imageAs I sit at Starbucks, the main source of income and social activity for me the past 9 years, I think about the many stores I worked at, the many people I’ve met, and the different areas of the country I lived in or visited in.  I only have a few more shifts left before I jump without that safety net to catch me. (Read: Cutting The Apron Strings)

People come and go in your life.  I lived in New York for 28 years of my life, but still, friends and even family would drift in and out of my world — no matter how close they lived.  That’s okay.  I don’t have any hard feelings.  I don’t think they care any less.  Life happens.  Time passes.  I hope the people who have graced my life understand my side of things — my need to leave New York and explore.  I’m a free spirit and have this desire inside of me to explore — the world, my creativity, new people and experiences.  It doesn’t mean I don’t love and appreciate the folks I have known or met along the way.

If I have been lucky enough to meet you, just know, you will always be part of my soul.  You may find traces of yourself in a character of mine or I can be swimming with wild dolphins in the Bahamas and think of some funny story you told me about snorkeling. Goodbyes are never easy.  The folks that I have met in Florida this past year see the excitement on my face and hear it in my voice when I talk about leaving Starbucks and exploring this wonderful country of ours for the next 6 months.  They tell me they’ll miss me, and I say the time, but I can tell they don’t believe me.

It took me a long time to make friends in Bradenton, Florida.  There is a different, more reserved culture here than I’m used to.  For a while, I didn’t think I’d ever like anyone I worked with or met on tiny Anna Maria Island.  That has changed, though.  I have met a handful of people I call friends.  We are all very different, but that’s what is great.  I learn from our differences and I appreciate some of the qualities in them that I lack. So yes, I am sad to not be staying long enough to see what these friendships would have grown into.  At the same time, I know in my heart that this particular location has nothing to offer me.  Generally speaking, the people I’m surrounded by are either retired or stuck in a life rut I wouldn’t want to be sucked into.

My 76-year-old roommate told me I came to Florida as a girl and am leaving a woman.  I don’t particularly agree with her statement.  For one, I think I will always be a curious, bright-eyed girl who looks forward to silly things, like a premiere of a teen vampire drama, which I will probably be behind on the entire time I’m traveling.  I also think I was already a “woman” when I moved.  Carolyn didn’t know me before, so I don’t think it is an accurate assessment.  I do agree that I have grown and grown-up more, like I do every year, and after every big new experience.  And maybe I am a tad more take charge and a smidge more aggressive than I used to be.  Carolyn and my co-workers at Starbucks have rubbed off on me in that way, and that is a great thing for my passive (sometimes passive-aggressive) nature. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back to Anna Maria Island; maybe it will be my writing retreat.  Who knows? It is a great little escape, just not home.

author

Sandy Lo’s personal story is inspiring. She started, StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Recently, she has been seeing some tremendous momentum in book sales on Kindle. She has been included on the “50 Writers You Should Be Reading” list by The Authors Show, and “Dream Catchers”, “Breaking The Moon” and “Indigo Waters” reached the Top 100 Best Selling Coming of Age novels in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What makes this even more unique, is that Sandy relocated from NY to Nashville in order to write “The Watch Dog,” which is set in a fictional town outside of Music City. “The Watch Dog” reached the Top 10 Ghost Stories on Amazon. Aside from her writing projects, Sandy is also a freelance digital strategist.

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