On Living in the Woods

I grew up in a neighborhood that was right on the edge of backwoods and a quaint country area. Anyone who knows me knows how much I loved that place – that house, those woods, and that way of life. Looking back on it now, we weren’t that far away from civilization, but growing up on Hickory Winds Court with the farm and fields behind my house made me feel like it was just my little family and me out there.

The driveway of the house I grew up in. I'd still live out there if I could.

The driveway of the house I grew up in. I’d still live out there if I could.

Chris and I love the mountains, the woods, the quiet of nothing but trees around us. We spend as much time as we can out there. It’s what brings us together, makes us each whole. When we first started dating, the days we weren’t managing that pizza restaurant were spent on the New River, the Appalachian Trail, or on top of Brush Mountain. Those days are my very favorite days of my life so far. Whenever he and I start to feel that disconnect from the unusual life that we lead, we head up to the mountains, unplug, and remember who we really are. In the spring and summer you can bet that we plan camping trips for each time he’s home from a trip.

Chris on top of Kelly's Knob near Blacksburg. Our first backpacking trip together with sweet Sammie. Crazy long, but one of my favorite memories.

Chris on top of Kelly’s Knob near Blacksburg. Our first backpacking trip together with sweet Sammie. Crazy long, but one of my favorite memories.

We bought our first home just over a year ago, and it is the perfect house for us. Big enough for us to grow into, but not so large that I feel it’s unnecessary. It’s new(ish), but I’ve been working to make our home feel collected, lived in, and really reflect who we are. I love every single thing about our house.

Our home this winter. Makes my heart smile.

Our home this winter. Makes my heart smile.

We looked at houses out in the middle of nowhere, but nothing was in our budget and securing farmland loans wasn’t a possibility for us. So, we live in a neighborhood. A really lovely, cute, small neighborhood with wonderful neighbors for friends and it’s an area that will be great for raising kids. I have no regrets.

But … I constantly struggle with the path not taken. What if we had waited? What if we had found that perfect dream house where we could live forever, raise our kids from the moment they were born, have rescue dogs run around on acres of land, and grow old – all in the same place. What an idyllic notion. One that I think approximately 1% of the population gets to experience.

When I pull into my driveway each day I know that I am truly home. It is where my husband is, where my dogs look through the storm door to greet me. It’s where I play with my nephew in the yard, read on the porch, and catch up with my neighbors. I’m no more than a phone call away from anyone that needs me and I can get where I need to be. Right now, in this season of my life, it’s the perfect place to be.

Sam waiting at the door for something exciting to happen.

Sam waiting at the door for something exciting to happen.

That being said, I know that one day the call of the woods will be too much for either of us to ignore. That simple life with less trips into town, less distraction – that is the life I really, truly crave. I’ve told Chris so many times, “I wish I could take our home and just put it on a patch of land with no one around us.” He agrees.

But, for now, while we continue with the beginning of our life together and think about starting a family one day, I can take those ideals and those desires of living in the woods and put them into practice with the life that I do have.

Sam on our most recent camping trip. Girlfriend loves the woods.

Sam on our most recent camping trip. Girlfriend loves the woods.

I don’t like having rules for myself as an adult, but I definitely need them. Some days I say that I won’t open my Macbook or check my phone a thousand times a minute. When Chris and I go out to dinner, we leave our phones in the car. I try to reuse what we have, instead of running to Target or Lowe’s for every little thing we might need (I fail at this miserably). Being at home is my very favorite place to be. Living in the woods is a commitment to a lifestyle that isn’t very popular right now. For Chris and I, though, I know that one day it will be where we end up, a little more off the grid, back to the basics, and a more organic way of life. For now, I love where we are at and all the things were are able to do. But, I so look forward to the future and allow myself a little bit of time to daydream about what life holds for us.

mountains

xo, Mary Kate

P.S. if you look at my “Dreams” pinboard on Pinterest you’ll find everything that I daydream about. It looks like a fantastic life to me.

P.P.S. image source

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