Moving for a simpler life
Jill Burns had always dreamed of moving to the mountains to live a simpler life and enjoy more of the outdoors with her family, but the time never seemed right and their finances never seemed adequate.
After many years of putting off her dream, she and her husband finally decided to take a big leap into the unknown, moving their family out to the mountains to live the life she had longed for. Jill shares her story, “Mountain Dreams,” in our book about finding your time to thrive. Here’s how Jill tells the story:
Our family had enjoyed a happy home in the small community where we lived. Yet, as life often does, our situation changed. The town had grown, but we had not. We decided to move and start fresh.
That night, unable to sleep, my husband and I discussed our plans, or lack of them. We had no idea where we were headed or what we should do with our lives. The more we talked, the more I thought about one of our family’s favorite Disney movies: “So Dear to My Heart.”
This wonderful movie portrayed the lifestyle my husband and I longed for. We had always dreamed of owning a tiny chinked-log cabin like the one in the movie, but we’d live in the mountains. I’d spin wool by the wood stove, milk goats, make cheese, can food and work a garden. My husband would harvest wood, hike, fish, snowshoe and make maple syrup. We imagined our children thriving and pursuing their interests in the great outdoors. The longer we chatted, the more I felt our answer had been in front of us all along.
“Do you still want to live in the mountains someday?” I asked.
“Of course,” he answered, “but we can’t do it now.”
When I asked him why not, he presented me with our usual collection of problems: east versus west, how we would finance our land, and how we would make a living once we were there. “The bottom line is that we can’t afford it right now,” he said.
“That’s how you felt when we wanted a baby,” I reminded him. “If we’d waited until we could affordone, we’d still be childless today.” He nodded. “Why not live our dream?” I continued. That did it.
We were excited and terrified at the same time. Naturally there were obstacles, but fighting for our dream made it worthwhile. The eastern mountains won. We financed and found land. We put our home up for sale while we built our cabin from thousands of miles away. Questions and concerns from well-meaning friends and family were addressed.
“Why such a hard, meager life?” my in-laws asked. “Why not move closer to a city? Why not move closer to us?”
“Because we’ve always dreamed of living in the mountains away from it all,” we answered.
Eventually we packed up our three kids, six cats, seven parakeets and one dog and we made the cross-country trip eastward. Living in the mountains had been our big dream, but there were plenty of mini dreams that we fulfilled along the way. Each dream required a separate leap. We homeschooled our children.
I milked goats, made cheese, spun wool, grew my garden, ground wheat and baked bread. We heated with wood stoves. We made maple syrup, picked berries and canned our food. We hiked and enjoyed nature and our peaceful surroundings. But most of all our children thrived and so did we.
This year we celebrated the 20-year anniversary of living our dream.
I can’t believe how quickly the years flew by or how many changes have taken place. We’re older now. Our children are grown. We’ve got grandkids. Time moved on and now there are new dreams on the horizon. We are grateful that we took this risk. Not only did we survive, we thrived!