Moving to Ashevile NC
In 2010 I made a big change and moved across the country for the second time. This time, the destination was Asheville, NC, I was following the man I had fallen for, and the plan was to stay. It was a big leap of faith and a huge change, and four and ½ years later, I'm still so happy with the decision.
I am originally from Nantucket, MA, and after college in Connecticut, I drove across the country to Los Angeles, and boarded a plane to New Zealand with 3 of my closest friends. After 3 months in New Zealand, I landed back in LA, and had no job and no plan. I always loved traveling, and I knew I wanted to visit friends in San Francisco and Portland, and my brother in Park City, UT. After a few weeks of traveling around out west, I felt pretty attached to San Francisco. I went back there to stay with my friend, and called home. I asked my parents to send me more of my clothes and belonging. I wasn't coming back east.
I had started doing Pilates in college, and as soon as I arrived in San Francisco I dove head first into the modern dance scene. I also immediately found a Pilates class as the Pilates Center of San Francisco and ODC Dance School. It turns out this was how I ended up finding a job, the modern dance company RAWdance, and my Pilates mentor, Martt Lawrence.
I took both mat classes and group equipment classes for 4 years with Martt, and finally one day she suggested that I get certified. I told her I wasn't interested. A few months later, I changed my mind and enrolled in the 700-hour training program at Metropolitan Pilates in Seattle, Washington. Martt would be my San Francisco mentor, and Dorothee Vande Walle would be my certifying instructor in Seattle. This was the beginning on 2009, which was also when I started dating my partner, Tom.
Tom also hails from New England. A Providence man at heart, he had moved to Oakland for a job in energy efficiency after college. It turns out that Tom's best friend in college was a friend of mine from Nantucket who I'd known for most of my life. Small world. With a pile of mutual friends, it was only a matter of time before Tom and I crossed paths.
Making the Move
After a year together, Tom told me that he wanted to leave Oakland. He wanted to buy a house, and the Bay Area was exceedingly expensive, and his heart is on the East Coast. His job had sent him to Asheville, NC four times in the course of a year for work with Progress Energy, and he had fallen in love with the quirky city. We decided to move in a year.
My biggest fear was missing out in the dance world. The dance scene in San Francisco is huge, and in Asheville, it's tiny. I was willing to risk it, and luckily, it all worked out and I ended up with Asheville Contemporary Dance Theater for four years, and now, Lindsey Kelley Dance. I looked up Pilates in Asheville, NC and immediately found Clasique Acupuncture and Pilates studio. The owner Brooke had also trained with Dorothee Vande Walle in Seattle, and I remembered meeting her briefly during my training. I emailed her and immediately landed a job. She only wanted instructors trained by Dorothee. I couldn't believe my luck.
We accelerated our move date, and almost immediately I also landed a 3 month Pilates job in Chambésy, Switzerland, outside of Geneva, for the summer of 2010. She also hired me because I was certified by Dorothee Vande Walle. Dorothee's name was taking me far! I took over the owner's clients for the summer so that she could spend more time with her family. From there, I flew to Asheville, NC in September, 2010. I had never been to Asheville, and had just a backpack with me. Tom had put the rest of our belongings on Amtrak to ship across the country.
We both started work right away, and found a house to rent on our first day in Asheville, NC in the 5 Points Neighborhood. I started working at Clasique and had a great experience there, but after 8 months, I ended up leaving. It was a difficult decision, because again, it meant a big change for me. But I realized that I wanted to be on my own. I really liked the idea of having a small, private studio, with just me as the teacher and no employees.
Starting My Own Pilates Studio
I wanted to run my own business and offer something that no other Pilates studio in Asheville was offering: A truly private studio in which clients could work out, without any other clients or teachers in the studio. I think this is hard to find these days, and I think that it's a really important and unique opportunity for people. Many people with personal trainers are in gyms or large studios. Being alone with your instructor is suitable for many people's needs, for those who desire that kind of privacy. I also really liked the idea of working from home, and having a studio with a cozy, at-home feeling. Clients who come to my home get to meet my sleeping cats, and my partner Tom, who also works from home. We had bought a house with enough space for a studio in one of the rooms, and we were still in our favorite neighborhood: 5 Points.
I was also very fortunate to find a space to rent a block away for my group mat classes on Monday nights. Forsythe Street once had two churches across the street from each other. One of those churches was converted several years ago into several apartments with a large, open cathedral-type room with 30-foot windows, 40-foot ceilings, and more than enough room to have a Pilates mat class. Radiant heated floors in the winter keep us warm, and high powered ceiling fans and AC in the summer keep us cool. It's a beautiful space to practice in. I feel very fortunate and feel like everything has been falling into place since moving to Asheville.
Why We Love Asheville NC
Asheville, NC has a kind of magic to it that is hard to describe, but it seems to be full of people who just want to live life to the fullest, enjoy the outdoors, and have dreams to accomplish, whether that is a family, a business, or to retire. A piece of my heart will always be in Nantucket and San Francisco, but Asheville is where it is now, and since uprooting is so difficult on so many levels, I'd be more than content to stay here and just satisfy my travel needs by traveling, and calling Asheville, NC home for good.