I have been sitting on this post and these pictures for far too long. First, it was because we needed to let all our close family and friends in on the big news before I spewed it all over social media. Then because I was just having a hard time finding the words to express our excitement for this big adventure while also summing up our past 15 years of raising a family here in Virginia. Then the reality of buying and selling a house became almost more than I could deal with and blogging was the absolute last thing on my mind as we gathered all the paperwork, signed our names on hundreds of contracts and addendums, and finally got our lovely home looking better than it ever has. Which brings us to today, exactly 4 weeks away from our official move out date that I am able to write this and announce to the world that we are moving to Fort Collins, Colorado!
It all began this summer after another amazing road-tripping adventure across the West. It really occurred to me over my long stay in Northern Arizona in the place my grandma lived and I spent almost every summer of my life. It was such a revelatory moment spending time there with my kids, watching them enjoy the places and things that I had loved so much when I was their ages. It made me long for a simpler way, a more relaxed pace, and a place where nature felt more present in our daily lives. But the reality was that we had made our home in Virginia, and just finished building our amazing forever home amongst family and friends that my kids had spent their whole lives with, so nothing so drastic as removing them from that situation really ever occurred to me. This was the purpose of summer vacation, a chance to escape to the places you loved most to revitalize yourself.
It wasn't until the boys and I meet up with Jedediah a few weeks later in Utah that a radical plan began to hatch. Still, on east coast time, Jedediah who was eager to catch up after a month of being apart, woke me up to take a sunrise stroll along the creek at his father's property. We held hands and reconnected as he listened to me go on and on about all the amazing things we'd done and seen while we apart. Finally winded from talking I ended my soliloquy with, "I want to move out West one day, maybe when the kids are all grown up. I want to come back West."
Expecting nothing more from the statement made, I adverted my attention to the fog over the water that gently shielded the glow of sunrise. Jedediah beside me turned and asked, "Well why don't we move now?" The question rang in my ears like an earth shattering bomb. I knew immediately what I wanted to say but instead wondered if we even could, if this was something we, so far into our lives of raising 3 boys in Northern Virginia, even had the right to ask. The next thing I remember is Jedediah saying, "We only get one life, why not live in the place we really want to live." And with that, at that very moment, in the early morning sun, we decided to take a leap and choose a new place to call home. I pulled out my camera, took a quick snap of the sunshine reflecting in the water as we stood over the bridge and then we joined hands again and began walking home with a new question in mind, "Where?"
So how do you figure out where to live after making the life-changing decision to uproot your entire family based on a newly realized desire to live your best life possible? Well for us we did what we do for most questions we have in life, consult Google. "Hey Google, what are the best places to live in America?"
From there sorting it down was simple and read like a Mary Poppins advertisement:
1. Must be in the Western United States
2. Must not be California because of crazy doomsday fears about climate change
3. Must be near a big city
4. Must have an easily accessible airport
5. Not be a red state,
6. Not Phoenix, Arizona
After accounting for all our criteria there were not many options left. Then Jedediah said he thought Colorado would be a good fit. "I've never been there, except passing through the airport, but it seems nice." Confirming this opinion was our Google search showing the Northern Colorado city of Fort Collins as #2 in the best places to live in America, and just like that, it was decided. We were moving to Fort Collings. We'd never been there, or even knew about it until today but we felt sure about this place and the lives we could have there. We walked home with new vigor ready to share the news with Jedediah's father and the kids.
From that moment on the decision was made, never once have we faltered in our conviction to make Colorado our new home. We have gone back and forth about when and where exactly, but since that morning in Utah, our vision has been clear, to find a place that is more than just a house and yard, to find a location that enhances our lives, that gives us everything we search for on our long summer trips. We know what we have here is great. We love our lives in the 22310 and the people here that enhance it, but as Jedediah said, we only live once. And now we are in the pursuit of finding our place in the world and carving out experiences for our children that bring them closer to what we hold dear: family, nature, exploration, and bravery.
I know many think it is crazy or sudden, but for us, it feels like exactly the right thing to do at this exact moment. That doesn't make it less scary or risky. You truly would be crazy to move your perfectly content family across the country without any trepidation. But most amazing things in life are for those willing to work, risk, and charge forward in life. At the end of the day, I am proud of us, and not ashamed to admit it. Proud of our courage, our conviction, and our willingness to try. Because as Jedediah always likes to say, indecision is in fact a decision. By choosing not to work towards something better you are choosing to stay complacent, and for us that is not good enough.
We will miss all of our amazing Virginia friends and family! Living next door to you has brought us all more joy than you will know. But this is not goodbye. We will be back, often! And you, all of you, have an invitation to Colorado. We have a room for you and we are expecting you. So stop on by, we hear it is really quite nice out there!