Ever since I was very young, I was attracted to water. My parents put me in swimming lessons from a young age and I quickly progressed up the ranks, only stopping when I reached the competition level. They wanted me to be a strong swimmer and I wanted to be in the water.
Growing up next to a lake increased my love for water. Weekends were spent at the beach or on the boat – doing everything from swimming to fishing to watching the sun set over the lake.
As a kid, my friend’s family would take me on vacation each summer to Lake Superior. I remember sitting on the rocks, watching the waves crash and being in awe of the water.
The first time Andy and I met was at his dad’s house on the same lake I grew up on. Mutual friends set up a jet skiing afternoon and we met on the water.
After that, we spent every minute we could on the water.
Andy and I continued the tradition of spending summer vacations on Lake Superior plus spending weekends on the lake we grew up on or at his family cabin in Wisconsin (whenever possible).
Several years ago, Andy and I took a trip out to California to visit his grandparents. It was my first time in Cali and I immediately fell in love. I loved the water, the palm trees, the sun.
We have done a lot of traveling over the years, much of it revolving around water and my favorite activity: snorkeling. We have been to Aruba, Antigua, Belize, and Hawaii, among other places — and have seen some pretty amazing things both in and out of the water.
My fascination with water spread into my work. As a Pet Care manager, I took care of a variety of critters but my favorite thing to talk about was fish tanks. My hobby started small, with a 20-gallon tank at my parents’ house. It soon grew to several tanks split between my house and Andy’s.
The tank sizes steadily grew, ending with two 75-gallon freshwater tanks and one 46-gallon saltwater tank. I was hooked.
The love for Cali stuck with me over the years and in 2014, we came out here again with the goal of finding an apartment.
We toured several apartments on our trip and left feeling a little deflated. At the time, our plan was to rent out our house in Minnesota and move to California – somewhere by the water. We looked at places all over Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Vista. We were determined to make it happen.
We printed up photos of Cali and stuck them in places around our house as motivation for making our dream happen.
We planned to transfer within our companies to a location somewhere in Southern California. But there was a problem. To make it work, we would be working a lot of hours and we were worried we would not have time to enjoy the beauty surrounding us. At the time, our thought was “at least the weather is nicer here so it will be easier for us to enjoy the outdoors.” In Minnesota, it felt as though most of the nice days were spent working and it was very rare when we both had a day off work together that lined up with nice weather.
We never lost the dream of living in California but somewhere along the way, our dream changed. We knew that we did not want to transfer within our companies to move out here and the motorhome idea started to take hold.
After that first trip to California and seeing the ocean for the first time, I knew I needed to live on the West Coast. After we took a trip to Washington to see the whales (also in 2014), it was set for me. I needed to make it happen.
My future was starting to make sense. I knew that I wanted to work with aquatic life; I knew I wanted to work in conservation; and I knew that I wanted to use my talents as a writer to make it all happen. I started considering different schools so I could get my Master’s in Conservation Biology with an emphasis in aquatics (still a goal). Going on the road has allowed me the luxury of working towards making this a reality. It has not only given me something to write about, but it has given me the experience I need and a platform on which to do it.
When we first landed here, we didn’t even know if we wanted to stay for a full six months. Well, six months snuck up on us quickly and then we thought of leaving after a year. Then the idea was to leave just before the next hot summer (I did not love the heat at all).
Now, we wake up in the morning and realize how happy we are. We both love our jobs. We love our life. And as anxious as I am to travel again, I am starting to realize that we made our dream of living in California happen. We did it. So, what’s the rush?
One of the goals of this adventure, other than having an adventure, was to find a place to buy land, build a house, and set up our farm (we want to be self-sustaining). But again, what’s the rush?
We are still young with a lot of life ahead of us. We are happy here and California continues to amaze me. We do not see a need to rush out on the road again only to stop once we find that perfect piece of land.
I am a planner and have always struggled with living in the moment. I am always looking ahead to the future. This trip has taught me that that’s not always the answer. It has taught me to go with the flow, to enjoy life.
California was my dream for a long time and I woke up and realized that my dream had come true.
We went to the beach yesterday and I spent the afternoon in the water, just swimming. It made me so unbelievably happy. I looked at Andy and said, “I don’t want to leave yet.”
And you know what he said? “OK.”
So for now, I am going to enjoy the sand, surf, and sun – and just see where life takes me.
Even if we aren’t traveling, it’s all an adventure.