We had a great group of international visitors here last week. They asked all the predictable questions about why we came here, how we found it, etc. After hearing about this, someone said “So how did it all work out? Was it what you expected?”
I’d been meaning to write a follow up post to our original “Why we’re doing this” post, so here it is.
My first answer was that it both was and was not what we expected. There really is no way to know what doing something like this will be like, and we knew that coming in. I just always figured we could always go back if we didn’t like it.
There were a million things we didn’t expect and couldn’t have known. All the day-to-day logistics of living here, anything about solar, the realities of living so far from anything.
Fortunately, none of these things were terrible, and the experience of learning so many new things has been enriching.
It’s interesting to look back on why we thought we were coming here and how all that worked out.
On the work front, I wanted to work less hours and to work on projects that were really meaningful to me (instead of just ones that were lucrative). I also wanted to travel less. A lot less. All of that has worked out in spades. (The travel part took almost 5 years to achieve though. This year I have had 3, yes, 3, work-related trips. Glorious.) My work life has changed dramatically for the better. And being somewhere with a much lower cost of living has facilitated this.
We also wanted to get closer to the land and to be more environmentally responsible. I’m not sure I really knew exactly what that meant six years ago, and though we have done that, it certainly wasn’t in ways I expected.
When we left Los Angeles, I was looking for space (well, we certainly got that!) and a life that was more “authentic.” Again, I’m not sure I knew what that meant or how I might go about it.
The biggest unexpected development along those lines was how involved we’ve gotten in local food systems and producing our own food. We are growing so much now, something I’d never done before nor had a particular interest in. We’ve worked on and visited farms. We can; we bake bread; we make cheese. Then there’s the whole seed library. (New web site for this by the way.) It’s really been an amazing transformation in our lives.
To me, being authentic means being true to who you really are. I am much closer to that now than I have been before. And I am also a different, hopefully better, person. Spending your time on what really matters is a part of being authentic as well.
Most days now, I spend some time doing yoga, writing, gardening, being outdoors, and spending quality time with Brad. There are lots of activities that I used to spend time on that I don’t any more; in hindsight, they weren’t really contributing to what I wanted to be.
Life here is not perfect, but I’m very happy with this life. And I’m grateful to everyone who has helped along the way.