‘You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.’
Within two months of living here in Astoria, OR, Kevin and I decided that despite all of our best intentions of making this place home, it just wasn’t going to work out for us. Though part of our unease with the lifestyle we have been creating for ourselves here simply has to do with coming back from such a long trip – from transitioning from a life of freedom to one of western confinement – the other part has to do with things we have control over, like our location and our jobs. Though Astoria is a cute perfectly sized (10,000 population) town right on the water, it lacks mountains – and all of the wonderful activities that come from having mountains in your backyard – and the outdoorsy and active community we seek. And though I do enjoy my job working in the leaning center with children with behavioral needs at the K-2 elementary school, it is most certainly not what I plan to do for the rest of my life.
Though we knew that what we were doing here wasn’t sustainable, we also didn’t know what the solution was. As temping as just riding off on our bikes again sounded (and we are indeed planning a tentative three month bikepacking trip next winter…) we decided that it was time to look at the big picture and both pursue the things we actually want to be doing in the long run, instead of just doing what’s most fun in the moment. For me, this means going back to school to get my bachelors in Outdoor Leadership and Education (with a minor in Early Childhood Education), and for Kevin, this means pursing his lifelong dream of becoming a smoke-jumper. Though we still want to buy land and build a yurt, the fact that we have have zero credit (yay for no loans or credit cards!) means that we are going to need to wait a few more years in order to complete that dream, so might as well move to where we truly want to live, and pursue the jobs we can become truly passionate about.
Just after moving to Astoria we met up with a German cyclist who had sponsored a lot of gear for us just before South America, and at one point in the evening we got to talking about our dream town, Bend, where we lived (and met) before our cycle tour. After describing everything the town has to offer, and how it was situated just at the base of the Cascades, he told us that he wouldn’t believe it was so wonderful until we actually lived there again because here we were, starting new lives in a totally different town. At that moment we were either lying about the town, or lying to ourselves, and since we still know how great that town is, we have decided to stop lying to ourselves and just move there. So at the end of March I will be moving to Bend, and depending on what fire crew Kevin gets on with this season, he will either be moving with me, or will be based somewhere else in Oregon for the six month fire season. Either way, we are both very excited and anxious to make Bend home, and in the meanwhile, we will try and enjoy our next few months here on the coast.