One week. Seven days. 168 hours, give or take. That’s how long I’ve been in New York City, which feels like a blink and simultaneously like an eternity. Everything about life is so different here and every part of my day feels like a learning curve in some way (insert mental image of me, probably looking mildly stressed, trying to maneuver my way through a tiny grocery store in the midst of 100 other people). From riding the subway to doing my laundry, even the simplest things here have a different energy to them. ‘One day at a time’ has been my mantra on repeat while I figure out this thing out.

But I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be doing this. When you spend a full year as a nomad, it gives you this pronounced appreciation for the smallest occasions of routine and familiarity. I have a home here. A brand new one. It’s the most surreal thing and I keep having to remind myself it’s legit. This is the fresh start I’ve been awaiting for what seems like a lifetime and it’s finally happening. Pinch me.

Transitions are intimidating. They’re huge and unpredictable and confusing, and they make you feel like a stranger in the best (and worst) ways. But for the first time in almost two years, I’m entering into something that has the possibility of permanence, of being more than a passing phase or a way to fill time. If I have discovered anything from traveling constantly, it is this deep need in my soul for community, much more present and important to me than I would like to admit. I, like so many go-getter types I know, carry my stubborn independence with a measure of pride that can keep me from seeking out people who can see behind the mask. And when I’m in motion constantly, it’s even easier to keep this up. But this new chapter is serious business for me, and it comes with the chance to form a community that has a real possibility of sticking around. That may sound like a small thing, but in the scheme of my 23-year-old life, it’s huge.

I can finally lay claim to a location pin, a ‘You Are Here’ spot on a map and an entirely blank slate. And that in itself is the most freeing thing I’ve felt in a long time.