It has now been over one year since Adam quit his job in Utah. A year ago we were finishing up our 3 weeks in Hawaii, after spending 2 weeks in Thailand. When we got home from our trip to Hawaii, we built our trailer we would be living in for the next 8 months. As we traveled, we were looking for our next home. We compared weather, cost of living, proximity to large cities/airports, and of course the overall “vibe.” Adam and I disagreed on a few locations (South Dakota, for one), but mostly we just didn’t “know.” At the end of October, we were in Virginia and I started getting cold. I don’t like winter in general, but spending cold nights in a tiny trailer was more than I wanted to handle. So I asked Adam if we could alter our plans a little, skip a few National Parks that were on our schedule, and just start heading south. Adam obliged, and we went straight from Shenendoah down to South Carolina.
While I was basking in the sun, but something was nagging at us. We worried that we weren’t supposed to veer off course. That we were missing something up in the mountains. So even though it didn’t make sense, even though it would be back-tracking, even though I was going back into the cold weather, we turned around and went back north. We went to North Carolina. With the hills bursting to the brim with vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and a beautiful autumn glow that was neither cold nor hot, we quickly fell into the magical trap of the Smoky Mountains. We drove on the windiest roads we had encountered on our entire trip, with waterfalls cascading down walls inches away from our windows. We stayed in tucked away campsites with friendly and warm neighbors. We passed through cute, touristy mountain towns and quiet country sides. We fell in love.
Throughout the entire month of October, Adam had been applying for jobs all over the country. Because we were free-floaters, and at that time had no clear direction on where we wanted to end up, we didn’t hold back with his job applications. Kansas, Alaska, Seattle, Maine. We were handing out his resume like candy. And the funny thing was? Despite his incredible skill set and background experience, we were offered nothing. We only got 3-4 call backs with NO leads. We were discouraged and confused. But when we arrived in North Carolina, we decided a different approach would yield better results. Adam started walking into the physical building, introducing himself, and asking if they were hiring. He had a job interview within a few days. Though we didn’t end up accepting that first job, we had gotten a foot in the door. At the end of November, we had a flight out of Florida that we had to catch, so we left North Carolina at the latest possible date and flew to the Virgin Islands.
It wasn’t long after we made it back from Virgin Islands National Park that Adam had another job interview for a different job in North Carolina. He took the phone interview and the next day they asked to meet him in person. Within a month he had started his new job. We started looking for houses. We knew that we wanted a property that we could start a garden, and maybe have chickens or other small farm animals. We knew we wanted to be in the country without Adam needing a long commute to his work. We had a VERY difficult time finding something in our price range and with our desires. It got to the point where I told Adam we should just buy a bigger trailer rather than rush into something we didn’t love. We went back and forth on “settling” on a house in a neighborhood, but ultimately decided that the reason we chose North Carolina was so we could have the kind of setting we wanted. So we waited. I flew to Idaho to spend some time with the kids outside of our tiny trailer (it’s January and freezing and wet by this point). And, wouldn’t you know it, we found our house while I was gone. Adam put an offer on it without me ever seeing it in person (which, by the way, is exactly how we bought our first house in Maryland and neither of us had seen our house before we moved to Utah).
After I got back from Idaho, we were under contract. The first time I toured it, our realtor asked what I though (he was probably pretty nervous that I’d want to back out after all the work he’d done for us 😀 ) and my response was, “I love it.” I told Adam he had found exactly what I wanted when I pictured us moving to North Carolina.
So now here we are in, two months into house living again. I cried a lot when we made the decision for Adam to start looking for jobs. I cried thinking about not finishing our trip. I expected myself to stop following traveling families on Instagram because it would be too painful to watch other families doing what I had wanted to be doing. I thought I would miss the on-the-road life SO much.
Turns out, I don’t.
Sure, I miss having Adam around all the time. I miss us having adventures together. But I am really enjoying our stationary life and our stationary home. Adam and I have both commented on how we miss our little place when we do travel away from it. It’s funny because with our house in Utah, I had NO interest in gardening, planting, not even decorating really. I just didn’t have a desire to put down roots – literally or figuratively. It never felt like home. This has not been the case with our little NC homestead. The moment we moved in, I not only started making plans for future changes, but I loved and accepted it as mine. As ours. We put our hands in and got to work.
I still have a lot of things I want to see and do and travel to. The kids ask us occasionally why we aren’t seeing National Parks still, but overall I think this is where and how we’re supposed to live our life right now. We are getting settled into a MUCH better homeschooling routine than we were on the road. We enjoy having consistent friendships and church family. I feel like my kids have better expectations for chores, school, and behavior. Not that it can’t be done while traveling, because it definitely can, and I have seen many families thrive. But it turns out that traveling full-time WAS NOT a “simpler” life for us. We loved our time on the road, and I 100% think it served the purpose we needed it to. I regret nothing about our decision to travel. It brought us closer, it re-aligned our visions as husband and wife, mother and father. It taught us what we wanted out of this life, our parenting, our relationships with each other and other family members. It showed us what was most important, and it eventually led us to a path to fulfill those desires. We learned life is hard no matter the living circumstances, and we learned how to “simplify” our lives in other ways. We will forever look back on our time traveling with so much fondness, love, and GRATITUDE. It was the chance of a lifetime and we are forever glad we took it.
We still very much live a minimalist lifestyle. Fewer clothes, fewer dishes, fewer “stuff.” This is the smallest home we’ve ever lived in, besides our apartment homes. But it’s the biggest outdoor space we’ve ever owned, and that is where our hearts soar. We have pasture land, wooded land, a creek, a barn, a shed, a garden, chicken coop. My beautiful dirt road that I wanted 🙂
Most importantly, it feels like home.
* A note on the photos below. One day I dressed Mirabelle up in her prettiest, Sunday-best dress. I shot a whole roll of film with her and her brothers. Then, an hour later, I found her playing with that DEVELOPED ROLL OF FILM and all images were gone forever. So, that’s why these images are shot in their jammies. On digital.