HUGE Life Update: A Secret Trip, Several Moves, and Auditioning for a TV Show/Contest

Part 1: The Nomad

I left Virginia last June. Moved away for good, not just for the summer. I thoroughly enjoyed living with Jenny, but it quickly became apparent that Virginia is not the place for me.

I drove my car to Pennsylvania, parked it there, and then flew to Oregon to work in the harvest for the summer. After two months in Oregon, I flew back to Pennsylvania, got my car, went to a staff retreat, and then drove to Philadelphia.

I’m not sure if it’s correct to say that I “went” to Philadelphia or “moved” to Philadelphia. I intended it to be a move but it didn’t quite work out that way. I stayed for five weeks, and one day I hope to go back, but for now that’s it. Instead, I’m moving to Houston for a while to live with Matt and Phoebe.

I call my trip to Philadelphia my “secret trip” because although many fascinating things happened while I was there, I didn’t blog or post on social media (except BeReal) about any of them. And I’m not planning to, although I did make a lengthy Patreon post about my trip, why I went in the first place, and why it didn’t ultimately work out.

Part 2: The TV Show

When I was in Oregon over the summer, my middle school writing teacher tagged me in a post on Facebook about a reality TV show for writers. A few days later my mom sent me the same thing. Intrigued I clicked the link.

Essentially, there’s a group of people trying to start a reality TV show called “America’s Next Great Author.” But before they can make the show, they need to film a pilot to show to the networks and, I don’t know, prove that authors are interesting enough for a TV show I guess.

Anyone could audition for the pilot—all you had to do was send in a one-minute video of yourself pitching a book, along with a bio about yourself and the first ten pages of your book. They’d choose 100 semifinalists to come to New Jersey to film the pilot.

For the pilot, they’d choose twenty finalists to pitch their book in front of a live audience, and then one person would win $2,500 and be guaranteed to be featured in the TV show if it ever gets picked up.

It all sounded like a very interesting experience, and I decided to audition with an idea I’d dreamed up on the combine.

See, it occurred to me that if Darrel ever had an accident in the middle of harvest similar to my dad’s, no one would really know how to run the farm. I began to wonder how much of the harvest I could still bring in if I was abandoned out in the field, and then I wondered how a brand-new combine driver would deal with it.

I started imagining all kinds of innovative ways characters might come together to figure things out, and it was a fun thought experiment as I drove.

Actually auditioning for the show, though, required me to step back and figure out the themes and arc of the story, which was a good thing for me as I have a tendency to just dive into new stories willy-nilly and then abandon them.

It’s also good for me to have deadlines in my life sometimes.

The deadline to send in my material was September 15, but I wrote the pitch before I left Oregon so I could film it in front of my combine. Then when I got to Philadelphia I wrote the first ten pages and submitted the whole thing the day it was due.

I’d find out on October 1 if I was a semifinalist, and filming was scheduled to take place at the end of October in New Jersey.

That made things a bit complicated when Philadelphia didn’t work out and I decided to move to Houston. Houston is pretty far away from New Jersey, but Pennsylvania is pretty close, so I decided to stay in the northeast at least until October 1.

I left Philadelphia September 26, planning to spend a week with my cousin Annette in Lancaster. I didn’t know what I’d do if I did become a semifinalist, but I hoped I could figure something out.

October 1st, last Saturday, I refreshed my email over and over. And then I saw it.


I was so excited. A little stressed too. Now where was I gonna live? But Lancaster is no Philadelphia. I contacted some friends and they contacted their friends, and in less than 24 hours I had multiple options for places I could live in Lancaster for a month.

Part 3: Why Am I So Happy?

It occurred to me the other day that maybe I don’t actually want the things I think I want in life.

This summer I ran into an old friend who told me, “I’m jealous of your life, it sounds so exciting!”

I immediately burst into tears. Because right then my life didn’t feel exciting, it felt dreadful.

I never really wrote on this blog about how difficult Virginia was for me, although I talked about it on Patreon sometimes. With the smaller audience I have over there, I sometimes feel more comfortable being vulnerable.

But here, on my public blog, I didn’t have the courage.

In essence, I was deeply lonely. And I harbored a terrible fear that I’d be lonely no matter where I went in life. I didn’t want to be nomadic. I didn’t want an exciting life, really…I just wanted to settle down somewhere that felt like home.

At least, that’s what I thought I wanted.

But I realized the other day that though the past few months have been extremely stressful, and while it’s been hard to make any headway with writing projects since I keep moving all the time and trying to adapt to different schedules, ever since I left Virginia I’ve been happy. I was happy in Oregon over the summer. I was happy in Philadelphia. I am happy now, in Lancaster City. And as far as I know I’ll still be happy when I move to Houston.

Maybe I don’t crave stability as much as I thought I did?

Because I keep making anti-stability life choices.

I think deep down I like living an exciting life. I want stability eventually, but it has the be the right sort of stability. And I’m happier pursuing the right sort of stability than I am settling down with the wrong sort of stability.

Part 4: The Plan

I don’t like drifting around without a plan. So I have a plan now, which involves saving for a few years and buying a house. I feel cautious even writing those words, because the thing I want most in the world is a house, and I don’t want to, I don’t know, jinx it I guess.

For now, I’m in Lancaster City for a month. Then I’ll film the TV Pilot which as far as I know no one but network executives and such will ever see (sorry). (I could be wrong about this as I’m just a little Menno girl who knows nothing about TV, lol.)

Then I’ll take a looooooong trip to Houston…not as far as Oregon but pretty far still.

And after that I’ll probably live in Houston for a decent amount of time, saving moolah. But who knows, really. Life is chaotic.

Anyway, there is a life update for you! Now maybe I can get back to blogging about the random interesting things that happen to me.


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9 responses to “HUGE Life Update: A Secret Trip, Several Moves, and Auditioning for a TV Show/Contest

  1. What a delightful post! Discovered your Mom’s blog, and then yours. One comment: God can give you just the right house at just the right time. He can even make it so you are an answer to someone’s prayers to sell their house. I know 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s awesome! Congratulations and I hope you have a great time in New Jersey!


  3. I suppose it’s my fault for not subscribing to your Patreon, and I know we haven’t kept in touch well since, like, a decade ago, BUT next time you’re in Philly—if you ever are—you should *at least* participate in the grand Mennonite tradition of coming over to our place for supper, sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think places have “spirits”. I’m sure there is a more technical spiritual name for them, pertaining to spiritual rulers but the name does not come to me. I basically grew up in western Washington and I always felt there was an oppressive spirit there. Oregon was better, but Eugene was a different kind of oppressive spirit…more of an “I” or “me” spirit. We were supposed to move to Medford once and it felt soooo dark down there when we went that I told my husband he’d have to find another job, because I could NOT live there. But on our way home, we stopped in Grants Pass and it was totally different, so we moved there. Since then, I have felt similar things…like I don’t notice the “spiritual noise” in Junction City, but when I drive a ways east, like halfway to Sweet Home, or even up into the hills to the west, I feel 100% better and happier, like i dont’ have to work at being happy.

    So I think you will find a place that “feels” like home, and God will plant you there. I worked in JC when I was in college and fell in love with the little town of 1600 and God moved me here and I raised my family here (aside from a one-year hiatus in Grants Pass). I don’t love it quite so much since it has grown, but it is still my home and I have deep roots here now (people I have known for 30 years) and that helps. I grew up moving from place to place, so roots were something I was missing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: A Wild Week in Lancaster City: Car Accident, Locking Myself Out of the House, and More TV Show Info | The Girl in the Red Rubber Boots

  6. Pingback: The Reality TV Show Experience | The Girl in the Red Rubber Boots

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