Having been born and raised in Mississippi—and Heather in Atlanta, GA—we hadn’t had many outdoor adventures. Of course we’d visited mountains and beaches with our families growing up, traveled for sports (Heather) or church trips (me); however, we hadn’t seen the West Coast. Heather played Division I softball at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and had traveled to Hawaii and Arizona. These trips were mostly dedicated to games, so she didn’t have much time to explore. I myself had been no further than Colorado for a church trip when I was 14 years old. The West Coast—for both of us—was a dream we’d only talked about. In February of 2017, we began discussing the possibility of taking a huge leap of faith and decided to apply to jobs along the West Coast. Within a week, we both noticed that we were applying more to the Portland, OR area. I personally wrote principals in the area. Within an hour, I’d received an email informing me about the Northwest Teaching Fair—the largest teaching fair in the Northwest. On a whim, I applied for the fair and bought us plane tickets. Heather then reached out to friends in Portland that we’d met through social media, and asked if we could stay with them—another huge leap of faith. On April 3rd, we arrived in Portland, OR at 2am. The following morning, I attended the teaching fair, landed five interviews, and fell in love with Portland. That trip was also the start of a beautiful friendship with our hostesses, Blakely & Jordan. Heather and I left two days later knowing Portland was where we belonged. We began selling and donating all of our belongings once back in Mississippi and began planning our road trip/move for June. Fast forward to June:
We left on June 11 from her parent’s house in Moultrie, GA with all of our belongings—and three fur babies—in one car. Our first stop was Kansas City. There we stayed at the Harris Casino, where a lovely soul had offered us a room. Social Media is a beautiful thing when used for good! Our next stop was Cheyenne, WY with one of Heather’s college teammates. On our third day, we arrived in Moab, UT.
In Moab, we stayed with two new friends we’d also met through our social media platforms. There will be many times throughout this blog that words will simply not do justice to the beauty of places we see or people we meet. This is one of those times. Arches National Park was one of the greatest experiences of either of our lives. I am so thankful we were able to experience it together. Our first stop was Delicate Arch. We woke up early that morning and were the first to arrive at the park. This is huge seeing as how touristy Delicate Arch can be. We had our Camelbacks loaded with ice cold water, snacks, and extra socks (your feet may get sweaty causing blisters). When driving through the park to our first stop, I was already in awe. We parked the car and started heading towards the arch. Our first accomplishment was making it up the huge sandstone hill—making a few stops along the way. This was our first true hiking experience! Once reaching the arch, we were not disappointed! People rapidly started showing up and were all waiting for their chance to take a picture with the arch. This part was honestly a bit scary to me. When waiting at the arch, you are standing on a huge sandstone platform that is slanted downward. Lose your balance and you’re taking a huge slide to the bottom! This platform is FILLED with people waiting to take their pictures, making me weak in the knees—but it was completely worth it!
After seeing Delicate Arch, we explored other arches and ended our night at Dead Horse Point where we had dinner. Since we are both vegan and used to not having many options, we always pack our yeti full of food. For this specific trip, we had prebaked tofu, veggie straws, mixed nuts, and kombucha which we ate while watching the sun set. We made life-long friends during those two days, and we can't thank them enough for their hospitality. While we were sad to leave Moab, we were excited for all the adventures to come. This was our last stop on our way to our new home!