Moving West, Finding Home
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
If I am honest, my journey started in adventure. When I married my husband there was a whirlwind of activity that landed us 2,000 miles away from our shared hometown, family and everything we knew up until that time. We had gone on a few trips prior to that, but until our honeymoon had never even been on a plane together. And there we were, driving two cars across the country, linked by walkie-talkies and a thirst for the unknown. We were chasing a dream of adventure, one that was in both of our hearts, and when given the choice of Colorado or Utah, we landed in a town that I had only ever seen from an airport window once. Jeff had been for about 24 hours during his interview process, and we had some loose acquaintances, but absolutely zero idea of what we’re were getting ourselves into. We wanted big mountains, big adventures and bigger lives than we thought we could have in our Midwest roots. As we were saying goodbye to our friends, family and the only lives we had ever known, we told everyone (mostly for my sake) that it would just be a few short years, that we would have our extended honeymoon and be back to settle down and have a family before they knew it. I knew this would be temporary, that I was getting the ski bum lifestyle ‘out of my system’ and I would never be able to make a real life on my own, even with my loving husband by my side. We were newlyweds with no kids and nothing to lose. So, with about one month separating the decision to make a move out west to driving mountain passes we had long idolized but never seen we were welcomed to Salt Lake City. We reached out to people in our lives we had hardly known before we got there and our boxes were barely out of the moving truck, let alone unpacked before we were off on our first camping trip in our new home! What would soon become a good friend told me that first week, “You will have plenty of time to unpack boxes, you will only have one first weekend here! You CANNOT waste it with details, you have to start your new lives now.” And with those words echoing in our empty one bedroom apartment, we were off driving down dirt roads with new friends. It was a weekend I will never forget; and I will forever be grateful to that friend for pushing us into the wilderness. It was a moment that changed my life.
That first camping trip launched what became the most spontaneous season of our lives. We laid out topographic maps on floors and tables, picked out an area to explore and just went. Our bags were always packed, our weekends were always spent outside and on an adventure together. We camped, hiked, backpacked, skied, snowboarded, explored our new city like tourists, and had the time of our lives. In those first few years when it was just Jeff and I, we saw an unbelievable amount of places, each more epic than the last. We moved out west with the hopes of satisfying our desire to see the world and explore things we had spent so much time dreaming about, but quickly discovered that this desire for adventure was an addiction that I hope will last a lifetime and be genetic so my boys get the bug too. The more you get out into nature, the more you discover you need to see. It is a vicious cycle of diving deeper: getting out there, finding more to see, exploring that, finding more until you reach the point that you know you would never be able to see everything in 10 lifetimes. In that moment you either pack up and head home, back to Ohio, and live out your days pretending you saw what you could, or you dig in and take life by the horns hoping to be exposed to as much as humanly possible before collapsing at the end of your days satisfied knowing you did the damn thing. We chose the latter. This decision has not come easy for us. There was a lot of draw (read:guilt) in going back home, tail between our legs, saying we needed something more than location could provide. We talked about going home every few months ad-nauseum in those first few years. It always ended in one of us saying that going home felt like a failure. A white flag of surrender that we could not make it on our own. The crazy part about that line of thinking was that we were making it on our own. We were flourishing on our own in our careers, financially, personally and in our mostly in our marriage. All of the stars were aligning telling us that Utah was our new home and we still had trouble seeing it through the fog of obligation to where we were raised. The fact that this life we had always dreamed of existed, and was within our grasp was mind boggling. We are six years in to our new lives and have explored more of this world than I ever imagined. Only now am I beginning to see that the list of places we ‘have to see’ will never be exhausted. This country is full of such incredible and diverse beauty that we will never be able to scratch the surface of seeing it all. I hope to spend my days seeing as much as I can and showing my boys that life can be about more than just work and a paycheck. Life can overflow your cup if you give it a chance and really dig in to what lights up your soul. This adventure life is in it’s infancy, as is our family. If I can impress upon my boys and my reader anything, it is that adventure is all around, and should be appreciated for all of its intricacies. But more importantly, it’s not hard to find. You can buy all the gear and do all the planning in the world, but if you never step out the door you are missing the point. You cannot waste your time in details, have have to start living your new life now.