Straddling Two Worlds: East Coast/West Coast Gratitude


Geography shapes who we are. We are formed and inspired by the landscape around us - whether it be through nature or an urban environment. I was born in Washington, D.C. Due to my father’s work as a nutritional anthropologist, we moved to different landscapes in Jamaica (the Caribbean), Norway, Connecticut, and Ohio. After I went to college my parents landed in Northern Virginia for my father's job in DC working for the US Government through AID (Agency for International Development). Soon after their move, I took a train cross country to San Francisco.

I never imagined I would stay on the West Coast for an extended time, but I lived in San Francisco for 31 years. Since then I've been straddling both coasts. As many of you know, this summer I moved back East (and a little bit South) to Charlottesville, Virginia.

This month I went back to San Francisco for several work events (which included receiving an award! See below). I acutely experienced the reality that I am, and will continue to be bi-coastal, as I have rich connections to both coasts. There is so much to appreciate and be grateful for in this regard:

East Coast Gratitude:

  • The Seasons! Seeing the fall colors with the beauty that nature brings at this time of the year is awe-inspiring.
  • The Mountains! I’ve always wanted to live in the mountains, and this area has no shortage of stunning views and access to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • My Family! It is wonderful to be closer to my mom, my brother, and many of my other family members. Sadly, my father is no longer alive, but I feel his presence more here.
  • Proximity to Major Cities! - NYC! Boston! DC! It is also great to be closer to Europe again.
  • Straightforward Attitude! - There is a clarity and practicality on the East Coast that I jive with.

West Coast Gratitude:

  • The Ocean! Living near the ocean for so long gave me a deep love of the expansive feeling of the sea and the fresh cool breezes.
  • My Creative Community! - I have developed strong ties with a wide range of creatives in the healing arts community, the visual arts, dance, and film world over the years in the Bay Area. There is so much innovation and dedication that I admire.
  • My Recovery Community! - Since I got sober in SF, my recovery community is where my heart is.
  • The Food! The cuisine in the SF Bay - the farm-to-table fare, incredible Mexican food, and unique plant-based offerings.

There is no way to avoid the reality that our world is full of strife, pain, war, and uncertainty. As we move into our Thanksgiving celebrations in the US, and we all wind into the holiday season, I wish you many moments of joy, ways to find purpose, and gratitude for what life brings you

What landscapes in your life inspire you? What geography is calling to you? Some food for thought.