy and we can do it whenever we feel it. For someone you, Jason, you’ve moved around so much. Part of it is that it doesn’t even feel that difficult for you to move. Maybe that impacts your choice a lot.

I don’t know that it doesn’t feel difficult. I feel like this potential move feels scarier than the others. It’s probably because I have set down some roots here in the sense that other than growing up in Detroit, I have never spent fourteen years of my life in any other city. It was 3.5 years in Chicago, a little under a year in New York, about a year in the Bay Area. It was a few months in the UK and Europe. Other than growing up and being a child in Detroit, fourteen years is the most amount of time. It’s not as easy as those other moves like, “I’ve only been here three years.” “I’ve only been here for nine months.” “I’ve only been here a year.” Those were easier because I didn’t have the depth of the community built or the depth of the roots that I do here. It goes back to that point that you hit, as we’re wrapping up here, that there are things that I deeply love about Los Angeles. The thing that I love most is the deep connections and friendships and soul family, chosen family I have found for myself. That’s not something that I take for granted.

It’s not something that I will throw out very quickly and make a rush decision. It’s something that I know if I go somewhere, I’m likely not going to come back to Southern California to live. I will come back to visit, but I want to be sure that wherever I do choose to go next is something that feels in alignment with all those levels I mentioned. It’s on a level of material, spiritual, and emotional. To your point, I am afraid to leave LA because it is familiar and it is comfortable. I know my way around. It’s so funny when I first moved here, it took me so long to get the lay of the land. I first arrived in Venice Beach and I was like, “I’m going to learn the West side,” but then coming to Hollywood or coming to the Valley or coming to the East side, I was like, “What is this world? What the hell is Silver? What the hell is that Echo Park? What the hell is Studio City?” After fourteen years, I feel like I know LA the back of my hand now.

That familiarity, that comfort, that, “I know this place,” I suppose it’s not so easy to give up. It’s an ongoing conversation. It’s an ongoing exploration and I’m not being hasty about it. I’m feeling into it, being strategic, asking myself deeper questions and we’ll see what happens. For the reader, if you have made a big move or are considering a big move, we’re curious how that’s played into the factors for you. How that’s affecting your family, how that’s affecting your career, your finances, and your emotional state? We do love to hear from you. If you want to email us, you will get to Whitney and I directly. Our email is [email protected], which is also our website, Wellevatr.com.

You can go directly to the Podcast section and see all of the resources and websites, anything we’ve mentioned for you to get deeper into this subject matter. You can always DM us. We are on all of the major social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, or YouTube. We’re going to be also posting more clips of previous episodes on our YouTube channel. We have an external hard drive. I’m going to be posting when we were recording our previous episodes live with our guests. We’ll be posting some BTS clips for you on our YouTube channel. With all of that, Whitney, thanks for going deeper into this with me. It’s been something that’s been on my mind in my heart. It continues to be. I always appreciate your perspective and feedback, not only as my cohost but my best friend. Thanks for sifting through the puzzle pieces with me.

Thanks for bringing it up. Don’t forget, we have some fun things we like to do at the end of our episodes. I felt like you were skipping right over that.

I was rushing to the finish line.

You’re not in the clear yet. Is there a brand that you would shout out?

There is. I’m trying to remember. Did you shout these guys out already, the frozen pizzas we got? Did you give those guys a shout on the episode or was it on social media?

I don’t think we did talk about those pizzas yet. I wanted to wait until you tried them. I would love to hear because I haven’t even talked to you. You tried them, right?

I did. Why am I blanking on the name right now? I feel like such an asshole at this moment.

It’s La Morra.

Move forward with a sense of confidence that you’re going to the right place for the next chapter of your life. Click To Tweet

They’re a local pizzeria in LA and they reached out to both Whitney and I and they have frozen vegan pizzas. They sent me two of them. They probably sent you two as well. I tried it for the first time last night and it was good. They had artichokes and spicy pepperoncini peppers and spinach. I thought their vegan cheese was good.

Yours had vegan cheese? I don’t think mine had any cheese on it. It was all veggies. Yours has 100% had vegan cheese on it?

I could have sworn it did. I’m sorry. I’m mixing it up with a different vegan pizza I had. My apologies. It was veggies and sauce. I’ve been on a pizza bender. The thing I loved most is La Morra’s crust. For a frozen pizza, I put it on a pizza stone. I put it in the oven at 400 degrees for ten minutes. That crust, frozen or not, is one of the best crusts I’ve ever had. It was damn good.

It reminded me of three places. It reminded me of a little bit of Pura Vita pizza, which we love. It reminded me of that place that you and I went to right before quarantine started, which name I’m blanking. The one on Robertson.

You’re going to probably bring up Baltimore.

Of course, I am. What’s the place called done on Robertson that we went to that pizza shop? I’ll look it up. What’s the one called in Baltimore though? Did you forget that name too?

Yes. At least we remembered La Morra.

Verde is the one in Baltimore and Pizzana is the one in West Hollywood that we went to.

We’re getting all the pizza recommendations. We’re pizza connoisseurs, though. We appreciate a good pizza. I would say you and I have had a lot of pizza over the years and there are outstanding highlights, but I got to say the La Morra crust, for a frozen fricking pizza, it’s crazy good.

The other places we mentioned are restaurants and La Morra has a truck or something. Is that right?

I believe they do have some physical way, but during, during COVID and quarantine, they pivoted to sell these frozen pizzas and they do have a vegan version. It’s about $15. We will link to how you can order their frozen pizzas and get them delivered to your house. They’re great.

They are available as of the time that we’re recording in Los Angeles and the OC, but they’re working on nationwide shipping so that anyone in the US can try their pizza, which is exciting. I hope that they offer vegan cheese because most of their pizzas are not vegan. The cheese on them looks amazing. I thought that the toppings on the vegan pizza were so great that I didn’t miss cheese. I did end up adding a little bit. I put a little bit of Kite Hill ricotta cheese on it, which was awesome.

I got two of the pizzas like you did Jason. I had some leftover Daiya macaroni and cheese sauce, which I put a little bit on the pizza as well. That was pretty good. It’s not the greatest combination. I might have tried a little with some Violife feta, which is one of my favorite cheeses. Those are cheeses I had laying around. I’m sure they would have been great with Miyoko’s mozzarella. Violife’s shredded mozzarella would have been good on that too. You could certainly add whatever vegan cheese of choice you would like to give it that traditional cheese flavor.

MGU 113 | Defining Home

Defining Home: Moving is helpful for personal development. Every time you move, you learn something new.

 

What’s your brand, Whitney? What’s your shout out for this episode?

I did not come prepared. I was hoping that I would think of one off the top of my head, but I don’t know. I do have some that I’m excited about. There’s a bunch of brands that have been trying. We’re going to be getting shipments from a New Wave Enviro, so that’s coming up, they’re sending us some products. Apparently, we’re going to be the first people to try them, which is exciting. This is a little teaser preview. I’m about to do some sponsored content on my Eco-Vegan Gal channel. I might as well shout them out because this is one of the coolest things I’ve tried. This is a little bonus because they’re only paying me to shout them out on my Instagram and blog, but I genuinely was floored by this product. It’s a brand called Biochem. As a side note here, we’ve been sponsored by Sunwarrior on the show and we love them, but we’re not exclusive with them.

Frankly, there are other protein brands that we enjoy. We love Truvani. We love Organifi. There are so many great plant-based protein products. As I talked about in my blog post about Biochem, I’m generally skeptical. I’m like, “Vegan protein? Whatever,” but they are cool company. They’ve got a great website that drew me in and then I saw their ingredients and they’re super unique because they add all sorts of fascinating things into their formulation. The two that I tried, it was a chocolate vegan protein, very simple, with pea protein, hemp, seed protein and cranberry protein. I was like, “That’s unique. I got to try that.” Let me tell you, the one that I was absolutely blown away by is called their Mood Formulation. It’s plant protein plus and it’s got a vanilla flavor, but some undefined floral flavor. I can’t get to the bottom of it. I was going to ask you, Jason, because it has Ashwagandha, Moringa and passionflower in it. I don’t know if any of those three ingredients added to the flavor of some floral, almost like a Jasmine-y type of flavor.

Passionflower makes sense for sure.

I don’t know what that tastes like, but there’s also shitake in it, pumpkin and water lentils. It’s an incredible formulation. My jaw dropped when I tried it. I was blown away. I had zero expectations. I mix it into the water and I was like, “What the heck is going on?” I blended it into some milk. It’s great. As you’ll see, if you want to click over to my blog or my Instagram, I turned it into fat bombs, which are a big keto staple. That’s basically some high-fat content. In this case, I used peanut butter and I mixed the powder into peanut butter with a little salt and made these little cookie shapes and put them in the freezer. Now I have these delicious, high protein fat bombs, which are great for an energy boost or if you’re having a craving for sugar. The protein powders are sweetened with monk fruit and Stevia, I didn’t need to add anything else. It was literally those three ingredients and it was so satisfying.

That’s my new favorite protein powder at the moment, that specific mood formulation, which is designed to help with tension, stress and tiredness, which are things that I’ve been struggling a lot with during COVID. It was one of those blessings. Because a lot of times I take a risk when I’m working with sponsors. It’s weird. A lot of sponsors want you to agree to work with them before you’ve even tried their products. I don’t know if this happens to you, but I get outreach all the time and I will say yes. I could certainly back out of a deal if I hated their products, but I didn’t expect to love Biochem as much as I do. I will still say that they are neck and neck with my other favorite protein powder, which is Sunwarrior salted caramel.

I got to try it now, then. If you’re saying it’s neck and neck, I’ve got to try it.

They’re two different experiences. Salted caramel is great in coffee. I bet you this Mood Formulation though, Jason, I would probably make it in a matcha latte for you. Matcha and all those other ingredients from this protein powder would go so well together and make you feel so elated. That’s my big brand shoutout. I was trying to think of another brand besides one that I’m already going to be posting about. That’s the one that has been exciting for me. I’m going to be trying some new chocolates. I know also, Jason, you got sent the macaroni and cheese. It’s a company called Howl.

I have two products that I’m going to be reviewing on my Instagram and we’ll give them also a shout out here on the show once I do try them. Howl, they have a vegan cashew-based mac and cheese and they went the extra mile. I asked for a gluten-free version. Their sauces and their spices are all gluten-free but their actual boxes aren’t yet with gluten-free macaroni. They were so kind, they sent me to different flavors and then they sent me separate packs of gluten-free macaroni elbows.

I should ask for that too. They reached out to me. They didn’t even offer to send me products. They started following me and I messaged them and the guy was like, “I started following you because of Jason and I’m sending him products. Do you want some too?” I said, “Yes,” because I figured you and I could shout them out simultaneously we did with La Morra. As nice as it is to mention brands that neither one of us has tried, it’s fun when we both have experience with the same brand. That will be fun.

The other one that I’m looking forward to is called Shroomeats. Our buddies Derek and Chad Sarno would dig this because they love mushrooms so much. This is apparently a plant-based meat product that is made from mushrooms. I’m excited to see how it tastes, how it works in a skillet and of course the flavor. I’m going to be shouting out and seeing what Shroomeats are doing too.

If you would try some of the Biochem Mood Formulation, you’re going to have to share your Shroomeats with me, Jason. Shroomeats sounds like a sexual term.

On that note, that’s our segue into the frequently asked queries portion.

It’s not easy to give up the familiarity of a place you have considered your home. Click To Tweet

I have to say that we had so many queries come in that I haven’t kept up with and it’s so overwhelming to try to go through them all. I haven’t had a chance to pick out any and I feel bad because we haven’t mentioned them in a little while, but we also have not received any feedback from people to see how much they enjoy them.

Watch now. We’re going to get emails. “Why aren’t you guys doing that FAQs anymore? They’re so funny.”

I’m looking these up on the fly. I want to know what you think. I’m guessing this is something straight forward, but I don’t have any idea why somebody searched for this and found our website. The query is donkey stroller.

What in the fuck? Donkey stroller, would this be a stroller that is in the shape of a donkey for kids? “I’m on the back of a donkey,” but the kids in a stroller. I don’t know that there would be any purpose for having a stroller to carry around a baby donkey. You would walk the baby donkey. When the hell did we even say anything about a donkey or a stroller on any episode ever? That’s what makes no sense. It’s not only what exactly is technically a donkey stroller, but when would we have ever mentioned either of those things in any context through the 113 episodes we’ve done? I don’t recall talking about a donkey or a stroller. This is one of the more confusing queries we have ever had. I’m stumped.

What’s interesting about Google Analytics is a lot of the queries don’t make any sense. Some of them I’ve told you are extreme and I will never mention them on the show, but I’ll tell you some of them privately, Jason, because a lot of them are very sexual and I’m like, “There’s no way we were talking about that.” The way Google works is sometimes it pairs together one word you said earlier with another word you said later, and that technically counts as a search result. I don’t know. It’s also very interesting to me, but I’m a little disappointed to find out that a donkey stroller is neither a stroller that looks a donkey nor a stroller that carries a donkey.

Please don’t tell me it’s a sexual maneuver.

Not that I know of. That’s not what I came up with. There is a fancy stroller that’s called a Bugaboo Donkey and it’s $1,000 or more. It’s possible that one of our previous guests that has a kid talked about this. I don’t know. I don’t recall that at all, but that’s what it is. It looks cool. I will say that I hope that if I do become a parent that I have the financial means to buy some of these cool things. I don’t know if I would want to spend $1,000 on the stroller. As I was saying about my car, if you use something all the time and it brings you a lot of joy and it’s convenient and makes your life easier, some of these things seem worth investing in and strollers are pretty cool.

A good kid stroller is smooth and it folds upright. It looks neat and it can carry things. This one is pretty neat. It converts into a dual stroller so you can use it for one child. If you have another child, you can use that. They also convert into car seats. Maybe if you continue down this path with Laura, you’ll be needing one of these strollers one day. You keep sounding a little bit more interested in having children than I’ve heard you before. You never know. You might be the first of the two of us to have a child.

Wouldn’t that be ironic? The world is a Twilight Zone episode right now anyway.

The next random one that I saw that it’s weird, but maybe you’ll have something funny to say about it, Jason. The search term is an elder centipede.

Is that like a centipede who’s on an age? The only thing that I can think about right now, and I don’t think we even talked about this, is one of our old mutual friends Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, FullyRaw by Kristina. She moved to Hawaii with her partner Cash and they are dealing with a centipede infestation at their home. I don’t think we’ve talked about that at all, but that’s the only reference in my world to centipede I can think of currently at the moment.

We did talk about that movie, The Human Centipede, which is very disturbing.

In an episode about, Are We What Eat, Mentally?, we were talking about the impressions that we have through violent content being “food” in our lives. Yes, we did talk about some of the most disturbing pieces of media we have ever seen. Yes, you brought that up, which I haven’t seen and don’t have any desire to see.

MGU 113 | Defining Home

Defining Home: Open your heart and mind to what people who are different than you are going through. It can give you the deepest healing experience.

 

I would like to keep that out of my mind. I did not know that about Kristina’s infestation. Maybe when she comes on the show, she can tell us more about that because that sounds a little interesting. There’s another one that’s fascinating to me. It’s a fake depression starter pack.

I can’t imagine like, “They didn’t have gluten-free tortillas at the market. Now we can’t have taco night, goddamn it.” I don’t know what fake depression would sound like. I have no idea. All I know is what real depression feels like and that’s enough. I have no idea. When you hear fake depression, what comes up for you?

It is interesting. There is an Urban Dictionary result for this and one of the definitions is, “Teenagers who post their stories and write, ‘Please kill me.’” There’s a few here. “When someone is so desperate for attention, they pretend to have a mental illness.” When they post about how bad their depression is when all they want is attention. When they falsely exhibit symptoms of depression for the sake of getting pity or compliments. That’s interesting. Also, people that use phrases like, “I want to die or kill me now.” They’ll say things like that, which is crazy how acceptable it is to say things like that so nonchalantly.

It’s also an offshoot of I find them semi disturbing memes Millennials and Gen Z and depression that I see. There’s a ton of them, but one of the ones that come to mind is an image of the Spice Girls. It says, “If you want to be my lover, you’ve got to get with my rampant PTSD, suicidal ideation, thoughts of killing my parents, abject poverty.” It runs down this thing and I’m like, “They’re trying to make a funny meme out of their “mental health struggles.” Every time I see those memes, I feel so cringy. There’s something I feel so off about it.

You’ve brought that example up before. That haunted you because you saw that 1 or 2 years ago and it stuck with you all this time.

I’m not trying to take away anyone’s coping mechanism if they’re going through authentic mental health because I also struggle with mental health. That’s something that is a foundational element of why we created this show. There are ways that humor falls flat to me sometimes. When someone’s like, “Let’s make fun of my PTSD and my suicidal ideation and the unhealed trauma for my parents.” They go on these things and I’m like, “Are you dealing with this in a real way of therapy and somatic healing and adjusting your diet? Is your way of dealing with your perceived mental health making fun of it?” To me, my concern in a real way is if that’s a person’s only way of dealing with it, that’s concerning to me. If making fun of it and making memes and like, “We’re all fucked up.” If there’s nothing beyond that, and I’m not assuming there is. I don’t know what each person’s going through, but I don’t know. When I see those memes, I’m like, “Bad taste.”

It’s tricky because some people don’t realize that it’s bad taste because it’s so culturally acceptable or maybe they don’t care. It’s wanting to express yourself and not knowing how else to.

It goes back to having compassion. It’s one of the foundational elements we always talk about here on the show. I suppose one of the reasons that we bring such a variety of topics and a diverse amount of guests is we want to connect with different stories, different experiences, the challenges and traumas and triumphs people have gone through and are going through. In a way, the more that we share those stories and the more that we bring up these kinds of different subjects, it engenders, hopefully, not only for us, a deeper sense of compassion and perhaps empathy and understanding. Certainly, for the audience and anyone who’s following the show to open your heart, your eyes and your mind to what people who are different than you are going through. Maybe at the core of it, that’s maybe some of the deepest healing we can have or hopefully have on the planet. By bringing those perspectives and stories, we can open each other up to how people are coping and dealing with some of the most challenging aspects of being a human being on the planet. That’s our three FAQs for the day, isn’t it?

I think so. We can leave it at that and some food for thought.

As we do, dear reader, thanks for riding shotgun with us on this journey of This Might Get Uncomfortable and we have more to come as we dive deeper into who knows what. We have some subjects we know we’re going to start with, and then others, it’s right off the top of the dome. Thanks for being with us on this journey. Follow us on all of the social media networks at Wellevatr.com. That’s also our website. If you’re going through a relocation situation, struggling with maybe what you think the next chapter of your life might be, you can hit us up through DM or email. Maybe we’ll take your suggestion to make a new episode out of it. That’s another thing too. We love hearing episode suggestions. We’ve formed entire episodes. When you’re like, “Why don’t you do an episode about your favorite breads?” I don’t know. We could fill a hole.

I was hoping you’re going to put in some random examples.

I bet we could fill an hour about bread. I’m a bread connoisseur. I could do a straight fifteen minutes on motherfucking pumpernickel. With that, dear reader, we’re out for now. Thanks for getting uncomfortable with us. We love you. We appreciate you. We’ll be back soon with another episode.

I’ve got to know. Are you serious you could do fifteen minutes minimum on pumpernickel? That’s not just a joke.

For sure, I could. I love pumpernickel bread.

I suppose we could talk about sourdough as well. That pizza we didn’t even mention is made from sourdough crust. It was good. Sourdough is pretty good and banana bread.

Whitney, we’re doing an episode about bread. Dear reader, tune in for our bread episode!

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