How I moved from Virginia to NYC to Hawaii to NYC to Hawaii to San Diego before I turned 30…mini book


I just think this story is such an interesting one and I’d like to share it. How does a girl get from Virginia to NYC to Hawaii to San Diego…. with hardly any money and a dream all by herself?

Okay so I’m not going to start at the very beginning because this is not a book. But basically I moved to NYC when I was 21 to go to acting school and become a rich celebrity and have the most glamorous life ever. It was the most fun way to spend my early 20s for sure without a doubt. I lived all over that city for about 6 years and what I imagined would be glamorous turned into a lot of bartending and waitressing until 4 or 5am and finding the energy to make it to auditions the next day at 8am and riding the subway next to some guy that’s trying to eat the gum off the bottom of his shoe without taking his shoe off. I was never ever bored and I made the best friends there that I still think about every single day. Sadly, the day came that the feet of snow, the bitter bitter cold, and being drunk in a bar was getting me nowhere except stuck in NYC. I knew the superficial world of acting was not where my heart was. I woke up one morning with Hawaii on my mind and what was so weird was the fact that I had never ever thought about Hawaii. Ever. I didn’t even really know where it was on a map. That’s a true statement. I was living in Queens at the time with 2 amazing women and I told them I was gonna move to Hawaii out of nowhere. They were pretty excited for me. It didn’t take long to rent my place out cause that place was cute. So within about a month I put all my stuff into storage (foreshadowing I would be back) and flew away to a little tiny island in the middle of nowhere. I had 2 friends there that I had not seen in like 10 years. One of them let me stay with her. I had like 2000 dollars to my name, no job, and no idea how difficult it is to get a job on an island. Instead of getting a job, I camped out, saw the most beautiful beaches in the whole universe, learned to hula hoop, learned to let go of people and ideas I’d been holding onto…but ultimately still felt very unhappy and unfulfilled. So after about a month and a half, I moved back to NYC easily. My friend Bailey had a room for rent in my favorite part of Brooklyn and my friend Elena got me a job near Wall Street at this Irish pub place.


I’ve actually never had such an easy transition moving. I was so blissfully happy to be back in NYC which I now realize was because I was all high from a month and a half of relaxation on an island. I hula hooped all over that city. I met a guy and for the first time fell in love and was treated so lovely. Things were swell….and then winter came. It was worse than any other year. Cabs were abandoned on 1st ave because of the blizzards. I fell down the subway stairs often. My boyfriend moved to California to continue his music career and I hated NYC again. She chewed my up and spit me out and I was no longer happy at all. I knew I had to go back to my happy place in Hawaii and slow the hell down and figure out my next step. This time I didn’t put my stuff in storage. I took it home to Virginia and moved to Hawaii with one big ass suitcase and 1000 dollars to my name.

I made a friend the previous time I was in Hawaii that was kind enough to let me stay on his couch while I figured it out and got settled. This transition was by far the worst one to date. I wouldn’t even know where to begin telling you all of the things that went wrong within the first few months. Nothing was harmed on my physical body but my ego, emotions, trust, and mind were pretty messed up by the actions of others. BUT I made an amazing friend in a girl named Claire- I know I wouldn’t have made it very far without her. She’s something special to me.670

I also got a job waitressing at the Hard Rock Cafe which I would later learn was going to introduce me to my soulmate as well as allow me to follow my path.

Hawaii was different the 2nd time. People were meaner. The people I worked with were, for the most part, really terrible to me. I wanted to quit everyday but had no choices. It’s not easy to get a job in paradise. It took me 2 months. I was strong enough to handle it. I knew that. But I cried a lot in that first year. I was farrrrrr away from my family and anything I had ever known to be normal. I was different and felt like that was a bad thing. I was lost in self doubt. I was just lost.

So I got trough the hurdle of the first year. It really did take that long for things to smooth out for me. Finally, I had an apartment with Claire and made a pretty amazing group of girlfriends, rode my bike everywhere, lived 2 blocks from Waikiki beach and about a mile from Diamond Head, the people at my job were finally chillin the hell out- either that or I stopped caring what they thought of me and just did the job, and things were really fun all around. Still, I felt unfulfilled.

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I knew I had to do something. Anything. I just needed to take a step somewhere even if it turned out not to be the right direction because standing still wasnt working anymore. I thought about going back to school, i didn’t know what for but it was a step. I was discouraged a little when I spoke to the counselor there. So here I was sitting at a bar after work one night which had already started to become a seldom thing for me. I was telling my friend that was bartending about feeling lost and he told me to maybe give the yoga teacher training a try just to clear my head and make it easier to see the next step for me. That was totally the answer!!! I paid my tab and biked home super excited about my new found realization!

My friend Amanda was in her training then and she seemed to really love it. I had some anxieties about it, what if I am not flexible enough, or if I don’t fit in with the other girls…blah blah dumb stuff. I emailed the owner of the studio that I had already been going to on a semi regular basis and she told me I could pay half at the beginning and the other half at the end! It was 2700 dollars which is a whole lot of money when you are a waitress and live in Honolulu where a freaking apple is 3.00!! I had the whole summer to save the first half and it took that whole summer to come up with that first half. Hawaii is expensive.

I remember the day and whose class I took when I started looking at yoga as my daily massage. Chanti taught me how to do a headstand. I left class, went to the beach and jumped in the ocean that is bluer than blue and thought about how amazing my life had become. I was getting more and more in touch with who I was. It was a really memorable day for me.

Teacher training started on August 11th of 2012. My work schedule was small. Like 10 days a month and picking up random days when I could. I had my budget down to the cent so that i could save for the last half of the training before the beginning of December. I often had 20.00 extra at the end of the week. Things were that tight. I got pneumonia the first week of training….awesome. Good news was I quit smoking cigs. The doctor told me if I didn’t quit smoking that I would likely die from smoking….even though you already know this, you look at it in a different way when a professional health dude throws it at you. I quit August 16th. Best decision ever.

Teacher training was way more amazing than I could imagine. The women and men in it were so lovely and supportive. I learned so so so much about myself and my relationship with the world. I learned what I am and who I am and I slowly started to love and embrace that. I’ve never felt the thrill I got the first mini class I taught at the end of the training to my fellow teacher trainers. Something clicked in me right away that this was fulfilling to me. This is what I’d been looking all over for.


When my training ended I immediately started teaching under a tree in the park by the ocean. Free classes to anyone that wanted to come and for the first few weeks it was only one person. I was not a great teacher yet. The words did not smoothly leave me mouth and I would forget what my lesson plan was. I was also shy about teaching the things that resonated with me for fear of seeming “flakey” to people that weren’t familiar with the yoga world. But then this wonderful man named Vito that played in a band at Hard Rock Cafe in the evenings told me he wanted to try yoga super bad and asked if he could come to my class under the tree on the weekend. He kept me accountable for practicing yoga, teaching regularly every weekend, and growing. He was 50 and brand new to yoga. He was the first person I ever taught that had never taken a yoga class before. I remember thinking I was in trouble during our first class together because I was clueless as to how to simplify my guidance for a newbie. He was patient with me. My class under the tree started growing and I found my voice and my style and my courage to step into this role. It takes courage to step into the role you were meant for.

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That class grew over the year and I would be so amazed sometimes walking up to the tree and seeing 10-15 people sitting under it ready for class on a Saturday morning. It blew my mind that so many people came to my little donation class and played. The Love Tree saga. 😉

I went on a trip to surprise my mama for her 50th birthday in Virginia. I stopped in LA for a few days. It was fun. It was different to be back on the mainland. On the flight to Virginia I had a little whisper in my ear that I should move to San Diego. It was the same random whisper that sent me to Hawaii from NYC. I decided that was what needed to happen next. It really was that instant. I emailed my boss that weekend to put in my freakin 6 month notice! I just wanted it to be solidified. I was ready. I was more than ready to leave the island that I had spent 3 and a half years on. I needed more. I needed to find out why God was sending me here now.


Everything was falling into place so easily. I built my website from nothing all by myself. I had business cards. I was sending out emails to yoga studios and other jobs. I was manifesting my life and what it looked like. I had only positive thoughts about this move. I knew it was going to be my bliss. It so is.

I enjoyed the hell out of my last few months in Hawaii and created some super great friendships that will last forever and ever.


I met my before mentioned soul mate there. He was my boss at Hard Rock. I was never allowed to confess to him that I had a huge crush because of corporate rules but after he moved to Seattle I found him on facebook and we kept in touch by sending funny animal videos and catching up on life events. I never imagined in a million years that he would be transfered to San Diego a month before I arrived. He picked me up from the airport and we have been inseperable ever since. He’s got my whole heart.


It took some time to get into the yoga world here. I got a super cute apartment with a super sweet girl Emily who I adore and a job at a little cafe ironically Hawaiian themed about 5 blocks away from my house. I tried starting up a small donation class on the beach here. I met a few people and taught a few people. I was working at the cafe one afternoon when a girl named Leah who I had met a few times before came in with her puppy and she asked me to be friends with her. We had beach days together and she got me more involved with my faith in God which had been reintroduced to me by a friend Ashley in Hawaii pretty recently. I was not happy at my cafe job and really trying to find my path. She gave me a book about faith and being all in. So being all in I quit my job, started a kickstarter to raise money to start a small business making and selling inspirational tshirts and tank tops. I planned to use this business to fund the yoga center I hope to one day open. My campaign was funded and so generously so…It was funded 10 days before the end!!! I cried so much. I was obviously onto something that God had planned for me. The etsy store was created and really helped me out. I picked up odd jobs every now and then. I cried to my boyfriend quite frequently because starting a business is hard and scary and vulnerable. I felt like giving up every single day. Giving up wanting to be a teacher and the shirts and just going back to serving….but I didn’t give up. Something inside wouldn’t let me. I was on auto pilot almost. Sending yoga resumes out like crazy. Auditioning constantly for studios and gyms and never getting the job. I thought it was me….It just wasn’t time yet.

One day my mom called me and told me to get into corporate yoga. Teaching in the workplace. I googled it and emailed the first person that popped up in San Diego just to get some idea of how it is done. The next day we had a phone interview and she hired me to sub all summer last summer. I took some weird initiative and started cold calling businesses all over San Diego to see if they were interested in having classes for their employees that I would teach. That was awful. Cold calling is just never ever a good idea. Unless you are good at it.


So at least I had this subbing teaching job that was allowing me to teach a few times a month. Big classes 30-40 people in a courtroom a couple times! I had a lot of fun with it. I learned a lot and got even more confidence. But that was all I had and by December they were on a break.

By New Years Eve, I was a mess. I had to get a party staffing serving job for that night in a huge hotel downtown watching drunk people thrown up on each other. I felt like I was at a low place in my life. I could not see the light at all and after rent I had like 15 dollars to my name. But still I couldn’t give up.

I got on craigslist to look for yoga auditions and emailed the first one that popped up. She called me the next day and set up the audition where all of us teachers would teach each other. It took 3 hours and I was really sick with the flu or something. I went anyway. I felt like I was finally gonna get this one. And I did! I finally did it. I was so beyond words happy.

Then I got a call from the corporate yoga people offering me a regular class downtown every week. Then the owner of the studio called me and offered me a private yoga client that I work with 3 times every week and it’s awesome! And then I auditioned for another off site yoga company and got another teaching job! It gets better every single day. I now teach every single day except Mondays. And I am so blessed and lucky to say that.

my boyfriend and I adopted a kitty and named him Murphy. He’s crazy as hell. I am living with the love of my life who gets me and loves me and is an amazing man, love, and best friend. And I do what I love every single day. I am looking for a church to get involved in and I hope I get to marry this wonderful man someday soon. 😉

I know this is a mini book about my journey but I wanted and needed to get this all out right now. So that anytime I fee like I am stuck or things are not going my way I can look back and remember that they are moving along perfectly and as long as I keep listening to those whispers in my heart- even when I am afraid of doing it- I am gonna end up in the right place. Everytime.


What if you knew that every decision you ever make with your heart is the right one? Would yo be afraid to take those leaps of faith? This is my story of living fearlessly and open to change. Yes I feel fear but I never let it stop me from moving forward.


5 thoughts on “How I moved from Virginia to NYC to Hawaii to NYC to Hawaii to San Diego before I turned 30…mini book

  1. Janelle says:

    I LOVE this story and just LOVE you and your free spirit, Danica. You are a true inspiration to always do things that make you happy in life. Change is very hard, but you show people that even though it may be hard to do it can totally be worth it. I miss you tons! Love you lady!


  2. Libby says:

    I’m real happy you’re writing 🙂 I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to seem flakey about something you’re passionate about. And I’m really glad it all worked out and you got to experience Hawaii for free after I messed it up for you the first time. I really thought I was a good friend back then but it turns out i was exceptionally selfish.

    And I’m very proud of your journey mama 🙂


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