Last week, I gave notice at my job. I announced that it was starting to feel time for Peter and I to leave Boulder. Peter grew up here and it was our college town. I will always have a soft spot for Boulder, for its restaurants, prevalence of yoga studios, and for being the place I have met so many wonderful people. But we'd like to live somewhere smaller, where the mountains are more integrated into our every day and summers are milder. Where the ocean doesn't feel eleven million miles away. The current plan is to buy a tiny camping trailer, downsize our current belongings, and head on up to Alaska this summer.
Honestly, though, nothing is pinned down at this point, so when the time comes we may be doing something entirely different.
Despite my decision to quit, I really do love where I work and the community of people is amazingly supportive (case in point, when I told my boss, he said, "That's great! I'm so happy for you two!"), so this has less to do with my work circumstances and more so just knowing that it feels good to embrace change right now. We're not planning on leaving until early June after I finish yoga teacher training, so now is remarkably early to give notice. But I've felt on the verge of change for some time and it just felt right to put that need for change out in the open.
It's funny, when we closed our last day of this month's yoga teacher training, one of the instructors joked that we shouldn't do anything rash "like quit our jobs" when we returned to reality. So of course I went out and did just that...
Thankfully, this decision has been building for a while and it just feels right.
Peter has been trying to convince me to move back to Alaska with him for the last couple years (we lived in Ketchikan for two summers). I've been...hesitant. There are so many things I love about Alaska, but I don't think we are naive to the realities of the state either. In Ketchikan, we used to joke that the year-round residents were artists, meth heads, or both. Not that funny of a joke, really... The cost of living can be high. Expensive travel in and out of the state. The biggest pitfall for me is the lack of fresh produce. In some places it's not the cold that can be tough in the winter, but the darkness. Sometimes it can be hard living or a lot of "making do."
It's tough because tourists often see Alaska as some distant, exotic, magical attraction. But it's far from Disneyland. In some ways it's just like any other state because it has its fair share of upsides and downsides. But it's also its own beast, unlike anywhere else in the United States.
What makes Alaska so fantastic is often what makes it difficult - accessibility. And those are only some of the reasons why I've had misgivings for so long. Only in the last few months have my feelings really been shifting.
It's hard to leave somewhere when you are comfortable. But eventually the pull for new challenges is stronger than the ease of daily living where you are.
At the end of the day, we think the positives could outweigh the negatives for us and so we have to give it a try. How could we not? Ocean, mountains, rain. Oh my goodness, so much rain (which is just fine by us). Your heart leaping into your throat when you see a pod of orcas breaching next to your boat. The damp, sweet smell of cedars in the rainforest and the soft give of wet earth under rubber boots. Bears and men fishing for Chinook salmon in the same stretch of creek, wholly oblivious to each other. The quiet swish of paddle in water, kayaking at dusk and spying a blue heron just before it takes flight. Snuggling in sleeping bags on the stony beach with friends, watching the Aurora Borealis dance overhead like it's the best television show on earth (and it just may be).
We miss it.
At the moment, just about everything is uncertain. We don't know where we're going to live (and just have a hunch that it will be somewhere in a state that's more than twice as large as Texas). We don't know how we're going to get there. We don't know what we'll do for jobs, or how we'll pay for our move or for our trailer (just yet, anyway).
All I know is that uncertainty is normally a feeling of discomfort for me. But for the time being, the uncertainty actually feels freeing.
Our heads don't know the answers to anything. But our hearts seem to. And for now that is exactly enough.