I’m from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California—a Valley Girl, which I love being. I grew up incredibly lucky, around open minded and kind people, in schools that allowed me to pursue my interests and be as weird as I liked. I imagine having experienced such encouragement throughout my youth permitted me to have the genuine excitement for life that I have now.
Now I'm a writer, reader and business school student living in Spain. I've spent most of what was meant to be a year in Madrid away from the city, on account of the pandemic. Traveling for me is less about the places that I go and more so about the experiences I have—I don’t really have a favorite place that I’ve travelled to, but I do have emotional connections to cities that are home to something special to me.
It’s been difficult to keep a routine this year, and though I’ve dabbled in good habits like doing yoga and writing in the morning, those things come and go with my mood. I would say my rituals change depending on who I’m with and what phase I’m in. But my rituals this summer were swims in the sea, group dinners, movies in the evening, wine before bed. Now that I’ve been on my own again for the past week or so, I’ve enjoyed cooking myself all three meals a day, writing, and reading, and doing laundry (I’ve had so much laundry to do!). I’ve had long, hot showers, and shaved my legs every day, and over moisturized. It’s all been fantastic.
There came a point in my teens when I realized that nothing interested or affected me like a book could. I found that when I was sad for no reason or felt lonely or misunderstood, the best way I could return to feeling like myself again was to read. My desire to write developed around that—it seemed like an obvious fit. I can’t remember seriously wanting to be anything else besides an author.
Today, I’m working on my first novel, which I hope to have published in the next few years. Once I graduate, I’d like to find ways to encourage others to read and talk about reading; especially children, especially BIPOC children who are less likely to see themselves represented in literature.
Just a year or so ago, I wasn’t sure where I’d end up in the world, but I am increasingly feeling that I might settle down back home in Los Angeles. Now that that’s the case though, it seems important that I stay away from home for as long as I can. When I was younger, I thought that at my age I would be a grown up and that by now I’d be living the grown up life I’d have until I die, but I find every year, that I am not grown up yet. So, while as of now, I imagine that in five years, I’ll be back in Los Angeles with a job and real furniture and maybe a pet, I think it’s a possibility that I could be anywhere in the world doing anything at all before I finally settle down.
I still work on reminding myself of this, but I wish that when I was younger, I had known not to let other people make me nervous. Fear of disappointing or hurting the feelings of others has made me afraid to ask for things I wanted and has made me endure things I shouldn’t have. My best advice for life is to say yes to yourself as often as you can. If it is possible, if it doesn’t harm yourself or others, you should follow your whims, you should act on your wildest ideas. Holding yourself back does not an adventure make.
Find Zoe here. Photography by Drew Escriva..