This update is even more delinquent than normal and for that I apologize.
I write from a bustling terminal that may or may not be anywhere close to the terminal where I’ll eventually need to be. I’m smack dab in the Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México (Mexico City’s international airport) waiting to board my connecting flight to Puerto Vallarta, where several of my other family members are already enjoying a week’s vacation. The opportunity to join is a gift.
Here’s the quick rundown of where I’ve been since I last wrote and where I’m headed after this.
For the past couple months, my epicenter has been my parents’ homestead in Chicagoland. Since returning from my final few-week stint in California in late September, I have been here and there:
- Joined my dad for a road trip to Texas for a conference and quick visit with a couple old friends.
- Road-tripped to Madison, Wisconsin for a couple days to visit a friend.
- Enjoyed a long weekend with dear friends in Nashville, Tennessee for a wedding.
- Flew to Denver, Colorado for a reunion with JT and a week within view of mountains.
- Spent the holidays between Chicagoland; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Galena, Illinois with humans I love dearly.
- Drove to Columbus, Ohio via a pit stop in Dayton to see two good people I’m lucky to have in my life and meet more besides.
- Took a quick jaunt to La Porte, Indiana for one more wedding.
- Am currently in Mexico.
I’ve been hugely blessed with opportunities to run around and see people over the past couple months. The rest of my time has been spent working on the company I started while in the UK and am continuing to push forward along with my dad.
My next step is, after a long year of seeking God’s leading and trying to figure out where to be, to return to Belfast and the UK to use the rest of the visa I had received in August of 2020. I will fly next week through Portugal, land in Dublin, and bus to Belfast (technically hitting five countries in six days, hence my clickbait-y title).
As many of you know, whether or not to return to Belfast (after COVID and visa woes curtailed my original plan to remain there from March 2020 through the present day) has remained a constant question. The visa I currently have is an entrepreneurship visa and was obtained to allow me to live in the UK for two years to continue working on my company. Though much of that time window has eclipsed and won’t be recovered, the visa is still valid until August of this year (2022). I’ll return to Belfast and plan to live in the UK until then.
I’m looking forward to a few things about this step. First, I left my life in Belfast in April of 2020 in a matter of hours (that story is for another time – or it may be written in this blog). I didn’t get to say goodbye to my friends there, and all my stuff (as well as that of my then-roommate’s, who also had to leave under unfortunately premature and nebulous circumstances) is still there in a very benevolent acquaintance’s garage. It’s been over there for a year and a half – the amount of time my life has felt somewhat on pause.
Thus, I’m looking forward to being able to go back to take care of those things, see those people, and eventually close that chapter a bit more nicely than the untied bow I left it in last time. I’m also excited because this is the first season of time I’ll be able to concentrate on my company (Fathom) rather than juggling it alongside other significant jobs and roles. I currently freelance write – but I can earn enough in just 10-15 hours a week to support myself right now, which is a huge blessing. I’ll be able to give the majority of my attention and time to Fathom. My dad and I are treating it as a make-or-break timeline – we’d like it to stand on its own legs after this period. Whether it looks like something I’ll hand off sooner or later, or build a team to take some of the responsibilities he and I are currently holding, remains to be seen.
And what happens after August, you might ask?
Great question. No word yet.
Ideally, I’ll get to come back to the States for a coaching job again. I miss coaching and would like to do that long-term.
I’ve been asked by many people over the past couple weeks whether I have interest or intention to continue living in the UK or Europe after this stint. My short answer is probably not. I’ve learned how much trouble visas are to obtain, how much I love the Pacific Northwest and want to try living there, and how much I miss State-side collegiate coaching. I’ve not found the same caliber of play, experience, and commitment anywhere else yet.
But though I have things I’ll certainly be pursuing and hope will happen, I have no idea where I’ll be come August.
But hey – that’s months away. We joked the other night that it’s tons of time in Lauren-years.