We've been getting this question a lot lately; so much so that I thought I'd attempt to write a formal response.
First of all, it's not an easy question to answer. It's really impossible to get things lined up and planned out when you're still living on the other side of the world. Often this simple, innocent question isn't met with an easy, straightforward answer. But, here is what we do know.
We're flying to Denver (via San Francisco) next Wednesday February 22nd. We fly out of Incheon at 6:15pm and arrive in Denver at 7:00pm the same day. This will literally be one of the longest days of our lives and will likely feel like a slow form of torture. In reality we will be traveling for 24+ hours next Wednesday. As long as everything goes according to plan, we will have our pup (Epic) in tow.
We plan to be in Denver for a week or so. During this time we plan to visit my dad, stepmom, brother, and some friends, buy a Honda CRV, get car insurance, get our hairs cut, get a massage (with my leftover gift certificate from Christmas last year), and adjust to the time change. Then we'll be on our way. We will possibly make a few stops in Kansas to visit some of my relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) and old college roomies/teammates but I suppose this will depend on our timeline. Then we'll be Tulsa bound. We plan to spend a few days with Dusty's parents, reunite with our other pup (Legend), and hopefully get to see a few friends. Our next stop will be in Siloam Springs to see Brandi (Dusty's sister) and family. We hope to spend a few days with them and also visit some friends there. Next we'll head over to Fayetteville, AR to reunite with my mom and hopefully see some more friends. Then we'll probably head up to Rogers to visit with my grandparents.
After all that's said and done, we'll be able to focus more on moving and getting settled into our living space. We'll rent a moving van and load up everything out of our storage unit in Springdale. Then we'll make the trek out to the 'cabin in the woods down by the river', literally. A few years ago Dusty's parents bought a couple of cabins on 60 acres of land. The land is located about 1/2 way between Siloam Springs and Tahlequah and sits right on the Illinois River. They bought the property with a vision of retiring out there someday or just having them as a vacation getaway for family and friends. They've spent a lot of time and money over the past 2 years fixing them up and making them comfortable. Dusty's parents have been so gracious in offering to let us live there while we get ourselves settled into living in the States again.
We're hoping to start moving into the cabins sometime mid-March and will spend the next month or so figuring out our lives, looking for jobs, applying for counseling licensure (for me), getting enrolled in school (for Dusty), and possibly buying a 2nd vehicle if necessary. We're hoping to get a lot accomplished during this time and will hopefully learn a lot more about what the future holds for us after this. Among other things, we plan to help Dusty's parents with work projects around the cabins and on the land, build a climbing wall in the 'barn', plant a garden, and make a 2 mile running loop around the property. Dusty wants to learn how to hunt, possibly find work as a helping hand for the dairy/turkey farmer across the street, and in general find ways to live a greener more sustainable existence. I am planning to continue brushing up on all my counseling materials. I'll also be doing some crafty projects with my mom, help Dusty's parents with some of the interior decorating, continue training for the Hogeye 1/2 marathon, enjoy running, swimming, and playing with my two precious pups, and continue experimenting with cooking/baking from scratch using more plant-based foods and natural/organic ingredients.
During this time we're also hoping to reconnect more intimately with friends and family (especially our niece and nephews) and hopefully start making some new friends. We might also do a bit of church inspecting and examining to see if we find somewhere that feels like home. Otherwise, we're open to starting out our own gathering of likeminded peeps. Of course, we'll always be looking to take advantage of the nicer days to go climbing at Lincoln Lake and possibly make a trip or two out to the Buffalo for some more focused climbing. Needless to say, we will be BUSY!!!
Come April 14th we'll head over to Fayetteville for the weekend. I'll be running in the Hogeye 1/2 marathon on Sunday morning and then we'll hop in the car with our pups and drive 12 hours to Red River Gorge, Kentucky for a week of serious climbing. We are renting a cabin with 8 other people (several of which are friends from Korea). We're marking this week as the end of our transition phase back home and the beginning of our everyday life in America. When we return home from this trip our goal is to get down to serious business. Hopefully by this time I will have secured myself a counseling job and will be approved to start seeing clients. Dusty will be starting school at Cherokee Nation. He's going for his EMT/Paramedics certifications in hopes of becoming a firefighter. On the side, one or both of us may be working for Challenge Quest leading various ropes/challenge courses and Canopy Tours guiding zip-line tours. However, none of this has been solidified. It's all still in the works.
This is really as far as we've come. We continue to have big dreams and goals for our future which drive us to continue pursuing our passions in life, but ultimately God determines where we go, who we build relationships with, and how we spend our days. We're okay just knowing the next step or two and living out the adventure one day at a time.