Raised in the suburbs outside of Washington, D.C., located near the Blue Ridge Mountains, I was close enough to the country to experience the taste of it whenever I wanted. Growing up, I thought I was bound for the city. Day dreaming of one day living in New York City, like so many of us do at some point in our lives.
Four years ago, needing a change of scenery and falling in love, I moved from my cute little apartment located in the horse country of Virginia to a not so cute apartment in Seattle, Washington. After about 2 years of dipping my feet into the Pugent Sound city, I knew it wasn’t for me. Seattle’s green movement consciousness of organic, homegrown, homemade and mixture of alternative lifestyles were having their effect on me. I longed for wide open spaces, greenery and open road. I also found a desire to learn how to grow food.
In an effort to get out of the city and turn a desire into experience, I made my way to San Juan Island, Wa where I began interning on Talking Horse Farm – an organic vegetable and grass-fed beef farm – It was in the garden there that I found a deep passion for growing my own food. I spent the Spring, Summer and Fall working in the garden, the farmers market and becoming a member of a small farming community with a lot to give. It was here that I began experimenting with depending less on corporate grocery stores and more on my own provisions and those of the community. The baby steps of homesteading were beginning to take form and self-sustainablility was becoming less of a dream and more of a reality.
I left for the winter to visit my parents living in Austria and traveled there and in Germany. I had an unquestionable focus to return to the island and continue learning from and growing in that community. My travels were filled with more eye opening experiences of people and places committed to the ideals and practices of simpler living. These people, places and experiences only added to the inspiration of having a homestead and garden cafe of my own someday. Before leaving Europe, my parents offered for me to live and take care of my childhood home in Virginia that was now empty from my brother and his family moving out just a few days before my arrival back to the States. This offer threw a wrench in the wheel of my decision to return to the island.
I considered the offer for a day, excited about the opportunity to have an empty home, an empty garden plot and yard to myself to explore my homesteading dream even further. I was awake all night weighing the pros and cons. Wondering if in Virginia, I’d be able to live and even find the lifestyle I began to love and grown so accustomed to over the course of my absence. After too many reasons why I left Virginia taking over, I turned the offer down. Besides, how would I ever be able to explore homesteading in the suburbs?
When I flew into Seattle, I was still unsure about my decision. A good talk with my friend Sheldon made it clear I can explore and create my dream wherever I go and actually have been, little by little, with each new coming phase of my life. You’re so right, Sheldon, wow!
Eyes opened, I returned to the island, fully motivated. I began my work as a gardener and helping out on the same farm that I eventually would move to in May. The Spring was cold, cloudy and very rainy. Not the greatest weather for my passion and I longed more than ever for the warmth of the sun that I knew was a given in Virginia. Although, how could I leave? I have everything I could want, right? So many dreams were coming true for me here. How could weather be the one deciding factor for me. Am I just being spoiled? Ungrateful, selfish, petty?
Clarity came and along with it, I realized my decision to leave could only be described as so: it was like I was deciding to let go of a perfectly fine relationship simply because I was feeling moved to grow somewhere else and in a different way. I think this is the first time I’ve ever made a decision away from something that was determined from the basis of anything being wrong, but just recognizing it was time for something different.
After a very serendipitous and adventurous cross-country trip –
Here I am, in my suburban childhood home, ready to explore a dream, to see if it can truly happen anywhere. For dreams manifest, the coined phrase is often used, “It is written.” In my case, the seeds are sewn.