In the spring of 2018 I dropped my cat at my mother’s house, put everything I owned into storage, flew 1,737 kilometres and crossed one international border to take a chance on love. It’s one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken, and I don’t know if it would have happened if I’d never gotten into fiction podcasting.
To explain this properly, I’m going to backtrack a little...
Hi. My name is Andrea. I’m one of the creators of Station to Station, a sci-fi/thriller fiction podcast on the Procyon Podcasts Network. I’m also a bigtime worrier.
A lot of the stuff I worry about is pretty standard, I think. I worry about my career. My cat. My skincare routine. Whether I’m calling my friends enough. If I should spend more time making new friends. How the body damage on my car will affect its eventual resale value. My family’s history of cancers.
But in the two years leading up to my big decision, the things I seemed to be worrying about the most were writing and the United States of America. The first of those is the thing I’ve been basing my identity around since -- no pressure! -- I was five years old. The second is the home of my long distance girlfriend, Alanna, who I wanted to become my no-distance girlfriend very badly.
The problem was pretty simple: When I tried to write creatively, I freaked out. My heart raced. It got hard to breathe. The words didn’t come.
It wasn’t just original stuff that wasn’t working. I still remember crying after I couldn’t get more than a couple sentences in to a fan fic. Writing was the thing I’d always known I could do, and now it was gone. If I couldn’t write, I was useless. And since I was useless, I would surely perish on the mean streets of America if I ever tried to be with the girl I loved in a more permanent way.
Strangely, hanging your entire fate on something does not help to dial back the pressure. I worried and worried and the words stayed stuck.
And then the Procyon Podcast Network happened.
When I wasn’t shedding tears over empty word docs, I’d been active in a private Slack chatroom for a handful of podcast nerds. And in between talking about the shows we loved, we’d thrown around ideas -- what about a podcast set in the Marianas Trench? What about a podcast where the main character is slowly losing some of her memories?
It was just daydreaming. Just talking. Just playing around. No one’s future hung in the balance because none of it was ever going to happen. So we talked more. Seasons took shape, creative teams got assigned. We commissioned network art from another member of the Slack group. We launched a Kickstarter. We announced a slate of shows.
It was the most fun I’d had in a long time. I was still pretty sure this whole thing was never going to happen.
The fear didn’t go away overnight, but the further we got into Procyon the more it shrank. Got manageable. Became the kind of thing you could ignore -- at least long enough to write a page or two.
We wrote scripts. We held auditions. We cast roles. We started recording. And during the back half of our season one recording sessions, one of the voice actors for Station to Station decided to go to another country to visit her own long distance partner. But where I’d been visiting mine for a week at a time, she went for a month.
I am a little embarrassed to admit how astonished I was by this plan. Visiting your girlfriend for an extended period of time to see whether the two of you are compatible is obviously not a new thing. But the more I’d let fear take over my life, the more I’d forgotten that the option exists to just… try stuff. And if someone I knew could try something like this without their life going up in flames, maybe I could too.
In the spring of 2018, a couple months after the first season of Station to Station ended, I flew to California to live with my now-fiancee for four months. Sometimes it kinda sucked. Sometimes it was amazing. A lot of the time, it just felt like home.
This story isn’t over. Immigration takes a while. I don’t know how this is all going to work out. I still worry. I’m trying not to let that stop me.
Oh yeah, I wrote another fiction podcast too. It’s about a lot of things, including fandom, friendship, werewolves and how bad Toronto can smell in August. It’s also about fear, and what it means to keep on trying, and the people who help you find your way through. I’m lucky podcasting helped me find mine.