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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