May 22, 2014

Life After "The Big Adventure"

This winter we finished up our last remaining months in South America.  It was impossible not to fall in love with Patagonia, the southern region of Chile and Argentina.  In January we loaded up The 4Runner into a shipping container and sent it to Miami where we will reunite with it soon.  Home is now in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where all of Shannon's family has migrated to over the years.  

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 our travel-family that we met on the road, but hopefully more and more of them will make it East for a visit.  We also miss our family in the Northwest along with Brenton's sister and her family who are living abroad.  As time rolls on we will be able to visit them and travel again.  For now this is where we are.  We look forward to future “micro-adventures”, but this is home now and we are trying hard to settle in.

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 family and build something for our future.  To grow and build and be creative as a family…and yes, that includes talk of starting a family of our own.  Talk which started more than a year ago during our travels.  I guess you can say we're on the ADVODNA plan, only we're eventually inheriting the farmlet and for now the 4Runner is still big enough (verdict is still pending on the possibility of Airstream living).

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 and it is almost as if we are still on the road, 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 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.

There is some neighboring land that we are hoping someday we can afford so we can secure even more space to grow and build.  We have also been talking about starting a small business based around shared interests we are passionate about.  For now it's mostly hush hush, but soon we will share more details.  

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 state, 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.