Wistful Thinking

Miami sunset
Sunset over Miami

Last week marked exactly one year since I quit my job in Manhattan and committed to forging ahead as a freelancer. I knew I was setting myself up for big changes, but I resolved to make this lifestyle work. Slowly, I slid into a path I willfully designed. It’s been one year of growing to feel more certain in my own skin, moving toward a more mindful sense of peace and self. At the time, I couldn’t have imagined what April 2013 would look like, or where I would be, but I’ll tell you, my current scenario hadn’t crossed my mind — except perhaps, in the folds of wishful thinking.

Sitting here in my Miami sublet, drinking tea under a canopy of air plants, trees and tangled vines, watching lizards jump across my path is splendid and soothing, and feels like home. More like home than I’ve felt in a very, very long time. Except that it isn’t. Funny how that whole “location independent/digital nomad” thing works.

After working from New York City through mid-February, Ayaz and I took off to pursue lives as digital nomads. First stop? Coconut Grove, Miami. Oh, man. I love it here. I love the Grove: having a small but satisfying world of the bookstore, restaurants, and shops in walking distance from my home. I love my daily strolls to the marina, where I can gaze with awe and envy at sparkling white sailboats and catamarans, growing squinty-eyed from watching sunlight twinkle off the water.

And I’m entirely enamored with what have become my routines, like setting off for Key Biscayne’s Crandon Beach, having a very specific space on the sand I prefer to sit, reading and watching cruise ships depart Miami’s port in the distance, and grabbing happy hour beers and fish tacos on the bay at sunset. We’ve even made friends. Heck, we’ve built a pretty decent social life! Then there’s our house. In the midst of all its Florida vermin and landlord weirdness, it just feels like a home. Our home.

Except, as I mentioned, it isn’t.

We leave on Tuesday for the next leg of our adventure, heading west to Santa Fe. I can’t believe my time in Florida is almost finished. But not because it went by too fast; in fact, it doesn’t feel that way at all.

See, here’s the secret. With this lifestyle, my days don’t fly past. Life doesn’t become a blur. I have space and opportunity to feel wonder, and feel it often. Every day seems new and fresh and hopeful. Time slows down. I appreciate it.

I think it stuns me to be leaving the Grove simply because of how comfortable I’ve grown, and how happy and at peace I feel. I’m wistful.

But I know the next leg of the adventure promises to be pretty damn great. I love the West, and there’s nothing quite like a good canyon to explore on horseback..

These things I’ve grown enamoured with in Miami — the places, routines, people — I wouldn’t have known any of them had I not chosen this life. With each new place and adventure, my world grows that much bigger, my perspective that much wider. I have more to love, and more to be grateful for.

I can’t even imagine April 2014. I have no clue where I’ll be, what I’ll have seen, who I’ll have met. Maybe I’ll be done with it; settled in a Brooklyn apartment, content to be still. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll be departing an island bungalow, somewhere in Southeast Asia, clutching Ayaz’s hand, happy to have created and loved another home.


  1. inspiring!

  2. Dear Val,
    So glad you love “our” part of the world as much as we do. Much happiness on your next adventure.

    • Valerie Conners says:

      Thanks, Cheryl-momala! I’m so glad we got to spend time with you and Sid on our trip. xoxo

  3. Dolores Conners says:

    So touching. So insightful. So you. You made it all happen And I salute you.

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Rhea Auerbach says:

    A beautiful read as alway…..safe travels! xxoo

  5. Bill Conners says:

    Well it’s off again. A new adventure, new places, new friends and so many new memories. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Have fun and stay safe..Love You…..XXXXX

  6. Oh Val! I enjoyed reading this (as usual!) and I am so glad you both enjoyed your time in miami! As flashy and sometimes crazy as miami is, it truly is an interesting place to live… And a city filled with lots of natural beauty (the blue sky and ocean! The occasional green parrot flying by!) I’m so beyond glad you both got to experience life down here and that we were all able to connect! If you ever find yourselves in miami again, I still owe you an authentic Cuban pig roast! safe travels.. xxoo

    • Valerie Conners says:

      Melyssa! I’m so glad we had a chance to hang out in person. It was one of our highlights of the time here. I can’t wait to come back and take you up on the pig roast 🙂

  7. But how was the fried shrimp?!!!

  8. maryalice says:

    in the folds of my wishful thinking — spending more time learning location independence from you and A! (love your post, as always . . . ) Godspeed, and Santa Fe or Bust!!!