May 22, 2014

Life After "The Big Adventure"

In January we loaded The 4Runner into a shipping container and sent it back to the US via Miami, where we will reunite with it soon.  We are trying to establish a new homebase in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where all of Shannon's family has migrated to over the years.  Shannon will go back to nursing and Brenton will explore other opportunities while he tries to get back into the fire service.

We get a lot of questions from people about how life is after "The Big Adventure", so I'll elaborate...

We get a lot of questions from friends and family about how life has been moving on after “The Big Adventure.”  Well, things are quickly shaping up for us and we're slowly getting back to the daily grind.  It’s impossible not to have a different perspective than we once had before heading south.  Our attitudes have certainly changed for the better and this grand journey has opened our hearts and minds more than we could anticipate.  I have found that I have a very difficult time talking about the past two years of our lives and I tend to say less and less unless people pry enough.  The truth of the matter is that even though people may ask questions, they typically don’t care for an authentic response and it’s either a pleasantry to ask or they already have their own answers that they’ve decided on before I even open my mouth.  Most people simply cannot fathom what this experience has been for us and frankly I feel like it’s wasted breath to try and put it into words.  The struggle is real.

Unloading the 4Runner at home.  Finally a place to work on it.

Our priorities have shifted.  If the past two years has taught us anything, it's that the people around us are what makes us happy.  With that being said, we miss all of the friends that we have met on this adventure, but hopefully we will reconnect soon.  We also miss the Pacific Northwest along with our friends and family there. For now this is where we are.  

Family bon-fires and burning brush is becoming a regular tradition.

Bryon and Sarah of Exploring Elements, passing thru WNC.

This is why we've chosen to be in North Carolina, to be near Shannon’s parents and work on the next chapter of our lives.  To grow and build and be creative as a family…and yes, that includes talk of starting a family of our own.  This two year journey has also presented us with some really interesting opportunities and projects that we’re really excited to work on.  For now it's mostly hush hush, but soon we will share more details. 

Building bridges and putting in work on the family property.

After two years away from family, we are really enjoying the time we spend here and we no longer separate our friends and family into two distinctive groups. 

The view off the back porch (photo credit: Ned Hibberd)
Sunset over Mt. Pisgah (photo credit: Ned Hibberd)

The family homestead is on 25 peaceful acres of pasture and temperate forest with an incredible view of the Appalachian Mountains (it's actually pronounced Aaa-puh-lah-chun).  There is so much to see and do in this area, exploring this unfamiliar part of our own country.  We have been very busy at Shannon's parent's property, trying to increase our self-sufficiency and help them build a mini-farm so we can surround ourselves with good food and good people.  It's also been incredible to be back with our dogs and they have really taken to the property, with plenty of space to run and explore.

Shady enjoying some pasture time.  Photo credit: Ned Hibberd
Our little Riley enjoying an afternoon drive. 

To sum things up, "The Big Adventure" has never really ended for us.  We choose to encounter new people and engage in conversation, to continue exploring different cultures and expand our horizons.  To learn and discover ourselves in new ways and become more rounded individuals.  Adventure is an attitude and a perspective, whether you're driving across the Americas, moving to a new town, learning to homestead or expanding your family.  So for now, the adventure rolls on and we thank you for following along with our little story over the years.