A New Adventure: Onward to North Carolina

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On To The Carolinas  |  The Fresh Exchange

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image via: Michael Newsted

This is a long one…you ready?!

There are things in life you can just feel coming. They are like a distant offshore wave you can see slowly growing closer and closer to shore. In many ways you feel prepared for it when it comes but in other ways you have no idea how to really begin to plan for it. Well, this is one of those things. For almost 2 years there has been an undercurrent drawing us to a city. About 2 years back (almost 3) when Mike left his job at his last agency we almost packed it all up and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. We had a ton of friends there and it looked like the obvious next step, but at the time it still did not feel right. Traverse City still felt like the right place for us.

In the last 4 years we have fallen deeply in love with Traverse City and all of our friends here. I think from our constant adventure, sailing, hiking and dinner party posts you can see why, but in the last two years there have been a couple business opportunities that we have not been able to pursue because we were not connected to a larger city. This initially was one of the things we loved about Northern Michigan. We love that we are in the woods and away from the speed and demands of a big city, but as we have come to learn, most of our friends that are making a big impact do their work in another larger city and fly back here to enjoy time with their family and relax.

So when Mike finally joined me, and we developed Wild Measure, we began to see the business grow fairly rapidly. We began to feel the wave coming again. Quietly in the back of our minds we knew we needed to have a connection to a bigger metropolitan, and Raleigh kept being the first city on that list. This last March it all came to a head when we flew down to Raleigh to work with Clyde Oak and White Whale. Now if you are reading this in Michigan you know what March looks like in Michigan. We flew out of 3 feet of snow and landed in 65 degree sunshine, and we are suckers for sunshine. When we got into the city everyone was biking around, planning their gardens and talking about swimming. In March!

Even with all this nice weather neither Mike or I were even thinking about moving, then that far distant wave blindsided us. In the two weeks we were there, we realized Raleigh had everything we were looking for; a creative and academic community, an international airport, it is still in the eastern time zone, it has a ton of room to grow and more importantly it made my Texas husband’s accent come back.

So when the trip came to a close and we were flying back to Traverse City, both Mike and I felt as if we were leaving home. It was a strange feeling that we both tried to deny. Very few times have I legitimately shed tears on a plane (okay I did cry when Dumbledore died when I was reading Harry Potter on a flight…you got me!), but this time as the plane took off I was pretty emotional. A part of me had forgotten the years I spent living in Kentucky and the culture I had grown up in and what it taught me. As much as Northern Michigan holds a huge part of who I am, there is another side of my life I have missed and I felt it come back in Raleigh.

I could imagine this might come as a little shock to some of you. Our blog is practically a Pure Michigan ad at this point. Don’t worry, we are moving to Raleigh but we are not moving away from Traverse City. We will still be spending four months in Traverse City every year and in time we have a dream of getting a place up here. God knows we cannot fully leave Traverse City. We have a group of friends, family and clients we love. These people have been what have been the core of helping us get to where we are now, and there is something to be said about that. There is nothing that fills me quite like Lake Michigan. I remember one moment coming home after my senior year of college and cresting the first hill that revealed Lake Michigan. The sun was setting on the lake and I felt a complete ease in my soul as if I had finally come home for the first time in a long time. Goodness, My family built a town along Lake Michigan, I was born right next to the lake in the middle of the winter, I got engaged on the shores of the lake at sunset, and I got married within a mile of its cool breezes that come even on the hottest Summer days. It is hard to write this post and say Traverse City will not be our full time home, but life comes in seasons and this coming season is another one of change.

I honestly believe our hearts can love many things and I believe we can call more than one place home and truly mean it. I only recently have lived in the North more than I have lived in the South. Going to college in Kentucky and spending a large part of my life from age 7 to 14 has left me loving and craving the South. I have a deep soul-filling love of blues, folk, and slide guitar country songs. Raleigh reminded me of this part of myself and Mike needs to be closer to his Texas roots.

More than just really wanting to get back in the South and to escape the Winter here, we know that this is the time in our lives to take some risks. We have no kids, we work for ourselves, and we have no firmly established address or house. We are young and so is our business and we feel it is time to think about where we want to plant it. Traverse City has been a perfect place to get started and learn some really amazing lessons, but we are realizing we need to place ourselves in a bigger pot to allow us to grow some deeper roots in a larger market. We could choose anywhere, but Raleigh was the winner.

Our plan for the future is to never REALLY leave Traverse City. In October we will be selling most of what we own, packing up the Forester and headin down south to the land of the pine. Then like young snow birds we will return for the Summer at the end of May or beginning of June. During our time in Raleigh, we plan to establish our business, begin to hire, get a studio space and then return to Traverse City for as much of the Summer as we can. So don’t you worry those amazing instagrams of sailing on Lake Michigan in the Summer won’t be ending. This place is far too special to us to ever fully leave. Anyone who has been here knows there is an Old Ache for this place that never really goes away.

This decision has been a tough one. It has been hard to think about leaving as we take our last Summer sails on the boat, grab drinks at our favorite bars, spend precious time with our friends, enjoy meals at the best local restaurants, all while saying a temporary goodbye to the place we love so dearly.

But this change is an exciting one and we cannot wait to share this adventure with you all. We have struggled about when and how to tell you, as I said it has been nearly 5 months coming. We have lain in bed many nights trying to make sense of our feelings and what our gut was telling us, but nothing seems to make much sense other than to just go. So we are going.

As someone who grew up moving nearly every 4-6 years of their life, this is of no surprise that after spending nearly 4 years in Traverse I am once again picking up and doing it again. Every time I move it shows me more of who I am and how truly amazing life can be when you view it as a new adventure. There are so many new people to meet, many new exciting things lined up for Wild Measure and The Fresh Exchange as we open ourselves to a new city full of so many amazing people we have already gotten to know after our 2 weeks in Raleigh in March. We look forward to what is ahead and for the time when we will be back here as well.

Thank you for all of your support. Every time one of these decisions comes around we think about you all and this space in our decision making, so I am hoping you are as excited about this new adventure as we are. And for our Michigan lovers, don’t you worry! This northern native won’t be leaving you high and dry. You can take the girl away from Lake Michigan but as we all know you cannot take the Lake Michigan out of the girl.

We will be leaving in mid-October, but as we say goodbye we will be focusing most of our October posts on places and things we love in Traverse City. It will be full of great places, amazing restaurants, secret swimming spots, cool stores and even more.

To new adventures, a new city, new friends, and to the past and the future. Cheers, my friends!

Hello! I’m Megan Gilger,

A strong believer that nature and the seasons are our greatest teachers. We live on a hill in Leelanau County, Michigan just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. This land we are responsible for is where we are focused on building a life around the seasons and intention. We spend our days here building a regenerative model of living and focusing our garden on native plants and intensive polyculture planting styles. My focus is less on self-sufficiency and more on community-sufficiency through how we grow and connect through the seasons.
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