Finding our next home


Since we moved here, my ideas about what home is have shifted. I used to think home was the place you settled into for long periods of time – maybe even all your life. You buy the house, make best friends, get into a routine within your community.  I was searching for and trying to make that happen in Minnesota. I thought I’d find it here in Italy. I thought we’d plant roots in both of those places. Dig in deep to the life around us. Connect with the culture and settle in for years.

But during my time here, while I struggled to connect with my community because of the language barrier, I realized something…

I’ll never truly be home while I’m here on this earth.  My home is in heaven.

Maybe that’s why there’s this deep overwhelming longing within me to find “home.” It could also be that I’m a wife and a mother – but I think it goes deeper than that – I think this desire for home is within all of us.  I think it’s how we’re all created. With a need to return to our creator and savior.

So I’ve started to view this earthly home a little differently. To realize it’s temporary. To understand I’ll always have a longing for something more than I have here – because what waits for me in heaven won’t even come close to what I have now.

I’m not saying it’s easy to see things this way. I need daily reminding. I grew up in the same town all my childhood life and I like predictability and routine. The shift in perspective is hard to keep sometimes.

I’ve been drawn to minimalism for a few years, and we live a pretty minimal life already. After the passing of Nick’s parents, we took another look around and thought:

None of this stuff really matters. Our lives aren’t about things or places, it’s about loving people and making the most of the short time we have together. 

We also began to ask ourselves and the Lord, where our next temporary home might be.

We’d just talked and dreamed about the next move on a date night in early December.  Australia? Hong Kong? NYC? Pacific Northwest? Where would we go? On that night we thought living near my parents for awhile would be a good idea – maybe DC or Baltimore. Whenever we were finished in Italy that was – probably like 2-3 more years.  But all that had changed now. Could we even live legally in Italy past next year since we came in under Steve and Patti’s citizenship? Would it be too hard to stay here with all the memories?  Would Alicia’s family stay or go? Lots of questions were exchanged as we sorted through and prayed about direction for the next step.

The idea came to me after a nap. Funny that it’s the same time/way the idea to move to Italy came about.  Maybe we hear best from God when we wake from a nap? A rested, clear mind, able to engage with the supernatural?  I don’t know how these things work. I’m only guessing.

This idea was to temporarily return to my hometown of Winchester, VA and live near my parents. With the intention to rest and prepare for the next big adventure:

Travel around the US in an RV.

I’ve wanted to live in a tiny house for awhile now and I’ve been praying about the opportunity to homeschool again. I knew my dad and his brothers would be great at helping to renovate an older RV while we lived in Winchester.  But what would Nick think?  I figured he’d say it was a crazy idea.

Nope. He loved it.

We prayed and thought about it and started the research – blogs, YouTube, instagram. There’s A LOT out there about renovating RVs and quite a few families who travel full time this way.  We agreed and feel a peace about it being what we need. He’s calling it “a reset button”.

So that’s the next move. To become hippies and travel the United States in an Airstream after some time living near my family. Making home about loving others and making the most of our short time on this planet.

We’re set to move out of here in the beginning of August and have secured a place to live “downtown” in Winchester. Well, a teeny little downtown, but if we’re going to leave this Italian city life we’ve always dreamed of, we needed something with a touch of the same feel. I don’t know if I could handle suburbia.  A 10 minute walk to the library and we can walk to restaurants and a few shops. It should help a bit. Oh man, that library though – I’ve missed libraries so much and this one is beautiful. It’s the reason I always wanted a spiral staircase in my house (which I got here in Italy).  Ok, I digress…

We’ll take the next few months here to soak up Italian and European life.  I’m finally taking that trip to Barcelona I’ve wanted to take since high school. We’ll make sure Mariah sees Pompeii and we’re hoping to get to Paris and Greece if we can. All the while, selling everything and downsizing again. Best case scenario, our landlord or renter buys up the furniture in one swoop. But we’re all too familiar with selling our stuff online considering we just did it a little over a year ago.

So here we go (again). We’ll soon be starting a website called “The Gray Adventure” where you can follow along all things related to the upcoming moves, renovations and travels.

3 comments on “Finding our next home

  1. Judi Morris says:

    Awesome. I hope you’ll make it to Phoenix on your travels around the states. My door is always open and my beds are comfy.

    • Rachel says:

      Phoenix is on the list! Nick has some family there, we’ll have to stop by and say hello.

  2. I love your heart here, and love the adventure of it all! i think our souls crave adventure and change and new sometimes in certain seasons. and i think we’re taught all that “change” is bad. bad for our children, uprooting and everything you know what i mean? but i love your heart here and how your embracing it and making an adventure of life and truly LIVING! i think your kids will appreciate that and remember that over anything else.