I Followed My Dream of Moving to California

**Don’t miss the video at the end of this post**

If I had a dime for every time someone has responded with “WOW, that must have been a HUGE cultural shock” or “OMG, that must have been SUCH a big change for you!” when I tell them that I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Los Angeles, California, I would be a …well not millionaire, but pretty damn close. Listen, Indianapolis has a current population of nearly 1 million people. I didn’t grow up shucking corn on a farm (although my Mom did)…I grew up in the suburbs of a metropolitan city.  Yes, Los Angeles is a much larger, more diverse, and more liberal city (which are exactly the reasons why I love it), but c’mon, I was not a country bumpkin that moved all wide eyed and “well, GOLL-Y” to the first big city that I ever visited.

Where everyone thinks I grew up when I say “Indiana:”

rural AF

Where I actually grew up:

I’m a city girl at heart. The sounds of sirens are like music to my ears.  OK, that might be a little aggressive, but I love everything about living in a big city.  Diversity, sightseeing, restaurants, lesbians, events, etc….just STUFF to do!  That being said, moving to LA was one of the most empowering and life changing events in my life.  This August will be my 5 year anniversary with the City of Angels and we are still going strong.

In 2012, after over a year of applying for countless jobs all over California, I finally landed an incredible medical sales job in LA. If you want to know more of the background about why and how I got a job in LA, check out my other post: Saying Yes; My Catalyst to Manifesting

But here’s the thing, I had never actually been to LA.  In fact, I had never been to Southern California at all.  I had always been in love with the San Francisco bay area and had visited there over a dozen times but had never ventured south.  This was mostly because I didn’t know anyone there!  So there I was, 27 years old, and about to move to a city that I had never visited and where I didn’t know anyone.  I had three weeks to find an apartment and move my entire life (including two exceptionally large cats) across the country.

Yep, exceptionally large:

During a quick weekend trip to LA and a whopping 2 days of apartment hunting, I found a super cute one bed/one bath in the gayborhood, West Hollywood. And, lucky for me, my younger brother’s common sense had not yet fully developed and he offered to drive my car with his girlfriend at the time (now wife) and my chunky fur babies on a 4 day cross country road trip. My bad ass sister in law, Katie, who is a much better writer that I, wrote this amazing PUBLISHED short story about her experience on this adventure: What Cheeseburgers Look Like in Kansas.  I don’t want to give too much away but as it turns out, cats do not make ideal road trip companions. I also now know how to purchase a new car in the state of Utah over the phone.  Fun times.  Read the story, thank me later.

Starting from scratch in a new city is both terrifying and exciting.  Have you ever dreamed about dropping everything, moving away and just starting over in a new city, state, or country? Samsies.  Well, I did it, and it was incredible.  I feel like everyone at some point in their life should CREATE the opportunity to reinvent themselves in a new environment.  Not become someone new, but be in a situation where you are vulnerable and introduce yourself to people intentionally as the most true version of you.  It is in those vulnerable situations where you learn so much about yourself.  There were definitely moments of loneliness and pang of homesickness. Many bottles of wine and pints of ice cream were consumed  while “netflixing and chilling” with my cats before I developed a support system in my new city.

Take a trip alone, do that one thing you have always been wanting to do.  Start working on that bucket list that you keep adding to but never cross anything off. Stop making excuses to yourself about why now isn’t a good time.  You just need to save up a little money.  Just stop.  If I had allowed myself to do this…I would still be sitting in a cubicle in Indiana, hating my life.  Not because my life would actually be terrible but because I would KNOW on the inside that I was destined for something different but that I was too scared to make the leap and go for it.  You Know what I mean.. That feeling on the inside that you would just MEANT to be.

Los Angeles is my home now.  I feel grateful every single day for the amazing people I have met and the incredible experiences this city has provided.  This Indiana girl won’t be moving home anytime soon.

XO Liz Baxter – Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

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IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

LA Pride & Resist March 2017

Happy Pride month, homos (and allies)! This year the Annual Los Angeles Pride Parade was cancelled and replaced by a “Resist March.”  The political climate has been stormy to say the least and the organizer of LA Pride thought that our community should take a stand and show that we are resisting those who threaten to take away our protection and our rights.  I absolutely think this is crucial.  We need to stand up and demand to be heard and counted!  We are not going away and we are strong and deserving of more.

But whyyyyy did we have to cancel the parade??  Couldn’t we have done both?  A March Saturday and the Parade Sunday? But really.

The Resist March had a published start time of 8:00am and I pride (no pun intended) myself on being timely.  The first announcement on the loudspeaker came at 8:45am.  There were a string of gay white men (mostly…besides Ru Paul who was incredible!) that came on stage one after another, speaking to the crowd.  Most of the speeches were fiery and angry.  I cheered and showed my support.  But it kept going on and kept getting more angry and many of the speeches turned into political rants.

The news, my social media feeds, and many of my in-person interactions on a daily basis are dominated by people’s anger towards the POTUS and his administration.  The Resist March was no different.  And BELIEVE ME PEOPLE, I am on your side!

The early March crowd turnout was not huge and didn’t seem overly engaged (not a lot of cheering).  People just seemed to be waiting for the march to start so that that feeling of unity could begin.  This was how I felt.  We actually began marching a little after 10:00am.  Once the marching began, the atmosphere changed for the better.  The crowd  interacted with each other and marched together into West Hollywood.  It seemed that about half of the LA Pride participants just waited for everyone to arrive in West Hollywood so that the party could start.  I was towards the beginning of the march and when we got into WeHo around noon, the streets were lined with people and the bars and festival were already full.

LA pride was different this year.  There was a definite missing piece in the heart of weekend.  I know a lot of you are probably reading this thinking “This is not a time to celebrate, we need to be protesting and fighting!”  Damn, I agree but can’t we also have time to embrace WHO we are as well?  The parade isn’t just about a fun party, it is about love, acceptance, and support.  We are LGBTQA and we rely on the our close knit community to keep us strong. Every year, there are tears in my eyes during the parade as I see the PRIDE in people’s eyes to be out and comfortable in their own skin.  I just missed that.  Am I the only one?

Here are my “day of” thoughts in my very first awkwardly composed YouTube video.  If you like hearing the word “UM” a lot and enjoy a healthy amount of cleavage, you should definitely watch:

XO Liz Baxter

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IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

You Better Belize It!

I am a planner.  Which means I am also a researcher.  My roommate and bestie, Aimee, and I knew we wanted to go on a vacation that had tropical beach vibes but also some options for adventure.  I love to lay by the pool drinking daiquiris but not EVERY day.  I probably put a good 30 hours into internet research on which location would be the best for our trip.  We wanted someplace that neither of us had ever been.  After plenty of back and forth and indecision between islands in the Caribbean, we finally landed on BELIZE in Central America and I am so happy that we did!

We stayed on Ambergris Caye, a small island off the mainland, reachable by water taxi or tiny ass airplanes.  We chose The Phoenix resort, which turned out to be the nicest on the island.  The property only had 40 or so units and the “rooms” are actually huge condos all with ocean views and excellent amenities.  We had a waterfront unit with a wrap around patio that was incredible!

A note about Ambergris Caye and Belize in general: Most Belizians are POOR.  I mean really poor.  This island is not your typical tourist town with fancy or even basic amenities.  You see people living in shacks and in conditions that some would consider sub-standard.  There are no CVS stores or any chain or recognizable type of store.  There are little local hole in the wall shops (many with dirt floors) that are very overpriced (for example, $8 for a dozen eggs at any of the grocery stores).  Regardless, the people are incredibly warm and friendly to everyone, including tourists.  But let me re-iterate, this island is NOT fancy. Even at the nicest restaurant on the island, you can walk in wearing a bathing suit and cover up and fit right in.  Seriously.   You would be out of place in heels anywhere on the island.  I did not do my hair or wear one ounce of makeup the entire trip. I would have only if I had know that my roommate would be turning all of her video documentation into an incredible video:

BELIZE!!! from Aimee Warner on Vimeo.

Ambergris Caye is a perfect vacation spot if you are looking for a super laid back island with an authentic Belizian feel.  The food was YUM and not super pricey.  The diving (scuba) and snorkeling was ah-mazing!  Out the water front gate of our resort, I would walk just two piers down to the best dive shop on the island, Chuck and Robbie’s. The water was warm and the visibility was great!

Almost everyday we did some type of partial or full day activity including two day trips to the mainland for cave tubing, zip lining, and a Mayan cave exploration.  On the island we did snorkel, diving, spa day, a jet ski tour, and lots of eating and sun bathing!

I would say the single most memorable part of our trip was actually the excursion that I was least excited about, the ATM Cave tour. No write up can describe this “tour” with a description that would do it justice.  Just watch the video, ok?!  Let’s just say it was 5 hours of hiking in the jungle and over a mile into a pitch black cave THROUGH rushing water.  Imagine hiking in a stream, against the flow of the water, in the pitch black.  There had been so much rain recently that many parts were too deep to walk, so we swam.  In our clothes and hard hats.  The lights on our helmets were the ONLY source of light during our time in the cave.  But it was SO cool!

If you go to Belize at all, just do the damn ATM Cave tour.  We took a puddle jumper to get to the main island and it was included in the tour price which made it really easy.

If you are boujee AF and used to all-inclusive resorts or Americanized tourist spots, Ambergris Caye is NOT the destination for you.  If you have a sense of adventure and appreciate local culture and island life, check out this island and you won’t be disappointed!

XO Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter