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Moving On Up!

 Jarrod Champagne reminisces about his move  from Louisiana and the new beginnings that were a waiting for him in Virginia. 

“Well, I guess that’s about it,” I said examining the back of the truck.

“Yep,” replied my buddy, as he and his brother stared at the truck.

It was a hot early evening in August. The three of us stood staring at the back of the small U-Haul truck which now contained the few belongings I owned as well as my hopes and dreams.

I had just graduated college, gotten a job in Virginia, and was preparing to move halfway across the United States to a city where I knew no one to begin my journey and chase my dreams. My goal was to get back into school to pursue a Master’s Degree. But, that was a task for another day. First, I needed a goodnight rest to make the two-day trip.

The trip was hot and very slow. With my heart already in Virginia, I found myself in Alabama stopped at a rest stop on the first day. My phone suddenly rang and it was my new employer.

“We’ve hired another individual and just wanted to let you know,” she informed me.

“So…I still have a job or I need to head back to Louisiana,” I asked in a confused state.

“No, I mean we’ve hired an additional person to work alongside you,” she explained.

Well, that was odd.

Day two found me in heavy traffic on the mid-Atlantic coast. With no cell phone GPS in those days, I was attempting to determine what time I would arrive from my printed directions. I needed to be there by 5:00 PM to get my apartment keys and it wasn’t looking promising. The minutes ticked away faster than I was moving on I-95.

I arrived at my destination at 5:30 PM. So, my first night in Virginia I paid for a hotel room to stay in as well as the first day of my lease of my locked apartment.


”Well, I’m here at least,” I mumbled to myself as I looked into the windows of the empty apartment.

The next day, feeling invigorated, I opened the door to my new place. It had one bedroom, a small kitchen with a gas burning stove, and a little patio facing the main road. It was old but definitely cozy and had a unique charm about it. The place was built in the late 1960s, and in case I forgot that, the bright yellow bathtub and bathroom counter were quick to remind me.

Old Car Show 1

Other “unique” features of the apartment included: a heating lamp in the bathroom (which came in handy during the winter), a linen closet more appropriately sized for a hotel that I converted into a pantry, and giant crickets native to the area. They had apparently rented the place before me and refused to leave.

Regardless, this was my home. It was something I had earned and a place that would become a safe haven for me in an uncertain world. That day, I unpacked everything including those hopes and dreams. Speaking of those, I spent three years in that apartment and in that time, I did earn that Master’s degree.

It has been many years since I lived there. Each time I visit that part of Virginia I am sure to swing by the complex. When I do, I smile and reminisce about those days and that same feeling of excitement and wonder comes back over me like it did so many years ago.


Jarrod Champagne can be found at The Haunted Lullaby sharing a thoughtful blog of perspective poetry and poignant thoughts.


Thank you Jarrod for sharing your story! It  really takes courage for making a fresh start and going after your dreams.

Categories: Guest Blog Life

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

5 replies

    1. I remember my first apartment had spiders! Huge green spiders. I went to knock the web off the window and one of them fell into my hair. I screamed and hollered.

      My new neighbors to young university seniors came to my rescue. It was a great way for this freshman to make a good first impression.

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