a blog about moving thousands of miles away from anyone we know. Again.

“Are you excited to move to Idaho?”

It’s the question I’m hearing most in 2024. And I feel odd answering it. Excited isn’t the right word, so I’m taking the time to examine what it is and how we got here. 

We all have squarely one shot at the life. I try to remind myself constantly that this is not the dress rehearsal, this is the real deal. I do this in an attempt to remind myself constantly that I would prefer to strive for excellence than sit in comfort. Nothing seems to age people faster than the pursuit of comfort.

Don’t you hate it when you ask someone about their work and it starts their laundry list of complaints? If you hate your job, get a new one. It’s the same thing with being tied to the wrong partner or being unsatisfied with where you live. If something no longer serves you, move on.

We don’t dislike Sarasota, not by a long shot. Sarasota has been an absolute blessing.

We will forever hold memories of Theo peeing in the front yard during hurricane Ian, yelling “I’m peeing in a hurricane!” Amelie developing a love for chickens and watching her walk them around on a little dog leash. I will absolutely never forget the cheering for Griffin’s birth in the bedroom, or meeting baby Atticus in a pool in our dining room. These highlights to our story couldn’t have happened anywhere else. And no where could have been better to shield our kids from covid-era chaos.

Most importantly, Sarasota has made me a far better mother and wife. In Oregon, I had no direction in my parenting. I just did what seemed right at the time, based on my instincts or tidbits I'd read online or hear about from friends in the same early stages of mothering. I had no meaningful access to women that had gone before me, no sense of mentorship or examples of families we wanted to emulate as we grew.

The community of our school, with its “Friday talks” and “Pie nights” for parents has moved me to the core like nothing else in my life. It's given our family an identity. The dance studio becoming part of my norm has incorporated fitness into my habits in a sustainable way. Spending the time and truly knowing Matthew’s family that lives here and having kids that are so comfortable with and lean on their grandparents has been paramount. Leaving them behind is the absolute hardest part of this choice, by a long shot. There are so many treasures and so much that has shaped us for the better in this sunshine. 

However, while not everyone may be so intensely sensitive to it, anyone who’s been in Sarasota the past handful of years can’t deny the shift that’s occurring. The extra bit of traffic here and wait time for a table at a restaurant there aren’t ideal, but they aren’t deal breakers for me (as we seldom eat out all that often anymore and I try to stick to a 8 min drive radius around our house)

It bothers my husband much, much more. He grew up here and it really gets under his skin feeling his hometown is more and more unrecognizable each passing year.

Sarasota used to be a sleepy coastal town known for its elderly population and quirky circus history. Even when we moved here 6 years back, Sarasota was known for its white beaches, not for its young families and I was fine with that. 

It was a delightful place to be pregnant & have newborns, constantly being doted on by grandma-aged strangers in shops. It’s a delightful place for a lot of reasons but as the cow fields around our house have slowly turned into sprawling retail and high volume housing, we feel like we know more and more where this is heading. I'm from Palm Beach county and we’ve been to Miami plenty, left with no desire to go back.

We’ve already done this. We've already lived in a city with wild traffic. It was super fun to live in a densely populated metro in our 20’s, but our needs have shifted. And my primary need now is to give my children a fantastic childhood. So slowly, Sarasota has become less the landscape that we want for them and our light search began. 

Does anyone else Zillow browse? My husband I both go through phases where we will travel the country through real estate listings, meandering through towns we’ll likely never visit, deciding it looks better to live on this side of a river, or that side of the downtown. We’ll google commute times to airports and research school ratings.

This searching for a higher quality of life in far away lands has been an artery vein in our relationship from the very beginning. The night he bummed a smoke off me in a bar by UCF, even though he didn’t smoke but because he knew he had to talk to me, we spoke of moving to Spain together. Before I knew his phone number, I knew he would move out of this country with me. It's no wonder I married him. At that time in my life I’d look lustfully up at airplanes passing, wondering where they were going and why I wasn’t on the plane, this made him instantly desirable. 

It took us a few more years before our beautiful mutual nervous breakdown on the stretch of I-4 hwy between Tampa and Orlando when our distaste for the place really came into focus. We began heavy research on quality of life beyond the boundaries of Florida and set our hearts on Oregon. It sounds like it was easy then, before children or a mortgage, to up and move into the unknown, but it wasn’t. We had built a business in Orlando, we had a large community of friends, family a couple hours drive away, and a whole lot of STUFF. But it didn’t keep us from navigating an escape plan, getting our belongings down to what we could shove in the back of one car and then drive that car thousands of miles West. (I found our pre-iPhones video of the drive out! We wouldn’t have made it without that dashboard GPS; how times have changed!) 

Portland was a perfect fit for 10 solid years. But when our needs changed, we changed with them. When we find a place that looks as though it will suit our needs better, we have to pack up and go. Not because we're super bold or reckless, but because we owe it to ourselves to live this life to its fullest. So, that’s really all that’s happened here. Sarasota is fantastic, but our needs have shifted again and it’s time to follow that into what’s best for us next.

Matthew found our new stomping ground online. Part of me is convinced he made up his perfect spot in his head and willed it into existence. It’s everything he’s spoken about wanting for us for so many years. In some ways, I still can’t believe it exists or how we missed it until now. Then, I’m reminded that things come into our lives when they’re meant to and the qualities that make it perfect for us now wouldn’t have been right for us up until now. 

Sandpoint lays on the largest lake in Idaho at the base of a ski resort cradled by three mountain ranges. I low-key love when I tell someone I”m moving to Idaho and they get a sideways look on their face and can’t help but blurt an “oh… why...?”. I wonder what they’re envisioning, maybe Napoleon Dynamite vibes? Desolate dusty farm lands and trailer homes? I’m really unsure what they’re seeing, but I do know I quite prefer that Idaho holds a dreary reputation. Because one of the top selling points for us is that Sandpoint’s population is around 10,000 people. It’s about 80 miles from an international airport in Spokane and not too far from adorable Coeur D’Alene for big box things, should we need a Costco run or Target. But my kids already have plenty of plastic crappy toys from Target. That isn’t what they need. What they need is outside.

It’s hiking in forests and four proper seasons again. It’s camping on lakes in summer times and snowboarding in the winter. It’s small local restaurants and brew pubs that keep a bin of toys in the corner for the kids instead of chain restaurants serving the same seed-oil laden crisco crap in different table settings. It’s low crime and minimal traffic, but more than anything, it’s living in a place that puts you in awe of its incredibly beauty. 

I love Siesta, Lido, and Venice beaches beyond measure. I’ve never said no to a beach day, and can’t count the number of dinner picnics and birthday parties we’ve headed for the shore for. But, even that has changed into a fight for a parking spot and a long wait to get off the islands in the traffic that clogs up after sunset. It’s become such a pain that we hardly even go anymore. It feels like in Idaho, the things that make it spectacular will not only be spectacular, but accessible. 

I set a high standard for Matthew before I agreed to this switch. I asked him to secure an excellent job and wonderful schools for our kids. But now that he has achieved both items, it’s go time. All the messy little details will iron themselves out. The hard part is making the decision to change. After that, it’s just logistics. 

I aim to never be someone so afraid of change that I stay put simply because it’s easier. 

Am I excited to move to Idaho? I suppose in some ways I am, but it’s more that. It’s just obvious. It’s the next step if only because it’s the one after this one. Orlando, Portland, Sarasota... Sandpoint. It’s not up to me. In some ways, it’s more than me. Some people call it God, others the Universe. I don’t care what you call it, so long as you don’t ignore it. Some things are bigger than us and beyond us. But only with great faith and sacrifice can we achieve them. I’m not afraid of giving my all, I'm far more afraid of living a life wondering "What if?". It’s why I dance all out like an idiot under a disco ball twice a week. I know I don’t have time to be anything less than all of me. I have to go for it. 

We have been gifted an incredible opportunity. Of course, we’re going all in. Let's go Idahome. Later is too late.