“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
The story of this journey really starts with the story of us. We met at a bar in DC on May 2, 2007, and, despite H.J.’s awkwardness the night of our initial meeting, we went from zero to 60 in about three seconds flat. Shared passions, values, backgrounds, and attraction will do that people. About a month later, I met his family (at their 35th wedding anniversary party, no less) – three months later, he met mine.
It wasn’t long before we were planning our first trip together. Normal people might go to NYC or a little countryside B&B for the weekend – you know, ease into things as a new couple. We decided to dive in head first and visit the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, which is nowhere near tourist hot spots like Quepos and Tamarindo further north. In fact, the only other person on our puddle-jumper from San Jose was a guy from the Peace Corps.
The weekend went something like this: slooooowly bumping down muddy “roads” better suited to ATVs, rain, no TV, more rain, no phone, even more rain, not ONE restaurant nearby, rain … again, all manner of bugs and critters hanging with us in our open-air casa, and more than one canceled flight on account of, you guessed it, rain.
What might have been pure misery for some was a total adventure for us. That trip pretty much sealed the deal: we were engaged less than a year later.
After we got married in 2009, our wanderlust only became more insatiable. We honeymooned in Nicaragua, frequented Paris, road-tripped to Maine, tackled Alaska and British Columbia, and survived a canoe trip with our dachshund on the James River in Virginia that landed H.J. in the hospital (long story). Like so many people, our vacations/trips were the highlights of each year, and they were never long or frequent enough. The list of things we wanted to see and do was expanding exponentially as the years flew by.
Along with this wanderlust was a rapidly growing sense that DC was not the place for us in terms of either geography or culture. We wanted (and still eventually want) a big garden, a workshop/studio for H, some chickens, and maybe even a creek nearby. Oh, and some mountains for hiking, climbing, biking, and skiing wouldn’t be bad either. And, we’d like to live in a place with some diversity, and I’m not talking about superficial things like skin color or gender. I’m talking about REAL diversity – of lifestyles, passions, opinions, and beliefs.
We decided to kill two birds with one stone, jettisoning our lives in DC and hitting the open road all in one fell swoop, though it took almost four years of soul searching, hard work, saving, and planning to make it happen.
After returning to the States, we settled in Portland, OR, which ticks just about every box I mentioned above – we don’t have a creek nearby, and we don’t have chickens. Yet.