The Sojourner…

It was around this time last year my family and I were crossing the fruited plain. We had been in Idaho for the past eighteen months, attempting to make life happen there. Unfortunately, it seemed it was not to be, so we made the decision to turn right around and head back the way we came.

How many of you have been in such a situation? Most people I know have been in one city, one state, one region their entire lives. They have no idea how Americans act or think outside of their “area.” We gravitate toward the family and friends we grow up with. Relationships are forged and ossified for generations. To move to another state, or across the country, is tantamount to insanity in some cases, outright betrayal in others.

But we’ve done it twice now. We moved to Idaho in the fall of 2019, and then shifted back East in the spring of 2021. Eighteen months, that’s all the time we spent back in the Pacific Northwest, which I thought I loved– and actually, I do. How can you not love the natural beauty and abundance there? Not to mention family. My memories are full of plans to build a hilltop abode with gardens, orchards, and vineyards. But times change and people change, and what once was is now lost. You have to adjust.

We’ve adjusted well, I believe, to South Carolina. And to be honest, we’re still adjusting. The Greenville area where we are is right in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, situated right between Charlotte and Atlanta. There’s airport access to just about anywhere in the USA, and hence, the global community. And the area itself has a bit of an international feel to it, mingled with a good traditional rural vibe, thanks to the presence of such entities as BMW and Michelin, both with manufacturing facilities here.

I think some of my friends and family think I’m nuts: I leave the great Pacific Northwest (PNW) in 1990 to travel to Virginia to attend graduate school and plan to return triumphantly with my degree within three years. It didn’t happen.

Instead I stuck around … got a job … got married …had kids …. worked and worked, and then one day woke up to find Donald Trump as president. When I had left the PNW, George H.W. Bush was in office. Now Trump?? I found that when we moved to Idaho, the PNW is not what it used to be. A lot had changed. For one thing, most of California moved to Idaho. I found that my family was not what it used to be. My brothers and sisters have all married and had families, and were living their lives. It was a different world now, different situation. Things change.

My best friend passed away two months after we arrived in Idaho. My father passed away within a year.

Life changes. You roll with it. I was a field videographer for 25 years, traveling the world and compiling stories that people viewed the world over. But one day I had to make a change, and that change was difficult. After being in the shelter of one company for so long, the “real world” can be tough, sometimes cruel.

Family and friends may think you mad, and many will never understand your decisions, but you’re the sojourner, the traveler of this trip of life. It’s like everyone is telling you, “It can’t done.” Or worse: “It SHOULDN’T be done!” But don’t be afraid to step out and see what’s out there. There will be failures and letdowns, disappointments and discouragements (ever been ghosted after three interviews? Still not sure those guys want to hire me or not…). Plan, study, and step out.

It’s safe where you are, but then again, you never know what could be. I do wish I had stayed put sometimes. This trip is hard. But then again, it’s a privilege. I just hope my kids don’t hate me for it…..

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