As I sat down to write this year-end post, I started to go down the "gratitude" path but it took an uber-sappy turn at some point. Believe me, no one wants that for Christmas. Suffice to say, returning to Portland and the US in general was more challenging than we expected and we're eternally grateful to everyone who supported us, particularly those of you who stuck with us through our crankypants summer.
Anyway! Here's the 2015 review for anyone just catching up...
For the first time since 2012, we spent most of this year in our home country. We visited 18 national parks and explored 19 states. We said hi to the cherry blossoms, the Man in Black, the Continental Divide, and the best campsite in Oregon. We tried very hard not to mess with Texas. We kept (at least) ten dogs, six cats, and lots of chickens company. We volunteered for a few worthy causes. We caught up with supportive family members, friends, and former colleagues. We saw some great music. We helped our parents with life transitions.
So in spite of all the sitting around we did this year, we were actually quite busy.
We're wrapping up the year in Canada where we're celebrating our third consecutive Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holiday outside of the continental United States. Whereas our US adventures were obviously comfortable and familiar, the Canada portion has also felt comfortable and familiar thanks to our Alberta friends and the town of Vernon, BC which honestly feels like every other suburban town in any English-speaking country.
One of the most common questions we're asked is, "what's next?" We're happy to say that we finally have an answer! Here's the 2016 preview: after our BC housesit and another month-long housesit on Orcas Island, we'll head to Eugene to help Patrick's mom with a little spring cleaning.
And then? THEN?!?! Starting next spring we'll be interning on a beautiful vegetable farm in Southern Oregon!
Earlier this summer we thought a lot about our transition back to paid work while making sure we spent those 40+ hours/week doing something we loved. Interning through Rogue Farm Corps' FarmsNext program, which offers a structured educational approach for people like us who think we want to be farmers, seemed like the most appropriate approach. The program will help us answer frequently asked questions like "You know farming is really hard work, right?" and "You know there's no money to be made in farming, right?" and "You know there's no 401K program for farmers, right?" (Kidding - we already know all of those answers. But we will get answers to more important questions like "What are the best soil, greenhouse, and cover crop management techniques?" and "Do you have any best practices for irrigation in this crazy time of climate change?" and "How does one actually drive a tractor, anyway?")
It feels a little odd to be starting over in our 40s but we're pretty confident that our host farmers will teach us a lot about getting started, staying positive, and figuring out how to be successful in this particularly challenging field.
Much more on this later - just know that we're super excited to return to Oregon and kick start our next life! (Is it April yet? ... How about now? ... Now?)
Thank you for your ongoing support. We look forward to keeping you posted on next year's farm shenanigans and our plans beyond November 2016...
Hope next year brings you joy, gratitude, and most of all, continued adventure - however you define it!
... to you and yours!