Tucson by way of Texas, California and South Dakota
At the time I was typing this, there was more than an inch of ice blanketing the entire Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Trees, cars, flowers, fixtures, parking lots and streets were "entombed in ice" as our local weather cutie Pete Delkus warned.
We were basically iced in for a weekend and most of the following week, which gave me time to update my blog at least!
So I'm moving to Tucson in March -- earlier if I can swing it but March is the most sane choice in move date (UPDATE: Feb. 1. Apparently insane was the preferred option!) I know what you are thinking if you know me OR if you have read my words before, "I thought you were going to move to California?" Well, things change and we change along with them. Actually, after living up in South Dakota for almost a year, I was considering moving back to SD after the holidays. Or at least after it warmed up again. But that wasn't the original plan, which was first decided after I fell in love with Northern California in earnest a few years ago.
There was so much beauty and for the first time, I felt really alive in a location that seemed to know my soul. However there were some realities I faced while planning what I was going to do over the course of those two years since the above photo was taken. I was going to have to decide to sell or rent out my house. I was going to have to sacrifice by living with my folks to save cash once I made that decision. And most of all, I had to ultimately realize that my expenses were going to be MUCH different. So I set out a plan for all of it after a second trip to California in 2012. And wow. How could I not?
Once I was sure, everything seemed to fall into place. I found renters, sold 75% of my stuff, put the rest in storage and moved in with my parents. I was there a month before I said, "You know? California will be there. What's the rush?" The thing is, I've always wanted to spend more time working in person at the company I work for which is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I finally had a moment where this could be realized and I took the opportunity -- and in the middle of winter. You can see all the posts of my time there below this one but know that it was an unbeatable experience I'm happy to have had.
I came back to Texas toward the end of September 2013 -- a week before a record-breaking blizzard hit much of the area of South Dakota I was living. Those kind of weather conditions kind of intimidate me, I must admit. So I began taking all into consideration. As I began regrouping, making lists, doing research again on places to live -- I wasn't sold that California was the right fit at this point in my life. I want to do a lot of other things that will require cash-flow. And I'm not big on having roommates nor was I as familiar enough with the areas of NorCal that seemed more affordable and that I hadn't visited over those two years of exploration. The weather and larger expense of natural foods for my normal diet were my determent for South Dakota -- Rapid City, to be exact, which is 90 miles away from my full time job's headquarters. South Dakota really taught me that I wanted to live in other parts of this country than the over 30 years I spent in the Dallas area.
During my time figuring things out here in Texas, more than one friend or incident started drawing me to Arizona. Now, I'm not big on the general politics of the state, but I heard Tucson was not only beautiful and artsy -- it was a more laid back town. Yes, I was curious and yes, I visited. And wow….yet again.
I didn't realize how much I was going to love Tucson. Everywhere you go, you see the mountains. They surround the city, which doesn't feel like a big city at all. Each part of Tucson felt like its own small town. There was art, movement, beauty, bright sunny skies and what I crave so much -- scenery. Big plus? More affordable. Sure it's going to be super hot in summer but perfection isn't what life is about. While I was visiting Tucson, I joined the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It saved me money as I knew I was going to visit it quite a bit after the first day I was there.
Tucson is only a 14-hour drive from Dallas/Ft. Worth which means it's less than 24 hours from family and friends. Sure that's a long jaunt, considering most of the drive is just getting out of Texas. But I did it in a day without pulling over to spend the night anywhere. It's just about as far to drive to South Dakota as it was to drive there from Texas. And it's only about six hours away from Southern California, a place I haven't visited much of at all. Flights to the Bay Area aren't a ton and I do enjoy a road trip anyway. I weighted in all this along with the aesthetics and cost. So I'm taking the plunge as well as considering enrolling in grad school at the University of Arizona -- also located in Tucson.
There you have it: Tucson by way of Texas, California and South Dakota. There is no rulebook to life and I want to see all I can. I've put my beloved house on the market and leasing it out again while it is listed for the price I want, instead of the price I've been told over and over I will get for it. I'm throwing caution to the wind and holding on to a little faith.
Let's see if I can make it to February before my plans may change again! I do love a good adventure.