Life in eastern Canada was simple and connected. Teaching high school English in Moncton, New Brunswick was a challenging yet rewarding experience. I loved my students and my co-workers, some more than others of course, and the benefits of being a full-time, pension-receiving teacher who enjoys stress free summers and all of the holidays are ample to say the least. The short, two hour drive to see my family was a breeze and made “family time” a regular event. My boyfriend, now husband, Darren, was more than I ever thought possible in a man other than my grandfather and he made me see how beautiful life can be. His IT position allowed him to work from home and give us the quality time that I always desired. We’d traveled to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Florida, and the Bahamas during my summer vacation and he worked during the day from the hotel rooms. We owned a house, we finally paid off our cars, and we spent our evenings walking in the park where we first met.; but there was one thing missing – the sunshine! New Brunswick is not a frozen tundra with 24 hours of darkness, snow, ice, and cold. It has gorgeous summers with light winds that make for a spectacular day sailing or boogie boarding in the Atlantic Ocean, but was that enough? Two months of sunshine followed by a cold, dreary season of extended winter was not my idea of a dream location. I was living a beautiful life and I wasn’t willing to settle for anything else, including my environment.
Darren asked me one evening if I could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? The question struck me off guard. Was he, too, unhappy with the New Brunswick surroundings? After a short, one-evening conversation about the top places in the world, we both imagined life in southern California. It became an obsession for both of us and we scoured the internet for information about life in OC and considered what it would be like living that far away from our families.
After three days of dreaming, Darren applied for a software architect position in Orange County and he was offered the job immediately. With a house and other “toys” we shrugged our shoulders at the offer and thought it was impossible. Putting the house on the market was our half-ass attempt at considering the possibilities. We posted it on the Canadian version of craigslist.com called kijiji.ca and said that if the house sold, we’d move. Well, just like that, in one week, we sold the house and almost everything in it. If we were looking for a sign, that was it. We put everything that we couldn’t fit in a small u-haul car attachment for sale, I resigned from my teaching position and we said our good-byes to our families. There wasn’t a drawn-out, complicated process of decisions. Like the rest of our experiences since meeting, it was simple.
The drive across the continent was a total of 55 driving hours in vast conditions, although it took us 6 days because we stopped along the way to enjoy some uncharted territory for us. We drove through New Brunswick, where the first snow flakes had fallen on the frozen ground, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and ended in California. 5,780 km or 3,592 mi later, we drove directly to the Bank of America, opened a US account, found an apartment, and moved in the next day.
Since meeting Darren in April, 2010, we’ve moved in together, traveled to 7 countries, experienced sky-diving, white-water rafting, surfing, bungee jumping, paragliding, zip-lining, helicopter touring, dog-sledding, hiking, rock climbing, trapeze swinging, camping, and river boarding, got married in Jamaica, and are now pregnant with our first child. Moving to another country in two weeks was not only expected, but required.