Yes, you read that right. After 10+ years of marriage, 18 moves, and traveling full time for the past year—we have finally done the one thing we swore we wouldn’t do anytime soon…

We bought a house!

home-sold-sign-house (Custom)

I know a lot of you are asking…”So what does this mean? Are you done traveling? Are you finally ready to settle down and be normal?”

Geesh, people. I wouldn’t go that far!

We will never be normal. We’ve proved that! I’ve never been completely normal and neither has my husband. Whew! So, ease your minds.

We lived a seasonal life in Alaska for 7 years, then lived as expats in Mexico for two years, and then have spent the past year living abroad in places like Germany, Spain, Thailand, Bali, etc. Those experiences have been wonderful and we haven’t regretted them for a second!  But those experiences have also helped us finally come to realize that there are certain aspects of a “home” life that we strongly desire, and we have realized we can’t fulfill those desires while living or traveling abroad. Earlier this year I wrote about how I mourned the loss of my children’s American Childhood, and while I focused on the positives of the different lifestyle my children were enjoying, another part of me really did continue to wish they could have some of the things that I still valued.

In many ways, it’s the living abroad and traveling that sent us on a fast track to search for the “perfect” home base that could meet all of our newly-formed requirements. Sure, we considered whether we could meet all of these requirements as expats in a foreign country, but finally realized that no other place fit the bill. Our list, in no particular order, had requirements such as:

  • Access to outdoor recreation (bicycling, hiking, swimming, rafting, camping, etc).
  • The ability to enjoy some good ole’ American sports, so we can continue to be active (top priority for Jared—basketball—although I much prefer soccer)!
  • We want perfect weather! Come on…why set your standards too low?  We were looking for no humidity, little or no snow, comfortable winters, and summers that aren’t too hot and encourage us to be outside.
  • Nice roads to drive on, with plenty of nearby places to explore and enjoy (remember, Jared’s a die-hard overland explorer!).
  • The opportunity to compost, and have our own garden to grow produce to our heart’s content (fruit trees, tomatoes, greens, etc)!
  • The resources and space to have a food storage and emergency plan (we want a way to support ourselves if we loose all electricity, internet, and food resources become scarce).
  • We want a safe and secure space for our children to be outdoors so they can explore nature, use more creative play, and learn an appreciation for the world around them. This was a big part of our childhood, and is a very high priority for us.
  • We want to be surrounded by beauty. We’ve learned we are not desert people. We like lush green forests, rivers and lakes, and rolling mountains!
  • We want to be in a functional church congregation where we can be involved not just in weekly meetings, but we can also contribute our talents and truly enjoy taking part in activities and worship services. Having a strong Primary program for our children is a must!
  • We want access to a variety of food ingredients. I love to cook and want to be able to purchase any healthy ingredients, spices and grains that I want (this was nearly impossible while traveling)!
  • On that same line of thought, we also now value diversity of food options. It can get old to live in a place with only one food type. For example, we want to be able to have access to Italian, Thai, Chinese, and MEXICAN food (believe me—access to Tex-Mex was seriously one of Jared’s top priorities).
  • We want to speak English as a first language. It’s awesome to learn a second language, and we sincerely want to to keep up our Spanish—however—there is something special about living in a place where you can communicate all of your needs and make friends with people who understand you culturally, as well!
  • We want to live in a community with like-minded (i.e. crunchy/granola) people who support homeschooling, appreciate natural approaches to healthcare, love gardening, and have eco-friendly attitudes. In short, we like quirky people!
  • Affordable housing is a must. We want to purchase a home with property, without breaking the bank (our goal is to OWN it free and clear in 5 years).

With these above things in mind (and surely many more that I’ve missed) Jared dove into his research mode and pinpointed a single region in the entire US that might possibly fit the bill—Southern Oregon. Every other place had something that wouldn’t work (too hot, too cold, too humid, too expensive, etc). We set our sights on Southern Oregon, and started house hunting online. We’d never been there before, and of course worries crossed our mind, “What if we don’t like it? There are no choices left!”

The good news is, when we visited Southern Oregon in early June we discovered it is exactly the right fit for us (quirky people and all)! Not only that, we found the perfect home that fits our requirements. It has over 3 1/2 acres of land (including a large beautifully manicured lawn and immense wooded area with a playhouse for the kids), and is just the right size for our family. We are ecstatic to move there in a few months (we are currently enjoying the hospitality of family in Utah as we wait for the arrival of baby #4…and we didn’t want to give up our great midwife)!

Meanwhile, the house has closed—and is officially ours!  We have renters there for the next few months, and we are already making lists of all of the things we’ll need to purchase to fill it. After all, a year ago we sold almost all of our belongs—with the exception of quilts, photo albums, and some kitchen items!

With that in mind, we hope that we can always keep the perspective that we have gained from the road so that we don’t get overcome with the commercialism of the US. We’ve long been a fan of “Less is More,” and we wholeheartedly agree with our friend’s article about the importance of collecting experiences instead of stuff!

The thing is, having this “home” will help us build and collect some experiences that we haven’t yet been able to enjoy in life! And it certainly doesn’t mean we’ll give up our gypsy lifestyle in its entirety. The goal is that starting in a year or so we’ll travel in the winters for 2-5 months at a time (much more sustainable than the full-time travel that we found physically and emotionally tiring).  We think having the balance between a home and traveling will help us better appreciate both worlds.  We still value giving our children a multicultural education, and we don’t intend to give that up! We want our children to continue to learn about people and places all over the globe—and have unique experiences that will help them define important values and goals in life! We don’t want “normal” kids, or a “normal” life, for that matter.

As I was telling my father the other day…

“We’re not going for normal. If we achieve normal, then we have failed!”

So…have no fear! The home is purchased, and it is just another tool to help us achieve our American Dream—the freedom to choose!

21 Responses to “We bought a house!”

  1. Am so happy for you and can’t wait to come crash! A whole new beginning! Yay.

  2. I love your spirit. I traveled just for half a year last year with 15 countries, and got exhausted. I can’t imagine keeping it up for a year. But like you, there are somethings I just love on the road (the people, the challenges, the fresh markets, etc), and I could never give that up completely. America feels like a science fiction movie sometimes. People’s perspectives are off the eternal and off the people, sometimes anyway, and on the gadgets and entertainment. I feel disconnected from who I truely am. It’s a struggle of mine not to become too bitter or judgmental.

    I confess that Oregon sounds lovely. I am from the humid south. Think the humidity of Thiland and intensify it. I enjoy recreation and outdoors, cycling and the like, and that’s just not the Southern spirit. So perhaps someday I could settle in another part of the US and feel more connected. Thank you for your lovely blog. You’re in my top two favorite travel blogs just because I love your story.

  3. Wow! What a big announcement! I am very excited for you! I totally understand all your great reasons for wanting a home as we are still debating what we truly want here.

  4. Yeah! Conrats! We are enjoying ‘home’ life here in Guatemala. I love feeding the chickens, gathering eggs and planting a garden. (And we now have four sheep, a pig, several ducks and geese, forty chickens and some rabbits!)

    Hope all goes well with number four!!

  5. Wow, sounds like an adventure! It’s reassuring to read your thoughts about these things because Jen and I have been talking about when or if we might want to make a similar decision. We’ve been feeling like we’d like a more permanent home base where we don’t have to travel every few months to renew a visa and can feel more connected to the local community, and for many of the same reasons you mentioned. We’re looking forward to seeing you when we visit Utah in a few weeks!

  6. Melanie Murrish says:

    Wow-I didn’t see that one coming; well, I didn’t see the fourth baby coming either! That’s so great, and I think you may have just hepled me realise my dream, as I have been struggling defining it. One minute I want to travel indefinately, and the next minute I want the hearth, the home cooked meals and the community spirit. Good luck you guys and keep us posted.x

  7. Great article, I love that your family is doing what you feel is good for family 🙂

  8. Oh and we too have chosen Oregon, South Central Oregon for our cabin to use as home base as we travel, good luck with everything.

  9. Congrats! That is just wonderful!! It sounds like a place you can be happy for many years to come. I love that you like quirky people. We would get along famously! ;~).

  10. What exciting news!! Can’t wait to hear of your continued “abnormal” adventures. We would love to do what you guys envision doing-traveling for months of the year. But how does one afford it? I will need to pick your brains! Congrats on the new house! Sounds charming.

  11. Sounds like a great plan! And we will visit you, since our home base is just up the road. Oregon is great!

  12. Wow! What an exciting change! New babies and new houses! Excited to see how you go being more settled!

  13. I echo the same sentiments. I miss the travel but love all the benefits of living in the states ( largest being speaking English and knowing i am fully understood and know how this culture operates!). On the down side, i wanted to resist the materialism here too, but it is tricky. We have had more than one comment ( from kids) asking about why we only have one small tv, and only PBS. Then there are birthday parties and the pressure there. We bought just a perfect size home-what would be huge in Europe and after going into others homes I feel this tug about the American bigger and better syndrome. Plus, after simplifying so much in Germany, i am starting to collect. I want to make this house lovely… Anyhow, it is a hard battle o keep this issue in check in the states! Glad you are back!

  14. I’m glad that Oregon worked out for you! I was really impressed with it when we visited.

  15. I am feeling the same way these days but at the same time do not want to give up the bohemian lifestyle. Hard to have both financially so we are in a state of flux right now. So happy that you guys made a choice and are putting down roots. Plus we love Oregon so now we have someone to visit there:)

  16. I can so relate! We lived the expat life for 12 years and traveled full time for five. After all that, we were looking for a place to put down roots and be part of a greater community. What I finally came to realize was that the travel was wonderful, but being at home is wonderful too. One isn’t better than the other – they are just different, with different lessons. Best of luck to you in your time of transition!

  17. Congrats on the new home! I would LOVE to move to Oregon– I’m so jealous! Austin and I like to visit Oregon for vacations and the crunchy-vibe, so maybe we can meet up one year and have our babies meet. I think we’re pretty close in due dates this year! 🙂 So happy for you and your family!

  18. Sharan & Ian Gainor says:

    Sharan and Ian, from Antigua. Wow, big change, well thought out We have just reached our 18 months here, still
    learning lots. Still overwhelmed lots, Spanish, still in the
    beginning. Ian is back and forth to Utah still. I am helping the four hermanas we have here in the branch, but still attending the antigua ward. Haven’t got used to the climate, still keep expecting it to get cold. or wonder why someone at home is cold, how could it be December when it is warm here!!! Keep us reading about your adventures & baby #4!!

  19. i am soooo late in reading this post. congrats!! we will add southern oregon to our us “to-do” list!

  20. Wow! Congrats! I love your perspective (and the list you made – it’s awesome).

    I’ve always felt like we’re on the same trail as you guys just like a year or two behind. Interesting to see the trail goes around the around and flows into Oregon. The Oregon Trail! HA!

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