7.01.2014

why we are giving up suburbia for the unknown

Four years ago, at the ripe age of 23, I became a homeowner. I never lived on my own or even rented an apartment. I went from living at home, to living in a dorm with a roommate, to living at home, to owning a home. I was happy to skip what I considered an unnecessary step and jump feet first into home ownership.


I worked my way up the nursing ladder as far as I could with my associates degree and realized how unhappy I was. How unhappy we were as a couple. Everyone I worked with seemed to be miserable and I felt like I had little control over my job. We weren’t happy with what this small town had to offer us. I had racked up debt, being unfamiliar with budgets and something called “saving.” What’s that for anyways?


Turns out its good for things like home ownership. And life. I got used to relying on plastic for mini bailouts. And although I loved making my home fit our needs, we never felt right about something. A few things that took awhile to put our fingers on. The biggest two things were that we never felt like we fit in in our own town and that we craved traveling in a way we never had before.

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It sounds so weird coming from me. I’ve lived in the Shenandoah Valley for my whole life and have rarely ventured far. I never dreamed of living elsewhere and when Oscar mentioned living out of the country when we first got married, I flinched. Surely he didn’t expect me to leave all of my family and friends for some questionable foreign country?! Nevermind that he did the same with no complaints.


It was something that sat in the back of my mind. I agreed that this area didn’t really fit into how we pictured our lives but was that really a good enough reason to leave? People stare when we run because physical activity is not a priority in these areas. I’m not trying to fit everyone into one basket here, but I was made fun of by a neighbor for running [not how I did it, just the fact that I was doing such a thing]. Sometimes people stare at what I can only imagine is the difference in our skin color. There aren’t close beaches which is something we both want to live close to and the winters can be harsh. Winter hasn’t been fun since I was 12. There were plenty of things to celebrate about my hometown [gateway to the Skyline Drive!] but we found the negativity and close mindedness we encountered regularly to be stifling. We craved excitement, change, new things, and choices. Choices! Like beyond Chili vs. TGIFridays. Oh the humanity!


Oscar kind of let the whole living abroad [or anywhere else] thing go and I don’t think he realized how much I was mulling it over. Now, I still have yet to get my passport [um I gotta get on that] and even if we want to live abroad, it isn’t on the agenda for a few years. But my attitudes towards it have changed so much. I realized how much I didn’t feel fulfilled in this area. At times it felt the only good thing was my friends and family that lived nearby. I know there’s a lot more than that and I may not fully enjoy those things until I move away. But our surroundings don’t reflect us.

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So although a life as an expat is our “ending” goal, we have quite a journey until we get there. My career as a nurse offers up the opportunity to travel. I left my local job to travel for different companies. I’ve been in Philadelphia for almost a year at the same job and I just signed on for 13 weeks at a hospital in Virginia, close to home. Our house went on the market a few weeks ago. This is the point where I’m overwhelmed with questions. Questions I don’t always have an answer to.


No we aren’t buying again, at least not for awhile. We are putting some of our stuff in storage and selling the rest. We are going to use my job to travel the country. My company will find places to put us up in or we can take care of it ourselves which I will prefer so that there’s more money in my pocket. Or we can travel in an RV. Ha! We are excited to pick new places to explore, to have control in picking the shifts I work and the amount of call I take.


Its taken a good year of prepping the house and finishing projects. A year of pondering this decision and if we could do it, are we up to it? A year of second guessing and I-cant-wait-until-we-do-its. A year of feeling like we were going nowhere towards our dreams. And now it seems as though it’s almost all in front of us.

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I have no idea how we will manage to travel with two cats, a dog, and not go insane. I have no idea how we will fit everything we need into one vehicle alone. I have no idea how we will adjust to constantly living life on the go but I think all that really matters is that we are on the same page and we are EXCITED! We want to pay off our debt, save, and put that leftover money towards living experiences instead of collecting things. Things that only seem to clutter life and make it more complicated. We are excited to redefine needs and wants.

I dont know what will happen to this blog. I feel like I’ll be cutting it off right as I had started to get somewhere. But after months of hemming and hawing, I’m over it. I’m over the stress of something that was meant to be fun. We will have a separate travel blog for fun, for documentation of our travels. But I hope to be back one day and I hope you follow our journey and where it takes us. I can only ask that you don’t judge too harshly. I know the lifestyle we are embarking in is not for everyone and is rather alternative. And I hope you can join us for the crazy ride it’s sure to be :)
5.15.2014

may #give2014

Please forgive me for how late this #give2014 post is! May kinda sideswiped me and I'm still all 'whha?' I mean really. If life were a car I'd be slamming on the brakes while screaming "noooo I'm not ready. tooooo fast!" Kinda like drivers ed. If you're Jonathan Hudson. Oh yea, Jonathan, I'm calling you out 10 plus years later. When the drivers ed teacher has to use his pair of brakes, it's memorable. 

So in celebration of all of my ...unique adventures only being witnessed by my husband, let's get to this whole donating thing. I will admit that money has been tight and that at times, this whole $100 a month thing can get a little obnoxious. Like, do I really have to? But here's the thing, I do. In the grand scheme of things, I make a lot of money. I have a roof over my head and although I may have financial worries, I'm not worried about my next meal. Or in this month's case, clean water. Which makes this whole giving thing way easier. I mean really... what was I bitching about again? 

I think it's not totally necessary for me to go into this one much. Clean water is a necessity. Every human should have access to it. Ummm... yeah. I used The Water Project and even went a little over, giving $115 which gives enough clean water for one family. Why not, eh? Here's another site that lists other charities to choose from as well as this one. I hope that one of these posts will tug on someones heart somewhere and that you will be moved to donate to a charity that means something to you. Take care.


5.13.2014

weekend review: mothers day

This weekend was another one where few projects in the house were touched. But it's okay because I spent the day with my mom and it was wonderful! Last year we went to Staunton, Va and this year mom picked Frederick, Maryland. It's become a new tradition to hang out all day and make memories instead of buying gifts for Mother's day and I love it. So much easier for the person that has everything too ;) 




After picking Frederick my mom happened to do a little online searching and found out that the exact day we planned to attend, there was a Celtic festival taking place. It's like the universe knew we were coming. My family is big into our Irish and Scottish heritage so we felt like it was a sign from above. 


It was a pretty typical set up. Small vendors that we ventured through. Celtic games/competitions of super fit men and women throwing things, alternative Celtic bands, and herding dogs that were running around sheep [adorable alert]. I was proud that I tried a new to me food for breakfast. It's a bridie which is basically a flaky pastry full of a meat mixture, onions, and spices. I'm a very picky person and I always have to push myself to try new things so I was patting myself on the back for this one. I eat meat all the time but when its meat in a new form my suspicions are peaked. Yeah... I'm ridiculous. It wasn't bad by any means, but I'm not sure it's one I'd eat again.



Next, we went to a yarn shop that my mom had found online. She's big into knitting so anytime we go to a new place she's all over it. I don't mind because I love to look at the colors and pet the yarn, picturing things I would do if I ever had the patience for such a thing. But this store blew away my expectations. It was set in a gorgeous older home converted to a shop with offices upstairs [I had to go to the "bathroom" and totally used that moment to explore more]. 

The place is called The Knot House if you're interested. 


Isn't that the cutest "sign" ever? Just those cardboard letters from craft stores wrapped in yarn. Genius. I so appreciate a store that has great design. Am I the only one that constantly redesigns an ugly restaurant? My brain never stops. 

There was a couch with this huge blanket resting on it. I've seen the huge knitting needles and yarn sold online before to make something like this but it was so awesome to see it in person. There was petting going on.


Now check out that sexy door, hardware, and staircase. Again, petting. I'm such a sucker for a good wooden staircase. 



Oh and those built in bookcases! So detailed and beautiful. At first I assumed it wasn't original to the house but then the built in air vent had me second guessing that. I should've asked. 







Isn't that scale display the cutest? And the chair is so fun. It was a great way to spend some time waiting for the storm to pass. Which by the way, had rolled in minutes after we got to our car when we were done with the Celtic festival. Fate, I'm tellin ya.

We went to lunch at Magoo's, an Irish pub, which was nice. We then walked the town and I have to share some adorable goodies at a few stores we stopped in. The Muse was the first place and there was a lot of 'oooohing' and 'ahhhhing.' 



How fun is that Star Wars door mat? And all of the pottery below is by 'Clay by Laura.' 





I love the Frederick postcards that each represented the town in a different season. So sweet and a perfect thing to frame if you lived there. You can find the artist here




I was in love with this jewelry from Amira Mednick. I found her shop on Etsy and I've been drooling and dreaming ever since. Her lines are organic and earthy but oh so fun. 




I was in love with this modern day phonebook! I think you could totally do a DIY version if you were really motivated. It doesn't fit into my future traveling lifestyle so I left it behind.

We also dropped into a rock shop named Earthly Elements. We had to stop. I was big into rock and gem collecting when I was younger and my love for it is still deep. This place had gems galore, fossils, and all kinds of oddities. There was even fossilized poo which I had a fun time looking at. It's the nurse in me I suppose.




We wandered down and found an ice cream shop that we couldn't resist [check out that tin ceiling]. What better way to top off a perfect day before going home and collapsing? It was actually a Pizza and Pretzel shop that happened to serve ice cream. I totally regret not getting the sugar and cinnamon pretzel but I was dealing with a huge milkshake. I ordered the large, feeling confident and saucey. The girl did a double take and was like "okay but that's the large one..." whilst pointing at the largest cup. And I was all like... "yeah, I know." Shameless. Don't go makin me feel guilty, woman! 

So how did you spend your Mother's Day weekend? Any fun traditions? Anyone else recently discover a local gem?
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