Welp, my plan to live a transient lifestyle has been moderately altered: I bought myself a cabin house in the mountains! Oh, how I wish words could describe the insane amount of happy energy that my cup is overflowing with right now.
I was explaining to a friend the other day, that although this was not part of my “plan”…I have a feeling that this new addition will make the plan, the dream…a bit better. I suspect that it will help me in my transition to live a different kind of life—the kind that helps me to live more presently and with intention. A home with a purpose.
The cabin sits at 2,200 feet in Skykomish, WA. It is nestled between towering evergreen trees and mountains beyond. It’s just a short 2-minute uphill walk from the Tye river. It is 9 miles west of Stevens Pass, just off highway 2. There are trails in every direction just outside my new front door. I will be relatively close to Leavenworth.
You guys, I can’t even begin to explain the excitement I feel, that I will soon have the privilege to call this place my home. This is a gift, and I don’t know how I managed to get so lucky to be able to do something like this. I’m mentally squeezing this opportunity like a giant hug.
Perhaps you’re wondering how the hell I came up with this. My plan after selling my home and quitting my job was to stay at my mother’s while not traveling, at least for a little while (whenever I say this, I cower a little bit). And, to give in to my wonderfully loving and generous friends who have offered me their couches and spare bedrooms. I’ve slept on many a different bed this past month, and even though I miss having my own place at times, I feel like I’ve actually adjusted pretty damn well to this transient existence of mine. Besides, how lucky am I to be able to see the people I love and their smiley faces, so much more than I was able to in my old life? The discomfort I sometimes feel with not having my own place wasn’t exactly enough to prompt me to be buy another house, all over again. I told myself I wasn’t going to do this for a while. I didn’t want to invest in suburbia again, or to tie myself down to a mortgage and the good ol’ rat race.
I didn’t seek out this cabin, it found me. It came knocking on my door, and it wouldn’t go away. I think that sometimes, we are so hard set on making very specific plans, that we are too noisy in our own heads to see the little glimmers of light that come our way, the kind that beg for our attention and have big things to offer. It took me a little while to identify this as such. Timing is a funny thing.
Anyway, how it presented itself: I’m on a very old real estate mailing list that gets delivered to an equally old mailbox, one that I hardly ever check. I was plugging into an email app on my computer, and technology (being a smartass) opened that one up for me for the first time in months. I sifted through junk mail and aimlessly looked at some real estate listings. My stomach got instantly queasy looking at the ridiculously expensive boxes that are for sale in the Seattle area. I shook my head, and patted myself on the back for selling mine.
But then, this cabin happened.
I don’t know how Redfin knew that I liked cabins, but I do. I salivated over it. I never seriously considered buying a cabin. Ever. It never seemed like a “realistic” thing to do.
But, what is realistic, anyway? I always loved and secretly dreamed of cabins for as long as I can remember. One of my fondest memories from my childhood was going on school field trips to Whidbey Island, where my classmates and I stayed in old cabins and slept in bunk beds for a few days. I used to watch the old Friday the 13th movies, over and over and over again. Not because I liked scary movies…but because I was obsessed with seeing the cabins. Now, as an adult, I like horror movies. Go figure.
I proceeded to go down a real estate rabbit hole for about a week. I wasn’t even aware of my reasoning for doing so, I just was curious what other cabins were out there. Just for fun. I browsed through my favorite mountainous places in the northwest.
But I kept coming back to this one. The one in Skykomish. It was a REAL cabin: wood panels, wood stove, septic pooper, river water, generator and batteries…all of it. Off. The. Grid.
I remember the distinct moment when the light bulb sparked. I was sitting on my couch in my old house, just days before I moved out, when all of the pieces started to come together. It’s like the subconscious reasoning behind why this thing kept nagging at me finally started to reach the surface. I COULD ACTUALLY DO THIS?! I could take the earnings from my old old cul-de-sac life, and trade it in for an investment that supported my dream. I was in this moment, about to walk away from a home that no longer had a purpose for me. And suddenly I had an opportunity, clear as day, where I could walk into something that functions with a very intimate purpose.
John (the 78-year-old man who owns and built the cabin 34 years ago) was not modest in humbling me with what it would take to operate this thing. In fact, when I first spoke to him on the phone, he did everything he could to gently dissuade me from wanting to live there. I won’t lie, it kind of felt like a punch in the gut and he scared the shit out of me. Left me feeling almost embarrassed for considering to do this. But, I guess it wasn’t enough for me to throw in the towel just yet. The more I got to know John and the more he got to know me, the more I felt at ease seeing that he had a little more faith in my ability to do this.
I spent the following month familiarizing myself with this house. It has made me postpone some of my long travels. I lost count of how many times I have driven out there to talk to John, contractors, inspectors, neighbors, etc. But I learned something new every time. The more I saw what I would have to do to make it work there, the more scared I got. However, each time (after reeling from the fear), I got a little more excited than the last. Because I saw that it was possible. Fear has a way of terrifying us to the point of not trying something, only because we don’t know it, or we think we know it to be a certain way. But sometimes, when we entertain something and approach it with an open mind, we open ourselves to the realization that it’s actually quite basic and not so scary.
What I love most about this place is that it’s not mindless. I will have to think about what I’m doing and actually execute it intentionally to get the benefit of the rewards. It’s going to take work. Something that sounds so complicated gives way to a more simple life. The cabin sits in a hidden community (called Scenic) of maybe 8-10 other cabins. The people who live and vacation there are kind, and they look out for one another. When the water filtration system in the river (yep) gets clogged with tree debris, someone has to clear it, or they (we) have to fix it together. I’ve never lived in a community like this, but thinking about it gives me the warm fuzzies inside. Even though I’m confident I will have plenty of meltdowns and moments of panic when I’m there.
So, my UPDATED plan is this: After my longer travels wrap up in late fall, my idea is to spend most of my time (living) in the cabin house (4-5 days a week) and doing some freelance design work there. The other 2-3 days will be spent in the city, visiting all of you, and teaching some yoga. And I do hope that you will come visit me, because a big part of the reason I want to live here is so that you all can help me make some memories there. We can go ski or hike or climb, or or or! Then we can make fires, drink whiskey and hot cocoa. Maybe watch me freak out when the generator doesn’t work, or when somebody flushes something unacceptable down the toilet, or when I get stuck in numerous feet of snow.
WE SHALL SEE! It’ll be a mixed bag.
Walking that fine line between fear and hope is essential in living a purposeful life, in my opinion. That line is the sweet spot to a fulfilling life, and it’s where our dreams are born. I can’t wait to move into this place! I’m about to embark on a 2 1/2 week-long journey to Montana and Wyoming (!!!!), so, moving in will have to wait until the middle of August.
As you can see…things have room to change and evolve no matter where you’re at or what you are doing. What will this next thing morph into? Who knows?! Who knows! One thing’s for damn sure, though—whatever it is…it’ll be with a purpose.