One Time in NOLA, I Was Invited Down Under
My hometown of New Orleans turns 300 this year. To help contribute to the city's tricentennial, I wanted to share a story that could have only started in the Big Easy.
Four years ago, I was walking out of my office in New Orleans. The Saints were playing that evening and a friend was coming to meet me so we could walk to the Superdome. Downtown was a sea of Black and Gold jerseys, as fans (including myself) made their way down Poydras Street. Before we got to the dome, someone came up to us and said, "Excuse me, why is everyone wearing that jersey? Is there some game or event going on?" I responded, "yes, it's a football game. The Saints are playing, you should come to the Dome."
Sacha is from Australia and chose New Orleans as her first place to ever visit in the United States. She was new to all the things us New Orleanians take for granted: our Saints, good food, cheap drinks and incredible hospitality. What I thought would be another football game, turned into me introducing an Aussie to my hometown. More importantly, it turned into me gaining a new friend.
She came with us to the game that evening. Did I mind having to explaining the rules every down? Or why the players wear the gear they do? Or the entire history of football? OF COURSE not. What was more important was the connection. It was making sure that someone who took the jump and came to a place where she knew no one felt welcome.
What was more important was the connection
Sacha stayed with my friends and we showed her around the city. From Uptown to the Lower Nine, she got to see what the city has to offer. Crawfish, Po-Boys, streetcars, to-go cups - Sasha fell in love with everything. Before she left, she thanked me and said, "If you ever find yourself in Australia, you have a place to stay."
Fast forward to today, and I'm wrapping up my first solo trip abroad in Australia. I took the jump, like Sacha did, and went outside my comfort zone. Kangaroos, koalas, pristine beaches, breathtaking nature, delicious food and drinks - Oz has it all. The most important thing that the Big Easy and Australia have in common is the people. New Orleanians and Aussies both are outgoing, diverse and welcoming. No matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love, you're welcome in both places.
The most important thing that the Big Easy and Australia have in common is the people
I took this trip to take a break. I needed to press pause to figure out where I am going in my career. The past ten days allowed me to reflect and remember that I'm only bound by the limits I set for myself. Where I want to go and who I want to be have always been up to me. Everything that I need is either with me or will come when I need it. Freelancing allows me to chart my own course, both in my career and personal life. It's why more people are turning to working for themselves and why we should support them.
There will always be decisions to make when you're in business for yourself. If you choose to go it alone, you will fail. You become successful in any endeavor when you open yourself up to new ideas and people. Never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and take the leap - because you never know where you might end up.
Thank you Sacha.