Saturday, August 10, 2013


The past few weeks have been a huge transition. This time last month, we were on the road, traveling somewhere in New England. Now, we're stationary in Pittsburgh. Both Dave and I have gotten part-time jobs at grocery stores, and it's been a busy week of adjusting to new jobs, new people, and some 8 hour shifts. When we're not at work, we've been working through our wedding planning to-do lists. Planning this wedding has been a lot of fun, but also way more work than I had originally anticipated. I can't imagine how busy things would have been if we had waited until the beginning of September to come back to Pittsburgh, like we originally intended. Of course, we've added to what we have to do by hand-making things and creating many of the little details ourselves, which is exactly what we wanted, and we're really enjoying the process.

An even bigger component of this transition, though, is that we've decided not to continue traveling West after the wedding like we had planned. While our 6 months of travel were in many ways the highlight of our lives, we found ourselves becoming more excited and planning more for our life after our travels. While traveling, we developed a much more concrete idea of what we want to do with our lives: where we want to live, what we want to do, etc, which was a huge part of our original intention for our trip to begin with. So, in short, we accomplished what we set out to do and saw a good portion of the country. While we still plan to see the Western portion of the country someday, this just doesn't feel like the right timing. Right now, it feels like the right time to buy some a few acres of land with a fixer-uper house and set to work making the place into a home while working on our long-term life goals: opening a coffee shop and art space and getting started growing organic mushrooms, which we'll market to local restaurants and farmers markets, like our friends Joe and Angie we met while working at Woodsong Hollow Farm. We want to do all this in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Funny enough, we never actually went to Chattanooga in our travels, but we did hear great things about it. It's nicknamed "Little Asheville," which was our first and favorite town. While we'd love to live in Asheville, it's simply unaffordable for our limited budget, especially with our desire for at least 2 acres of land. Chattanooga seems to be perfect: highly affordable, plenty of land available, ideal climate (season changes, but with a shorter, milder winter), mountainous location, up-and-coming, and has a college. And, just to confirm its coolness, we read a recent report saying there are 400 underground backyard-chicken keepers in Chattanooga, who did not want to be named but were counted and cited in the recent push to legalize backyard chicken keeping in city limits. The place is perfect for us.

Using our remaining savings we would have used for traveling as part of a downpayment seems much more practical, and also exciting. We're hoping to put our savings, the money we make at our new jobs, and any money we get at our wedding together as a downpayment for our first house. We're asking for gifts of money as opposed to having a registry for our wedding because honestly, we have all the plates and blenders and tools we really need to start our official household. What we're missing is the house to put them in.

Deciding what to do with The Happy Nomads blog has been hard. We lost our momentum when we stopped traveling and returned here to Pittsburgh. Although there's always wonderful life stuff happening, like garden harvests, new recipes, wedding plans, and weekend outings, these things don't seem quite Nomadish enough for The Happy Nomads blog. We feel like our blog had its heyday, and that was good. It was exciting. It was fun. But now, it just doesn't have the same concentrated attention that it did on the road. In keeping this blog, Dave and I have discovered something we really enjoy. Blogging is a great thing for us to do together since it utilizes our skills so well: Dave's photography, my writing, and Dave's editing. I think as our journey moves forward and we actually go to Tennessee to house shop and subsequently find a place to make our home, we will start a new blog. So, The Happy Nomads blog isn't actually going away; its just transitioning into Phase II, the next part of this incredible life journey we're on. I still plan to post occasionally on this blog, especially when the wedding comes and we have all those pictures to share. We'll also share our new blog information here when we get that started. We sincerely thank everyone for following along; what a fun journey it has been, and will continue to be!!


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