That’s how long we were away from our comfort zone, the town where our life came together during our 30s, where our business flourished, and where lifelong friendships were formed with great people.
It took us a decade to build up our life in Eureka, but in less than two, our world has been turned upside down.
As we headed back into the overcast skies of Humboldt County, I thought about all the friendships we left behind. We keep in contact with many old friends, but there’s only so much about our respective lives that email can convey. Since our departure, we’ve missed so many important events, celebrations and small town gossip. I wondered:
Would anyone care that we were back? Would our old friends really want to get together, to see us? Had our respective lives moved on so much that we wouldn’t have anything to talk about?
My fears were put to rest. Our old friends really did want to get together and see us!
We had a blast at Chris’ house, and throughout our stay in Eureka. For the first time in recent memory, we landed someplace and didn’t feel like strangers. It was like walking into Cheers. Everyone knew our name, and our history. We skipped right past the introductions, and dove into the heart of good conversation among old friends.
Humboldt County is a special place. At four hours away from the closest city, it’s a relatively tight community where residents will come together to help each other through everything from natural disasters to cancer treatment fundraisers. Most residents share a common bond; they live there because they want to, not because they have to.
But it’s not an easy life; the economy has always sucked, and there are numerous logistical challenges that make life expensive. Overall, rural living in a place like Humboldt is much harder than life in a mega-city, but it has far more advantages. The people are at the top of my list.
Ten years ago, we thought that Humboldt would be where we settled down indefinitely. But the weather finally got to me, and real estate prices have gone so high that even if we wanted to buy there now, we couldn’t. I’m glad we returned, because it confirmed what I’ve known for a while; I’ll always cherish the friends and memories we made in Eureka, but we won’t be living there again.
Many world weary travelers warned us; the road changes you. And it’s true. Our priorities have shifted away from buying a home and building another thriving business, to embracing all that life has to offer through travel. It satisfies a spiritual need that I didn’t know I had in me until now. Jim and I both agree that staying on the path we’re on is our key to happiness for the foreseeable future.
And while our chosen lifestyle might not stuff our bank accounts, it does feed our souls. And when all is said and done, isn’t that what living should really be about?