I recently moved my home and office to Bainbridge Island from West Seattle. Normally moving from an urban neighborhood to the small town life of an island would be a well planned long term strategy. This was not a case for me and my family. We were not searching for a better way of life but the right school for our children (although one could argue these are one in the same). After months of searching, school tours and interviews we found that perfect school on Bainbridge Island. We were lucky to find this school. Instinctively, we knew right away we were making the right choice for our family, but that was only part of the equation. For our kids to go to this school we were going to have to move to Bainbridge Island. What did this mean for us as a family and our businesses? We had never considered moving out of Seattle until the point of committing to the school. When the reality of the situation started to come to the surface there were many challenges and logistics to think though. As the boxes started to be packed, our choice of change began to sink in and take on a larger acceptance. The visions of our new island life came into focus.
We have been on Bainbridge Island for two months now and it feels like coming home. This is a weird thing to say because I never thought I was away from home. The “coming home” feeling is of harmony, balance and a sense of belonging. Again, I did not know these things were missing from my life until I experienced them with the move. I believe strongly in intention and vision. Having an understanding of what you want and how you want to go about your life is important to me and it can manifest itself in amazing ways. For me, many of the things I have wanted and have considered in my home life have manifested here on Bainbridge. When I stepped into (what would become) our new home for the first time, it immediately connected to me. The house sits in the middle of an acre of land surrounded by gardens and woods. The part that amazed me, were the details. There are things that I wanted to have in a home, like nice outdoor sitting areas and a chimenea. This home has all of those things and more. There have been other things outside of the house that have felt the same way for me. For years, I have been working towards using our car as little as possible due to its environmental impact. Now that I’m on the island I hardly use the car at all. The ferry has made public transportation easier to use and made the car more expensive to drive in Seattle. I have always wanted my house to be near the ocean. I did not know until after we started living in our new place that I could walk to the ocean in ten minutes. That feeling of coming home became reality as I experienced new things on the island that were exactly what I wanted but presented themselves unexpectedly.
Nature & City
I never envisioned myself as living in the country. A rustic lifestyle was not on my dream list. This is mainly because as a designer I could not grasp being a successful professional without living in a city. I greatly enjoy the outdoors and I’m passionate about nature. Before kids, I spent all my free time in natrure. Snowboarding, hiking, camping, mountain biking and rock climbing were my hobbies and recreational activities. I thought I had the ultimate harmony in Seattle. I could access nature easily and still live in the city. Moving away from the city was a hard thing to let go. I was not searching for an alternative to how I interact with nature and city. My home and work life balance was what I was working on. I thought I was doing an okay job of it. My family is a priority in my life. By owning my own business it allows me the flexibility and control to make sure I keep it that way. It is interesting how life can open your eyes to things you are missing. The island has forced me to see my true approach of nature as a recreation and the city as a means of living. This is not what I thought nor what I wanted right now in my life. I was combining the wrong elements together. By living closer to nature with my family and commuting to the city for work, I’m bringing together the parts of my life that make sense. The island makes me slow down, relax and enjoy my surroundings. This is what my family needs from me and what I need from my family. My whole self is engaged, going at a slower pace and enjoying whatever activities we are up to. My work needs me to be a focused, multi-tasker, effecient and fast. The city naturally makes you speed up and juggle the barrage of media and environmental aspects coming at you. By matching up the congruent elements of my lifestyle together there is more flow and less friction and frustration.
My family and I went down this path to Bainbridge Island by the unexpected but not unintentionally. We created parameters for the type of school that we wanted for our children that ended up expanding to include where we were living and our lifestyle. It reminds me that balance and harmony does not happen from an open ended structure, but by defining the boundaries. Balance is not something that “just happens” to you. You have to envision it, create it and recognize when it happens. I’m thankful for what life is bringing me now. It feels like I have been building it for a lifetime.