We have now been living in Salt Lake City for two and a half years. That's incredible, how time flies! During sessions, one thing we get asked a lot is, "How is your family handling the adjustment? Do you like living in one place after being so mobile and seeing so many places and people?"
I have to say that for me, personally, the answer is that I once again love living in one place. If you were to ask me ten years ago before this all began, "Do you like living and working in one city like a normal person?" I would have said YES! I would have also expressed an interest in selling everything and taking our family on a year long exploration of the world while working. Which as you know, is what we did. Times 5.
This is what a lot of the population wants to do. Travel, minimize belongings, see different cultures and lifestyles, widen their horizons. We have heard this from clients time and time again. Our family was lucky enough to be able to do that. It was so amazing after one year, we couldn't imagine not doing it again, and again, and then twice more. And now, looking at those experiences from the other side- it's hard not to look at it with awe and amazement that we pulled it off for so long.
It wasn't easy, but while we were doing it, it mostly felt easy. Definitely, there were hurdles to jump and problems to figure out. I think one thing I can attribute that "ease" to was that during this time, Tyler and I were both super easy going in the sense that we didn't feel like we needed a firm plan ahead of time. (Besides the very, very firm work schedule of course.) We felt like could just wing it as we went, allowing for work and time to travel from place to place. But for the most part, we were flying by the seat of our pants and that was exciting! Planning was not our forte and many times we were rewarded for this. We would often not get hotel rooms in foreign cities until the very day we needed them (way less expensive than if we had arranged ahead), and often times we would set out with the kids on a day's adventure with no itinerary at all, no plans to speak of. IT WAS AWESOME. Our kids were so small at first, they never asked the schedule for the day because there was no pressure to have a schedule- we just saw what we saw and experienced things as we went. Again- so awesome and it felt so freeing.
So, flash forward to after all these adventures. We moved to Salt Lake City and tossed those cute kids into an actual school after they had been homeschooled for 5 years. We loved it here immediately. SLC has so much to do outside, and we landed in a home with an amazing school two blocks away. Putting your kids in a school, watching them learn the ropes of how to make permanent friends, watching them learn team sports and be able to go to birthday parties and see the same kids every day... that was all so adorable and exciting! In many ways, just as exciting as seeing the Eiffel Tower or experiencing a Japanese tea ceremony.
I remember a few months after moving to Utah, I kept thinking, every day life in one city can hold just as much excitement as traveling to a different place every week. It's a different type of excitement for sure. Maybe I only felt like it was exciting because I had already traveled and experienced some of what was out there? I'll never know. To me, the excitement of living in one city or traveling through fifty a year was different- very different- but equal.
While traveling I would often experience something very cool and memorable and think, "This is exactly why I wanted to do this. This is the eye-opening type of experience that I wanted. This is life affirming!" I can still feel what I felt in those times. However, I have feelings here in SLC watching my kids do every-day-life events that feel similar to those I felt traveling. I would call these moments eye-opening and life affirming. I have really enjoyed watching Isaac and Isabelle experience making true friends, learn from other adults who care for them, and grow into independent, responsible beings. I can look back at the last two and a half years and think of these times they grew or achieved a milestone, and still feel what I felt in those moments.
I love living in one city again. Granted, I am very spoiled, because I still get the chance to travel worldwide, albeit alone for work, and so does Tyler. The kids mostly stay behind with one parent and don't say a whole lot about not going. Isn't that interesting? To me it says they are content. They have a lot of travel under their belts and are happy in their current lifestyle.
When I look back on our travel, I cannot even imagine or comprehend how we did it. How did we do it? There were challenges all over the place, looking back on it. I can't imagine doing that again. Living in close quarters with 3 other people, constantly, with no alone time, is a challenge on it's own. A challenge very well worth it. But man, do I ever appreciate my space now.
Isaac is about to be 13 and Isabelle will be 11 next month. This blows my mind. I can't imagine doing what we did then, now that they are almost teenagers. Nowadays they need to know EVERY plan we have each day and EVERY thought I'm thinking and EVERY detail of life must be planned and managed and involve at least one of their friends, because that's how they like it these days.
So, do we like living in one place? Yes. Yes we do.
Images from San Francisco, CA
BLUE LILY | Lifestyle Photographer | Salt Lake City, Utah