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007 | Moving cross-country + finding your stride: Meet my OLDEST pal Brandon Tidaback

Updated: Jul 1, 2020


Hey, hey, hey humans! We're back for episode 007 of Souls Undressed. I'm your host, Tori + today we are diving into a new kind of episode format. We have a guest on with us today + it happens to be literally the oldest friend in existence in my life. I am going to be chatting with Brandon Tidaback. Brandon left town + left the state earlier on than a lot of us do when you grow up in a tiny town. There is definitely a population of people who leave town, but Brandon left the state for college + then ended up moving across country to pursue business + his life out there with the glory + beauty of Seattle.

Today, I am going to pick his brain to serve up on a platter the perspective that a lot of us don't get to experience coming from small rural towns like Coal City, Illinois, but we're also going to start out diving into our friendship + how we know each other + give all that backstory. Then, we're going to let Brandon talk about his life out there + everything that he has experienced + grown from through his decisions to leave town + when he gets to come back + all of that means to him. We're also going to end talking about how we maintain our closeness. I think that long-distance is pretty common in a variety of different friendships + relationships, but it is definitely something that causes tension or stress on those relationships, unintentionally + unfortunately, i'd say that a lot of relationships fizzle out + almost grow past a point of feeling like you can return to that "closeness" again. I think it is really cool to dive into the long-distance perspective from a friendship + then Andrew + I are going to get on here and talk about how our relationship started with long distance + I also have done an episode that I'm going to try to pick pieces from to create an episode about long-distance relationships currently with a couple that I am really close with.

So, that is what you can expect for today. We're both going to share our own tips + tricks for you to be able to take what you want, leave what you don't as far as spreading your wings, exploring your own passions + desires + not letting your surroundings + your circumstances limit you + how to make the most + keep the most in the relationships that mean the most to you when there is a lot of geographical distance between you. I wrote a really cheesy quote before I read the vision board quote that says, "Life changes + so does geography, but your friendship doesn't have to." That's not my vision board quote, the real one is coming, but I wrote that shit last night + was like, "oooo, that's good, can't leave it out."

I do not have the author for today's quote to read to you, but I will try to have it in the show notes that are linked in the notes here if you'd like to look that up + whenever it is shared on the Instagram page I will be sure to include it.

"Initiate. Life is too damn short to live in a mediocre way. Wake up with a purpose + make the best of each day in your short time on this earth. Stop saying, "I'll do this when I have more money," or "I'll start when I'm more settled." Stop making excuses. What if I told you that all you need is what you have right now? That's all you need to make a start. It doesn't matter if you're 17 or 50. Set your alarm for tomorrow morning and wake up with a purpose. Always give your best and live your best life. Don't let the years just pass you by because we don't get another chance, this is it."

I had a hard time choosing a quote for this episode, I'll be honest. I chose this one because I feel like the way that Brandon has dove into his life + his passions + what comes natural to him, is, and always has been in a way that has been true to himself. I think the reason that we had such closeness in the fact that we've both always had a hard time feeling like we "matched the crowd," + we always have gotten along with people super well + always been "people-people," but we've always felt things differently about life + so I feel like getting to watch him take off + chase things that go against the grain even when people are like, "Why the hell are you doing that?" or "How are you doing that? How are you going to survive?" or "Holy shit, you're a $450 flight + halfway across the country away from everything you know + love.... how will you survive? You'll be back in no time." All these things that we experience when we have doubt about our dreams + our belief systems + he just kind of crushed it all + said, "Fuck that," + now he does what he wants + he loves life + he's got a bangin' girlfriend from Alaska that we're totally going to talk about. I frickin' love her, but without further ado, let's get to it.

Moving cross-country + finding your stride: Meet my OLDEST pal Brandon Tidaback:

Hello! Welcome to the podcast, Brandon! Brandon, meet the microphone + the crowd!

Brandon: How's it goin' everyone? Thanks for having me! It's good to see you for consecutive days now.

Tori: I know! So, Brandon is home on a little trip home post COVID, to spend some time with fam + regroup. Like I said in the intro, he's in Seattle, so we don't really get many consecutive day hang outs + we've seen each other quite a few times since he's been home. So, Brandon, why don't you tell the listeners how we became friends.

Brandon: I think you might do it a little bit better than me, but I will give it a good shot. Preschool? Kindergarten? Kindergarten. Ms. Stallion, yeah.

Tori: She's like the realist.

Brandon: We might bring up some very impactful teachers from the past + some of them are retired now, but we will thank her for being our teacher + we can just kick it off there. We met very early on in grade school + then at some point, I don't know when, you ventured off to Dwight.

Tori: Yeah, I moved away. We we're like the closest humans ever in kindergarten, we have pictures together, he's like one of the only friends I remember from my time in Coal City + then, yeah, I dipped out. Then, we became friends again in middle school.

Brandon: Fast forward to convincing our parents that we could have a MySpace or cell phone with a few texts.

Tori: Football Games!

Brandon: Yeah, football games, absolutely! Small town games, you run into everyone! Yeah, I think around middle school time, we were able to reignite what friendship we had when we were younger + it just didn't stop.

Tori: We had so many mutual friends in Coal City. So, I moved away + Brandon was really the only friend that I still had from when I was in kindergarten, even though it's not like we kept in touch as little elementary school humans, but I had friends in town still because my dad had always stayed in Coal City. My mom moved to Dwight, so that's when I started school there. I still had some girlfriends here + then, obviously, as you get into middle school you start being friends with boys again. So, I was at football games, hanging out with the girls + stuff + I got to see you. Then, in high school when I moved back it was like finally the frickin' team reunited + we could hang at your house with momma Tam + with the pups. Then, I feel like once college hit it was just like, we were inseparable again.

Brandon: It is funny to hear you say it out like that because truthfully, we've only had a couple of years where we've been able to have quite a bit of access, but yet, you're still my longest friend.

Tori: I feel like even in middle school, when you're at that age, you start to really value the "old school" or the things you've had that have a little more longevity at that point, you start connecting to the nostalgia, but I think, I definitely say in middle school we were always like, "Friends since 99'!" So, that was the thing we probably annoyed everyone with saying like, "Best friends since then, forever!"

Brandon: Here we are, still standing strong!

Tori: My favorite part of our adult friendship is when Andrew + I started dating + it was right at the end of Senior Year + I had graduated early so I wasn't at school anymore, but I still had to walk with my class in May, but Brandon + I were still best friends + Andrew was never somebody that was weird about me being friends with dudes, he's pretty chill about most things. Brandon knew Andrew from football days. I didn't know Andrew in high school, I met him once he was already out + in college + he had always said to me, "If you knew me in high school, you wouldn't have dated me," so Brandon had this bit of discomfort like, "I don't really know if your boyfriend might want to kick my ass." I think we went to McDonald's one day + Brandon + I were in the four-way-stop going to McDonald's + Andrew was at the adjacent stoplight + Brandon was like, "OH SHIT. Is he going to be pissed?" When you're in high school, would you agree, people just get so mad about everything.

Brandon: I think it was also that we live in a town where you are always visible, so even if you weren't doing anything or trying to, somebody could say something.

Tori: Rumors everywhere!

Brandon: The last thing I wanted to do was piss anyone off in a small town + have several extended people mad at me + there be like 6 different stories. Playing Freshman football + being pulled up for playoffs + stuff like that being around that, you're like, "you know what... yeah... I'd prefer to be on his good side."

Tori: He was not a small or nice dude all the time, but I respect that + he totally respected it too. I feel like, too, with him being that much older that us, we were so used to the way that people our age were reacting, so we were just like, "so + so's boyfriend would have been pissed or so + so's girlfriend would have been pissed." I would just laugh about that because now Andrew + Brandon are like super close, well they've always been super close. Then, after you moved out to Seattle, we still stayed in touch. Andrew + I came out + saw you + Elise. We had like bomb-est ass trip, EVER! Went to a show for your birthday. I just gota say, I am obsessed with Elise, she knows, I think the sun shines out of her ass, but that was such a fun trip to get to completely bond + get to know each other super well. I met her before we came out there. She came home with you, right?

Brandon: Yeah, she came home the summer before you guys came out.

Tori: So, when we went out there, it was just really nice for the four of us to get to hang out. I would say that pretty much has led us up to where we're at now. Now Brandon can come home when he can.

Brandon: I try to. I try to make it a yearly trip.

Tori: You're really good at it, though. Consistency is your shit.

Brandon: Yeah, I try to be consistent, but I think we will get into it later, but I think the people here have stayed consistent. That's why I try to.

Tori: I like that. So, as far as me stealing the mic + talking about the timeline, I feel like I can gab all day about that stuff, but I want you to talk about your decision to go to Iowa for college. Kind of offer some insight + some experience-based perspective on the decision to go elsewhere + what it felt like + would you do it again.

Brandon: I went to Augustana College, which is in the Quad Cities. It's on the border of Illinois + Iowa, out near like the Rock Island/Davenport area. It is about 2 hours + 40 minutes away, depending on if there is still traffic on I-55 + I-80 out here.

Tori: There actually is construction right now.

Brandon: Classic. The 20 year project. Yeah, I think my decision to go there was, I wanted to be far enough away to where I didn't come home every weekend, but I also wanted to be close enough to where if I wanted to come back to see my friends, whom a lot didn't go far away to school, you yourself for example, graduated early + stuff like that, so I wanted access to the people that I cared most about, but I also wanted the distance to be like, "Hey, you're at college. This is your chance to figure some things out." Then, being able to play baseball for a bit was just a bonus on top of that. So, I decided to go out there, for that purpose mainly + the school was really good, too. It had awesome reviews about the business department as a whole.

Tori: You knew that's what you wanted to do, too, right?

Brandon: I didn't know exactly what I wanted to get into, but like you were saying, we're people-people + I was like, well, business is kind of the best place to do that.

Tori: So, baseball played into it, business played into it, the distance played into it, did any part of you think, "I'm getting out of Illinois."

Brandon: I think at that point, my goal truthfully was to really just go to school, get a good job + help out if needed or at least have enough distance between me + my family where I could still have my own space, but also the access.

Tori: Create your own, but have access to what you need + what needed you.

Brandon: I don't think I was actually looking at getting out of Illinois, but I think the most common joke I always receive from everyone I met was that I was "the West Coast kid that grew up in the Mid-West," or you're the kid that belongs in the surf-y lifestyle. Long boarding down Coal City road isn't very common here, but it is something I enjoy doing a lot. I wasn't really thinking distance at that point, but I knew eventually my long-term goal was: there's more out there, + although I love this town, I would truly love to go to California or some place like that because I never got to go anywhere that didn't involve baseball growing up.

Tori: That's so true. All your trips growing up involved baseball.

Brandon: It's 50/50. My first true vacation didn't happen until I was 21.

Tori: That definitely, I feel like, plays into your desire to see the world on your own terms, or even the country on your own terms because you're being exposed to all of this extra beauty that doesn't exist in Illinois or in our realm, but then it was almost like a tease. You got to enjoy it, but it was a sample platter, like now, I know there's more out there.

Brandon: That's a great point. Also, I played on over 10 travel teams, so I played with consistent people, but I never played on a consistent team, which I don't think was bad, I think it is actually the reason why I can still come back here + talk to people because I was always familiar with everyone, but never around long enough. I removed myself in a way, but I would never change that I got to meet like 15 new guys on a baseball team every year playing for 3 different teams a year or something like that. That's like 40 new friends! Because you meet them all over the country, I still have some of those friends that I talk to + have met up with.

Tori: That's a great point even to touch on, too, is if you have that interest in maybe getting out there + doing things like that + you have an athletic interest that has access to travel teams like that. You didn't know necessarily that was potentially what was feeding into you wanting to travel later, but it could have!

Brandon: I always said that even being able to travel so much as a kid, even if it was through baseball, was a tease in every place + I liked every place that I went to. I don't think there was ever a bad travel trip because it always meant I got to go somewhere. My parents gave my sister + I a lot to be able to do that + we were both pretty athletic growing up. so we chose to do that. So we kind of sacrificed our own vacations in a way. We got to compromise + do both our hobby + vacation all in one.

Tori: That's awesome. I like that. So then, you went to college, you started pursuing business + you played baseball for a bit + then you graduated + then what came next? Where was your head at as you were heading towards graduation? We kind of supplied some input + perspective for the kids that are getting ready to look into colleges + look into that next step of Coal City or my [insert small rural town here], does it feel like it is serving me for all I am looking for? Or the school is far away + is nerve racking, but should I let that limit me? Now, let's shift into getting toward the end of college, getting ready for "the real world," where was your head at + where did Seattle come into play? I remember you were looking at variety o different places for a while, which I think is why I am so intrigued by your perspective on travel + moving away because I think that it went deeper than just liking this place or this place, I think it was, "I know I have potential," + whether it was intentional or not, I think something in you knew there was some limitation happening by being here. With a city of 6,000, comes a smaller, more narrow lens if we look at it from a photographer perspective.

Brandon: So, I was pretty calm finishing college. I was ready to be done, I'll be honest. I had a pretty easy Senior year. It was because I didn't play baseball my Senior year that I actually had an easier one. I was able to knock out some extra credits in Fall term. That made my Spring really easy. My Fall was a little nerve-racking through because I lived with my teammates who were all accounting majors, they all had jobs at the end of their Junior year. So, I was panicking when I didn't have a job because you surround yourself with these people + you kind of start to compare yourself to them whether you wanted to or not. Because they had jobs that made me work really hard to kind of reevaluate a lot of things. To me, those guys had done what they were supposed to do. They went to college, they got a job before they even had their diploma + that's kind of the end game, right? Like, I want to put my degree to work. That's why I spent all this money to go into this specialized education. I looked at a variety of places because one of my roommates was in this rotational program where he was going to living in three different areas across 3 years, another one of my buddies was going back to the city + he had lived up in Northern Illinois so he never got to spend time out there. You hear these people that get to spend time in places that they really like, or that they haven't been to + they get a chance to + it is on the company dime, in a way.

Tori: It is to serve that next phase with the company, right.

Brandon: You hear them talk about what they're so excited for. I was like okay, cool. I don't have to look for a job in Morris or in Joliet or maybe I can look into the city. I can say too, at that point, I didn't think I was a city person. I think it is absolutely hysterical that I moved across the river once I finally did get my job, into Davenport + now I am in Seattle. If you've ever been to Quad Cities there's four massive cities of over like 50,000 people, but then you have Davenport, in the center of all of this + you're like, this is Coal City just across the border a little bit. They've got more options in terms of food + stuff, but you know, we love our classics here. Enough of that. I'd say, let's talk April. I got to coach my buddy's old high school JV coach and Assistant Varsity coach at that school + I absolutely loved it. Just being around the high school, too, those kids were really starting to ask me questions like, "What do you do?" "Where are you going?" I was like, ok cool, this is kind of like the questions you want to get asked when you're in this position. I didn't have an answer at that point.

Tori: So it was like exciting, but also a little nerve-racking. You're like, "oh shittttt."

Brandon: So, now I had pressure from my roommates, and I have pressure from these high schoolers who are trying take a kid 4 years older than them, coaching them + stuff who plays college baseball seriously + I don't have an answer for them.

Tori: By the way, you still feel like that as an adult working with high schoolers.

Brandon: I am kind of thankful I don't have to do that, I respect you for it. So, I ended up looking at several companies just around the Quad Cities because I like that area + fell into a company that was in Muscatine, Iowa, + the reason that I chose that job was because, much like my friend who is in the rotational program, this company had just started a new segment of their business where you can work at their headquarters, but within 6-10 months, they were expecting people that were coming into the next two hiring groups at the start of summer + at the end of summer to be able to get up + move + go manage a territory because they were looking at expanding some marketing programs, some sale programs + when I graduated, I graduated with a degree in Business Administration, but I have focuses in Marketing Management + I also had a Minor in Communication Studies.

Tori: So, you're marketable, but you also knew that you would potentially have the opportunity to move with this company.

Brandon: Yeah, + I thought that with my degree, a position like that where it is kind of a mix of everything, this company seemed to have several things I might be interested in, I didn't have to decide just yet. My accounting friends are accountants, still to this day.

Tori: That's what I love about your job + the degree that you have. You have so much versatility + that's why I think, which I know you'll get to it, where you're at now is cool + where you're looking at because you've slowly maneuvered your way to these things that interest you even more + in different ways.

Brandon: Yeah, so that position really spoke to me as something I want to do. Sure enough, I was 22, just turned 22, interviewed for a job, you can go to California, Seattle or Washington D.C. Okay. I am going to choose the California one. Some things happened + they were like, "Hey, you got the job, but the person in California can't move yet. So, we would like to offer you Seattle."

Tori: Were you bummed at first?

Brandon: I had never been to Seattle! I think that something that might shock people that might listen to this is the first time I went to Seattle I had to get an apartment.

Tori: Ah, that gives me so much anxiety.

Brandon: Yeah, I had never been out there, I had never looked into it. I heard that it rains in Seattle. My sister was a Grey's Anatomy fan, yet, spoiler alert, Grey's Anatomy was not filmed in Seattle, so I hope that doesn't crush your listeners. I know my sister was pretty bummed with that. They do the intro, but that's it. I don't know, but I knew very little stuff about it, but what I did know about Seattle was that it was on the West Coast.

Tori: Which is what you liked about California.

Brandon: Exactly. It is further away than I thought I was going to go, but it was still far enough away where I'm like, "If I'm going to get an opportunity to move + not have to pay any money because the company would pay to move you, this is my opportunity to do that. What do I have to lose? It was a one-year extended contract because they didn't want me to feel locked in or anything. So that's something I am very appreciative of + I don't know of a ton of people who come across that, but I guess what I am getting at is it was too perfect to turn down. So I went!

Tori: Look at you now. That was how many years ago? 3?

Brandon: I have lived there for 3-4 years. It will be 4 years January 23rd, 2021.

Tori: Nice.

Brandon: I'll never forget that day.

Tori: I remember when you decided you were going, I was so scared shitless. It's funny because I just sent you a Time Hop last week from when you moved to Iowa for school + I think a week before that, or next week, will hit the pictures pretty soon from another one of your trips home + then the Lolla day is coming up, from our trip last year. You decided to go, you moved in January. You were like, "I can't take my car."

Brandon: There was a lot of stuff I couldn't take. I just bought a puppy two years before that, too. I wouldn't blame her if she forgot me, but I still come through that door + she gets super excited. Hopefully no family listens to this, but she does come first. When I booked that ticket I'm like, "I can't wait to my dog," but then it's like family + friends + things like that.

Tori: Of course.

Brandon: Yeah, so, there was a lot of stuff I couldn't bring, but my mom was cool with it.

Tori: You + your mom are a unit. For people who don't know Brandon or his family, Tam is like THE realist + most understanding + most thoughtful mother I have ever met. She is a frickin' angel. Also, she's a nurse so you just put that on top of everything + it's like DUH, but I remember we almost felt like a trio was getting split apart when you moved. Now, I have been a terrible pseudo-child + haven't kept up as well. So, you decided to move. You got out there. You couldn't bring your dog, you couldn't bring your car. You're a car human too, like you LOVED your car.

Brandon: I mean I still love to drive. I snagged my mom's car a couple times already. I love driving on the open road. I like night rides + stuff like that. I ended up getting called that I had to have my car shipped out later on, which was kind of nice, but then I had a company car + that car. We will get into where that was a horrible thing in the city of Seattle to begin with + you have to learn how to have tough conversations to be able to stay in the place that you want. She was cool with it, she's been super supportive + kind of like you've been describing, I think the easiest way to put it is- she's a mom's mom. She doesn't have just one kid, she's go the hey, whoever my kids are friends with, they've got the open door invite of course there's a few like yourself who even though you think you're being a bad pseudo-child, will always have an open door invite + just walk in whenever + say what's up. I had a couple of those friends who had moms like that, too.

Tori: Yeah, it was always natural for you.

Brandon: Exactly, so I could leave + I was like, you know what, nobody has told me no. My closest friends were the ones who were like, "dude, go do it!"

Tori: Really. Like, "YOU HAVE TO GO! Please don't stay here!"

Brandon: So, I think what also comforted me was knowing I had a group of friends that at that time when you graduate high school + go into college, you feel like you have a very large group + I am still friends with a lot of them, but I have a very much more close-knit friend group that when I come back, I may not see everyone that I went to high school with, or that I went to college with, but the ones that I do see are the ones I am closest with + are going to travel to see me. Again, the only con was dogs that I am leaving home.

Tori: Right, + I feel like people who have left home who are listening or want to leave home, I'm sure they will share those sentiments with you. I never left, so I can't speak to that, so that's why I love having you be able to talk on that because the furthest I went was like 3 hours for a semester of school. I want you to talk about how you + your mom have maintained that closeness, but I think also, the fact that you mentioned the people who have taken the time to come visit you, it's not cheap, but it is also willing + able + making it a priority to find that time. Even if it's people who aren't able to come out to Seattle, people who make it a priority to be available when you come home + things like that + family even, you know? I think that people who move away also, when they come home, struggle with whether or not all their family is available to see them or whether family can prioritize making that little window of time matter + I almost feel like even though moving away causes heartbreak for a lot of people because you see peoples' truer colors, I think you can agree or tell me I am wrong, I think it allows you to see more of the heart that's in it for you.

Brandon: I think it allows you to realize there's a lot of friends that you are going to have that may appreciate you or value you + I also look at the friends that I had + think, "yeah, those were phases of my life or those were characteristics of me." I've always thought to myself, If I ever were able to get most of the people that I've met or at least maybe 50 of the people I have encountered in my life that I think are extensions of me, you would sit + look at me like, "hmm, this is a pretty good make up of this person" Once you've interacted with them + I've always wondered what those friends would be like cross-laterally, but you've experienced some of the friends I've met in Washington, the friend groups have always blended. I've always felt like I've grown into some of the people, which also makes it easier, but then, those people that are coming out + seeing me because they not only appreciate me, but they're also interested in what I am doing, those are the people that I really want, when I am back + I have limited time, I can value that time a little bit more + I can spend that time with them. That's not to say I'm not going to see the other ones, but it is impossible to keep up with everyone you've ever met + it is a hard reality for people who are teenagers + are getting ready to face that. I can probably look at the back of our graduation sweatshirts in high school + picture the face of the name that I am looking at. That's not to say I hang out with them or anything like that, but you're always going to remember those people, but the same way, you just remember their name + their face, you have to admit that people drift, people grow up, people grow apart, but it is up to you to maintain that.

Tori: I think that is the key. I think you said a part earlier that caught my attention. It has to be a two-way street + I think that what people learn as you grow through post high school age + even post college or into your 20's you realize that people share different perspectives on what is important, people value different things + people who you thought were going to be your best friends forever in middle school + high school, you end up realizing you may not share as many qualities with or you don't share as many things in common with when you grow. There's such a bad stigma on that, like a bad hang on that, but I think you even said it, you can just acknowledge that you grow + develop + you stay close with some people + you don't with others. People drift + shit happens, but I think the other thing that comes with turning 26 + 27 + getting into this point where we feel like we can say we're getting older, I think that you especially begin to recognize that the dramatic attachment to it is so unnecessary. Like you said, I am always going to know those people's names + faces. I am always going to have acquaintances or those friends or the people who I know + can interact with, but there's no hard feelings or heavy weight on the people that you can't keep that intact with.

Brandon: I would agree. I also think that where we grew up, too, we have the perk of it is really easy to see those 200 people when you're back in town. I remember I came back for Catfish Days one year + that was the first year that I brought Elyse back + she had met 250 people that night + was super overwhelmed, but like there are these opportunities where if you really do what to see everyone, there are these big gatherings, which are really nice about small towns where you can do that. But then when you want to take a vacation, kick back + relax, I have a solid group that I am able to come back + see + anyone else at that point is just a bonus. As someone who moved away, I thought I was going to get disconnected very quick.

Tori: I remember that! That's why I wanted to talk about that + talk about how easy it is to still maintain that alliance or that acquaintanceship or that friendship regardless of the "closeness" because I think that anybody is getting ready to move away or anybody that has just recently moved away, it is really easy to have that fear + have that negative attachment to the idea of that move because it's like that FOMO, like the fear of what the hell is going on with everyone else? Or what friendships aren't going to stick or who's not going to keep up? I'm sure that's its own growth chapter as moving + part of that evolution that comes with moving away, but I just love that you can grow through the variety of different stages with different people + with the people in your community that you're afraid of missing out on. I mean, shit, with Instagram + Snapchat + Facebook, you know way more about peoples' lives that you ever want to know.

So, you get out to Seattle, you got your job, you don't have your car, but then you have 2 cars, shit is expensive, which I wanted to note it is kind of funny that in the quote it is like, "I will do this when I have more money," or "I will start when I am more settled, stop making excuses," I was like shoot! Moving to Seattle may be something that we wait for the money on or wait for the business to move you, like they did. You got into Seattle. How long were you in Seattle before you met Elyse?

Brandon: I'd say 3 months.

Tori: OOO, that is like the universe kind of doing a little magic.

Brandon: I think we met March 17th.

Tori: See, so, when did Elyse move to Seattle?

Brandon: Elyse had live in Seattle for like 8-9 months before me. She was there for probably the summer before me.

Tori: She moved after school.

Brandon: Yeah, she went to school in Idaho + came down to Washington to work downtown Seattle. She had gotten a job before she graduated as well + again, her coming from Alaska, I think she was just like, I'm going to keep doing this thing + I think if you meet her you would see that that is her exact personality.

Tori: Exactly. She is not the kind of person to stop once she's got something. Coming all the way from Alaska + being that far from family, it doesn't surprise me that once she was in Idaho, she was like, "Okay, what's next?" I think that's something that allows you guys to click so well. I think you both have that agusto for life + like what can we do next?

Brandon: I think it is also because we can talk about how we don't know what's next. We've had many conversations where we're just like, "I don't know what to do..." Because I mean I was in Seattle for a bit, but I was planning on getting a new job in a very competitive city, which I think was the realist thing I ever learned because I came from a town where there were 6,000 people. I would bet a good majority of them probably know one of our last names. In Seattle, I'm not saying I never banked on that, but like these are the little growth aspects where, you know, even getting a reference or somebody who understands what you've been doing, that was tough for me to even explain some things. I don't want to tell my family, "Hey, I'm struggling with this, I feel like I am not finding anything or I am going to be stuck in this + I am going to have to move home," + then I also have this great girl on top of it, like that would really suck to have to leave this if I can't find anything, but things worked out + yeah.

Tori: Now, the company that you're with....

Brandon: Yeah, the company that I am with is great. I'm doing something much more aligned with my degree, which is something I always wanted to do, but I would say if you looked at my degree + what I learned, yeah, they don't align, actually. Let me rephrase that. What my degree says + what I learned in school, are different than what I am currently doing. I am in a marketing department + I have a marketing degree, but those are the only common denominators.

Tori: Wouldn't you say what you're doing aligns with your enjoyments?

Brandon: 100%. Yeah, I think in the job I got moved out to Seattle to do, it was a real hard work job. I would say I had it pretty good where I was able to work from home a little bit, + I got to have a taste of these things that people in Coal City didn't have. I learned a lot about overall business + took a lot away from it, but at the end of the day, I came. to a point where I wasn't happy + I had to accept that.

Tori: That's one of my favorite things about your work ethic. I think as your friend who has been around for forever + I have talked about this in episode 001 about climbing through my own passions of what I wanted to do, I think that had you limited yourself by the expectation that was hand down, "what you start, you finish," you would be so miserable. Your story proves how ass-backwards that perspective is. You have to follow what feels right in your heart + if you are working a job everyday for 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week, + you are miserable? No. No way human! You've got a lot of hours left to live in this life, you don't need to spend 8+ of them at the same building that you hate every single day. Or in something that isn't feeding your soul or refueling you. What a great message because I think that especially you being this small-town kid out in the middle of this giant city, which, if you guys listening haven't been to Seattle, you need to go, first of all, because shits amazing, it is one of my favorite places EVER, but it is HUGE. It is like Chicago, I don't know a size comparison. I know that is a little smaller than Chicago.

Brandon: Yeah, it is actually, I would say, if you took Magnificent Mile + maybe took the neighborhood feel of Wrigleyville + stacked those up, Seattle is probably that. It is a vertical city, they call it, because it isn't as wide as Chicago.

Tori: It does remind me of that city feel, though. It felt like a mix of Chicago, Nashville, I don't know, I haven't been enough places, but it is awesome. It is a coastal city, so you have the all the fishing boats that go out for the seafood + stuff, but you are out there, you've switched jobs now, you left a job you didn't like + that is so gutsy. You were this small, cornfield kid in this huge city. I just remember that's where our FaceTimes really came in handy because we were both going through shifts + trying to decide what to do + I'd call you + be like, "Ah! I don't know what to do," and you'd be like, "Well, shit I don't know what to do, either, but I am thinking about doing this!" So, talk briefly about your leap, what that felt like to switch + we have already talked about how happy you are with where you are now, but I want you to talk about that transition.

Brandon: That leap felt comfortable. I felt like I had found a really good company. Was the job exactly what I was looking for? The job description + when you get in there are two different things sometimes, but it was enough of what I knew I could grow with.

Tori: I like that. You saw the potential.

Brandon: Exactly, where I was like, "Alright, I think I can make a shift," + the skills I was learning was similar to the last job. You get to touch a lot of things + do a lot where lateral moves within a company could be possible + that eventually happened when I got into this job. So, make the initial leap, get to a new company + then make another leap within the company that fit better. I think it felt comfortable because within all those conversations, whether I was FaceTiming you or I was talking to the person directly like Elyse right next to me, or talking to my family back at home, they didn't stop the support. I kind of nerve-racked my self by admitting, "Hey, you got out here, you're living in a cool city, it is expensive, but you're living the way you want to live, so why would you walk away from that," + I think I was nervous that that was the mentality of the people that I was going to talk to back here because I felt like out here you raced to get to where you wanted to be + get established. It was not uncommon for me to have the same job or work in the same areas for like 25 years here + I totally respect that because even though it wasn't for me, I didn't know how they would feel about, "Hey, he's been here for 2 years + now he's going to leave this awesome opportunity."

Tori: I think that's part of coming from a town like Coal City + part of being a millennial. I think there's that "fear" or almost "implied should-be-guilt" that you're not sticking to what you started. I think an analogy I came up with when Andrew + I were talking about me moving, that "finish your plate," or "clear your plate," mentality of "well, you filled your plate, you have to finish it." It is so weird because at 26, Andrew will be like, "If you're full, STOP eating." I think that could be a healthy mentality as far as sports go + building that grit through childhood, but I think that we have to also learn to connect with our own intuition + our well-being + decide when enough is enough + things are no longer serving us + it is time to move on.

Brandon: I think it was hard for me to admit that, one, I was unhappy that I was stopping something because I played sports all my life. My family really didn't let you sit out unless you were in the hospital throwing up or getting stitches because they wanted you to have that, "hey, we're here to play, so go out + play." If you have the opportunity to be on the field, take it.

Tori: I think that taught you to stick shit out + to pursue what you wanted. So it is a good thing, but I think also, yeah, it is a mentality that we as adults have to question at certain times, "Okay, is this a mechanism or a strategy that is helping me thrive right now or is it literally sucking the life out of me?"

Brandon: Yeah, I think a couple of minutes ago, you brought up Elyse's personality. I think she's the one that helped me realize that that's okay because truthfully, if I talk to her about sports, it is in one ear, out the other. She puts up with it here + there so I can watch NFL Sunday, but she is very for the, "pursue what you want, have passion behind what you're doing, if your'e not happy, it may take you a while to get there," + she teaches me a lot about how to get there, "but if you're not happy, you're not happy, + you have to do what makes you happy because 40 hours a week is a lot longer than you think." I know working from home right now, I am grateful I don't have to be on a bus + what I can do with those 2 hours, imagine if you went to work on your worst day + you were like, "oh, it still wasn't that bad."

Tori: Exactly, + I think that you brought up a great point, even just bringing up Elyse's perspective + I think that goes back to me saying that you guys really just match each other so well, or meet each other so well with your ambition + your go-getter, adventurous mentality. She is as a boss-ass babe, too in the business world + with her job at Nordstrom + her drive to do that. So, I think that obviously it is great for a gazillion reasons that you guys found each other + I think you've helped challenge each other, push each other + hold each other accountable. in that way, too.

Brandon: I think she pushed me in accountability + is still doing that. I by no means am a perfect person + still definitely have things that I could be better at, but I think it took meeting someone like her to question myself a little bit. If you know me, I will be 100% honest, there is not much stuff that I do that I really question because I've known it, whether it is sports or hobbies I'm into, or the stuff I am dedicating my time to, but because I associated myself with my hobbies + my interests, I thought that's who I was, but there's a different part of me that you don't get to think about + Elyse is the person who lives in that realm where I didn't get to think about. So, hopefully if she hears this + she hears how I am going to say this, she won't say anything. I think having people around you that don't agree with you, although it is tough + I take it kind of personally sometimes when people disagree with me if I feel like I am right, you have to be able to step back + say, "Okay, that doesn't depict the entire situation." I'm not saying I'm great at that because I know I hold onto things sometimes because it is new for me + I take stuff personal, but if you have people who push you in uncomfortable ways, you wind up being comfortable with yourself.

Tori: Right + I think that it is so natural + I think. I have talked on that before, but it is so natural to feel that defensiveness when someone has an opposing perspective or challenges you because of a way that you've never lived your life or experienced life. It causes that starting domino for that growth. It is just so new + I think that can apply to so much because when you come from a small town + you come from a small population, there's a lot less challenging perspectives, there's a lot less diversity, there's a lot less to be talked about, there's a lot less going on because everyone kind of swims in the same smaller pool. So, I think that you meeting each other at the time that you met each other was like obviously so amazing for you guys in so many ways, but I think that for me being back home + getting to watch you kind of evolve through the ways she would poke + challenge you + she almost acted as a mirror for you + I think she knows that. I think we as women take a little bit of pride in that, but I think it was a really great way for you guys to grow together because you've always naturally been a care taker + you've always been someone naturally who wants to help other people grow + who wants to grow, but I think having someone who could also connect with you in that way of being like, "Hey, you are really great, but like kind of an asshole when you don't think about this," + you're like, "Oh shit! I didn't even think about that!" Which I think happens all the time. That's Andrew + I, through + through a million times. That's the whole reason of this podcast is just to look at perspectives.

Brandon: I think another thing that needs to get taken into consideration is, I was just living on my own for a year + a half, so when I would come back home, I was surrounded by my people, too, so no one is telling me I am wrong because they're like. "Oh, he's the same dude, Brandon is back in town!" It was just really interesting to meet someone that was like, "Yeah, I like you, but there's a shitty side of you, too!" It is totally fine. You need someone you can have those conversations with. We're still working on that. We're only 3 years into this, so I mean, there is stuff I have to be better at + there's definitely things that came out of meeting her that I'm like, yeah, she wanted me to feel comfortable in whatever I wanted to do. Now that I am so removed from the stuff that I was interested in out there, I am basically living an entire different lifestyle in the PNW just because of the pure surroundings. I didn't realize how comfortable I would actually be in the West Coast. Everyone always said it, but once I finally got out there, I was like, "Holy shit! I love this place!"

Tori: You literally got to thrive. It was like a giant playground for you! That's my favorite thing. That was one of the other reasons that quote ended up being the one I picked because I feel like for you out there, it is really like, every single day you get to wake up + make the most of shit. You + I have always been able to connect through our mental health + obviously there is still struggles wherever you're at with everyone, but I think that you being able to channel your needs, feelings + emotions, your goals, in all these different ways with all these different resources that you have out there, that aren't accessible in a place like this when you haven't left. I think if you moved home + you moved to Chicago or Colorado, I think that you'd be able to take those things with you now that you've grown through that. I think that was such a necessary piece for anyone to get to step out, you don't really get to stretch or see other things.

Brandon: Yeah, I know, I love your example, too. You brought up my favorite hobby. I think the access to snowboarding, it is hilarious that I hate the winters in Illinois. I won't even come back to Illinois in months that end in "ber" because of a prior delay that we had that was like 30+ hours. My favorite season in an area that is so gorgeous like Washington, is completely different than what I enjoy out here. Yeah, winter time out there is my favorite time + it's my favorite way to destress or just look at things differently + plus I think I am okay at snowboarding, but it's nice to get thrown around a little bit + get a reality check. It's a cool focus for me because sometimes I have the ability to lose focus + if you're riding in the back country or riding in trees + you're not paying attention, it is a serious situation. So, it is also a way for me to focus on what I'm doing because I'll be honest, I'm a very hyperactive person where I can pick up like 6 things at once + get distracted or like I do 50%, 60%, + 70% of 3 different things + I won't have 100% of anything done at the end of the day. That time to myself is really nice.

Tori: I think that when you told me that winter was your favorite out there, it was whenever you drove me to that workshop in the fall. I remember being so shocked because everyone is "afraid" of Seattle because of the winters + because of how dreary it is + it really does that the highest suicide rate because they have the longer, drearier season of heavy rain. Even that perspective out of you was pretty pivotal for me + my perspective because I was like, "Holy shit, here I am, counting out this entire beautiful ass state as a potential option for me or healthy headspace to live in + I'm like, no, this fool over here just found his favorite thing to do in that dark season where he's like, whatever, sure I'm sad if I'm sitting at home or, I can get my ass out there + be the first one up at the top of the mountain + tread all day." So, I love that. Do you feel like there are any other parts of your Seattle move since then up through now before we start talking about how we maintain the closeness that are notable or that should be included?

Brandon: That's a good question. There's a couple of different ways that I could answer this, but I think it's just like being around a diverse group of people.

Tori: Having access to not just Coal City's population.

Brandon: Yeah + I think having to go out + re-meet people. We talked about earlier, nobody knew who I was when I was interviewing + out here you could interview for jobs + have references + stuff + you can connect the dots a little bit better. Having to meet people, having to re-meet people or just put yourself out there, I think was something that I didn't have a huge issue with because I am a people-person, but I'm not going to lie, it is uncomfortable + you never know how people are going to react + in that city, the one thing I realized was you have to watch what you say because there is a group of every kind out in Seattle. That is my favorite part about it now. You can go into one restaurant + have the most authentic of every type of background that you want, but it just really has a mix of everything it makes you really understand your surroundings a bit better. I think with everything going on right now, I am very appreciative that I get to live in that spot, rather than live back here.

Tori: I think that was one of the things I had intended to ask you about was I think that I am having such a hard time processing my surroundings during all of this unrest + everything that's going on with civil rights + with racism + with all the protesting + the BLM movement + everything surrounding lifting up who is being oppressed + suppressed + silenced + I think that being where you are out in Seattle, you have access to so much more culturally responsive + just aware. I feel like being in a small town, like the one that we grew up in, it is a lot more difficult to feel like you can rally people behind a cause that is so impactful + so meaningful because there is so much less diversity here + because there. is so much less conversation around diversity + around inclusion + things like that. I think around here it is so much more unfortunately natural for people to think, "Well it doesn't affect me, it isn't my problem + I am going to turn a blind eye." For someone who has taught in diverse areas that is fucking gut-wrenching for me, but I know that there is just so much more going on out in Seattle + that's something that you're so much less having to deal with as far as the close-minded perspectives. Would you say that coming from a small town like ours + small backgrounds like ours, you made an ass out of yourself when moving out to Seattle pre-understanding + pre-having a different perspective of the actual world around us + not just small, white, Coal City, Illinois?

Brandon: I think I've made mistakes everywhere I live. I think the biggest thing I can admit is that I have improvements to make, but as long as I am aware of that + actively trying to do it + not just saying it, I know that I may not have to post about it or do all these things, but I know that if I feel good about it, that I'm actually putting my effort into it. I think I said you have to watch what you say because in the area we grew up in, you brush a lot of things off, which is fine because I am not going to hold people to standards that I hold because I know those are two different things, but I know they will never meet eye-to-eye, especially now that I am removed from this town, like I have my close friends, but I am so far removed, I think I kind of went on a little bit of an "alert mode" just because if anything happened, my emergency contact was my mom at that point, but that's a four hour flight + a phone call.

Tori: When raised around such a lack of diversity + by parents or by community members or by friends' parents, who are also raised with a lack of diversity, you come out of this community so sheltered + so unaware. When I went to college, I was so that way. Just so unaware + made mistakes left + right because you think that you know what a norm is + then you get out into the world + you're like, "Oh shit, Coal City is not a norm." It is a norm, but it's not THE norm. It is not representative of what our country or our world have to offer. So, I think that's awesome to me to see not only you, but so many people that have moved away from these little areas that have just gotten to blossom + appreciate + soak in so much of the world. The fact that you mainly eat seafood blows my mind. Obviously there are people who like seafood around here, but you are like a fresh catch, gonna go eat some salmon that just came in off the boat.

Brandon: If we can get it, we usually eat it, yeah. I think it is an interesting thing to come from a small town because the values you learn in a small town are still in me today. I take pride in where I am from, respect everyone around me, but when you get a chance to spend a long period of time in a different + foreign place + meet a bunch of different, foreign people at the time, once you get close to them, you're like, "Wow. I really appreciate every aspect of something that this person has brought into my world." Whether it is snowboarding, paddle boarding, kayaking, there's a lot of access to things out there that I don't have back here or that I didn't grow up, so to me, it was really "What do I enjoy + who else enjoys doing that?" That's the common denominator. It is to look past everything else + I think that's why, not to say it was so hard for me to like actually question things that I've done, but I think because I came from such a diverse background of playing on different teams with players of every kind + being around families of every type + really just looking at them as people.

Tori: They're your teammates! They're your family.

Brandon: Yeah, right! You kind of think like, "Hey, maybe I don't have as much to work on as I thought." But I think that's the worst thing to do now. I think that's absolutely the worst thing to do. It took living in Seattle to realize that I may be doing good, but also these people are doing way better than you + you need help a little bit more.

Tori: Right. Or there are other people in your circle who aren't doing as well as you who need a poke, which is where I am at.

Brandon: Yeah, I totally get that + those are tough conversations, but I am very thankful that the friends I have in Seattle can have some of those conversations with or I can come back + I can come home + talk to you + have those conversations. I would say that the people I surround myself with back here in Coal City, whenever I get the chance to come back, would blend into Seattle. I don't have to worry about them or anything, not to say that I never question my friends because I feel like that's how you should be picking your friends is who could I bring, but I think that's also because kind of what we said if we got a big group of my friends together, you'd probably be able to see these are different parts of Brandon, in time it makes up his personality. Not everyone chooses to see things that way, but I think for me it is very truthful. So I stand by it.

Tori: Good. Alright so, transitioning into our last little bit, I want to talk about, I've jotted down some ideas that I had of the ways that we maintain our closeness. I think that you can also offer additional perspectives because you have a variety of friendships are maintaining from a variety of different areas. What would you say, you can list them off, you can elaborate, but what are some ways that you would say you are able to maintain that relationship or keeping in touch, how would you say that you can navigate that?

Brandon: Effort. To me, it isn't hard. My mom, I put in a little bit more effort than everyone else. You kind of alluded to it I believe when we started this of, you know, we may not talk everyday, we've gone months without talking, but I think you need to accept that people grow up + people have different priorities, but what effort + what value you bring to those conversations you have with those people or if you or if you're talking everyday, you know, just staying in touch. There's too many ways to be able to do that to not do it, if you ask me. Some of those ways are just, I've got a phone on me, that's the easiest. Pick up + call. I think I told you this the other day, I can't wait to leave FaceTime voicemails one day because I think they'd be a little bit more personal at a time like this, like seriously. But seriously, it just really stems from effort whether it is a quick Snapchat chat or just a, "Hey, what's up, how have you been?" I've had people hitting me up the entire time that I am home + I think they know I am not going to have time to see everyone, but they put the offer out there. That makes. me feel good because I know that when they've been in Seattle or they've been out + about or i've been around them + I don't get a chance to see them, I tell them, "Hey, if you have a few minutes or some time I'd love to get together," + most of them will do that.

Tori: I think it is that sharing of energy. Even if you don't have the time, I think that when you're younger there's almost that bitter perspective of, "If they're not going to see me, I'm not going to text them," or "They didn't see me last time + didn't have time, so I'm not going to reach out," I'm guilty of that. Now, you grow + you learn to understand, maybe become less self-centered + realize that not everyone can have time for you all the time. Peoples' lives are planned around what they need + for the people who need them. So, I like that you had mentioned when people reach out, even if you can't get to them, they still know that you value them. It is important to have the energy of saying like, "Hey, if you have a few minutes, I'd love to see you." Just someone giving you that energy, that's love, to let you know that they value that time. Effort, yeah. FaceTime, yeah. I would say that is definitely, I would agree, the number one. If you value maintaining a relationship, maintaining staying up-to-date with what people have going on, if you value that, it. is going to be maintained. There is no question about it. I think the struggle comes when both parties don't value it the same. That's where I think the growing + acceptance has to come in + be like, "Okay, this is not something that's valued equally."

Brandon: Or just understanding that some people have different levels of friendship that they want. I would say that I have a lot of friends that I would classify as my best friend. You truly are my best friend. I've known you the longest, but I have a lot of friends that probably cannot talk about our friendship the same way you + I can, but I would definitely put them in that same column as you. I wouldn't think that those people are putting out those offers like, "Hey, I've got a few minutes," if they didn't value it or I left a bad imprint on them because there are some people that I don't talk to anymore + I think that's the acceptance thing of it is impossible to stay in touch with everybody, it is impossible to gel with everyone + as you grow + as you separate, you're always going to be able to come back + see people you maybe grew up with hopefully if you have those connections, but there's always going to be new people that really make you who you want to be + that's okay to let go of some of those other people. It is okay to let go of who you used to be. I actually don't want to go back to who I was in high school.

Tori: Those qualities change + those priorities change + that's where some of those friendships shift, too. Everybody grows in that way.

Brandon: I loved high school, too. I absolutely loved high school. I got into sports, people have different perspectives like, "Oh you were an athlete, you had it made," Yeah, there's all those things, but like truthfully, I just loved being around people. I loved being around the same people. To me, I was doing everything I enjoyed, I thought it was fun.

Tori: Some of the things that I wrote down that would help or could help people maintain their closeness with distance, obviously we talked on FaceTime. Brandon is trying to trademark FaceTime Voicemails. I would say, too, the second thing I wrote down was the closeness we have with each other is significant others. Which I think is something that is either underrated or overrated. Two people either "fakely" overvalue it + are like, "Oh I have to be your girlfriend's best friend," or "We have to be shopping trolls together," I think that can create almost an unnecessary tension on relationships down the road because it is like, "Why are you trying so hard?" I think also at the same time, it can be super undervalued because I think that it does a lot for the two of us when we can watch the other one enjoy the person we love's company. When I can see you + Andrew bullshitting all day about like all the things that you value together, it is so cool for me, like we just talked about, you're the oldest friend that I have, it is cool as fuck for me to watch that history, almost in the way that you were saying, all the people you love are a representation to you so it is cool to get to see. I feel the same way about Elyse, the fact that Elyse + I can have that friendship + that we connect so well that it is stupid. We were doing our boudoir shoots + even when you're not around we can just get along so well that I have such a deep respect for her as my best friend + she has such a deep respect for me as her boyfriend's best friend. There's just that mutual respect + I think that having that dynamic really helps + has helped us maintain that level of closeness. I think it would be difficult for us to stay as close as we have been if our significant others hated each other.

Brandon: Like the McDonald's stoplight situation!

Tori: Yes! I love that you said that because we were literally 17 + that is such a 17-year-old response to relationships. That's going to rub some people the wrong way + that's fine, you can quote me, I'm fine with that because I feel like if you are in a relationship in your 20's + you do not trust the person that you love enough to maintain friendships, their best friendships with the opposite sex, you guys have other shit to figure out. That's all I'm saying. Trips was the next one I wrote down. We talked about this in the beginning, but your consistency with trips home + as the person moving away, there is a value in having visitors + getting to share your space + getting to share your city + getting to share your friends + people you love + your favorite restaurants. I think there's so much to be said about that + if you truly value someone you have to do the things that help them feel loved + seen + if that's spending $475.00 + flying your ass out + enjoying the shit out of Seattle, I highly recommend you do it because you won't remember anything about the money you're spending. It is like the best kind of place + I mean if you're going to visit your friend, regardless, you literally have your own personal tour guide. So, you should be grateful.

Brandon: Yeah, like you said, if you hold onto the fact that you should wait until you have the money, I'll be 100% with you, there's never going to be a prefect time when you have the money.

Tori: Exactly, if you wait until your mind tells you that you have enough money for shit, you're not going to go. I'm not saying be financially irresponsible, use some sense, have a plan.

Brandon: But allow yourself some space to breathe. Whether it is traveling or getting out, but like getting away from where you've been feels good.

Tori: It does + quite honestly I've dropped A LOT of money to travel a couple of times + I've never once been like, "That money was wasted." Even if the trip isn't the most successful, you are never going to travel enough, ever. I'm just going to leave it at that. Okay, so value each other's opinions, we talked about that. We've mentioned valuing each other + valuing what the other one has going on, but I think valuing each other as far as not everyone views friendship the same way, not everyone wants to keep in touch with their friends once a month or once every couple of months. So I think valuing that + valuing each other's space. I think also the fact that you + I can call each other when we need input, that does so much for our trust + the value that we both hold. It's like, "Oh, this person does give a shit about what's going on + they do give a shit enough to visit me + gab for 2 hours + give me their feedback," because Lord knows we've both done that. I would say my biggest thing that I've tried to adjust so that my people who have moved away + come home, I've always said to them, "Hey, give me a enough heads up," which isn't always easy, if I have enough heads up we will try to maintain as much flexibility in my schedule during the time that you're home so that I do have wiggle room instead of stacking up everyday, maybe I still will schedule my things, but leave the rest of the days open; the day you're home, the day you're leaving + a few days in the middle. I think that prioritizing the time that you do potentially have to catch up + get back together + chill + do fun shit has to matter.

Brandon: Yeah, it's honestly crazy how many people i've seen that I'm like, "Hey, I really appreciate that you guys have set aside time + let me come over so late at night," or "Sorry I've kept you up," and they're like, "You're in town! We want to see you!" To me, that makes me feel really good that I've chosen people in my life well enough that they respect me in the same way that I respect them + that they really know who I am + that they really care about me. I think if you can have 10 solid people like that or 5 solid people like that, that makes the moves that are a couple thousand miles away that much better because your location is not consistent, like you said, but if you can keep some. of the people that you are, especially the ones that are close to you, that transition a lot easier.

Tori: I think that acknowledging that with adult changes comes the need for adult perspectives + even if shit is hard in the beginning, acknowledging that there is probably room to grow + it doesn't mean that those things aren't valuable. I think there just needs to be some room to figure them out.

Brandon: You're allowed to change.

Tori: Right.

Brandon: It's up to you. You're allowed to change + be who you are.

Tori: Right + be who you need to be.

Brandon: It's going to happen, too. Especially when you pick up + move.

Tori: Right, so the last thing that I feel like is my main tip: plan activities together, which I feel like towards the beginning of mine + Andrew's relationship before you moved to Seattle, we would deal with a lot of people thinking we were dating. I think that especially for people who are homebodies like me, activities are super underrated. Most of the time that we do something, it is your idea + I'm like, "Oh yeah, it's just Brandon + even if I hate it, we will still have a good time, so it's fine. There aren't very many friends who I am willing to go do actual things with because I'm A. a little bitch + B. a homebody + C. really lazy + D. I used to get pretty rough social anxiety, but that's pretty much moved on its' way. I would say activities are such a big thing because they create memories, they create photo-ops, they create stories + for people who have so much distance between them + you have so few times that you can actually get together, those instances + those memories matter. They absolutely fucking matter. I think that when you have your friends + you're in town + you live all together you think it isn't as big of a deal to do things together + whatever, I have definitely gone through those phases where I would lay on the couch all week long for like 3 years, but I think having those experiences create the shit that makes the distance not suck as much for friends + makes it not seem so intense. Are there any other pointers that you have for humans who move away for whether it be school or jobs or family or military or friends or whatever?

Brandon: Yeah. Don't undervalue a little bit. of space. You have different people in your lives all the time that you're going to meet + some of those people really make that distance away worth it, but whether i t is 10 minutes, 2,000 miles or things like that, that's up for you to decide. I probably could have been super happy if I moved to Chicago, but the opportunity was Seattle, it was a little bit more aligned with what I wanted to do long-term, but you can always come back. It is not failure if you do. I think that the people I surrounded myself with made me realize that was okay + that makes people feel comfortable in making those decisions. Also, when you're not the receiving end + someone is talking to you, I am very appreciative that you never shied away from trying to talk through that, because it is hard to talk to your friends + be like, "Hey, would you still talk to me if I moved or would you come out and see me?" Some people you say that question to might not answer yes, so you know, did having the right people say yes help influence that, sure, but you know, never undervalue just a little bit of distance can do or just a little bit different perspective. Take a look at what is going on right now, if you have different perspective, you realize there are other people out there that may have the same perspective as you if you move away. That comes from having conversations. You can't always talk about the same stuff if you really want to grow. One day I will have to get up, pack my bags + leave Seattle + have to do this. allover again in a new city because it is going to happen + I am actually really looking forward to that.

Tori: Thank you. so much for hopping on today, taking out a few hours of your time at home to chill with us. I will not be having a "How Can I Help," segment at the end of today's episode because we ended with ways to help yourself. I want you to instead of thinking how can I help, think about how. can I come together with the person that I am thinking of when I listen to this episode? Whether you are the person moving away, or you are the person who feels like, "you got left at home," consider the variety of different ways that both parties can come together + keep your center values of your friendship or relationship at the center focus + prioritized.

If you would like to dive into long-distance relationships as far as couples go + relationships go, you can stay tuned with Souls Undressed. Andrew, my husband, + I will be recording an episode in the near future about how our relationship started with some distance of quite a few hours for a couple years + a variety of different settings, lots of hotel stays, all that fun (just kidding, it was terrible) jazz. If you would like to have more conversations about this, I would love to carry them out on The Souls Undressed Podcast Community Facebook Page or on Instagram @TheSoulsUndressedPodcast page either under the photos in the comments or in my DM's. So, that's going to be it for today. We will talk again next week! Thank you Brandon!

Brandon: Thank you for having me. It was good seeing you + chatting with you. I'm glad I got to hop on one of these. It is nice to be on this end instead of listening.

Tori: Thank you guys, so much. I'm sending you all my love I hope you make this week a great one. I hope you enjoy this little guest action. Let me know in the reviews + on those community pages what you're thinking + I should have more guests on here + if you've got some suggestions of who, drop those, too. I love you guys.

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