(The featured image for this post is the sunset from my parent’s deck in Paradise, California, before the Camp Fire.)
We have an exciting update! In April, we made an offer to purchase a house here in California, and we just got the keys to our new home!
It is with mixed feelings that I write this post. Before I get too far into it, I want to validate everyone who has ever gone through a crisis similar to ours. I won’t say that I know exactly how you feel, or that I’m going through the exact same thing you are going through. Even if you are a Paradise Camp Fire survivor, and you lost your house in the same fire that I did, I still don’t know exactly how you feel. My husband and I have had very different feelings and experiences and we lost the same home in the same fire.
Going through a crisis caused by a natural disaster is hard. Period. Making decisions after any crisis is downright crazy-makin’! I truly believe, that whatever decisions you made immediately following your crisis, they were the right decision for you at that time. Everyone is in the same boat in that way. We are all trying to make the best decisions that we can. Sometimes these decisions are made in the most unfortunate of circumstances.
Trying to make a decision about where to relocate has been extremely difficult for us, and it has been difficult for our children. I would not wish this situation on my worst enemy. It has tested our marriage in really difficult ways. My husband and I have not seen eye-to-eye a lot of the time. The Camp Fire was different for me than it was for him because of many factors, and we have reacted to the catastrophe differently.
Thankfully, the Lord has seen us through this time of difficulty by providing us with moments of joy and delight. Having the opportunity to travel gave us gifts of space, anonymity, and new experiences. I delighted in “disappearing” for 10 months in the RV. I needed space to grieve. It was a welcome repose to escape from the immediacy of the catastrophe. When no one around you knows what has happened it feels different than when everyone around you knows what has happened. I needed to see new things and experience new adventures to help me deal with the losses. New experiences have helped shape and change my perspective.
We have been on such a grand adventure! We have thoroughly enjoyed our journey exploring the Western USA. If you have been following our blog, you’ve seen us in some amazing places. Some of you might be wondering why we decided to stop living in our RV and get a “regular” house. I know that full-time RVing sounds really fun! Obviously, we thought it sounded like a lot of fun or we wouldn’t have done it! Many aspects of the full-time RVing lifestyle are really fun! It has also been very stressful for a few important reasons:
- The RV is not an ideal working environment for E (and that’s putting it lightly)!
- The kiddos are definitely ready for more stability and more space.
- Changing locations in the RV so frequently was hard on everyone’s nerves. Every time we moved to a new spot we had to readjust to new surroundings.
- In the RV, we were constantly stepping over each other and each other’s stuff!
Some of you might be wondering why we chose to go back to California. Let’s face it, the taxes are higher, the housing prices are higher, there’s a state income tax, and the politics can be a little wonky. We could pretty much pick anywhere we wanted to move to, so why did we pick California?
- Calif. has a lot of amenities. We like the beach, we like skiing, we like lakes, hiking, and outdoor sports. Calif. has all of those things within a few hours drive.
- We homeschool with a charter school and I really like it a lot. The school offers instructional funding to purchase school supplies, field trips, and supplemental educational classes like ballet, swimming, etc. It’s so nice to have all of that already set up.
- Thinking about being able to do some of the same fun things that we used to do, like visit with some of our same friends, and see some of our family feels really good to us. This whole experience has been very stressful, and having some things that are the same as they used to be feels good.
- Even though we are not moving back to Paradise; California still feels more like home than anywhere else we have visited.
- Losing our home in the Camp Fire was a really big deal for us. As we traveled around the western USA, we realized that it would be even more difficult to start over in another state than to start over somewhere closer to home.
Even though we have made the decision to buy a home in California, I’m still not totally sure it is the “right” decision, but here goes nothin’ folks!
We have certainly changed and grown both individually and as a family since this whole thing started. I don’t think that things will be the same as they were before. I’ve always had a bit of the travel bug and I think the experience of living in the RV and traveling around for 10 months has intensified my enjoyment of traveling. I sincerely hope that settling back into a “regular” house doesn’t mean that I’m going to stay put in it. I can hardly wait to go exploring after our shelter at home directive is lifted!
We ❤️ Paradise and it will always have a very special place in our hearts. A piece of my heart will always be there, no matter where else in the world I happen to be.
I’m planning on continuing blogging. It’s such a fun hobby! If you’re not blogging already, I highly recommend it. I had been writing in a family journal before the Camp Fire, and this blog is our new family journal. We would love to continue sharing our adventures with you. We hope you keep on following us even though we won’t be traveling quite as much.
As always, thanks for following us or just stopping by for a visit!