Last year, Thomas and I went on an adventure that I never thought would happen—we moved cross-country. I moved to Texas days before I turned eleven, and from the moment I got there, I hated it. You’re probably asking why I didn’t get out sooner. The answer is simple…I was trapped.
In my Just as Valuable post, I explained why my college degree isn’t in English or creative writing. My parents didn’t exactly encourage independence or free-thinking—their opinions/beliefs were the only thing that mattered. They also laid the foundational belief that I couldn’t survive on my own. So, even though at nineteen I longed to escape their house, I genuinely thought I would end up on the streets. In my mind, the only option was to bide my time, get my degree, find a job, and run.
I started dating Thomas halfway through college, and he changed my world. He believed in me and my abilities. We married while I was still at UT. He was born and raised in Texas—and absolutely loved it. I knew going into the marriage that we would spend the rest of our lives in Texas, and I made peace with that because my love for Thomas was greater than my desire to leave the state I despised.
Fast-forwarding to 2021…in my post, The House Always Wins, I talked about how the county we lived in does a money-grab every year (and they’re far from the only one). Two years ago, we reached our breaking point with the annual property tax protest. Our realtor planted the seed of possibly selling our house and moving to another state. To me, it was a pipedream that would never come to fruition. And then Thomas told me he was open to the idea—Texas had changed in his opinion, and not for the better.
And thus our adventure began…
We made a list of all the states and started eliminating the ones we did not want to live. I didn’t want anywhere with regular tornado or wildfire threats. Thomas didn’t want areas with bitter winters. Schools, taxes, and cost of living were also key factors. Long story short, Virginia was the clear winner for us.
In the fall of 2021, Thomas and I took a road trip to see Virginia first-hand and figure out where in the state we’d like to settle our family. There were several areas we liked. In the spring of 2022, Thomas updated his résumé and began his research. But being an engineer and the fact that applicants only get one shot, he wanted everything perfect.
After some time of being “stuck” on this step, I suggested he begin by first applying for a job where he didn’t care whether or not he was extended an offer. That way, he could correct any oversights for the positions he really wanted. He chose a small town neither of us had heard of (let alone visited) but was sort of near one of the areas we liked.
I still remember Thomas asking, “What if they offer me the job?”
My response, “Well, that would be a nice problem to have.”
A few weeks later, Thomas discovered an interview invite in his spam folder—it had been there for fifteen days! “Oh, s***!” was an understatement. There was a moment of relief when we realized it was for the “test” job—the one he didn’t care about. He responded to the sender, explaining the email had landed in his spam folder and asked if the interview invitation was still open. It was.
A week later, he had a phone interview. The next week, an invitation for an in-person second interview as well as benefit specs for the position. The “What if they offer me the job?” question suddenly became very real. As we researched the area where we originally had no intention of settling, we realized this “nothing” place is actually quite a gem.
A week and a half later, Thomas and I are on a flight to Virginia for his second interview and to check out the surroundings first-hand. Our realtor in Texas hooked us up with someone local. We landed Saturday afternoon and looked at houses for two days—not even knowing if Thomas had the job. We fell in love with the second house we saw and kept comparing everything else we looked at to it.
That Monday, the local realtor introduced us to a lender—once again, not knowing if we were moving here. A plan was created, but it all hinged on Thomas getting the job (based on the initial interview and the correspondence the week after, we were very confident he would be given an offer. His second interview began Tuesday morning. He called me that afternoon saying he was the company’s newest engineer!
I immediately called the local realtor, and she began drawing up papers for the house we loved. The next morning, we took an early flight home. I was actually on the phone with the realtor finalizing the last details as we were stepping on the plane. When we landed back in Texas, Thomas and I e-signed the offer, and it was sent to the sellers. We were under contract to buy the house that evening.
From there, things went into warp drive. We had six weeks to pack up the house, make moving arrangements, get our Texas house sell-ready, cut through all the red-tape for Thomas’s retirement at his then current job, and all the little details that come with changing jobs and moving a family cross-country. To say things became a blur would be an understatement, but looking back, it was worth every bit of stress for our slice of Heaven.
As humans, we tend to grow comfortable with what’s familiar. But if we limit ourselves to just that, who knows what we are missing out on. So, embrace the unfamiliar because you might just find yourself in paradise.
‘Til next time!