A year and a half ago I would have thought you delusional if you told me our family would be moving to Riverton. We were happily living in Chattanooga, TN, a beautiful part of the country known for its myriad outdoor activities, and our children were thriving at their school.
But then came Covid 19, remote learning and the chance to spend a couple of months close to my brother and sister-in-law, who we rarely saw because of the distance between us. We decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity and packed up two cars, three kids, two dogs, five computers, a printer, our bikes and everything else we thought we’d need for two months away from home and drove 1600 miles across country at the end of last April.
After school ended for the day our children would spend afternoons hunting fossils, feeding farm animals and playing in muddy ditches on my brother and sister-in-law’s ranch. They learned to shoot and drive an ATV. As a family we spent weekends hiking and driving around this beautiful and vast state and learned to always do a Google Earth search on vacation properties to ensure we could reach the property without falling off a cliff. We also learned to ask property managers whether the cistern had been filled because not having drinking water and pooping in the woods at night (to me) is not fun. I yelled less and baked more, and we laughed a lot. When it came time to return to Chattanooga I didn’t want to go and neither did the rest of the family. I yearned to bottle that togetherness and the contentment that can only come from being surrounded by natural beauty and stripped of a need to constantly compare oneself to others that I felt back in the world we had created for ourselves for four years in Tennessee.
When we arrived home, the feeling didn’t go away. And the desire to raise our children with maximum freedom to roam in a magnificent landscape moved from inchoate desire to a plausible reality following a few months of research on home school programs as well as discussions with friends making a similar transition. Because my husband owns a business that allows him to work remotely, the move was also a financial possibility for our family.
We’ve enjoyed the summer getting to know our new neighbors, school families and teammates and are excited for the years ahead in our new home. And each night we pinch ourselves to think that the ever changing colors of the sunset and view of the Wind River Range is ours permanently, not just for vacation.