We just got back from a holiday weekend at my parents house. Long time residents of the Chicago area, two years ago they built their dream home in North Carolina, picked up their lives and moved to the mountains. They spent quite a bit of time during the process and some time after the move wondering if this was the right decision. It was a bold move that many of us don’t ever have the courage to take.
I’ve always loved Western North Carolina. I was first in the Asheville area in 1994, just months after moving to Andrews Air Force Base. I’ve talked about moving there ever since. There’s something about the outdoors, mountain rivers and the people that keeps drawing me there.
Having my parents there is a huge draw, but that’s not the real reason we’re moving.
We like who we become whenever we spend more than a few days there.
Our kids are now 12 and 15. They are typical intelligent and thoughtful people, but like Julie and I, are often drawn into the busy suburban life. They bicker like good siblings should, but it sometimes gets nasty. They have a hard time finding interesting things to do because it’s easier to be entertained than entertain yourself.
We often find ourselves stuck in the race with everyone else in America. Suburbia beckons us to “Do MORE and DO IT NOW!”. We spend our lives running as fast as we can. We’re rich (if you have cable TV you’re RICH btw), well fed, and miserable.
The last few trips to the Asheville area have left us different people.
Our kids find themselves mentoring other people. They go for walks and discover the world. They talk, and THINK. They spend time learning from the adults around them, and teaching us about their fresh perspective on the world. They talk to each other (yeah okay, that’s weird).
All four of us find a creative boost that only the connection with nature and disconnection from suburban life allows.
On the trip home we were stuck in holiday traffic. Our 6 hour trip turned into 11. That’s enough to melt ANY sibling relationship down into a slobbering mess, but it didn’t happen. They remained patient and understanding and it’s spilled over into today.
We’ve started the process of moving. It will take us about a year before we can call a mover. We’d appreciate your support and understanding as we try and make this dream we’ve talked about for years come true.
My parents “next door” neighbors own a white water rafting company. Their bumper sticker says “Living the DREAM” and that sounds like a pretty good idea to me.