A New Adventure: Onward to North Carolina

On To The Carolinas  |  The Fresh Exchange

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!

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  1. I’M SO EXCITED. For you guys, and your bold decisions and upcoming adventures, and for ME, because hopefully I’ll get to hang out with you again (and show off Durham)!

  2. I remember talking about this with you guys back in NYC this past March and I’m SO pleased you’ve taken the jump and decided to go for the move. I think it will be such an exciting and adventurous time for you, and can’t wait to see where you take Wild Measure in your new location. Looking forward to following along! 🙂

  3. that’s great, exciting news! i’ll miss the winter MI pics, but let’s get real, it’s way prettier in pictures when you don’t have to deal with the slog into TC on a daily basis, wondering if all the roads are plowed and the ickyness of wet pantlegs and socks.

    on a different note, the ache is such a real thing! what a good name for it.

  4. Good luck with your move! We’ve stayed up in Leelanau before and while I would loooove to go there more often, I can see why you’d need to live somewhere a little more big city than TC most of the year. Good for you for following your heart, and I’m excited to see the things that come.

  5. !!!! So excited and happy for your new adventures. This post just warmed my heart, and gave me the chills. Change is hard, but it’s exhilarating, and this is going to be amazing for you two and the future of Wild Measure. You’re making me miss the south so hard, and I’ve only been gone for 2 months 😉

  6. This is such exciting news!
    Raleigh is such a special place filled with so many gems of places + people and is such a nice mix of city + woods. This news was definitely worth the wait 🙂

    If all goes according to plan, I will be there in January, because like you, it’s the only place I’ve cried leaving + the only other place I’ve been so far in my life that immediately felt like home, and after being in one place for five years, it’s time for a change of pace.

  7. I had a feeling that this was your news, I could just sense when you all wrote about Raleigh that you were going to end up moving there one day. I can’t wait to read your post and see the beautiful pics you post of your adventures there!

  8. Congrats!! I’m so excited to follow and see what’s next for you both. Moving to a new city is always an exhilarating experience. We are east coasters at heart, but after moving to Chicago 2 years ago we can’t see ourselves leaving any time soon. Best of luck!

  9. What an exciting decision for you both! Your desire to live in two places is so relatable and something my hubby and I have talked about often. While we are living a vagabondish life right now, we do want to settle down eventually and there are several places that call out to us just like Traverse City & Raleigh did for you. Best wishes on your new adventure! I’m sure you’ll make me want to visit Raleigh as much as you’ve made me want to visit TC. 😉

  10. I love this post. My husband and I have been thinking about moving, but we’ve both grown up and lived in Washington our whole lives so we wonder if we’ll be able to say good-bye to this state that has built us. I love that you said more than one place can truly feel like home, and who says moving has to mean good-bye?! I wish you all the best in your next adventure. We’re going to be in North Carolina in October too!

    1. I move most of my life and no move is easy whether you have been there for 1 year or 30. It is a hard thing one way or the other. I say you only live once and if you have an option to try something new it will either show you where you are meant to be (maybe washington) or that another place could be the right thing as well. You never know till you try 🙂

  11. Such exciting news! I’m a Raleigh blogger and found your blog through your Raleigh Must Visits post. I’ve been hooked ever since. I have been here for 10 years and the way you talk about Raleigh inspires me to explore the city deeper. Good luck and can’t wait to hear how the move goes!

  12. Wow! What a hard decision! I know how hard it is to decide to move away from your home, but I think you two will have so much fun in North Carolina! Who knows, maybe you guys can start some fun design things on this side of the country. We definitely need it!

  13. This is my first time on your blog. I just came across it on a google search. I couldn’t help but be drawn to this post, your story is very close to home for me. I grew up in Boyne City in northern Michigan. Such a small town that Traverse City was the “big city”. After a couple different jobs after college, I eventually took a job and moved to Raleigh. I’ve been in NC since 2005. I met my husband here (who is from Chicago) and we bought a house and moved to Durham in 2008. I’ve fallen in love with Durham, but even after eight years I still yearn for the beautiful lake shores of northern michigan. I have to say, I’m a little jealous of your plan to call both places home.

    Congratulations on your move and welcome to North Carolina. The Triangle is really growing and has a lot to offer, but it still doesn’t feel like a big city. It should be an easy transition from Traverse City.

  14. Loved reading this. I grew up in TC and like you said, it’s hard to make big steps in your business or craft when you’re not in a big city. I have grown to love Northern Michigan in a bigger, more passionate way since I’ve been away. I’ve lived in Detroit, LA and now Austin, and can’t wait for my next visit back home! Good luck on your adventure and keep writing.

  15. EEek! My heart stopped when I saw this blog title. I know that moving away from community and your home is a really difficult thing to do – but Raleigh is a great destination. My husband and I live in the triangle and really love it. It is an easy place to find community and there is a lot of energy and momentum in the area because of the growing arts and food scene.

    It sounds like you have a number of contacts there, but feel free to contact me if you need a housing / food / hiking guide to the area. hello (at) gramercystudio (.) com


  16. “…felt as if we were leaving home.”

    I feel you, sister. That same feeling is what brought us from ATL to TC. Follow your bliss, lady. You guys do good things. Lookin forward to following the next chapter. Congrats!

  17. I love NC, how is your move so far? i just got a D.R. Horton home in Raleigh and i am loving it here. i came from the west and it was a big shock for me, but i love it. i hope you are too!

  18. ARe you still in NC? I just found out that we are being relocated to Raleigh nc, I am looking forward to it and was just wondering if you had any tips for me? this is a huge thing for me, we have lived in the same state and city for almost 25 years, so moving now is quite freaky! Thanks so much for your help

    1. No we left Raleigh actually 3 years after this post and live in Northern Michigan now. Raleigh is a great city and has lots going on. I highly suggest attending Creative Mornings and checking out getting involved in the arts. It is an awesome way to meet great people in the community. I also highly suggest living in the downtown area. It is extremely walkable. We lived within the beltline in a neighborhood called Belvedere park and it was really perfect it was just outside of the Oakwood area and was being gentrified when we sold our house. Lots of great options.