In my 28 years on this big, beautiful planet, life has led me to believe that I knew the correct plan for myself multiple times. As the end of college neared, I saw a path filled with steady jobs, marriage, kids and a nice big house somewhere in Wisconsin. It looked attractive to me and I believed for a while that it was the correct plan for my life. So ensued a steady job, marriage…then all of a sudden my perspective shifted. I longed to live in a big city, I didn’t want that steady job, I needed change so I made it happen.
After some debating, pleading and a few tough conversations, my husband (Ryan) and I packed it up and drove across the country to live in Seattle. I jumped into the big city thing, worked odd jobs (camp counselor, nanny, dog walker) and enjoyed the sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis as much as I could. I saw another path stretching out ahead of me; high rise apartments, random jobs I could quit once I got bored, meeting friends for happy hour (you know, millennial stuff). Before long though the constant movement of the city got to me. I found myself wanting to escape again. Anyone sensing a pattern here?
The thing that has kept me somewhat satiated in Seattle is the intense beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Escaping into the wilderness has been the yin to the busy city’s yang. Truthfully, I didn’t realize how much I had always loved the outdoors before my agitation pushed me to start exploring. As I spent more time hiking, camping, walking beaches and just staring up into blue sky, I finally found I didn’t want to escape. Exploring, moving, disconnecting made me finally feel like I was standing still. I wasn’t sprinting to the next thing. Looking for something.
I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am to the Pacific Northwest and specifically Western Washington for bringing me these revelations. I adore Seattle. I adore the state of Washington. But when the time came to decide what to do after our third year of renting pricey apartments in the big city, we made the decision to leave. The things we wanted (more space, family-time, some peace and quiet) couldn’t be found in Seattle. Debate ensued over possibly moving out of Seattle but staying in Washington so we could continue enjoying the Northwest. Unfortunately, Washington is missing one very important thing: our families. So moving home it was. The decision hurt. Still does.
Our minds were made up. Move back to Wisconsin. From there we kind of sat around and stared at each other. We had experienced so much change in the last three years, neither of us wanted to go back to our old lives. Travel, adventure, and the outdoors were now so important to us and losing that wasn’t an option. The idea of becoming traveling weekenders was quickly brought up and tossed around. We could get a small RV or a van and head out every Friday, be back late on Sunday and just live for those days. While not ideal, thinking about it calmed us down enough to start looking at the situation a bit more optimistically.
A few days later, Ryan brought up the idea that he could work remotely and while not common in accounting, it was totally doable. We knew it was unlikely that his company would go for it, but the worst they could say was “uh, no, please leave” so might as well throw it out there. As you can probably guess, since I went through the trouble of writing all of this, his company said YES. I was so stressed out on the day he talked to them about it. I must have checked my phone every 20 seconds that day, it died like three times. Even though we had both agreed it probably wasn’t going to work out, damn did I want it to!
So here we are, now faced with seemingly endless possibilities. Life on the road, splitting time between home and travel, and many other options that have run through my head at an alarming rate. Almost more terrifying than no possibilities (us humans, never satisfied). The best part of this situation is that I see no path stretching out ahead of me. I can’t really even conjure up what life will look like over these next few years. The “plan” is to not waste this opportunity, to look back and say that we used these amazing circumstances to our advantage. Past that, there really is no plan. Which I believe is the best path to be on.