Years ago I decided to create a life that I was excited about. I wanted that feeling, you know, when you wake up every morning and could not wait to start your day. I also wanted to incorporate exploring the world and living near warm weather with mountain hiking trails in my home country (USA) at the same time. So I came up with this idea to move to a new city every year and take my business with me. And I did it.
I started this journey in 2010 at 46 years old and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Was I scared? You bet. Was I uncomfortable? All the time. You really never know what you can discover when you get out of your comfort zone. That truly is where all the magic happens.
Here are all the different cities I've lived in organized by date, from the 1st one to my most current as of March 2022. Prior to the start of my adventure, I've only lived in Chicago, IL and St. Louis, MO.
1. Orange, CA 2010-2011: I started slowly in 2010 and chose to move to Orange, CA for 6 months to test it out. I packed up my car, left behind the cold Chicago winter and headed west. I wanted to see if I could do this and successfully bring my business with me while working out the mechanics of doing so. I also did a Tiger Cruise. This is where you join your deployed soldiers (my sister, Navy pilot) ship in Honolulu and sail to San Diego for the last week of their deployment. On a warship (the USS Princeton CG-59). It was amazing. Afterwards, I headed back to Chicago for 2 years to regroup and plan and then continue my adventure.
2. Sedona, AZ 2013-2014: I once again packed my car and headed west. I gave away or donated everything that wouldn't fit into my Ford Focus. I stopped at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO to see where Stephen Kings novel, The Shining, was birthed. Pretty cool. Sedona was a dream come true with so many hiking trails and just a few hours drive from the Grand Canyon. I hiked everywhere and took a helicopter ride for my 50th birthday. My favorite hiking trails were Bear Mountain, Hangover Trail and the Hiline trail to Cathedral Rock. Favorite Grand Canyon hike was the Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River and back up again.
3. San Marcos, CA 2014-2015: My sister lived in Escondido and I chose to live near her and explore coastal mountain hiking. I was not disappointed, there were many trails to explore. My favorite places to hike were the Daley Ranch, Torrey Pines and Elfin Forest. I also climbed Mount Whitney (the highest mountain the 48 United States) on October 1st, 2014.
4. Irvine, CA 2015-2016: My sister headed to TN and my brother and dad live in the OC, so I decided to try Irvine for a year. My favorite hikes were in Crystal Cove State Park (all the trails), Mount Baldy, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park (all the trails) and Sitton Peak. I also attended my first Comic-Con in San Diego and did my first international volunteer (IVHQ) trip in Guatemala focusing on childcare.
5. St. George, UT 2016-2017: I wanted to live in Utah, but stay in the warmer climate, so I chose St. George, UT. It's about 11 miles to the Arizona border and about 2 hours from Las Vegas. It's a quiet, sleepy town surrounded by an abundance of red, white and black lava rocks. It's also about 1 hour from Zion National Park. My favorite hikes during this time were Angels Landing (in Zion), Snow Canyon State Park (all the trails) and Dixie National Forest. I also popped over to Bryce Canyon for a day to marvel at the hoodoos.
6. Albuquerque, NM 2017-2018: I thought I would explore New Mexico for a year, so I wandered over to Albuquerque. I lived right on the Sandia Mountains at 6000'. I climbed all over the Sandia Mountain range, but also traveled to Santa Fe, Taos and a day trip to Roswell to check out the alien encounters museum. I loved Meow Wolf in Santa Fe and climbed the highest point in NM in Taos, Wheeler Peak. I also took some time to fly to Kauai and hike 16 miles of the legendary Kalalau Trail. If you ever have a chance to see the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, do it. Seeing all the those beautiful hot air balloons take off at dawn was incredible. I also did another IVHQ volunteer trip in New Zealand, focusing on waterway clean-up and ecological restoration. Plus a weekend seeing Hobbiton (a lifelong dream) and the glow worms.
7. Sedona, AZ (again) 2018-2019: I was running out of warm weather mountain places to live, so I thought I'd go back to Sedona for a year. It's one of my favorite places on earth and a hiking wonderland. I did revisit all my favorite trails and found quite a few new ones. I popped over to Chicago to see the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar and walked on fire. I also headed to Flagstaff to climb the highest peak in AZ, Mount Humphrey. Plus a few day trips exploring more of the Grand Canyon.
8. Knoxville, TN 2019-2020: My sister and her family live in Knoxville, so I thought I'd try some east coast Smoky Mountain hiking for a year. We traveled to France for a family trip and my niece came for a visit where we checked out Dollywood and the highest peak in TN, Clingmans Dome. I also managed to fit in an IVHQ volunteer trip to Costa Rica (childcare and working on a sustainable coffee farm) before Covid hit. Well, we all know what happened next.
9. Irvine, CA (again) 2020-2022: Still in Covid, I made the cross country trek back to Irvine, I have family here and wanted to be near them. Unfortunately I got really, really sick in November 2020 and was fighting for wellness until July 2021 (not Covid, but still scary, especially during Covid and I was immunocompromised). Not much travel or hiking happened during this time as all my energy was focused on getting healthy again, which I am. I did do a week in Yellowstone and a week in Joshua Tree. But, I finally decided to pause the nomad life for awhile and bought a home. I'll be moving there in March, 2022.
10. 2022 - After exploring these fantastic cities, I decided to stay in one place and bought a house in Henderson, NV. I wanted to be in the mountains, in warm weather and near an international airport. Now with COVID hopefully in our rear view mirror, I've got a ton of adventures planned. And I get to explore my new city and state.
When I decided to try this, I never knew what a fantastic journey it would be. I'm happy to answer any questions you have about my wanderings, you can email me at email@example.com anytime or leave a comment below.
I've also decided to update my adventures as I have them and share my love of traveling and exploring the world.
July 2022 - I spent 10 days hiking all over Moab, UT and the Grand Canyon/North Rim. I saw the Delicate Arch in the Arches National Park (did you know this is on the Utah license plate?) and hiked a bunch of trails in The Canyonlands National Park. I've been to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon many times, but never the North Rim. It was about 10 degrees cooler and with only about 10% of the crowd! I loved hiking along the rim and staying in their rustic cabins right on the rim with no cell service, Wi-Fi, no TV and all the peace and quiet you could ever want.
January 2023 - When your sister asks if you want to go to Norway, you tell her you’re already packed. We met up in Oslo and took a train to Flam to gape at the Fjords. Another train ride to Bergen to visit the Bryggen UNESCO site and marvel at the 1000 year old city. A quick plane ride to Tromso and time to chase the Northern Lights. We were lucky enough to see them twice on a snowmobiling excursion and on a bus ride that took us to Finland and back. We took turns dog sledding in the gorgeous snowy hills and spent the evening on a fishing boat. We got to experience the Polar Nights and only saw about 30 minutes of daylight the entire 3 days in Tromso. The Norwegians were friendly and kind and answered all our questions patiently. They all said the same thing, you have to come back in summer, so now it’s definitely on the very long and getting longer travel list. Skål!
June 2023 - I hiked around some more Utah parks with a 10 day hiking trip to Hanksville and Kanab. I checked off Goblin Valley State Park, Capital Reef National Park, Grand Staircase Escalante, Bryce (again) and Zion (again). I find that hiking for 8 days straight resets my brain and I really sleep well at night. I highly recommend disconnecting from technology and immersing in nature every chance you get.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!