On Finding My Path: The Train Ride to Teach

Last night, I got home and my housemate and her boyfriend were just finishing up dinner, sitting around our little makeshift table in the “living room” downstairs. I walked in and rattled off about my day. In talking about the “social” scene I had just come from—basically the grocery store where I saw at least 25 familiar faces—the three of us talked about how we met people upon arriving in Chattanooga, whether it came with a hefty “investment” price of countless beers at Tremont Tavern, or as Cortney said, “Dancing all crazy around the right people…and then I would meet cool folks.”

Pack me up, I’m ready to go!
This was me in my bike box as I packed my belongings to head home—to the South!

This morning, after sleeping on that conversation and those thoughts, in my meditation, I thought about my move back to Chattanooga just over three years ago. I took the slow route home—literally, I took a series of trains from Portland, Ore., to New Orleans. The Empire Builder to Chicago brought me through Glacier National Park, across Montana and into the other cluster of northern states I’d never visited. From Chicago, I boarded the City of New Orleans and ended up in the train’s namesake, where I was warmly received and welcomed by two dear friends.

Leaving the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. See ya later, clouds…

I woke up in Glacier National Park! Trains rock. And roll.

Living the High Life?

As I watched the nation’s landscapes pass me by, on an Easter weekend, I experienced the most beautiful, gradual transformation through transportation, which is what makes train travel so special. Also special were the people I met: traveling alone, I talked to all sorts of characters, exchanging stories about where they were headed and where they were coming from. I was in a raw state after leaving what felt like a failed experiment in the Pacific Northwest, but I remember being so positive and excited about my future in Chattanooga. I knew why I was moving back there—because my friends and family are there—and it’s my home, my network, my base.

Good morning America how are you?
Don’t you know me I’m your native son,
I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

Reunited in New Orleans—the perfect homecoming!

in New Orleans

At the time, having not worked for about four months in Portland, I had arranged to interview at a preschool in Chattanooga that is literally right down the street from my current residence. My dear friend had worked there for years, and we spent a great deal of time talking about teaching, guiding kids and the nurturing environment necessary for those things to happen.

I was going to be a preschool teacher. And I was sticking to it, or so I thought.

About a week later, I walked from where I was staying at my dad’s house to interview at said preschool. It took three hours in a classroom of 3 year olds to realize it wasn’t the environment for me: not at the time, at least. Within a month I found a position at a publishing company, writing full time and working with a team of young creative folks who have continued to fuel my passion and creativity.

A homecoming snap from Rising Fawn, visiting my mom.

Where part of my Chattanooga journey began, on the 7th floor of the old Bank Building, across the street from where I ended up getting a job writing.

Amid the changes the past three and a half years have brought, the thought of teaching has resurfaced many times in different forms or fashions. I hadn’t been reminded of my work intent when I first moved back here, though, until last night.

I caught myself saying to a friend that my decision to pursue yoga teacher training certification did take about three months to fall into place, not three years; but in fact it HAS been three years in the making, if not longer! It just took me that much time to grow and learn and find a teaching opportunity that is right for me. It also took me a period of maturing and realizing that I’m OK just where I am, and regardless of my age, I have the ability (and confidence) to teach other people.

The day I started yoga teacher training. Can’t hide that smile!

It will take me even more time to open up my voice. I’m fortunate that I can use one my talents that I enjoy—writing—to uncover and share my voice, and I can only hope to continue to reflect on this experience that, as I said before, has been a lifetime in the making.

Fog lifting on another beautiful morning in Chattanooga.

An acquaintance, a co-worker who I feel is a soul sister who I just haven’t gotten to know yet, said to me yesterday as I told her about my journey: “It’s one of those moments when the universe opens its doors and says, ‘Get the fuck in here!’”

We laughed and smiled. I’m here. I’m on my path, my journey. I’ve landed.


2 thoughts on “On Finding My Path: The Train Ride to Teach

  1. Great read LJ! So proud of you for finding your inner joy and pursuing it whole heartedly. This is certainly something to be excited about and I’m glad you shared =)

  2. This sounds like the perfect career for you. A place to let your inner light shine and help others. That’s LJ. 🙂 All the best.

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