It is a regular question for us, “What brought you to Tennessee?”. We field that question or some variation everyday and twice on Sundays. Mr. Awesome always says “her job” and I tend to respond with some form of “it’s so pretty and the people are so nice”. While all of those things are true, it was a bit more complicated.
Prior to taking a job and moving here, I’d never been to Tennessee in my life, Mr. Awesome had only been here once for a short visit with his aunt. I could locate the state on a map, and I was vaguely aware of the geology, but there was where my knowledge of the state ended.
So how do two urbanites with no ties to Tennessee, move here? I blame the chickens , but it may have been all the end of civilization shows. Do you remember, Preppers? Terrible show, full of half-baked ideas. Everytime we watched it, (you have to watch trainwrecks, right?) we would talk about how we’d do whatever they were doing a different or better way. But seriously, watching all that end of the world stuff gets you thinking about food secruity. Like really, what would you do if the Walmart shelves were empty? We lived in Virginia Beach, all the major ways in and out are across a bridge or through a tunnel. With the hurricanes, things could go south very quickly. We saw it after Katrina.
So, at the same time I’m thinking I need a a couple goats to go along wiht the chickens (remember they are the gateway aninmal), Mr. Awesome was working with the worst of humanity, and neither of us wanted to live in Virginia Beach forever. So we started talking about a five-year plan that included moving to a smaller house to save money to buy land out side of the Hampton Roads area.
This is the summer of 2014, the summer before Boo’s senior year of high school, so the plan looked something like “after graduation, put suburban family house on the market and move to smaller house in cheaper area to save money while researching where to move. Right, so the research part is totally my thing. I get completely absorbed and become the expert on whatever thing has my interest at the moment.
You have to research! We (I) started looking for smaller metropolitan areas with easily accessible and affordable farm land, low cost of living, and pleasant climate not in California. We ended up with a list: northeast Texas (Dallas area), middle and eastern Tennessee (Knoxville/Nashville/Chattanooga), North Carolina (Charlotte/Raleigh), and Virginia (anywhere west of 95). Once we started focusing on those areas, I started looking at the available jobs in my field. Turns out Virginia isn’t really an option for my profession unless I live in Hampton Roads or DC metro area; Virginia was struck from the list. Dallas was another hard sale, as the majority of jobs in my field require more understanding of resource mining than I have and it is really far from family; Dallas was also struck. That left Tennessee and North Carolina, a very manageable number of options.
While it was not part of the plan, once we had narrowed in on two general areas, I started sending out resumes. Then through a series of serendipitous events, I was offered a great opportunity in Knoxville two weeks before Boo’s graduation. We decided to fast forward the timeline, because, really why wait? We put the house on the market and I moved to TN. In the fall Boo went to DC for school, Mr. Awesome and the dogs joined me; and we began the earnest search for our future farm.
It was really just that easy. Don’t get me wrong, the logistics were a pain, and the decisions were at times agonizing. I think it helped that it was less than one year from conception to execution I didn’t have much time to think about all the other options.
Today, just over a year later, we have not regrets. We may be living in a tent come winter, and we would prefer that all our family move to Knoxville too. However, whether either of those things happen or not, we’re staying.