“Are we crazy?” I asked my husband.
“Probably,” was his response.
Over the course of 20 days we had both quit our jobs, sold almost everything we owned, and were moving across the country at 7 months pregnant.
We were moving to a little log cabin outside of Jackson Hole, WY. A 650 sqft, one-room cabin. I had more questions than answers:
- Where would we put the baby?!
- What would winters be like?
- Would we get cabin fever?
- How would we fit a family of three (and our dog) into the space??
Before we moved, we were living in Austin, TX. I thought we were getting to the point in our lives where we were finally ‘settled.’ We had just gotten new, better jobs, and a new, bigger apartment — and soon — a new baby on the way.
Our lives felt like we were close to the ambiguous ‘success’ of adulthood: stability, with good jobs and a good place to live. A happy family, close friends.
Isn’t this what we had always wanted, always worked for? Why change any of it?
But we did.
We changed everything.
We turned our lives upside down for a lifestyle that we knew nothing about. We moved from a big city to the countryside, from a sprawling apartment complex to a little log cabin. And to top it off, we became parents a couple months later.
So why did we do it?
There’s one big reason why we moved. It wasn’t the fact that Jackson Hole is a beautiful place to live, although that was part of it. And it wasn’t the cabin itself, which is charming and cozy, and we got a good deal to rent it (we’re not the owners — we’re renting).
We moved because we both came to the conclusion that we’d like to raise our son here.
We wanted a different pace of life for our growing family.
We believed that moving to the cabin would help us slow down and simplify our lives. We could live closer to nature, with the mountains nearby and the cabin in the countryside. And most appealing of all, our son could grow up in this environment.
It’s not that our lives were particularly complicated or fast-paced in the city. But we found ourselves doing things that we thought we ‘should do’ or ‘had to do’ without much thought.
For example, before we moved, even though we were making more money than we ever had before, we were also spending more. I felt an underlying need to spend, to keep up with co-workers, friends, and my own ideas of what success looks like.
We had also started looking at houses in the suburbs. Even though this could easily double our commute times, it felt like the proper next step into adulthood
Without putting it into so many words, we saw cabin life as an escape from our current culture. It was a way to go against the grain and change up our lives.
The irony is that it was easier to quit our jobs, sell our things, and move across the country than to simply make the changes that we wanted to see back in Austin.
But you know what? It worked.
We got what we wanted in cabin life. Things really do feel like they have slowed down: we spend more time outside, more time with each other, and I believe we’re more intentional with how we use our time.
Life also feels simpler: we have less things, we spend less money, and our priorities have shifted.
The funny part is: we didn’t have to move to a cabin to change our lives. We could have spent less, downsized, and rearranged our priorities back in Austin. But we didn’t. It took a drastic change — changing almost every aspect of our lives — in order to shake things up.
We dreamt of a big lifestyle change, and it took equally big changes to create it.
It never felt easy: it was hard, messy, and scary most of the time. But the end result was worth it. We got what we wanted, even if we had to give up our jobs and things — what felt like ‘success’ and ‘stability’ — in order to get there.
After a year of living in the cabin, hindsight is 20/20. Here’s what I wish I could have told myself before we moved:
Don’t be afraid to leave what most people call ‘success’ in search of something greater.
Just because a decision feels hard, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.
If you dream of big life changes, you’ll need to take equally big actions to get there.
Sometimes doing the thing that feels crazy is exactly what you need to do.
And there’s so much more that cabin life has taught us. Up next I’ll be writing about lessons learned from our first year of living in the cabin.
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