Missoula, MT

Ever visit a place and have it remind you of something you value, but have neglected? Like blowing dust off an old, rare book — travel often reminds me of places within that have been hidden by the cobwebs of life.

Wrapped in self doubt, laziness — bright and shiny distractions.

Spending time in Missoula with Finny and Digs reminded me of why these dusty books are worth unpacking, revisiting, cleaning off. There is a way of life I observed that is beautiful in its simplicity. Digs’ family eats out of the garden. They raise chickens for eggs. This is a life of happy, barefoot children, scruffy dogs, a pantry full of Ball jars in shimmering jewel tones, a local museum full of great art, a downtown full of local shops supported even at the higher costs, and cars that are dirty and will remain dirty because, really, why bother?

Finny spends her days in California in a greenhouse or at home in the garden, talking to her bees, the dog and the kumquat tree. Her arms are strong, her shoulders brown. She’s never looked happier.

Missoula, MT

I am struggling trying to figure out how to incorporate this way of life in my new reality — city living and a full time desk job. (I job I love, but nonetheless, not not one I can do from home while watering the basil and waiting for the bread to rise.) We will make this place a homestead yet. With no land to garden, we’ll have a couple terraces of pots full of herbs and peppers and tomatoes. We’ll juice the local winter harvest of citrus and send boxes of the whole fruit to loved ones far away — including to that happy family in Missoula. I’ll grow bushes of basil in the temperate fall and winter, freezing pesto in ice cube trays for year-round dinner parties.

And I will continue to walk Nelson through our new neighborhood, eyeing properties with irrigation and big backyards perfect for bean poles, fruit trees, forests of tomatoes, a poultry run, and porch for a swing and cobalt blue pots full of ruby red geraniums.

This simple life is in my heart. I am so thankful for travel for reminding me.