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New horizons

Chase Damiano
14 min read
New horizons

It feels there’s something in the air.​

Perhaps, it’s another round of New Year’s resolutions, rife with annual reflection and positive intention. Perhaps, it’s a new perspective around goals, inviting more joy and play into our lives. Perhaps, we’ve had enough of old paradigms that no longer serve us. It’s clear we, collectively, are in a period of renewal. Rebirth, even. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you what’s most alive and present for me as we enter 2023.​

I’ve been undergoing a big shift in the past six months. A mix of personal healing, professional evolution, and re-evaluation of relationships. This change, having been catalyzed in August 2022, when my partner, Jordyn, and I made a significant life decision.​

Our COVID experience began in a high-rise 1BR apartment in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia—a short jump across the river to the District. Holed up together with my son, Zac, what started with positive intention and boundaries slowly slipped into crowded living. We like to say we had “more people than doors.” Six months of this led us to the difficult decision to push us out into the suburbs in Herndon, Virginia, investing into space, mental health, and a neighborhood for Zac. We signed a two-year lease to stay there.​

It was good enough, and it served its purpose. We rekindled our relationship with green spaces and reconnected with nature. We saw an appeal to living in the suburbs, and it “made sense” for us to buy.​

Accordingly, we spent eight months looking in the seller’s market of H1 2022 before finding exactly what we were looking for. A mint-condition home in the suburbs of Sterling, Virginia. All the desired finishes and fixtures. A backyard. A neighborhood. A school for Zac we liked. The opportunity for appreciation in a “safe” market. Right price. Perfectly aligned stars.​

Arriving home after the open house left us with an unenthusiastic disposition, “Well, are we ready to put in an offer?”

“Meh.”

We dug in to reflect on our experience in the home buying process, what buying a home meant for us, and the source of indifference. Jordyn finally asked the necessary question, “What if we traveled?” The words unearthed a hidden longing, one buried in my heart for years, enough to bring tears to my eyes. That we were ready to leave Northern Virginia.

We tapped into a well of energy, excitement, and flow immediately. An excitement of new possibilities, a new paradigm for living, and a new chapter in our lives. We signaled our intention to leave to our landlord within a matter of eight days. And our plans were in motion.

Our intention is nomadic living for one year, settling in a handful of cities as we go. A combination of exploration mixed with acquaintanceship, each visit will be up to three months, as we wanted to more intimately know these places instead of moving through has a tourist. At the end of this year, we’ll decide to return permanently to one of these destinations, or return to the DC area, or continue traveling.

We will live and connect with the people, integrate into the community, experience different American cultures and ways of life, and grow our relationship to each other.

I’m writing to you today in a liminal stage, three months into this journey, in between Cleveland, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee, on the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico soon.

The sea of indifference

How often are we making choices with indifference? There’s a quality to these choices. Subtle disengagement. It’s different from having a lack of preference or neutrality. More like a disconnection from the entire experience. And it can show up in:

  • What we eat, drink, smoke or otherwise put in our bodies
  • Where we go, both in travel and daily routines
  • Who we spend time with, including friends, family, networks, and communities
  • Who we marry, partner with, or relate as our significant other
  • What business we build, what mission we represent, the business partners we hold, the industry we participate in, our product or service, what clients or customers we take
  • What team we join, what work we do, who our co-workers are, who our boss is, what is tolerated and accepted, what is neglected, what is disallowed
  • What content we consume, who we follow, what we read, write, watch, listen to, and scroll through

It can add up. Suffering from death by a thousand cuts of apathy.

Having guided me in the past six months, I offer a few questions to reflect for yourself:

  • Where has indifference been showing up in my life lately? Where is there an opportunity to add more intention?
  • Where do I most experience conflict between my head (what’s rational, what “makes sense”, and what’s “right) and my heart (body sensations, intuition, and feel)?
  • What do I really want? Will I allow myself to receive it? How can I?

For me, the decision to live a nomad year required feeling through everything that came up: the sadness in leaving close friends and family, the fear of losing opportunities, the guilt I felt in not making this decision sooner, the excitement of exploration, the self-shaming for declining my participation in Northern Virginia real estate. And yet, I continue to walk down the same path.

What’s next?

I will write about my travels—in addition to reflections on leadership, entrepreneurship, and conscious awareness—here on GUT CHECK.

I started GUT CHECK to open a conversation about how we, as leaders, show up in our entrepreneurial organizations—collectively with the emotional roller coaster, the mental health challenges, and the personal growth it comes with. I care deeply about conscious communication, business performance, purpose and meaning, and how we can connect more: both within ourselves and with others. This continues to be my North Star at Human At Scale.

I’m treating this phase of my life as research—myself as the test subject. I seek to learn how extended travel changes me, how Human At Scale may transform, and how you, Reader, might shift as an outcome of this experience. I’m happy to have you here along the ride with me.

My coaching practice remains strong and flourishing heading into 2023. I feel fortunate to work with amazing clients that each seek courageous change in their lives—both in their inner and outer worlds.

I’m excited to share these experiences with you in the coming year. And instead of an empty New Year’s resolution to write every day, or publish twice per month, what I will commit to is writing when I’m flowing and have inspiration to create.

Here’s to a renewed beginning.​

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