Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Rachael Burroughs expected that, like many of her friends and family, she would build a life there, most likely as a physician or attorney. But after graduating from the University of Florida a few years ago, she found her life taking an unexpected turn.
"I kind of had an Eat, Pray, Love, moment. I went backpacking around Europe and Australia for a summer. It was a fantastic trip and I started to realize that as much as I love Florida, it's not my forever home."
When she returned, she started applying for work and landed a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative at a major company. The only problem was that it required moving to New York City.
"It was a big deal for me to move. My parents were not exactly happy with my decisions to not go to medical school and to live so far away. My parents had never traveled much and our family is close."
Still, she says, it was the right choice. She loves the culture, shopping and nightlife in the city, the exciting pace, and the people she meets everywhere.
"I've learned so much about myself. It can be chaotic and it can also be lonely. The dating scene is sort of terrible but I try not to go out all of the time and instead focus on my friends."
In New York, Rachael has built her own community, with her fellow sales reps, the CubeSmart teammates she sees on a regular basis at the 945 Atlantic Avenue facility where she stores her promotional materials, and at a nondenominational church in Williamsburg. She's even been "adopted" by her landlord's large and friendly Italian family.
"They’re always looking out for me—they bring me spaghetti and meatballs on Sundays and let me do laundry at their house. I went to their son's wedding and I'm buying them Christmas gifts. It helps to have that here where it's easy to get lost in the shuffle."
In her spare time, Rachael continues to travel around the world. In the past year alone she went to Cuba, Iceland, London, and Aruba, and she's scheduling a trip to New Zealand next. In between, she will go home to Florida when she can.
"It's good to go back and remember my roots. But it's also good to realize that the world is a lot bigger than me and my culture and everything I was used to. Life is an adventure, and the whole point is to adapt and make changes."
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