Swap it Out
Written By Zennie Trieu
I catch up with my dear friend Lorenzo Cabello, who has recently moved from my hometown in Secaucus to Cincinnati, Ohio, turning a yearlong yearning for transition into a thrilling new chapter in life on his own accord. We talk about self-expectations, returning to both childhood neighborhoods and adolescent dreams, leaving the New York metropolitan area due to an unshakeable desire for another place to call home, and how he’s making the most out of being in the driver’s seat—sometimes even on autopilot—on the highway of post-grad independence.
© All photos taken by Zennie Trieu.
Would you mind summarizing your relationships with Ohio, Boston, and New Jersey for our readers?
The progression really starts off in Queens, New York, where I was born. From there my family went to New Jersey, up until I was about four or so, and then finally to Ohio, [where I] grew up and moved back to Jersey in 2008. Went to college at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Jersey for two years and then transferred to Suffolk University in Boston in 2014. Really fell in love with the city.
Your decision to swap majors and schools happened simultaneously. What were those switches, and how did you come to decide that you needed those changes?
My freshman year, I was a film major. As a sophomore I added a creative writing minor. Then, when I transferred, I dropped film altogether and made English/creative writing my major…just slowly building up to what I’ve always really wanted to do. I knew I wanted to write early on. Filmmaking is really amazing—lots of hard work—and while I’m still hoping to make a career of it some day, I felt the craft I truly wanted to perfect was writing.
From one literary nerd to another: the road novel/film is typically deemed an idiosyncratically American genre. Such stories usually present life-altering adventures as the result of autonomous action. You’ve travelled a lot in these past few years, including a semester studying abroad in Spain. Do you often find yourself thinking—or dreaming—of new trips or the next destination?
I love the road genre. It embraces freedom, adventure, and an openness to life. However, I have to say, after moving so many times in my life (all, up until now, against my will since I was a kid) my one dream is to settle down in one place and never feel the need to leave. I’m often content with where I am—even if I’m not particularly fond of my current situation, I try not to dwell on it. The present moment is all we ever have. That being said, my day of full-fledged contentment will come when I’ve set my anchor down permanently.
And since the readers don’t know me personally, and because it probably seems like I’ve only moved between three different locations, for clarification I have moved now at least 12 times if I remember correctly.
I’d love to hear about a major risk you took that sort of just... happened—an instance of you going through with something important but seemingly without effort (sprezzatura in Italian: calculated ease, as if you were on autopilot)—and another decision where there was plenty of planning beforehand.
That is right out of the textbook on college admissions essays. I think I just answered this in the last job interview I did.
Moving to Ohio was a bit of both: going through with it without effort and with a lot of planning. I thought about doing this move for a long time, but never seriously considered it. There was always something keeping me from taking the leap. Mainly job prospects since New York is the city for literally all my talents and goals. Writing, film, acting, music. It’s all there. So it never made sense. And because of that, planning just seemed like too much of a deterrence. Most people probably would say what I did was illogical (and I’d probably agree with them) but I decided it was now or never. Autopilot, as you say. The time was right. I had money, my two friends wanted to start a band, and I knew that if I didn’t do it now I never would. Zach, our mutual friend and one of the musicians in this project, put it to me in a way that solidified my decision. He asked me if I never gave it a shot, would I regret it? And I would. It’d be one of the biggest regrets of my life.
I have a tendency to do things on the spur of the moment with minimal planning. It’s that road, that openness we talked about. If you have the means and the will to do it, then give it a try. You’ll never know otherwise. Most of that comes from my mom. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without her. She gave me the freedom to follow every artistic impulse, telling me to trust in myself and my ability, never once trying to convince me in pursuing something more “practical.” She believes in me.
In the almost full year between graduating and moving to Ohio, was there a moment that you felt was brilliant and all yours?
I try to enjoy those moments as often as they come, so I couldn’t think of one particular example. You know how easily impressed I am by nature and architecture. There are so many of these brilliant moments on a daily basis if you just allow them to shine through. The little things! If you can’t enjoy the happy little moments, how are you going to handle the large, messy, frustrating moments?