Kalamazoo, Michigan. Another place whose residency — albeit temporary — we didn’t see coming. Kalamazoo is a big(er) city to me and Scot compared to our home town, a more rural community just north. We spent time there with our families, as well as in our teen years. But after Holland, and requiring a little more time to decide our future and tend to house, home, and business, Kalamazoo lured us culturally and aesthetically as a nomadic family of three.
With a stroke of luck and persistence, we rented a charming new condo in the urban woods of Kalamazoo. Close to the colleges, downtown, and many hiking trails, we had a blast rediscovering artsy Kalamazoo with daughter in tow. More space than the loft in Holland, fitted with gas fireplace, a forested backdrop, a bright and ample kitchen, a community pool, and so much more, we felt at home and cozy in our next nomadic destination.
Kalamazoo is cool. There is music, craft beer, great wine, beautiful preserves and trails. The vast array of cultural diversity is present everywhere, especially in food and community, in colleges and neighborhoods. The vendors at the farm market are dedicated to their craft; locally-grown food is serious business in Kalamazoo.
The home offices grew: Luna had her space and Scot his. Increased kitchen space helped me dig into food a little more again. Luna rejoined her equestrian crew at her favorite riding farm. We rode bikes, ran, hiked.
We experienced the worst of the pandemic in Kalamazoo. Empty parking lots, abandoned masks, a punch in the face for Michigan. We felt fortunate to already be living the life of remote work and schooling-at-home, and so we managed the pandemic well. All that newness for so many, though, and uncertainty; we got it. It was helpful to be in familiar territory during this time.
The end of our lease was impending. Whatever the owners wanted to do, we decided, was not how we wanted to decide our future. Where next did we want to be? If viruses and business obligations, as well as the helpful and productive joy of rhythm and routine, emphasized “steady as she goes” and “going with the flow,” then a continuation of nomadic slow travel felt good and right to us.
When we ended RV travel in Redondo Beach, we were heeding the call for more creative and intellectual space. But we also knew that further travel into the Pacific Northwest would require rethinking our rigs. That wasn’t a decision we wanted to make just then. Heading back to the Midwest to reorganize and consider our next moves was the right thing to do. But remaining there? That was not a decision that felt right.
What was left here in the abundant US landscape? Naturally, the Pacific Northwest. Wilderness. Dark skies. Big skies. Foothills and trails and rivers and mountain tops. So we packed up our stuff — some minimal, most essential — and drove west to Idaho. One could get lost in the Northwest. All that splendor. For a few years at least, that’s what we plan to do — lose ourselves in the landscape and togetherness.
In the meantime, thanks, Kalamazoo. What a great place to be.