Life is movement. To be alive means to move.
Whether we realize it or not, all of us are either moving away from something we wish to avoid, or we’re moving toward something we really want. And quite often, we are doing both at the same time.
Some three weeks ago, I left the lovely town of Easton in Pennsylvania.
I had lived there for almost twenty years and have grown many, many roots. I knew it was going to hurt to drag those roots out of the soil and transplant them to a new location, but I’ve done it before and I knew I could do it again.
So why did I leave, and where did I go?
THE IMPACT OF COVID
After having survived COVID, my wife’s father, Richard, sadly and unexpectedly found himself without a home to come back to. So, we brought him from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to our little corner of the world and he’s been living with us since February of this year.
Our Easton house is spacious but very vertical, with many stairs to climb which is fine when you’re young, but not when you’re 90-years-old and have a very bad knee. We knew it wasn’t going to work, and we had to find a place that would be on one level.
At the same time, the pandemic made it necessary for my wife Pam to stop teaching her flute and piano students in person, and within days her entire music studio was one hundred percent online. [bold blue text is always a hyperlink] Making that move turned out to be a stroke of luck, because she gained many new students who do not live in or around our area.
As you know, I am a voice over artist, and I exclusively work online using a home studio. With both of our jobs no longer dependent on a physical location, we were free to move anywhere with a strong internet connection.
So, we were moving away from a home that was impractical… but to be honest, that’s not the whole story.
In the last few years our neighborhood changed quite a bit. People weren’t as connected and considerate anymore, and the noise pollution had increased by many decibels.
We crave and need quietude (personally and professionally), but instead we were treated to pumped up stereo systems coming from vibrating cars that made our windows rattle and our hearts race at any time of the day or night. My basement studio was pretty soundproof, but those low vibrations are hardest to avoid.
We had to deal with roaring motorcycles speeding dangerously through our street, and loud lawn equipment that never seemed to stop. And when it did, the sound of barking dogs filled the air.
You may say: “That’s all part of life in a city. People are free to do whatever they want. If you don’t like it, leave it.”
Well, we had enough, and we were leaving it!
If you know me a little, you know I love Easton, particularly the Farmers’ Market of which I was so happy to be one of the regular announcers. I also loved being a part of a group of historical reenactors (the Bachmann Players), bringing Easton’s rich history back to life. But my city was changing, and not only for the better.
Beautiful trees were removed to make way for ugly parking garages, and instead of becoming more safe and walkable, this gentrifying town was doing everything it could to make itself more attractive to stinking cars.
The surrounding farmland is now home to huge, concrete warehouses that seem to multiply like weeds, and truck traffic is out of control. Roads that were never designed for this many heavy vehicles, are even more congested. The air quality which already was bad, will decline further.
With that in mind, my wife and I started looking for a quiet, clean, and more rural environment where we could indulge in our love for nature and a more minimalist lifestyle. Both of us are avid hikers, we like to bike and ski, and we crave solitude. We wanted to live in an area where people don’t drive like crazy and act as if the world is their trash can.
That area turned out to be a kingdom. The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Over the past six months we’ve been visiting the green mountain state regularly to look at houses that would meet our many specific needs. With demand exceeding supply, crazy cash buyers, and properties that were sold way over asking price and sight unseen, this was an arduous and often stressful process. It’s an emotional process too, when you fall in love with the perfect house… only to see it go to bidders with a bigger budget.
After a long and exhaustive search, we finally found our dream home near the town of Newport, close to the Canadian border. It’s on five glorious acres surrounded by woodlands and rolling meadows, minutes away from beautiful Lake Memphremagog and the Jay Peak ski resort.
So, what’s it like to live here? Is it everything we expected and more, or did one false promise by a huge corporation threaten to derail our new life?
I’ll tell you next week.
For now, keep on moving!