Exactly one year ago today, Brian and I moved into our house in Nebraska with the best of intentions. We wanted to live a simpler life, closer to my family, with a lower cost of living. We carefully weighed the pros and cons of this big decision and decided it was worth a shot. And while it has been nice being close to family, we missed Portland—and the Pacific Northwest in general—too much. We knew it was time to go home.

In less than two weeks we will be officially moving into our new home in Portland, Oregon, which we hope (crossing fingers) will be the last time we move in a very long time. This will be the third time we’ve moved to Portland since 2012, just after Brian and I were married, and I don’t even want to say how many times I’ve moved on my own before that. At this point I’m hoping we’ve learned our lesson; Portland is our home, it’s where we belong, and (most importantly) it’s where we want to be.

Creatively speaking this move to the midwest has been challenging. Brian sums it up best in the first of a new series over on his blog. The drain hasn’t hit me too hard, not yet, but I can see the signs. I have successfully managed to write two books while living here, along with several other small projects for both my blog and online store. But to do my job I need to constantly create photographs, and as the months passed and the dust on my camera built up, I knew something needed to change. Traveling from here to do our photography trips (where we tend to bulk up our portfolios) was not as simple as we had hoped, and the photographic opportunities in this moderately-sized Nebraska town are limited. In time, my work and business would eventually suffer, and along with it I feared the spark of happiness that I always carry with me—typically regardless of my circumstances—would eventually fade away.

I would like to say it was an easy decision to move back to Portland, but it has still been tough. It has been a wonderful gift to be close to family this past year. But while you—my fellow photographer—may read this and nod your head in understanding, trying to explain to my family the need for a creative environment, a place ripe with culture, and to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes, has not always proven to be so easy. I’ve learned that being geographically close to family is not as important as that feeling of knowing that they only want what’s best for you.

I’m excited to be only a walk away from our neighborhood’s farmer’s market and a beautiful nearby park, and a short drive to the mountains, waterfalls, and ocean. I’m so happy that we can bring our dogs to their favorite dog park. But mostly I’m looking forward to dusting off my camera and carrying it with me as often as possible.

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