Of all of the places I thought I might move to, my home state of Nebraska was not on the list. As a photographer who thoroughly enjoys landscapes, and fell in love with the waterfalls and cool climate surrounding Portland, Oregon, I always expected to be as close to national parks, mountains, and the ocean as I could be. But circumstances change, and so do people, and this week Brian and I moved into a beautiful new home, smack-dab in the middle of the US, and about as far from the coast as we could put ourselves.
Those of you who know me or have followed my photography for the past several years might be aware that I tend to move around quite a bit. Since separating from the Navy ten years ago I have lived in six different homes in four different states, and during my eight+ years while serving in the Navy I averaged moving between states (and countries) every 1.5 years. Now, as a self-employed photographer, I am lucky that my job allows me mobility and the flexibility of not having to stay in any one location. It’s a blessing, but also a curse, because in many ways I fear that I will never be happy living in one place for too long. I’m hoping that this move grounds me enough to stick around for the long haul.
We chose to move to Nebraska because it’s not far from family. Fifteen-minutes, to be exact. It also has a much lower cost of living. And we chose to leave Portland for many reasons, the biggest being the cost. With my business and Brian’s full-time job we had no problem living in a beautiful home in a great location, but over time Brian became unhappy with his job and it was beginning to wear at him (and eventually at me). While we could have afforded to stay in Portland on my income alone, we would have been stretched it would have only replaced one stress for another. So together we made a leap and landed half-way across the country.
(I would encourage you to head over to Brian’s blog and read his thoughts on this move — click here to read his post.)
Overall a much lower cost of living and a life with less stress is going to be a welcome change, and we are so excited to be able to spend more time with family. But we’ll miss the beauty and quirkiness of Portland, as aesthetically it is a wonderful location to live as a landscape photographer. Nebraska will be a challenge photographically, but we expect to make up for that by traveling as often as possible.
I’ll miss my friends, the beauty of Oregon, and the benefits that a progressive city like Portland offers. However my day-to-day work will not change; in fact, I expect to have the time and freedom to expand and build my business even more. The things I photograph will likely shift to include more food and stock photography, and I also expect I will explore the small towns and landscapes surrounding the city. I’m looking forward to experiencing my home state in a way I never thought possible when I lived here nearly 20 years back.
This is a move I never thought I would make, especially after living on the West coast for so long. It’s also something I never thought I would want. I find it interesting how desires can change when you start to reassess your priorities. A productive, stress-free, and fulfilling life, both as a family and as business owners, is at the top of my list, and when that became clear was when we realized this move as a possibility.
We’re both very excited for this change, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
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