Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.
I recently saw that a connection of mine had been to Ireland one year and Greece another. There was a part of me that longed for that same storyline, because Rob and I have a passion for travel. We went to Italy in 2009, a cruise to the Caribbean in 2010, London, Edinburgh & Ireland in 2012, and Amsterdam in 2013. We have a much larger list of places to visit in the future.
But that’s it for our overseas travel. Since 2013, we’ve set our sights and travel itch on places in the US. Not for fun, admittedly—for research. We went upstate in 2015, Philly in 2016, Seattle/Snoqualmie in June 2017, and Maine in October 2017. While these were vacations, they had a very specific purpose of scouting out territories and lifestyles/cost for moving purposes.
Obviously, Maine was the one we fell in love with, and the one that resonated with us most. “Vacationland,” it says on our plates. “The way life should be,” on a shot glass he got me for xmas. (I collect shot glasses and salt & pepper shakers when we visit most places. Ironically, we somehow forgot to get one when we visited in October, and I assume it’s because we knew we’d live here soon).
Those Vacationland and The Way Life Should Be are accurate slogans for this state, as I’ll explain shortly.
The point is, we imagined, dreamed, and hoped we could get out of the rat race of NY for years. And as you can see, we compromised our travel plans and life, to make that happen. We saved instead of travelling, so we could move here and not have to dive right into “the grind” of work and not settling in at home. We have visions and ideas of what we want to create in the Stillness here.
We’re beyond ecstatic about the possibilities that lie ahead.
But that all required a sacrifice of sorts, which hit me last night. Perhaps it was the full moon. Perhaps the silence that envelopes here. Either way, for a moment, I was sad WE weren’t doing all the recent overseas travelling. We love to experiment with the foods of foreign lands, immerse in their cultures, visit museums and art galleries, and explore the terrain of other regions. It hasn’t been easy to always sacrifice those urges for keeping your nose to the grindstone. But it’s necessary, if you want to succeed.
I quickly let go of the thoughts of the Ego when I questioned her (my Ego is named Cybil, if I haven’t mentioned that tidbit to you prior), and fell asleep. I remembered the goals, the vision we have, and set to enjoy the journey of Now. I reminded myself that we didn’t make actual sacrifices, per se…we simply traded urges. Temporary travel pleasure for permanent happiness and Soul fulfillment.
Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
And plan we did.
However, no matter how much you plan, things are never exactly as you expect. It’s now January 2018, and a new year is upon us. Rob and I officially did what we set out to do (move), faster than we expected (April 2018 was our original goal date).
As I sit here writing this to you, 3 ravens (My Three Ravens as I called them, and yes, a reference to the 60’s show of a similar name!)—well, the 3 ravens are eating the food I left out for the deer. We saw deer tracks 2 weeks ago, so we put food in the area of their tracks. We’ve put food out there twice now, and they’ve yet to return. You can’t plan Mother Nature—it’s why I have such reverence for her. She teaches me patience and detachment. I love my new pet ravens, so I don’t really balk all that much. The point is, I’m learning to let go of what I “think” is the right way.
We knew life here was much more peaceful, and we knew life was more rural. We knew there were 1.3 million people in the whole state of Maine vs. 8 million on just Long Island. We knew there was a heavy veggie population/health calling here in the Bangor area, because we had done the research prior to visiting last October. We knew life would be a lot different for us Urban/Suburban folks.
We didn’t know HOW different it was here.
We left Long Island mostly because it was overpopulated. As aging introverts, we understand more and more, how little external sensory input we can handle. There was constant noise in our house from traffic, neighbors, ambulances, fire trucks, police, and people racing cars and motorcycles down the road. No matter what time I left for work in the 6am hour, there was a steady stream of traffic on the highway, in both directions. We couldn’t enjoy a peaceful walk in nature easily—we had to drive somewhere and even then, there was a mess of people. And we didn’t even live in a city!
The lights and sounds in the grocery stores, the constant borage of texts, calls and emails…it just became too much. We wanted a simpler life, where people were genuinely more connected to each other, and were supportive. We wanted a TRUE community feel, and not the trend of “networking.”
We wanted “the way life should be.”
And here’s what we’ve found, in the last 2 weeks of being here:
- Local is the norm here. In every store, there are a plethora of local merchants. I’ve posted quite a few pics on Instagram of local beans we’ve found, local breads, drinks, fruits and veggies. It seems that every shop has local merchants of some sort, and there are community shops for homestead farming, local artists, meeting rooms for office or party functions, record/movie stores for local connecting, and so much more. Local IS a way of life here. Mainers are damn proud of their community, and it is not a hidden fact!
- There’s a healthy living movement here. We’ve had NO trouble finding plant-powered foods, and may have found TOO many options! As we do with any place we travel to, we like to see what the food fare is like. You can gauge a lot about a community by the foods they eat. There’s a lot of organic, plant-powered and homestyle restaurants within a 10-minute drive. There are a few of the normal chains, of course—there is a McD’s, Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and Ruby Tuesday on a nearby main road. For every one of those places, there’s 4 local restaurants or small franchises (with one or two other locations within the state).
This is what we loved about Long Island, when we moved there in 2005…not a lot of food chains. We’ve been lucky to experiment in different stores with bagels and tofu cream cheese, burrito joints that ask if you want cheese and sour cream, and almond or soy milk in every coffee shop. All these options make it VERY easy to find convenience food, without having to cook. And you know me…I like to control what I’m eating and eat very specifically…so all these blessings are rather bittersweet!
- People are friendly. Damn friendly. When we opened bank accounts, we had a lovely chat with the manager. She explained it was considered rude here (especially to her), to not say hello to someone, as you pass them on the street. While we haven’t encountered a ton of people out all the time (it’s -2 degrees here often lately, with lower “feels like” temps), most of the people we encounter in the stores make eye contact and smile. I get into playful arguments with elderly people who hold the door open for ME. Where am I!?! As an introverted person who earned her wings in NY, making eye contact and saying hello is foreign. It is admittedly though, a literal personal goal I had years ago—to be able to be that openly friendly. Sometimes your goals take time to manifest.?
- The trash process here is rather interesting. In our town, you buy a sticker for a recycling bin, and you don’t sort any of it. All your boxes, plastic, glass, etc. go in one bin, and is picked up every other Thursday. You buy the recycling bin sticker and trash tags at the town office or certain local stores, where you get your license plates. The tags go on your garbage bag, and cost $2 each…they won’t pick up trash without tags on it. My guess is that this money pays the trash collectors, instead of our taxes. The tax rate here is only 5.5%, so perhaps that’s how they make up for the budget difference.
I also speculate paying for the garbage tags detours people from wasting too much. When you pay for your bags or tags, you certainly consider what you’ll be wasting. The town next to us buys their garbage bags, so life isn’t much different there!
It’s challenging to know if the garbage has come yet, in fact…we put it out a little late in the day, because we’re not used to the whole bag-tag process, and well…who wants to go out at -11 degrees, first thing in the morning? It’s hard to tell if they’ve picked up yet, because most people around here don’t HAVE a lot of garbage on the side of the road. Unfortunately, with the move, we do have a good amount of non-recyclable packing material. Soon, we’ll settle in to our one bag per week, with lots of recycling…until then, we pay for extra tags!
- The DMV is called the BMV here, is in a mall, and doesn’t handle your car plates and registration. The town handles that (where you get the recycling sticker and tags mentioned above), and you bring THAT information to the BMV to get your license. Never mind that when we walked into the BMV, we were in and out in 20 minutes max, and everyone was friendly. Yes…friendly. And only 3 couples in the waiting room? Where was the mayhem? Why did the clerk offer to help us as soon as we walked in? It’s almost like an episode of Twilight Zone.
- The holiday gift hunt was also quite…interesting. We went out on xmas eve to get stocking stuffers for each other, as a last-minute thought. Let’s say that we were very nervous about that concept, as well as returning something at Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBB), the day after the holiday. I worked management in retail quite a few years when I lived in Florida—in malls AND at BBB. I know what the holiday traffic is like in a city. We took a deep breath and mentally prepared ourselves for the mayhem.
It never occurred.
There were literally 20 people in the entire mall, and less than that at BBB. Where was everyone!?! With family? Are they just better prepared here? Could there really be that few people in the city of Bangor?
- Snow plowing and snow traffic are quite pleasant here. We’re in a very rural area, about 7-10 minutes from the city life, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.. We knew our landlord plowed our driveway, but had no idea what the streets were like. We had over a foot of snow on xmas, as best as we can speculate. The plows waited until the evening to head out and clear our driveway and roads. No one was ON the roads, and who needs obsessive plowing on a holiday? Why plow, when the snow is coming down all day long? The plows have sand they drop, as well…when I lived in NC in the mid-90’s, it was salt—not so good for cars. I was glad to see it was changed to sand, when I moved to NY. I was NOT glad to see how often the plows headed up and down the streets, however. Most of the time, the truck plow was scraping bare roads, sparking and chewing up the already gashed streets. There’s still snow on our streets a bit, though we haven’t had any snow since that day. People here just deal with driving in it, and are more careful.
There aren’t a ton of people on the roads here, and they drive more carefully in snowy conditions. We’ve yet to hear anyone really discuss the weather, nor complain about it. It snows here. A lot. We’re in the northern part of America. Life is life, and you just accept what’s here. There’s no complaining about a snow flurry or storm. I’m not saying they LOVE snow here—they do get tired of it, with close to 60” falling annually in some areas. But I’ve only heard comments on how they get tired of it, but still think it’s beautiful. There hasn’t been any actual complaining They are a bit surprised at the frigid temps so soon, but they aren’t complaining about it.
- We don’t use the blinds or curtains here. At all. You remember the holiday picture I sent of the backyard for the holiday, and our front yard looks very similar. There aren’t any street lights on our road, and the only actual light comes from our garage, which apparently has a solar-powered outside light (which we’ll figure out how to disable at night, I would imagine). We enjoyed a beautiful full moon, Orion’s Belt, and a load of other constellations, because of the lack of light pollution here. We don’t have a lot of traffic going by, despite being on a “busy” connector road. We are set back from the street, covered in different types of evergreens, and are slightly sunken down from the road. We went from having blinds and curtains drawn 24/7 to evergreens, wild turkeys, ravens, and deer tracks.
This is the life we wanted, but could never have imagined. If you want to see more pics of the life we’ve found here, check out my Instagram profile here. You don’t have to be a member to see the pics, but there’s a lot there, that I can’t show you here.
As the U2 song goes, “a place that has to be believed, to be seen.” That’s what we did…a lot of believing. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
When you think your dreams are crazy or impossible, remember this blog, or at least part of my words or journey. A lot of our wishes on our next house were met unexpectedly, and by surprise. Some things, you just can’t plan. We’ve held images in our heads for years (Creative Visualization, as it’s called). It takes time, so trust the process and enjoy the journey. Please keep dreaming, planning, and never let someone else’s dream become yours.