An Unexpected Turning of Tides
I have become wary of laying out plans for the future, because not only do people hold you to those plans, and the plans rarely go as planned, but setting expectations also creates room for disappointments.
So I’m learning more and more to have a loose idea, but to expect inevitable variations to occur.
Life is forever evolving, and often is not so straightforward as to abide by our mathematical planning on calendars and calculators.
We were moving along at full speed, making money, putting it back to prepare for a cabin build in Spring of 2019 on our new land.
Last Autumn, we arranged for a vacation to surprise loved ones in Kentucky for the holidays. Eric arranged work in KY, and his employer here in northeast WA had no problem with him leaving for this time, promising not only would his job be here when we returned, but that they would provide winter training since we’d be arriving back in the dead of winter (Eric’s route is, WAS, through the mountains of northeast WA and British Columbia, with plenty of steep mountain grades - terrifying in a car, let alone a huge semi truck hauling 100,000+ pounds).
We arrived back to our home in WA in mid-January, Eric set out to work as scheduled, despite that commute being 1.5 hours one way, through icy mountain roads, it was the price we were paying to live in this wilderness we so love.
Work went as planned for a couple of days, then as a winter storm fell over the area and mountain passes became treacherous, Eric reached out to his managers to schedule the day of winter training he was promised.
One manager speedily rushed him through a tutorial of putting chains on the truck, in the parking lot, amidst a blizzard, and the chains ended up being on backwards(!) and they claimed this was winter training.
The disappointment set in and now we were in a pickle. NO way was he going to drive without winter training, not only to protect his own life, but the lives of others out on those roads.
Days went by where he was loosely made to believe that he would get training at some point, until eventually his managers turned condescending and unprofessional, all the while we were in a bit of a panic because Eric’s paycheck was suddenly… not happening as expected. With every week that went by, thousands of unmade dollars also went by, and the pressure was on for me to take on more clients to keep us afloat so that we wouldn’t have to tap into our emergency savings.
When Eric persisted with his employers, asking: “why not just send ____ with me as promised, for ONE day of winter training, and we can all move on as planned…?” the response given was that they “didn’t want to endanger TWO lives!” — so you can imagine the frustration of all of this. We live in a place where going out and simply getting a new job isn’t exactly… realistic. So there we were, our second income just completely removed from the equation, in the middle of a snowy icy winter, totally unsure what the next best move was.
I’ll save you the details of weeks of despairing and worrying and thinking and more plans-that-didnt-go-as-expected and the decision had to be made…
The decision to move.
I can’t tell you how difficult it was to decide this and to set our jaws about it.
All of our efforts for the past couple of years have been to get to this place, this northeast WA wilderness, and be able to live comfortably in it.
What a sobering realization that: we still are not ready.
To live a good life in this land, it seems you must either be born here, marry into a family who was born here, be very wealthy, retired, or getting some kind of regular check that does not rely on the local economy.
Or you can work online, which is the route I have taken, but Eric is still reliant upon the local marketplace for his income.
So we have moved!
The place we’ve chosen to move to is a place that stole our hearts last year when we visited, and it’s a place that - despite being much more populated than the northeast portion of the state - still retains a rugged and remote feeling (especially on the western side).
We are living on the Olympic Peninsula, and we have every intention to enjoy this place wholeheartedly for the myriad of natural wonders it has to offer.
What about our homestead plans in northeast WA?
They remain. But they have been slowed down.
This year, we hope to achieve a fenced-in garden area and to get a dowser out to the property to check for water availability so that a well can be dug. Maybe more will get accomplished than that, but those are our goals for 2019 on the property.
Just a few months ago, our goal was to have a cabin built on the property in 2019, but that can no longer happen.
Building a homestead from scratch with cash takes time. And it takes being closeby. So our plans are definitely delayed.
But who knows what the future holds. I have a lot of projects underway, and in my line of work it’s sometimes difficult to predict the payoff amount and timeline. So perhaps the homestead development will move faster than we could possibly foresee at this moment.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m learning that for my own life, loose ideas work better than concrete plans.
So this is a surrender of sorts, and a letting go and letting life unfold as it does.
I’m certain that in a few years, I will read back over this post and smile to myself, having never could’ve imagined the way that things ended up unfolding. And that awareness brings me a certain sense of relief and humor :)
“How wild it was, to let it be…”
My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!
I write about:
our homestead journey
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wild food foraging
DIY & craft projects
making a living online from home (or anywhere)
my own recipes from scratch
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