An Adventurer's Heart

Ever since Braxton lost his dream job we’ve been putting the pieces back together. It wasn’t just about getting another job, that part was easy; he had offers coming from all over, including another ranch manager position that he accepted then quickly realized wasn’t right for us. When you’re a ranch manager, they provide a home and cover the bills, and often times give you a ranch truck and insurance. It’s a sweet deal unless things change - then you’re not just looking for a job. It was finding a new home and deciding where we wanted to live. More specifically, HOW did we want to live.

So many questions have consumed us: Do we just get an apartment? Do we move into a nice neighborhood in town? I wasn’t sure about a lot of things when everything was so fresh, but I was sure of one thing: I wanted to live on the land. It was the ONLY thing I was sure of. Moving back to the city after years of being in the country just didn’t sit well. The freedom to hunt the land, shoot my bow off my back porch, camp by the river, or run around naked in privacy is a must. Let me just be clear: I don’t want neighbors unless they’re at least a cornfield away!

My pops worked his whole life to live on some beautiful property in Central Texas. Piece by piece he has worked up to a total of 800 connected acres that we hunt every season. We considered moving onto the family land years ago, but at the time he didn’t have any property with water and electricity. Since then he purchased 160 acres that has both. Side note: this is also the same 160 acres that had multiple lease hunters on it shooting everything they could. I just have to mention that it’s really nice to see our deer herd built back up since my pops signed that contract.

Anyway, so we decided living on the property was a must. From there a million other ideas surfaced: do we get a single or double wide trailer? What if we found an old farmhouse, had it moved and renovated it? A prefabricated cabin? Build a home? If so, how big? What about a travel trailer? We entertained every option, meeting with banks and looking at homes, constantly filling out loan papers and even put a deposit down on a double wide at one point. After months of uncertainty, we started designing a barndominium. It was overwhelming and fun and everything in between. The Pinterest boards were filling up with house designs and I was spending hours perfecting a floor plan each night. We met with a builder and couldn’t help but get excited about finally getting started. It was like a weight was lifted off our shoulders. Finally some unknowns were starting to dissolve and we would soon have something to call our own.

Then Braxton throws me a curveball. A few days before I left for my elk hunt he gets home and says, “Jess, I could give you a mansion and you’d still want to travel the world.” I thought, “what the heck does that mean?” but I already knew what he meant. He has a great job and could give me the exact home that I want (which was NOT a mansion by the way), but that’s all we’d have for awhile. To be fair, that’s an incredible accomplishment and many people’s dream - it just took having my husband remind me that it’s not my dream. No house or piece of property will keep me home for an extended amount of time - seeing the world is my priority, my desire, and my dream at this point in my life.

Building a home was and still is important to me, but the timing isn’t right. Sometimes intuition kicks in and you have to trust it. I’m rarely home and when I am we are out with friends and family or hunting. So what now? What does a couple that craves adventure and is constantly outdoors do for a home? Well after a lot of back and forth, we’ve finally purchased our first 5th wheel travel trailer! Oh, the places we will go!

In summary, we have the ability to build the life we want. Society can create pressure and I have felt them all - go back to the corporate world and make more money, get out of your 15+ year old truck, build a nice home and start popping out babies. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, by the way. My life is very unconventional and I share it to show that anything is possible. However, what is possible and what is right for YOU are the two that need to align. They must align to fulfill your heart, and maybe your heart is similar to mine - an adventurers heart.

Full disclosure: I’ve just written this entire blog on horseback while on my Colorado archery elk hunt in the wilderness. Candy is leading me down the trail to the truck to get more food for the week. I haven’t showered, shaved, worn deodorant, or washed any clothes in 2 weeks and we still have a week left. We’ve been camping in a tent, living on jet boil meals and filtering our water. By the time this trip is over and I make the long drive home, a travel trailer is going to feel just like a mansion. I can’t wait to tell my husband that in person.