Preparing For The End Of The World


I’m a catastrophe-thinker. And a control freak. That perfect combination means I can imagine the worse-case scenario for any and every situation I’m in – and I have a plan for surviving it. Here is a look into my plans:

Tornado – (A) Hide in an inner room, preferably without windows and with a lockable door. (B) If a room is not available, seek low ground, preferably in a ditch with some sort of overhead covering. (C) Drive away from tornado. This is my favorite option. It makes me a tornado run-awayer rather than a tornado chaser.

Hurricane – I currently have a slot in my friends’ evacuation car provided that I let their dog, Velcro, sit in my lap. Velcro is a vizsla, so he’s almost my size. But a sore lap is a small price to pay for being whisked away from a Houston disaster zone.

Home Break-in – If I’m in my room when the burglar arrives, there is a can of pepper spray on my nightstand. I’ll grab it, then call 911 while I hide in the closet behind my bedroom door. If I’m in the living area, I will grab a butcher knife from the kitchen, run screaming at the front door and hopefully catch the burglar off guard enough to slip outside (my apartment is very small and I can be very intimidating).

Gasoline Shortage – I have the bus route to my office mapped out. But ideally I’d like to have an extra can of gasoline on hand. I haven’t really thought this one out too much, but I do have a list of people I can carpool with.

Alien Invasion – Drive to local grocery store. Stock up on tents, backpacks, duffel bags, portable food items, fuel, and any sharp/blunt objects that could be used as weapons. Drive to friend’s house where a television is available. Watch TV for coverage of alien invasion. Determine alien weakness. Grab some friends and head for the hills where we will set up camp until I figure out a way to defeat the aliens. Then, defeat the aliens.

Zombie Apocalypse – Drive to local grocery store. Stock up on tents, backpacks, duffel bags, portable food items, fuel, and any sharp/blunt objects that could be used as weapons. Find at least two people I can trust who are not already zombies. Form a kick-ass band of zombie-killers. Live out our days scavenging and killing until the Center for Disease Control figures out what to do.

World War III – Cry. Freak out. Then, gather my wits and head to the grocery store, gather whatever survival gear I can find there, then make my way to the local Department of National Defense located in my office building where I offer my services as a spy in exchange for food, shelter, and protection.

Instant Eradication of Electricity – Run straight to the grocery store and gather all the canned food and fruit and vegetable seeds I can possibly find. Then, eat all the ice cream I can – who knows when I’ll have it again? If I have enough gas in my car, drive to Dallas to find my family. If I don’t, find friends in my neighborhood and create a commune capable of producing its own food. This is my favorite scenario, because communes sound fun.

Atomic Bomb – Duck and cover. Then die, because what else can you do? If I managed to survive, I guess I’d go find my family and live out the rest of my radiation-shortened life playing games, sharing memories, and throwing up a lot of radiation puke.

A Message to a Stranger


This goes out to the man who was jogging on the sidewalk outside the YMCA this morning.

Dear Stranger,

Today was your day. You got up this morning with a smile on your face. You ate a power bar, pulled on your jogging clothes, laced your tennis shoes, and hopped out the door.

You looked out at the Houston humidity and you said, “I dare to take you on.” After thumbing your nose at the heat, you embarked on what was most certainly a joyous run. Your workout soundtrack consisted of the sounds of children’s laughter as they made their way back to school, birds singing as they built their nests, and the soft trumpets of some impatient commuters on their way to the office. You ran your little heart out, huffing and puffing as you turned the corner to pass the local YMCA. Drenched in sweat, you refused to give up. “I can do this. Just a few blocks more.”

And then, from out of nowhere, a wall of water enveloped your already wet body. Confused, bewildered, and soaked, you quickly glanced to the street on your left. You watched as a small Scion continued its way to the YMCA parking garage, hitting almost every puddle in the street gutter on its way. But you didn’t stop running. Despite the smell of street water that seemed to penetrate your very being, you kept going. But there was a little less pep in your step as you rounded the corner and headed back home. Your almost-perfect morning run had been ruined by an anonymous driver.

And for that, I am sorry.


The Scion Driver Who Was In Too Much of a Hurry to Notice


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My Houston-iversary


This week marks the one-year anniversary of when I packed two duffel bags into the back of my Scion and moved to Houston to start my first job. I can’t believe it’s already been a full year since I came here. In some ways it seems like I just got here yesterday, and yet, sometimes I feel like I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve learned so much in such a short time. But, most importantly, I’ve proved to myself that I could do it.

When I first told people I was moving to Houston, I was met with different versions of the same emotion: shocked. Some were excited for me, others skeptical. Most people told me that they never expected me to do “something like that.” Apparently, moving to a different city to start a new life, although a cliché scenario in my book, didn’t seem to be the type of thing that Haley Gatewood would ever do.

It was through these conversations that I discovered that many of my friends and family had grown to see only one part of me – and it was a part I didn’t like. They knew me as a quiet, timid girl who was too afraid to swim too far from shore. That Haley is very real and defined the majority of my life for a long time. But while they grew accustomed to that perception of me, I was developing the side of me that I did like: a brave, ambitious, independent person who didn’t need training wheels anymore and was willing to go wherever God sent her. That was the part of me I had grown to identify with. That was the part of me that accepted the challenge of starting a new life from scratch in a city I had never been to before.

And so, while others doubted my ability to blaze my own trail and expected me to move back home as soon as I could, I set out to prove them wrong – and prove to myself that I really was this person I had kept hidden for so long.

So, it’s been a year. My trail has been blazed. And I feel like I’m finally getting the chance to express the part of me I knew was there all along.

And it’s just the beginning.



Haley Takes SXSW

Advertising, Everyday, Travel

Tomorrow afternoon I’m driving to Austin for the SXSW Interactive Festival. Many of you already know this because I either haven’t stopped talking about it or you stalk me on Twitter. Or both.

For those who don’t know what SXSW is, here is a brief synopsis: it’s awesome. But in all seriousness, it’s one of the largest festivals of its kind. Spanning several weeks, SXSW is broken up into several sections, namely Music, Film, and Interactive. Most people are familiar with the music and film aspect, but I will be attending the Interactive portion of the festival.

SXSW Interactive focuses on interactive media and emerging technology. The website explains further that “the event features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line-up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology.” Cool, huh?

So why am I going? My agency is sending me and four others to the festival in order to learn more about upcoming media and new technology that so that we can gain a better understanding of where our industry is going and the opportunities for where we could take it in the future. So, over the next 5 days I’ll basically be in creative nerd-land listening to some of the brightest minds in the media world. And that is just the place for a young advertiser.

In classic Haley-style, I considered blogging my trip just like I have my other travels in the past (see: Scotland and London). However, I also realized that I’m going to be crazy busy and people may not necessarily be interested in my day-to-day laundry list of activities. Thus, I’ll mostly be logging my trip through my Twitter account. If you’re interested in following my adventure, you can get live coverage by clicking here.

Other than seminars and workshops, I’ll also be getting a lot of free swag, enjoying free parties and food, meeting some cool, like-minded people, and catching up with several old friends who will be attending as well.

Overall, I’m super pumped. Can you tell?

Get lost.


In the 14 days I’ve been in Houston I’ve probably gotten lost about twenty-eight times (if not more). I consider it a rarity if I haven’t gotten lost at least twice in one day. Normally this would frustrate me. I hate being lost. I hate not knowing where I am or being in an unfamiliar part of town.

Having lived in Dallas my whole life, I rarely got truly lost; I could always find a reference point (a major highway, a recognizable restaurant) to help guide me back to where I was supposed to go. Now I’m in a new city with new roads and new landmarks to learn. I’ve driven to the wrong location several times because there are multiple streets with the same names. I’ve made a ridiculous amount of U-turns. I’ve pulled into many a parking lot to re-configure the GPS on my iPhone only to discover I’m right where I was supposed to be all along.

Strangely enough, I’ve come to welcome the feeling of being lost. It’s through these times that I have been able to explore my new home, stumbling across random one-way streets and discovering hidden retail strips. It’s forced me to explore, not out of luxury, but out of necessity. It has made me embrace the fact that I’m not in Dallas anymore and the hundreds of new opportunities that allows me.

And it has helped me understand that everyone needs to get lost every once in a while, because if we are never lost, how can we know when we’re found?

Haley Takes Houston

Advertising, Everyday

Long story short: I’ve accepted a job offer as a Junior Copywriter at an ad agency in Houston. I start mid-June.

Long story longer: FKM contacted me out of the blue four days ago and, after a phone interview, I was asked to fly out to visit the agency to get a feel for the people there. Friday, I flew to Houston and had a series of interviews on site. Overall, I LOVED IT. I met so many amazing people and learned about the exciting work that the agency is doing (as well as their goals for the future). They are really cool and were really passionate and invested in me and my success. I was told how much they think that my talent and personality would be a perfect fit for their agency and their clients. So, after a couple of hours of interviews, they offered me a job. Because I leave for Scotland Sunday (tomorrow), they needed to know by then if I accepted the offer.

On the ride back to the airport, I felt a sense of peace which is weird because I had several emotional breakdowns in the previous 64 hours over the idea of moving by myself to a city I have only been to once (the first time was flying in for my interview). I was hesitant at first, because I’ve never considered leaving Dallas. But, it’s an opportunity to get crazy real work experience right off the bat which is not typical of entry-level advertising creatives. Plus, I really feel like the agency is a perfect fit for me. I’ve been praying this whole semester about being spontaneous and open to God’s plans for me, and I feel like this might be God’s reason that I’ve had nothing really solid planned job-wise.

So, I officially accepted the offer today (Saturday). That being said, prayers would be highly appreciated as I embark on this new journey. I am both excited and nervous about the days to come, especially since I’ll be in the UK for 10 days when I should be researched living arrangements in Houston–if anyone knows people with guest houses or who are looking for a roommate let me know! This is definitely going to be an adventure ;)

Stay tuned for more news about my crazy-fast move as well as a play-by-play on my adventures in Scotland and London this week.

Also, if anyone wants to see me before I leave, hit me up!

Jeremiah 29:10: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Acts 20:24 – “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”