When we sold our house on the other side of the state, we had no idea where we would settle down. Personally, I didn’t want to move too far from our old home because of our ties. Friends and family and a fierce resistance to change make me like a limpet: I find a place to stick to and I stick to it.
When my husband and son first pitched the idea of moving, I had a tiny panic attack. We’d lived in our house in Snoqualmie for eleven years and in the surrounding valley for about twenty seven. The idea of leaving it all behind scared the crap out of me. I needed time to digest the idea.
For anyone, moving can be overwhelming because of the logistics alone. The emotional and sociological impacts only quadruple the anxiety. I was looking at selling a perfectly good home and launching into the unknown. My family was my only safety net amidst the potential chaos of change.
Selling a house is stressful enough – packing everything you own (which is more than you think), finding a new place and moving all of your stuff there almost qualifies as a traumatic event. You have to say goodbye to friends and family and schools change. You worry about the effect it’s going to have on your child. Luckily, our son was on board which made things a lot easier in the guilt department.
Not having bought anything yet when we hit the road was an added unknown. We did know we loved the outdoors and wanted something away from the cities; something with trees and acreage.
We spent over three months living in the little travel trailer we’d bought as a temporary home, while we looked for property. We visited many prospects while we camped and pushed farther and farther east in our search. I didn’t want to move too far away but it became apparent that I might have to compromise.
In August, we decided on a place. We would be situated in Stevens county in eastern Washington about seventy miles south of the Canadian border. It was beautiful and there were four seasons – unlike the monotonous rain of the Puget Sound region we’d left behind. The property fit our criteria perfectly so we made an offer and waited until things were finalized in mid-September of 2017.
On September 17th, on an especially rainy night near Snoqualmie Pass where we were camping, we packed up and headed home – our new home.
The property we’d settled on was raw land and we knew we would be facing some major challenges to make it livable. Ultimately, reality kicked our asses, especially during our first year but we survived (unlike some of our worldly possessions that succumbed to the forces of nature).
Living off-grid isn’t just living; it’s an experience that involves an interplay between emotions and pure grit. Out here, you interact with your environment and surroundings because you must. What you do or don’t do directly affects the quality of your life. You learn cause and effect and that’s a good lesson.
If I was a princess type, I wouldn’t survive a day but I wouldn’t be here if I was a princess.
When I’m stressed out, the tasks of daily living become burdensome. I’m easily frustrated and ask myself “what was I thinking”, only to wake up the next morning to the sight of trees, mountains, deer and other wildlife bathed in the brilliant light of a sunrise I could never have experienced from the doorstep of my former suburban home.
Being here comes at a price but the cost reminds us we are alive.