I recently asked Regan Teat to post about his decision to move to a ski town. He and his fiance are in the midst of that choice and the results are still pending. I, for one, am rooting for them.
When Kim asked me to post as a guest on her blog about packing up and moving to a ski town I racked my brain trying to think of where to even start. Blind faith is what I’ve come up with so far.
The truth is, we haven’t yet been successful in this endeavor. Close though, and on the right path, but close and on the right path doesn’t get you first tracks after the last storm cycle.
The idea first surfaced, well, first surfaced with any sort of realism, last summer. I have come to refer to that period of time in my own conscious as the “Imperfect Storm”. I’ve told the story several times, each time it seems to present itself clearer than the last, to me anyway. We lived in Traverse City, MI. My job had an expiration date, Shannon was bar tending, so amid this new found freedom we playfully toyed with the idea of moving somewhere else. Nowhere in particular. We each made a list based on a some predetermined prerequisites; mountains, water, green landscapes. Seattle appeared on both lists.
Seattle it is.
Tragically, right in the middle of our planning. Shannon’s Mom was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and two months later with Shannon at her bedside Gwen lost her battle.
From this point forward we were going through the motions of life, barely. Our belongings were in a storage barn in the middle of a hay field in Lake City, MI and we were living in her Mom’s condo. Suddenly, instead of one condo of stuff to thin out and secure into storage we had two, plus the affairs of her Mom’s Estate. Both leases were up. Shannon is an only child and Gwen was not married. I have no idea where her strength came from during that time.
It then dawned on us that Shannon, our two dogs and I were homeless. Wow! It feels weird to say that, but its the truth. We had to make moves. In January we had a little bit of money in the bank and we fit what we could in our Jeep and in the middle of a massive snow storm we started driving with no place to go but West.
It all happened really fast. 4 months. In retrospect, we were making phone calls and arranging our departure, but it was like we were watching it happen from a distance. I’m not sure who was actually behind the wheel…
So here we are, present day. Two underemployed state college educated love birds in a small apartment near Edmonds, WA. Shannon is bar tending again. I am STILL unemployed but keeping busy with some projects and am optimistic about the future, and our sights are dead set on living in a small ski town. We are seeking solace, a sense of community, and first tracks.
2 hours before Gwen passed she made me promise to take care of Shannon. An hour after that I proposed and we’ll be married this October.
Gwen’s final wishes were to live life according to the virtue instilled in the words Live, Laugh, and Love.
I suppose this advice is what has dictated the rearranging of our priorities. We have honestly just let go of the wheel. We’ve let our will be in charge of our physical lives.
Why move to a ski town? Because like ET phoning home it’s where our hearts are taking us. I try not to ask too many questions of the matter. So “just because” will suffice for now.
Granted, there is some leg work to be done. We have to feed ourselves, our dogs, we have to re-educate ourselves to become employable in a small, industry specific town or it’s “suburbs”.
Shannon and I have reflected on our last decade and have reinvested in the next. Since moving to Washington I have completed 80 hours of Wilderness First Responder courses and CPR. I will use my natural ability to connect with people and my skills on skis to help those in need. This season I will continue my education to become an Emergency Medical Technician. Following that, Snow Science and Search and Rescue. Ski Patrol is my goal. I will live the remainder of my life as a first responder on skis.
This new path is so obviously right to us. We have found life in death. We have let go of the wheel. We know that everything will work out how its supposed to. We have blind faith.
So, Kim asked me to write about our decision to move to a ski town and live the lifestyle. Next to Shannon, skiing is my life. As I reflect though, it’s not skiing that is taking us to a ski town, it’s living our lives how they are meant to be lived. For me, skiing is just the byproduct of that enlightenment and gives me confidence of knowing that I am on the right path.
I’ll end this post with one of my favorite quotes, slightly modified:
He who follows the crowd will usually end up no further than the crowd, he who goes off on his own finds himself…and first tracks