What if “normal” had happened?

A house came on the market here this week, a house like we’d originally been looking for when we wanted to move to this area.  Smaller and less expensive than our previous home, unique, open rooms, more acreage….


We might have ended up buying something like this if timing had been different, if this had been an option back before we decided to set out on our divergent path.  I couldn’t help but think:

Imagine if we were in a “normal” house now that only needed regular maintenance.

A place where we could actually host last weekend and this weekend’s visitors.  A place where you didn’t need to worry about windstorms.  A place we could immediately put gardens into.  A place where your brain wouldn’t hurt trying to figure out how all of the future plans and schemes would unfold there.

But then I thought:

Imagine if we were in a “normal”house now that only needed regular maintenance.

Well, no thank you.  It would just be a space, not something that we had worked to craft into being ourselves.  It wouldn’t be our dream.  It wouldn’t enable this purposeful living that is empowering us in ways we never imagined.  We would never have had the quirky experience of living in a yurt, of having a mortgage-free home, of creating home, connecting to untrodden land…

It was a good reminder to me that this path we are now on is not about getting to the end as quickly as possible. It is all about the path and how it is shaping our lives in the most fascinating ways each day.  It can be difficult and rewarding.  It can be frustrating and empowering.  At all times it is adventure.  OUR adventure.

Perspective from another divergent path follower (of the 25 foot Airstream Flying Cloud trailer variety), Michelle Gardella:

What happens when you get the house and the picket fence and the kids in private school and the husband with a swanky desk job, and then all of the sudden you admit, out loud, that none of it fits into what you ever really dreamed of?

What happens when you finally declare that your dream, since you were tiny enough to need training wheels, has nothing to do with society’s version of success?

I mean, who THE HECK dreams of living in a trailer?

Me. I do. And it turns out my husband does too.

And together, this past year, behind the scenes, we have been slowly peeling away the layers of our fake life, and stepping into our luminous (and CRAZY) authentic truth.

The life we dream of is simple: live simply in a small space, work together at home, homeschool our babies, photograph people in Nature, help others.

And the fact that it’s all happening, and it’s all starting to take shape is kind of amazing and also kind of horrifying.

The broken record in my brain goes something like this these days, “What will people think of us? Are we official trailer trash? Will we really be able to live in under 300 square feet? Will I freak out and move back to a house in a week? Will my children get eaten by a bear?”

But none of those fears matter because once we looked one another in the eyes and blurted out our dreams, there was no turning back.

“After you get stung, you can’t get unstung.”

― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

We aren’t the first ones to step out of the box, and we have no intention of romanticizing this as some heroic act.  For us, this is about snuggling next to sleepy little children who smell like campfire, and fingertips sticky from marshmallows. It’s about cannonballs in the lakes, and flashlight tag in the fields; fishing off the docks and slow-cooking soup over the grill. It’s about keeping it simple, devoting our energy to what really matters, and letting go of what we’ve been told we should be doing.

there isn’t a bold finish line. It’s our organic and honest path to truth.

It’s home.

And we are SO excited to finally be here.

Certainly, it would be easier to live in a house that is already solidly standing.  Easier to explain, to host in, for visitors to go to the bathroom in, to plod through the years in.  But I don’t imagine that “easier” is often how dreams materialize, how people come to really know themselves and each other.  There will be fear, there will be worry.  There will be joy, there will be stories.  Onward and around we go!

7 thoughts on “What if “normal” had happened?

  1. Wow, thank you so much for this post. It really speaks to me where I’m at right now! Especially this: “But I don’t imagine that “easier” is often how dreams materialize, how people come to really know themselves and each other. There will be fear, there will be worry. There will be joy, there will be stories. Onward and around we go!”

  2. Kinda hard to imagine now if “normal?” Had happened! Think of all the experiences that would be missed… Per chance, I am looking for the plans I had on a spinning wheel! Perhaps you and Josh could make one… Certainly looks like you have the wood for it.

  3. Sooner or later people who hike the AT come to the realization as you have that “it’s not the destination. It’s the journey.” Glad you’ve discovered this valuable truth early.

  4. I have just stumbled upon your blog through Yurtforum.com
    I have just recently learned about Yurt living and have been doing a lot of research this week. I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences, simply amazing! I have a 3 year old son and thought that Yurt living would not be a great option, but you have proven me wrong. You guys are truly inspiring (and just the right amount of crazy). I cant wait for more updates.

    • I’m so glad to hear it’s helpful! Sometimes living in a yurt doesn’t feel much different from living in a fort…and what 3 year old wouldn’t love that. 😉 It is completely “normal” for our two. At these ages they were generally with us in whatever room we were in when in a large house, so really it’s not that different. With the exception that it’s always only the same one room here… 🙂

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