JB is struggling to try and keep his business alive. His beard is shot through with grey, his eyes are perpetually worried. The FDA has buried them in red tape and clumsy, expensive bureaucracy; the market is tough; it takes money to make money; shit happens.

It is a scary and tough time for him, and for us. We worry about paying the bills, about keeping our health insurance. We think about the future and how the reality of dreams is that they’re filled with realities. I think about how money and stability is a trap, I think about what comforts I’m willing to give up and what risks I’m willing to take and I don’t know what the answer is.

I think, well, if the worst happens . . . what if we just picked up and left? What if instead of JB looking for something else with the right salary, what if we just sold our house and moved to Oregon where we have always talked about living? What if what we really want is a slower-paced life in a rural setting and we’ll never get there if we stay on the treadmill where we are now? What if that’s where we want to raise our kids and it used to seem like we had forever to think about it but my god, our kids are growing so fast and soon enough not making a change is a choice in and of itself? What if we gambled it all on the hope that everything would work out? What if we just broke right the fuck out of the trap?

But, of course, what if it didn’t work out? What if we couldn’t find jobs, what if we ran out of money, what if we lost coverage for my stupid asshole $2500/month medication, what if we didn’t have a house? What if the trap isn’t a trap at all, what if it’s the whole point?

I know we already have the most important things we need. But as for everything else—what’s best for them, what’s best for all of us—I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.



99 Responses to “Pathways”

  1. Katie in Texas on June 4th, 2010 6:34 am

    I feel your pain! We went a year and a half without my husband receiving a paycheck. We blew through our life savings, then income tax return, then started hearing from all the bill collectors.

    We didn’t have the option to pick up so we didn’t have as many decisions to make. Only whether to close the doors or try to make it work.

    We are still hanging on by our teeth, but only down to one bill collector calling. There is light at the end of the tunnel (which could be an oncoming train)!!

    Every situation is different so I have no good advice for you! Except for HANG IN THERE! Whatever you decide, it’s got to turn around sometime, one way or another.

    I’ll be praying for you and sympathizing with you in the mean time!

  2. Blabbermouse on June 4th, 2010 6:43 am

    Clearly state your intention and the universe will come through. I have trouble with the whole “clearly stating my intentions” part, but it sounds like you have a clear vision of what your life could be. You are so bright and talented and resourceful, not to mention an incredibly hard worker with astounding follow through, I have no doubt that when you leap, a net will appear.

    Easy for me to say, of course. (It’s SO HARD. And I can so relate to the “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.”) But I’m totally cheering for you.

  3. Shanna on June 4th, 2010 6:52 am

    I wanted to respond to this last night when I first read it but didn’t want to be another “go for it!” cheerleader. But the more I think about it the more I felt like I wanted to shout it from the roof tops; GO FOR IT! Move! Get off that treadmill! It’s funny how afraid we’ve become of CHANGE. Sometimes the best way to put the puzzle together is just to simply dump out the entire box and start from scratch. Sometimes taking the risk to start in the middle and work your way out is BETTER than completing the edge and filling in the middle.

  4. nooneofconsequence on June 4th, 2010 6:56 am

    Why not look for jobs in Oregon while you’re still in Washington? Send resumes, set up several interviews for a short trip when you’re there scouting locations.

    At least you’ll find out if anything is available in your work fields.

  5. Jessamyn on June 4th, 2010 7:07 am

    Oh, Linda, yes. We are in a similar situation (except that Fort Wayne IN is not my dream place to live the way Oregon is yours), except that the decision was made much easier for us by me being laid off and unable to find a job for 15 months, and by Geoff actually FINDING a job somewhere else. I worry about what it will be like, leaving Chicago for a much smaller place, and I know I am going to miss it. I have cried about it, even though I feel silly about that. But I also feel like so much of what makes up our lives – at least now, while our children are young – is the house we live in, the time we spend commuting, whether we have a yard, how much we have to pay for those things. I also know that Geoff and I are both optimists, and tend toward being happy and content if we have a chance. So I think we’re going to be ok. And also, we don’t have that HUGE issue of a prescription medication – we are very, very lucky to be able to have gone for the past 14 months without any health insurance for me or Geoff and to have had no awful repercussions or difficult decisions to make during that time. I will be thinking about you. I wish these things were easier.

  6. JennyM on June 4th, 2010 7:11 am

    I hear you, loud and clear. Except, without the kids, but otherwise all of it, exactly. I don’t know either. Maybe there’s some small comfort in not being the only one who runs around with “I don’t know” in a constant mental loop, but it still doesn’t point to any answers. Every time I feel like I’m 100% on board with “THAT’S IT, WE’RE DONE HERE” that tiny niggling fear turns into the iceberg that sank the Titanic of my intentions….

  7. Shawna on June 4th, 2010 7:12 am

    Man, this is a tough situation. The medication is a huge deal – even in Canada which has a good health-care system meds aren’t covered. If it weren’t for that I might be in the “go for it” camp but, well, yikes.

    Can you look for jobs in Oregon – or at least find another income stream – before you commit to moving?

    I sympathize but don’t have any answers. Shark Tank?

  8. Rosie on June 4th, 2010 7:15 am

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Every day I think about this. I have family in Seattle and I can not imagine how you deal with that traffic on a daily basis – it drives me mad for the 7-10 days a year I am there. I say offer it up for now – the answer will come (right?).

  9. Judy on June 4th, 2010 7:34 am

    Go with your heart. It will either work or not, but you will always regret things you didn’t do more than you regret the things you did.

    In 1992 I quit a good job in Kansas City and, in a 1964 Chevy Nova covered with Grateful Dead stickers, pulling a U-haul trailer, and with two cats in the back seat, moved to Florida. My daughter lived in FL and was going to make me a grandma, and I wanted to be around while the kid grew up. It worked out fine because I’d sent my daughter money to rent me an apartment, and I had enough to go buy furniture (heavy on the futons and low, golden oak stuff, we were looking for “tropical” here), and after taking a week or two off to acclimate, had no problems finding temp work, which within a month became perm work. No regrets.

    In 2004 I decided to move to Oregon. I had a son and daughter out there, I’d visited and it is the most beautiful country in the world, and I was tired of Florida. So again I quit a good job, only this time I flew out with two huge suitcases and a few boxes of beloved books, my computer, and the family pictures following me by UPS. Again, I had enough money to rent and apartment and buy furniture and I had dreams of living and working downtown in Portland (the greatest city I have ever been in) and getting up and looking out at the sunset turning Mt. Hood orange. Except I could not find a job. 35 years of experience in law firms, good skills, and rave references, and nobody would hire me. “Not enough Oregon experience” – even on the jobs which dealt strictly with federal court matters. Nobody said “too old”. Nobody said “outsider”. But they got their point across. After a year of interviewing and working some temp jobs, I took early retirement out of a desperate need to have a steady income. And I spent the next year living on less than $900 a month, in a one-room apartment where one neighbor was a meth dealer and on the other side there was a totally insane woman who threw dishes at you if you walked to the dumpster. Then my old boss said “come home” and I came back to Florida. So that didn’t work out. But I have no regrets, because I did something I wanted to do. I got to know a great city, I saw some beautiful scenery and actually saw herds of wild elk, and played in snow on top of mountains, and I have some really great memories that I enjoy taking out and savoring, even as the bad memories fade away.

    Whatever you do, you will not starve. The kids will bounce onto their feet no matter what happens. Just follow your dream. That’s what living is about.

  10. maggie on June 4th, 2010 7:42 am

    Last year my husband’s company was on the brink of ruin too, but they are doing better now. Should we stay or should we go? I feel your pain. Unfortunately, our home is under water (financially, not literally) and my oldest is going into the 4th grade. I think we have finally decided that staying is the best (and perhaps only) choice for us. Good luck to you as you figure it all out.

  11. Tina B. on June 4th, 2010 7:55 am

    I am usually a lurker here but I just had to post on this when I read it this morning…it struck so close to home it made me cry…both my husband and I are laid off…if you are familiar with DHL in Ohio we were part of that whole deal…we have currently not found a job…we are using our retirement funds to get by which sucks but its life…I can honestly say that this whole ordeal has brought my husband, my daughter and I close together…I know there are times I would love to just pack up and move somewhere else but then I am a big chicken…follow your heart and God and the right decision will follow…good luck and thank you so much for this post…it makes me realize I am not the only one with apprehension about everything…keep your chin up!!!!! (((((HUGS)))))

  12. Faith on June 4th, 2010 8:30 am

    I don’t have advice.. I can only say that I’m thinking of you, and I hope the clouds of stress dissipate soon. I just wish I could share my drug plan with you!

  13. MRW on June 4th, 2010 8:44 am

    This post is so timely for me. My husband got laid off a couple of months ago and while we are doing ok while he is getting unemployment, that’s going to end at some point and so far he has had exactly zero prospects despite networking, job searching blah blah blah. I try not to freak out worrying about what might happen, but often am not successful. We contemplated just chucking it and moving out of Oregon for a better employment situation, but our families are here, we love it here, I already moved across the country to live here, and there is no guaranty that we’d do better elsewhere. This rat race is a piece of shit sometimes.

  14. Brooke on June 4th, 2010 8:56 am

    Delurking to say, I don’t have any advice at all, but that we are in a similar position, only with fewer options. I have a job that pays almost all our bills, plus insurance and all that. My husband has been out of work for over a year. Our savings will last maybe another year before we have to ask for help. My Mom has said she’ll give it, but the conditions on her help will cause enormous, maybe fatal, stress to my marriage. I too would like to pack up and move to San Francisco where I’m from, but custody arrangements with our exes preclude that. We’re kind of stuck on the treadmill for now.

    So I feel ya, sister. No matter what decision you make, though, the decision you made long ago to love your husband and boys will mean everything, all the time, even when other things are in short supply. Best wishes.

  15. sarah on June 4th, 2010 8:59 am

    Could NOT have been more perfectly timed for what I’m struggling with. Our dream house just came up at an insane good price but it’s really only a good price for US if we can sell our current home. I know I don’t want to raise my kids where we’re at but what if taking that leap of faith/bravery/stupidity means having to carry two mortgages and what if we can’t do it and end up losing both??
    Thank you for always having the words.

  16. Deanna on June 4th, 2010 9:11 am

    Yep- .
    8 yrs ago hubby got laid off (after 14 yrs w/ major company) and took a much smaller paying gig. The next year I got laid off (after 13 yrs, same big company amd 6 months preggers w/ kiddo #2). But it was the kick in the pants I needed to decide to be a sahm. Tough call and we’re still not back moneywise where we were, we no longer have any savings at all and we are now in debt up to our eyeballs but . . .
    we are much happier. Maybe because we are older and wiser or because of the kids. I dunno. But I know we are both way less stressed (mostly- money is still a concern at times).

  17. ElizabethZ on June 4th, 2010 9:18 am

    We are in the process of planning a similar move as well. My husband hasn’t worked in almost a year, except for odd jobs – the job market applicant to job ratio is 13! to 1! UGH. Moving from St. Louis (cuz man, this place has turned into a TOILET the last 5 or so years, crime is skyrocketing, politics are grossly corrupt and we just don’t want this life) – to one of the outlying areas of Greensboro, NC where all my hubby’s family is. We too want to give our 3 boys that slower, simpler, lots of room to roam life and we will still be 30-45 mins from Greensboro/Charlotte/Raleigh-Durham which has all the shopping/medical facilities/activities/job opps, etc. we could possibly need.

    I have lived in St. Louis all my life so this is huge for me, but I know in my heart I am ready for a change and it is going to take us a few years to get things fully in order to go (we have a rehab property still in the works of being fixed up and our house needs some stuff too before we can sell both and go) but we are hoping to get there by the time the twins are going to start 1st grade, 2nd at the latest, so 3 years MAX and at that young age, kids still make friends pretty easy so we’re not worried about that.

    So – enough about me – just wanting to let you know there is yet another woman out here, working on making that jump, big life changes, getting off the treadmill, sort of, we’ll still have to work but can hopefully make less and it won’t matter. I know you guys will make the right decision – whatever that may be – just follow your heart and your gut and it’s hard to go wrong.

  18. Melissa on June 4th, 2010 9:21 am

    I spend so much time thinking that I’m not the person I should be at this point in my life – I’m not where I should be, doing what I should be… – and worrying that I’ve waited too long to make any significant changes. I have no advice, but understand what you’re feeling.

    Thinking of you…

  19. Mandy on June 4th, 2010 9:47 am

    Looking to do a big move at some point too, mostly for quality of life for the kiddo. Scared to death of not being able to sell our house, and that is truly the one thing holding us back from seriously making steps to Big Change. We’re staying afloat where we are, but geeze, if feels like we’ve done everything we were “supposed to do” to get to the American Dream, and staying afloat doesn’t cut it. It is especially scary when there is little/no financial safety net – we have absolutely no family who can help with funds if any are needed – so sometimes we feel pretty alone in our thought process. Sending thanks for this post, and good wishes for coming to decisions (for all of us!).

  20. Dawn on June 4th, 2010 10:13 am

    Wow, how timely this post is! I have been reading you for years and I hardly ever comment but I have to here. My husband, my two children and I live in the S.F. Bay Area and have for our entire lives. My husband got laid off about 2 months ago (he worked for the Toyota plant, you might have heard about the whole plant closing thing). We both spent the whole year leading up to the plant closing in a panic, we had just had a second child and we have a huge house payment that my salary barely covers and AHH. Well fast forward to now, in two weeks my husband is moving to Georgia where he has been offered a great job with a relocation package and a salary that means I don’t have to work. The kids and I will join him in August and we are moving to a town with a great college which means I get to go back to school! I literally just walked out of meeting with my boss to quit the job I have been at for 12 years when I read this post. Change is scary but it is good and sometimes you just have to go for it. Good luck to you guys, I wish you both the courage and strength to make the choices you want and that the results are the best for your family as a whole.

  21. Zephyr on June 4th, 2010 10:21 am

    I think it’s easier to regret not taking a chance than take one and making a change. If you’re in a rut, the best way to get out of it is to change the things you have control over. Not that I have any experience with things like that… none at all.

  22. telegirl on June 4th, 2010 10:25 am

    First off, I’m going to be sooooo pissed if you move to Bend when we just moved away.

    Second, shit happens and believe it or not, you find a way to make things work. Take it from someone who is looking from the other side of that awful tunnel. We ended up walking away from our home. And, we moved to a completely new city and are trying to start over. In the darkest times, I just couldn’t fathom how it could possibly work out. But it is. Slowly, things are getting better.

    I’m not saying be ridiculous and move without planning but just realize that things somehow find a way of ironing themselves out. And, there’s the Oregon Health Plan if you don’t have options for other insurance. Not exactly sure how/if that would help but it’s an option to look into.

    Here’s to better times, because surely they are *right* around the corner. :o)

  23. Andrea on June 4th, 2010 10:44 am

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. Its a crummy situation but its compelled me to share my story.

    I’m 25 and live in Raleigh, NC. When I was in 4th grade, my dad got a job at Weyerhauser and we moved from a suburb in Michigan to Enumclaw, WA where we fell into raising sheep replacement breeding stock. It was a fantastic experience growing up on a farm, having that much responsibility at such a young age and it has made me who I am now. It saddens me to think that I will probably never be able to provide that experience to my kids but I have always let my parents know that their brave decision to move out west and FARM of all things was, in the end, a great move.

    I know you’ll figure it out. But don’t be afraid to take the risks :-)

  24. shygirl on June 4th, 2010 10:55 am

    Wow. These words could have been mine 5 years ago. My partner and I picked up and left Seattle back then and moved to a much more rural area, under similar circumstances, only I was the one who was the entrepreneur and he was the one giving up a solid job. We don’t have kids yet, but we do have a similar health insurance/expensive medication issue, and I was similarly wracked with doubt.

    Turned out that the lower cost of living once we left Seattle was what actually made it possible to hang in there long enough for my business to ramp up and get stable, and now I’m doing a pretty decent job as the breadwinner, health insurance and all.

    The best advice I can offer is to think about the pros as much as the cons for each option– not just for now, but for the future– because it’s dangerously easy to get bogged down and intimidated by the cons, but in the end, the pros are what’s going to really motivate you and keep you moving forward. Can you do your nutrition and sports therapy studies in OR, for example?

    I know this may not be terribly useful since it’s just my personal experience, but I thought it might be nice for your to hear from someone who did take the “pick up and go” risk, and had it work out well :)

  25. Jillian on June 4th, 2010 11:31 am

    As my mother always says about whatever ridiculous and improbable life scheme I come up with that week… “Stupider people than you have figured this out just fine.”

    You will never starve. You will never be homeless. You will never be alone. It will always work out. It always has.

  26. Lisa on June 4th, 2010 12:05 pm

    One year ago my husband was laid off. He was the sole income earner – I am a stay at home mom to our two small children. 6 months ago we made the very big, stressful decision to leave California (and our upside-down mortgage)and moved to the East Coast. We traded an upside-down mortgage for a smaller, cheaper home and took a chance that he would find work. He finally did and we are settling in. The decision making process was grueling, but we just kept telling ourselves that SOMETHING would work out and took the leap. It did and we are so glad we decided to make the move. I think that the universe rewards a certain amount of risk taking in life with good things. Good luck to you and JB and your adorable boys!

  27. Nicole on June 4th, 2010 3:04 pm

    Wow – I guess you couldn’t have hand-picked your audience more appropriately! It is amazing how many of us are at a similar crossroads. My husband Mike was laid off from his job when I was 8 months pregnant. Riley just turned 2 last week and Mike (a Chef) has still not been able to find full time work that would justify the huge childcare expense. For 40 hours a week I sit completely uninspired in front of a computer screen wishing I could be home with my kid. We too have wanted to move to Oregon for several years but I work in the investment business and even in the “big” city of Portland, there are very few firms in my industry. I have a good job – And by “good” I mean I have some job security and comprehensive health insurance. I also make a decent wage – And by “decent” I mean I make enough to cover 90% of our monthly expenses. Thankfully we have savings to cover the other 10% – Savings that has been steadily leaking away. I am truly grateful for all that we have but I want our lives to be different.

    So what I really want to do is quit my good job and sell my house (at a loss of course) and rent a small house in the Oregon countryside. We would raise chickens and goats and have a milk cow and I would write and take pictures and spend as much time as possible with Riley… while he still enjoys having me around. Mike would then have the freedom to pursue his passion without the wage prerequisites. Time is running out and I know, to change our future, we will need to do something drastic… something that in this economic climate is totally financially irresponsible. So I’m terrified and I sometimes secretly wish the decision was made for me. And then I feel horribly guilty because so many families are struggling with no income and no job prospects. So basically I vacillate from feeling like an ungrateful asshole to a big fat coward. So yeah, it’s tough. But as far as I know we only have this one life. And I have a very low tolerance for regrets…

  28. Lauren on June 4th, 2010 3:12 pm

    Aww, man…I can relate so much to what you are going through, as we did this four years ago. I was working in a very stressful job that paid crazy money, and my husband was working for a total asshole and hated his job. We had our daughter and tried to juggle the insane schedules for 6 months and decided to pull the plug and move to Portland, where our family is.

    It was terrifying. And really hard for the first two months. But we are SO happy now, settled and living what we feel like is a real life and taking care of our daughter. Do I miss the extra 60 grand a year? Hell yes. But I still feel like we did the right thing.

    Good luck and hang in there!!

  29. HB on June 4th, 2010 4:17 pm

    Dude – welcome to the club.

    Nobody gets everything they want in life – figure out what it is that you want that is most important and work on that.

  30. Katie on June 4th, 2010 6:07 pm


    I understand this completely. My husband and I are totally conflicted on where to live/when to decide/what are we doing/where is this headed? And you put it beautifully sayin

    “What if that’s where we want to raise our kids and it used to seem like we had forever to think about it but my god, our kids are growing so fast and soon enough not making a change is a choice in and of itself?”

    That shit terrifies me. I don’t know either. I just don’t know.

  31. Amanda on June 4th, 2010 6:13 pm

    You’ll know and you’ll either leap or dig in, whichever you do will be right. It will be your life and you will make it beautiful.

  32. Mimi on June 4th, 2010 8:26 pm

    Well, I’m from Southern Oregon and honey! we would be glad to have you. =)

  33. willikat on June 4th, 2010 8:47 pm

    Dude, I so know what you’re going through. Two years ago I was laid off and freelanced to stay afloat while my husband (then boyfriend/fiance) was covering the lion’s share of bills. Then I got a good job, but that I wasn’t professionally fulfilled with. Finally, I found the job I want to do. In the meantime, he started an Etsy shop that has taken off. We’re at fever pitch over here trying to tend to all the irons in the fire, but on the verge of whether he leaves his stable, full time thing to fully go into the Etsy shop. Hang in there!!! You’re working the American dream, yo. JB’s thing will catch fire. It has to. I am pulling for the Sundries!!!

    And I agree, if you jump into Oregon…a net will appear. It always does. And if it doesn’t appear when you’d like it to…well, then, at least you gave it a go. More than most of us will ever do.

    This rough spot shall pass.

  34. JJ on June 4th, 2010 9:07 pm

    Sorry things are rough, but that is such a lovely photo of your boys! They will make everything worth it, right? And by that I mean they will become successful doctors and pay for your retirement and big houses. That’s why we have them, right??!!
    Hope things look up for you soon…

  35. Rachel on June 4th, 2010 9:35 pm

    My wife and I were both laid off in the same year. I got the world’s shittiest job making less than I had as a teenager and she went back to school. You would be surprised at how little income you can live on. Cable, cell phones, new clothes, new books, new electronics…totally unnecessary. Prescription drug assistance, Goodwill, second hand toys, growing some of your own food… nothing wrong with any of it. If you don’t try you will never know. My grandparents always say it’s the stuff you don’t do that you regret later. I say live without regret.

  36. Fiona on June 4th, 2010 11:26 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I’ve been really enjoying your blog – I have a two and a half year old who is not all that different to Dylan (especially with the sleeping) so have been empathising from a distance. This one I can contribute to, though as we are Aussies maybe there are some American subtleties I’m missing. Like the health care thing.

    We lived in Canberra since we finished uni in 2001, and had talked for a long time about maybe moving to Brisbane (closer to my parents, weather). We were happy in Canberra so we didn’t do anything more than talk about it, Canberra was our comfort zone. We had Michael in late 2007, and the thought of moving just got too hard for a while. Kids are an anchor. But we started saving after I went back to work anyway (we survived on one income while I was on maternity leave so it wasn’t hard to put some away once I went back), and over time had a reasonable “moving to Brisbane” fund. This was vital.

    Late last year I started looking at jobs in Brisbane for my husband and me, we applied for a few, had phone interviews and luckily both got a job.

    We had talked about what happened if just one of us got a job – if it was him, we’d go (he earns more than me), I’d keep looking and we’d live off our savings for a little while until something came up (I would have broadened my job search parameters).

    Once we knew we had jobs, we took a few days off work in January and did a scouting mission for somewhere to live (renting at first as we didn’t know the city well enough to buy right off). If I had my time again I’d allow two weeks for this as we were extremely lucky to find somewhere we liked in five days. Best to do this after you know where you’ll be working so you can factor commute times into your suburb selection.

    Back to Canberra, give notice at work, get the house maintained to rent out (ate into our savings but it needed doing and the house was a safety net in case we decided the move wasn’t working for us and we wanted to come back).

    The moving part is not easy (especially with a two year old), but the pain is over in a few weeks. We moved in mid February and started work in March. I couldn’t be happier – living up here is a joy, especially in winter. Moving was the best thing for us, and it could be for you too.

    What worked for us was:
    1. Save some money as a safety net
    2. Apply for jobs until you get one
    3. Scouting trip for househunting and child care
    4. Get house in shape for rental, line up agent, throw unnecessary stuff out and pack up
    5. Move, allow a few weeks for furniture to arrive, unpacking, general settling in
    6. Start work and adapt to new life.

    Don’t assume it will get too hard once they get a bit older, either. My aunt and uncle (both with low paying jobs) lived in Western Sydney (not a great area), had three kids (with 4 years between each one so the oldest was at least 8) in a rented two bedroom house with no prospect of ever being able to afford to buy a house in Sydney.

    They packed up and moved to the Sunshine Coast, which is just north of Brisbane. They had no house, no jobs, just packed up in the summer holidays and moved. They started off living in a caravan park while they sorted out jobs and somewhere to live.

    They took the first jobs they could find (living in a caravan park with three kids in the height of summer up there is not the most comfortable) but they also made a go of it, found somewhere to live and have been happy there for years now.

    Maybe they were lucky. I prefer to get everything sorted out before I do something major like move states, but even with not much of a plan you can make it work.

    Believe it will all turn out OK and do what you have to do to make it all turn out OK. Kids are ridiculously adaptable, especially while they are young. Grownups are pretty adaptable too.

    This might sound crazy-optimistic – Australia doesn’t have huge economy problems or medical insurance problems to deal with. If those are insurmountable, could Australia be a solution?

  37. Shan on June 5th, 2010 5:29 am

    Yup. I know. We are going through a similar thing with some of the same decisions (but no kids to consider and we live in Canada, so the healthcare thing is not as important). But still. The questions. The options. The decisions. It’s all so…..overwhelming.

    Some of the feedback we’ve gotten from family and friends has not been helpful, to say the least. But, you do what you’ve gotta do. There is no better time in our lives to make the change than right fucking now. So………what are we waiting for????
    Follow your gut instinct and your heart…you can’t go wrong.

  38. Ashley on June 5th, 2010 6:57 am

    Take a leap. Get off the treadmill. Make it work. If it’s what you want, go for it.

    A little faith goes farther than finances in my opinion.

    To quote one of my wonderful bumpkin neighbours: “back in my day, you just had kids, then you made things work. It worked, one way or another. You kids have it backwards these days.”

  39. zdoodlebub on June 5th, 2010 12:16 pm


    I didn’t read all the comments, so I don’t if anyone shared this already. And you are likely familiar with this blogger. But the “about us” page of her new blog is a good peek into their journey of a dramatic lifestyle change. Thought it might help…if in no other way than, OK that looks like that and maybe ours would look like THIS…

  40. Jenny (Bring A. Torch) on June 5th, 2010 2:57 pm

    Good luck. I think you have both the vision to figure out just what your dream is, and the gumption to do whatever it takes to get there.

  41. sooboo on June 5th, 2010 5:01 pm

    As someone who is trying to make a living as an artist for the last 5 years, I know this dreams vs. reality stuff can be a major pain in the ass. It’s somewhat comforting to know there’s no map or guidebook for this stuff and that no one else has one either. Sometimes you gotta just go with your gut and as my 4th grade teacher used to say, hope for the best, be prepared for the worst and take what comes with a smile.

  42. Kim on June 5th, 2010 5:47 pm

    Nothing to add that is profound…..just wanted to say hugs to both you and JB during this time. Peace

  43. kristylynne on June 5th, 2010 7:19 pm

    We did it. Stepped off the treadmill and started my own business freelance writing 10 years ago, then moved to a small town about five years later. We love it here and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but my hubby lost his job for six months and is now working again, finally, but at 100% travel. Which blows, since we have two small kids. And my work has slowed down considerably. Either of us finding work in our town or within a reasonable commute has been impossible, so the hubby’s travel job is the best we can do for now.

    So. All I can say is, figure out where you want to be and one of you get a job there FIRST. That person may need to move there first while the other stays behind with the kids and sells the house, etc. The separation would suck, but at least you wouldn’t have as many “what ifs” to worry about.

  44. Anna A on June 7th, 2010 12:47 pm

    I’m 27, married, kidless (for now) and in two months, my husband and I will be relocating to Germany for 2+ years. We are not fluent in German, he’s the only one with a job/permits lined up and we own a house in the Seattle area. But we figured, why the hell not? Worst case? We move, hate it and have to work hard finding jobs back in Seattle. Best case? We miss our families like crazy but love it. I’m semi-terrified but excited we’re doing something so crazy/different.

    So good luck figuring your plans out. I have no advice but the fact that you’re considering a move is a pretty awesome start.

    (And I grew up in the country/lived near a town of 3000. In small towns, people care more and the pace is more relaxed than in the city. I would raise kids there in an instant.)

  45. Rachael on June 8th, 2010 2:35 pm

    Between this post and the one over at The Stir about sick kids, I am convinced we are leading parallel lives. Sometimes I think it would be much easier to bag it all and just live in a yurt somewhere.

  46. Heather on June 9th, 2010 3:18 pm

    Oh lord, Linda. If you can pull it off and it feels good in your gut, do it. I don’t think you will regret it.
    But, like you said, you never know. That is the “trap”. The not knowing.

  47. Nancy on June 13th, 2010 7:28 pm

    I hardly ever comment but I thought I’d share the benefit of my experience. In February of this year, my husband, my almost-two-year-old and my seven months pregnant self up and moved from the Bronx to farm country in Western Massachusetts. My husband had been trying to find a job in this area for a year+. When one finally came up, we took a big leap, despite having not sold our apartment. So, now we’re paying our mortgage, paying rent on our place here, and living on a drastically reduced salary (a 40K salary cut). It’s scary as hell because sometimes, we don’t know if the bills will get paid this month or next. Despite all the financial stress, we deeply, deeply believe we made the right choice, the best choice and we know that someday, it’ll all get easier. Despite being broke as hell, our quality of life has shot through the roof.
    I say, take the leap.

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