After my year of travel, people frequently asked me “what’s next?”
It’s a valid question. One of my reasons for taking the trip was to potentially find a place to move to in the future. I guess I dreamed that one place would magically be “the one.” I’d step out of my car, it would be love at first sight, and I’d magically belong.
But life didn’t quite work like that. While I returned with a number of places I could see myself permanently settling, I wasn’t necessarily drawn to one place over other places. I enjoyed my short jaunts in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia enough that I would have moved to a city in a heartbeat if I could have afforded it, and the warmth and sunshine of Florida was so lovely that I considered temporarily moving south each winter.
However, by the end of the trip my health and my wallet were so strained that I decided to stay in Oregon at least until I finished my book. And then, just as my editor returned her first round of edits to me, Covid hit, keeping me in Oregon even longer.
And in that time, my priorities shifted.
I’ve written about this extensively on my Patreon, but haven’t elaborated much on my main blog, since it’s personal, vulnerable territory that I don’t necessarily want to blare to the whole world. But here’s the TL;DR of what happened.
- In the process of writing my book, I had to delve deep into my feelings. Yikes! I discovered just how lonely I’d been as I traveled. In the book, I write about my feelings as though I was aware of them as they took place. In reality, while I felt all those things, I didn’t realize I felt most of them until I wrote about them. So the writing process was very difficult emotionally.
- I ended up leaving the church I’d grown up in. Ever since then I haven’t had a church home.
- As a vulnerable person, the whole Covid era was/is very hard.
In the end, I’m left with this overwhelming conviction that family is the main thing that’s going to determine my future living situations.
(I’d be curious to know if the Covid era affected you the same way at all. I keep reading random articles about people re-adjusting their priorities and moving close to family as a direct result of the pandemic, and I’d link some but a lot of them I couldn’t read the whole thing because it was behind a paywall. [We need a Netflix of articles! How can I make this happen???] But if something similar happened to you or someone you know I’d love to hear about it.)
Anyway. My whole family has been around for almost a year, but post-pandemic we’re all moving away. Steven is the only one of my siblings with plans to stay.
Jenny is going to grad school to get her PHD in math. At some point she and I thought, “Why not move together?” So then, I no longer had the big overwhelming decision of where to move. I decided to just go wherever Jenny goes.
Just recently, she made her final decision: We’re moving to Blacksburg, Virginia, and she’s going to Virginia Tech!
To be honest, I was a big apprehensive when faced with the idea of moving to Virginia. I briefly lived in Virginia when I was 20, and let’s just say, that was the first time I realized that racism is alive and well. I’d never in my life heard people say such horrible things about black people, slaves, and other minorities.
However, I’m willing to give the state another chance. Also, I’ll be in a completely different community than I was in before, and I know that it’s unfair to judge an entire state as being a certain way. The people of my hometown have little in common with the people of Portland, after all.
So yes, Lord willing, this August Jenny and I will set out for Blacksburg Virginia! I am really, really looking forward to it. In my head, it signifies a new era, new adventures, and putting the Covid era behind me. Maybe that’s idealistic. But Jenny and I both had our first shot already, and by the time we get to Virginia we’ll be fully vaccinated. Virginia seems like the type of place that would open up faster than Oregon anyway, and I feel like by August enough people will have Covid antibodies to provide enough herd immunity to get back to normal. Right? One can hope, anyway.
So, Blacksburg. Any readers from that area? What should we expect? What should we do/see? Any advice?
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Here’s wishing you the best of luck moving forward!
Best Wishes! Enjoying following your journey. I love Virginia, of course I am quite biased. I had 4 great years of college there; met my wife there; and spent the first year of marriage there.
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Love reading your blog.Covid hasn’t made it easy for those of us that are single!!
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Prayers for your upcoming move. Though I’m not from there I’d recommend you find a good Biblical church. Christian fellowship is so important. Please let us know how we can be praying for you.
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Thank you! You can pray that I would find a good church.
I’m an hour from Blacksburg! I would say in Floyd alot if the older high class people are very racist, but not everyone. And Blacksburg may be different. Let me know if you need church recommendations!
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Our daughter got her PHD in chemistry at VA Tech and also her MRS. During the 7 years she lived there (1992-1999) we made trips to visit her. The worst thing I remember was traveling 81 to close to Lancaster , PA. Sunday afternnon returns were filled with trucks and more trucks! Blessings to you and Jenny on this move.
Emily…l had subscribed to patroen and for some reason l’m not getting them anymore. I keep resubscribe but l’m not having any success. Am l doing something wrong? I love to read what you wrote and we love you book! Ruth
Oh no! I’ll look into the Patreon issue!
Welcome to Virginia! My husband and I currently live in Charlottesville. My husband’s parents live in Monroe Co., West Virginia, about an hour from VA Tech. Our favorite things to do outdoors in VA and WV are hiking in the mountains and kayaking on the rivers. Caverns are kind of interesting too, if you haven’t been in one before. Oregon Cave in Ronceverte, WV is a nice little cavern. Natural Bridge is a neat thing to see also. I would enjoy meeting for a hike or a picnic sometime if you ever get bored enough to want to plan a meeting with a total stranger. Sadly, racism is real here. In my experience, blatant racism is much more common in the southern part of VA then it is further north. I don’t really know why.. I’m guessing it might be because the southern part of the state is more rural and philosophies change more slowly there.
Thank you so much for this great information!
For a different take on things (possibly not the type you were looking for?!) my blog isn’t behind a paywall (see, for example https://handmaidsdistaff.wordpress.com/2020/09/28/reject-universal-lockdown-but-carefully/) :-). I tend to be abstract about everything in the first instance, but under that I’m also talking about the intense feeling of being regarded as totally invisible or completely expendable by everyone else – I make no comment on which is worse – that I have had all the way through, and indeed, still have.
I write on the subject as someone with depression whose health was very badly damaged by lockdown policies. Lockdown nearly killed me. I probably wouldn’t even have known I had COVID.
I am exceedingly bitter about this, because no-one (at least in my country) would dream of regarding it as a reasonable adjustment to do for me as a disabled person (I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), what I was called selfish for protesting about when it was demanded of me for others (https://handmaidsdistaff.wordpress.com/2021/01/30/reasonable-adjustment/). There was no parity of the sacrifice demanded from us, compared to what people are prepared to do for us. And we are never acknowledged in official publications. People seem to be aware it was tough to be vunerable to COVID, or to lose someone to it, and they occasionally acknowledge the problems of families, for instance, under lockdown conditions, but they never mention those of us who have been done crippling and predictable damage by what was demanded to try to protect others. And on top of that, having had my health sacrificed in order to provide medical resources for others, the medical resources are not there for me (this is the UK system).
Sympathies over losing your church home – that’s really tough.