Asheville, Here I Come!

Posted by on Mar 6, 2016 | 7 comments

“This is my last Ohio winter.” Six words I’ve bitterly uttered every January for the past, oh, four years or so. This year, I meant it. I’m packing up and heading South… y’all.

In less than one month, this Midwest girl is heading to the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.Asheville Mountains Mist Blue Ridge Parkway

Where there are countless trails, just waiting for me to run them. And walk/hike/bike them. Also known as one of the best foodie and music cities in the country. Hello, Beer City USA. Oh, and I’ll be approximately 3,000 steps from the Blue Ridge Parkway. My little home office? It’ll overlook the lovely French Broad River. And I’ll be a short stroll from plenty of shopping- and Starbucks (shhh, you Asheville-ians already dismissing me for that coffee chain comment).

So that’s my big news. Now, before you’re all like #30YearOldCrisis, let’s launch into the FAQ.

First, the “why am I going,” in case the description above didn’t provide enough of a reason.

It’s simple, really. I’m a huge believer in always striving for personal happiness and never settling just because that’s the easy, comfortable choice. Plain and simple: Columbus is not my jam anymore. While I’ve loved living in the 614, it’s never really felt like my “place.” It’s always seemed more like I was just passing through.

When I moved to Columbus from Washington DC in 2009, I didn’t think I’d be here for long. A couple years at most; before I headed off on my next adventure. Fast forward almost seven years later. 
The Nationwide building in downtown Columbus, Ohio, for Valentine's Day

Truth is: Columbus is a cool town. I wouldn’t give up my time in the ‘bus for anything. I had good times (and some bad ones) that I’ll never forget. The memories that were made here will truly last a lifetime, just like the friendships. I’ve built a career I love with the help of countless inspiring people; through experiences I’d never have gotten elsewhere. I learned there is no better feeling than helping others. Pink It Up Columbus

Let’s face it: Despite my best efforts. I was never a true Buckeye. But, I gladly put on the colors because, O-H wow, can those Buckeyes throw a good tailgate. Ohio State Buckeyes horseshoe

In North Carolina, I won’t have to be careful about wearing blue; but, instead, what shade of blue. 

As I dodge flying buckeyes, let’s move on. So, why Asheville?

I’ve wavered back and forth the past couple years about where I wanted to move. For a while, I thought about heeding the call to “Go West!” I almost just went for it in Denver. I highly considered returning to my favorite city, DC, now that I wouldn’t have to live on cereal. Toyed with the idea of trying out the deeper South- although, that may have posed a health risk with the abundant supply of sweet tea and sweet potato fries.

Trust me, everyone has offered ideas on where they think I should go; what they think I should do. I’ve appreciated it. But, I’ve realized, in the end, you just have to put on earmuffs and ask, “But, seriously now, what do I want?” Easier said than done, friends.

Really and truly, it has taken me a while to get to know myself and what exactly makes me happy. Platinum blonde 24-year-old Hana would be sitting here in her Pink pants eating chocolate pudding staring at almost-30-year-old brunette me, sporting running rights and t-shirt, eating a bowl of roasted veggies, like, “Who are you, and what have you done with me?”  1919373_735675179004_7041829_n-1 And to her, I’d say, “Oh honey, you’ll understand when you’re older.”

I’m not criticizing myself for who I was in my mid-20s. I was really fun, actually. I went out on weeknights. Was pretty much always game for anything, anytime. But, I now have a much clearer idea of who I am and what makes me happy.

Family. Amazing times with my dearest friends. Good conversations. Finding new restaurants. Long trail runs. The great outdoors. My career. Listening to live music. Exploring new places. Traveling at every chance I get. Volunteering. A stellar cocktail. Healthy food. Sunshine and warm temps.

I guess one the perks of being almost 30 that you start to understand who you are, and who you’re not. And then begin to accept and embrace that realization.

You know. Adult things.

Asheville is a pretty good place to experience all of the above, which makes me pretty sure I’ll find my happy place. It’s nice to know I have family there, and that I can drive home to Cincinnati on a weekend; not take a plane. I’m so excited to get outside and escape to the mountains anytime I want, but then also enjoy live music, good food and drinks the same day. Also, pull up the forecast and compare it to Ohio. Enough said.Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, North Carolina

Really, what’s holding me back from trying? A whole lot of nothing. Some of the very best things that have happened in my life did so without a clear plan. So, I’m going for it. I’m becoming a North Carolinian. What’s the worst thing that can happen- I live in a beautiful, cool city for a year or two and move on? That’s hardly a loss in my book.

I don’t know where I see myself in five years, and I’m okay with that.

But okay, let’s be real. As much as I’m trying to be all cool and calm- you know, channel some Western North Carolina free-spirited vibes- I do kind of have a plan. A solid career plan. Blonde/brunette, career girl, Type A Hana always has a professional plan.

My location may be changing, but my job is not. I’ll still direct digital for Inspire PR Group– just from a few hundred miles down the road.

I’m lucky enough to work with a company that believes in personal happiness as much as I do and that values long-term relationships and great work. I’ve been very fortunate to work with my boss, the founder of Inspire, since I moved to Columbus; at three different agencies. We have a thing where we can’t get rid of each other.

It has been an amazing and oh-so-educational ride to be a part of building a Inspire from the ground up. The past 1.5 years, I’ve watched the little baby agency take its first steps, start to build momentum and suddenly sprint full-speed ahead. Now, may the force be with us.

I am so excited to keep working with Team Inspire, which I believe is the strongest its ever been, and with our stellar list of clients, most of whom are also friends. Inspire PR Group on National Margarita DayThe beauty of my job is that I can pretty much do it from anywhere with wi-fi and a computer. In Asheville, I will be working from home and also from a co-working space downtown a few days a week- which will make me put on make-up and change out of yoga pants every now and again. Plus, I would start talking to a wall if left alone too long alone.

I love my job. I love my coworkers. And now i’m going to love my life, even more.

You know what else I love? Ohio. I will always proudly say I’m from Cincinnati (and you’ll know it from the way I say my A’s). And put anyone in their place who makes remarks like, “Oh, you’re from Ohio- you must have grown up in a corn field.” I’ll never stop chanting, “OU, oh yeah.” Or writing Xavier in on my bracket as the grand champion of the NCAA Championship. And I’ll still believe “maybe next year” the Bengals can win a playoff game. Cincinnati Bengals game

If this was an Oscar speech, they’d be starting to play music right now.

And I’d like to thank my family. And my friends. And everyone who’s supported me and cheered me on to literally go chase my dreams…

Stay tuned for miles of footnotes from Asheville, starting at the end of March.Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina

7 Comments

  1. Very exciting, lady! Best of wishes in this next awesome chapter!

  2. Congratulations Hana! You’re going to love it in the South :) And I’m so excited you’re taking a chance on a new place – you’re going to love it!

  3. Congrats Hana!! You will be missed but I don’t blame you. I love Cbus and loved returning to my adopted home city but I definitely think I will eventually move to East TN so I can me closer to the mountains. I loved the short time I lived there and how I could go hike whenever the heck I wanted. I’m so happy for you!

  4. Good luck lovely!!! We’ll miss you but I expect you to show me all that Asheville has to offer when I visit!

  5. I love this and am so excited for you!! Can’t wait to visit. So proud that you’re following your dreams.

  6. So excited for you, Hana – and yes, we’ll soon be able to compare mountains! Kudos to you for finding your happiness!

  7. Asheville is a great town!

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