I grew up in a military home where it was the norm to move every few years. I don’t think we spent more than 3 years in most anywhere until my dad retired as I started high school. (there may have been one or two places where we stayed 4 years, but the norm was about 3 years, if I recall) Once I got married, my new husband and I moved several times in two years – seven times, I think we counted! Once we moved to Mobile, Al we knew we found the place we wanted to be and we purchased a home in late 2005. Our oldest was only three, so it’s the only home the four kids remember. We loved Mobile and it seemed like an excellent fit for our family. We knew we’d be raising our family and growing old and retiring all in the same city. We had roots. Then opportunity knocked.
Let’s rewind. A million years ago, when I was in high school, I spent the summer before my senior year in Idaho. I fell in love with the mountains and the beautiful scenery. I came home to the panhandle of Florida and felt like my heart was still out West. I thought I would move out there one day and make my life. Then life actually happened. Days turn into months, months into years, and memories become distant ones. I was happily in love with a southern boy, we married and settled in the South and started our family. Life progressed as it does, and we were happy. Every once in a while, my husband and I would talk about picking up and moving far away from what was familiar, and starting fresh in a new place. But it was just talk. An idea that never got pursued in any serious fashion.
December of 2015 a dear friend of mine was getting married in Utah, and with a lot of help from mutual friends, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the celebration. As I spent those precious few days in a wintery wonderland in the Salt Lake Valley, I again fell in love. The quiet hush of the snow. The soaring mountains on all sides. It was beautiful. I came home and proclaimed to my husband that we needed to move! LOL I was joking – sort of – because I did indeed love the area I had left behind. I was reminded of my younger years dream of living near the mountains. We talked about how we had spoken in the past about moving to a new unfamiliar area and the ways it could benefit our family. My husband applied online to a few jobs out West, but nothing seemed to come from it. Then a headhunter came across his resume somewhere and things started changing!
All of a sudden he was scheduling interviews on his lunch hour and after work. (very crazy and nerve wracking to work that around a busy current job!) We thought one company would be extending an offer as he had four interviews over 6 weeks…but the process was moving so very slow! Then like a whirlwind he interviewed with another company. He had three interviews in less than a week and was offered a job in Salt Lake City. They wanted him out there as soon as possible – two weeks would be great. With our heads spinning, we let our families know we would be moving at the end of the school year, but that Chris would be headed out earlier to start work. He turned in his notice at work and Mother’s Day weekend, he drove to Utah and began his new job. Chris stayed with friends for two weeks, working and looking for a home for our family in his spare time. Then he flew to Alabama at the end of the month to travel with us to our new home.
While he was gone, I started packing up our possessions and selling what I could to minimize our load. We planned to move with just two 6×12 trailers and our vehicles. (looking back, we wouldn’t do it the same, it was TOUGH!) We sold almost all our furniture – keeping mattresses and family heirloom pieces only. With the help of family and friends we had three large yard sales and packed everything we were taking into the back of our car, his truck and two trailers. You know – you never know how much STUFF you own until you have to move it all. Also – it’s amazing how much junk you collect when you live in the same place for 11 years. Many times, it became overwhelming, and I created a new mantra of “It’s just stuff.” In the end, we simply gave away and put to the road and sent to goodwill sooooo much stuff. It was insane. I had already started doing some serious decluttering before we knew we would be moving, so in a way it was easier. I tried to only keep what we absolutely loved and couldn’t live without. It was still a lot of stuff for a family of 6.
Amid the crazy packing and frenzy to get on the road Memorial Day weekend, we met with our realtor and listed the house for sale. The vehicles and trailers were crammed to the limit with our pared down worldly possessions. We piled the back of the truck high with the bbq grill, lawn mower, and bikes. We got on the road several hours later than we planned, and with many tearful good-byes, we were finally off on our new adventure.
(come back tomorrow for the second half of our travel adventure)