guess who’s gonna be an ex-pat again?!

i’ve got some big big news to share with y’all! i’ve been dying to tell you, but sometimes you just have to wait to share what’s on your heart. it’s been hard to stay quiet about it, but you just gotta wait until everything falls into place. but, now the wait is over. now is the perfect time… finally! so, here goes!

lina and i are moving to uppsala, sweden!

ok. here’s how things went down.

my love + i began talking about our future (as we do all the time) and wondering what would come next. when we realized that it just might be possible for lina to begin working as a graphic designer way earlier than we anticipated. this happened months + months ago. suddenly, we found ourselves pursing this thought seriously, while at the same time, weighing all of the pros + cons of living in the states and living in sweden.

in any case, while we were pondering all of these pros and cons, including access to travel the world (waaaaay easier in sweden), amounst of salaries + freedom to live and grow our own business, vacation times, family rights, health care… all of the signs led us to know that, in order to live the life that we want, it is much more beneficial to live in sweden. at the same time, there is no place in sweden that feels exactly like asheville – a place where our hearts beat a little faster. still, the lifestyle in sweden – cozy, outdoorsy, simpler, intentional, and fika-filled! – is one that we love too! tough decision to know where to live? hell yeah.

but, things rolled on with lina and a potential job, and very recently she was offered a job as a graphic designer – doing exactly what she wants to do! amazing! i, of course, can write + take photos anywhere, so that’s exactly what i am going to do. once again, we have dreams + goals and we intend to do nothing less than listen to our souls and follow them.

lina and liz my love me

it feels so amazing to know that we are moving back to sweden, and it feels so heartbreaking to know that we are leaving asheville behind. but, this is the life of an international married couple. a huge blessing + a bittersweet curse. however, with our work, we will be much more mobile (work + vacation times in sweden rock the socks off of american work + vacation times), so the opportunity for long-term travel will be a huge part of our sweden-based life. for instance, americans, we will be able to spend lots of time here + the goal is to buy a tiny place in and around asheville in the future.

this move feels very different than my last move to sweden 4 years ago. ii already have a permanent residence permit for sweden, so i am welcome to move back without any paperwork or anything, just as lina can move back. we just have to do a change of address at the government offices. how amazing is that? plus, i already have a place in society, with our family, friends, and the biggest of all… i speak swedish!

we are leaving asheville in less than two months, so there is not much time left before the big move. we are in the midst of juggling balancing life int he present moment here – enjoying every single thing and every single minute, and making all of the necessary preparations for another move across the ocean – whew. so, in the height of all of the cozy holiday season here in asheville, we are also getting moving quotes, looking for a place to live in uppsala, and terminating all of our business here. it’s freaking crazy. but, i think we thrive on this kind of stuff.

map

my heart is filled with excitement + sadness, joy + pain. but, i know, with all of my soul that this is right. and i cannot believe the opportunities that lay ahead for us both! be sure to follow along here… the next few months will be a big mix of holiday fun, moving preparations, and lots of reflections as we make this amazing transition.

yep. i’m gonna pack up my american things and head back out to be an ex-pat once again! let the adventures begin!

light + love

the reynolds family goes camping: a short video by lier.se

hot springs camping campfire morning

about a month ago, lina + i did something that i loooove to do: we went camping. my brother, nick, announced to us sometime in august that he thought we should go camping as a family during the autumn – since we were all in the same place now… and not spread out across the state or across the ocean. so, the 3 of us decided that a camping trip to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday was the perfect reason to make this family outing happen.

we left on a friday afternoon for hot springs, nc, and set up camp until midday. while we were there, we basically made delicious camp food, sat by the fire, read some books, wandered a bit, drank beer, cooked + ate more food, and sat by the campfire some more. it was a magical weekend – one that i will never forget. one that i have stashed away in the recesses of my memory, knowing that i will draw upon those cozy late night, dark moments around the fire or those chilly mornings of preparing camp breakfasts together, for the rest of my life. everything was so simple + slow + real + intentional. we were off the grid + unplugged. just enjoying the surroundings + each other.

well, my amazing wife did her amazing thing and created a video of the weekend – so now i have a some live action memories of what happened that weekend; and i cannot express with words what this little video means to me. i cry every single time i watch it.

if you’d like, take a little look, and see how we spent our family weekend together. i’m gonna watch it again + again + again. hehe.

thank you, my love. you have ,melted my heart + touched me so deeply with this. i will cherish it always.

love xx

the love of thousands

remember how i said on monday that i was focusing on the value + emphasis that native americans put on families? well, i truly have been thinking about family a lot this week – it’s amazing how the universe seems to flow, connecting + bringing forth the exact things that you need, when you need them. in other words, timing often seem serendipitous as life unfolds moment by moment. well, this week i’ve been pondering the ups + downs of family. the sizes of family. the definition of family. belonging, history, land, and much more…

personally, i have a fairly small family. two parents. one sibling. three cousins. two aunts. two uncles. and my amazing wife. of course, i have her family – which is huuuuuge. but, right now, i am talking about my closest blood relations. it’s a small clan. and while we may be close, we are quite spread out. my parents + brother are nearby, however. in any case, i have never had this really big, loud, crazy family. however, my family is loud + crazy + unique (in a good way). it’s just that there are not that many of us. which, could be seen as a negative (and sometimes i wish for a big family).

however, when i think back to all of the grants (my mother’s maiden name) and reynolds who have gone before me… when i trace my roots all the way back to scotland + england in the 1600s, i realize that my family is quite large. i have a great number of people who are with me, if not physically present, then spiritually or emotionally. and that, is extremely inspiring.

lake junaluska

the other day, i went to visit my parents for the afternoon. just to hang out – and to help my dad with some computer things. but, before i arrived at their house, i took the long way through their “neighborhood” in order to pass by some places that hold special meaning to me.

you see, my granddad, who died when i was 11, was a minister/pastor. he had a house up here in these mountains where we would vacation during the summers and holidays. i never lived up here during my childhood, but i have so many memories of this place. summers at the pool. feeding the ducks. walking on the lake when it was frozen in the winter. weekends in the fall. thanksgivings + christmases. i remember sitting with my grandparents on their front porch, chatting with the people as they walked by. playing cards with my grandmother. watching the fireworks over the lake on the 4th of july.

and, later in life, when i was in college and my grandparents were long gone, i remember coming “home” to this place for holidays since my parents and my brother moved here. at one point, in my previous marriage, i lived in a house here for a short time, calling it home. and then, after meeting lina, i brought her here – to share with here the beauty + magic of this place. we got engaged at this lake on christmas eve 6 years ago.

all of this to say, i do not call this home. but, it is engrained in my history. this place is a member of my family. it reminds me of who i have been + from where i have come. it has imprinted its beauty on my soul.

lake junaluska cross

growing up, when i traveled here for the summer, or a weekend, or a holiday with my family, we always arrived at the lake and took the “long way” in… as i did the other day. we crossed over a rickety wooden bridge and then ascended a big hill, arriving at the base of this cross, which looks out over the lake (see the first photo in this post – that is the view from beside this cross). my dad always made me + my brother get out, no matter the weather or the time of year or time of day. and here, standing at the base of this cross, we had our picture taken. there are photos of me with my brother, some with my dad, some with my mom, and some with my grandparents. it’s a tradition that lasted year after year. and one i will always cherish. even to this day…

me cross lake junaluska

on this day, i took a picture of myself, as i was alone up there at the cross. but, i did not feel alone. i felt the company of my family – of all of the people who have come + gone in my life, blood-related or not. i felt inspired, blessed, lucky, and at peace. feelings that always creep up in me and settle in my soul whenever i stand or sit right here. so many memories. so many feelings. so much to be thankful for, as i look back over the past 40 years + wonder what the next 40 years will bring.

trees road

trees sunset mountains

as tempting as it has always been to simply stay right here, wrapped up in the safety + the memories of this place, i know that the story continues. we cannot stay in the same places, doing the same things. we can carry on traditions + revisit + remember, but time marches on. change always happens. so, it’s up to me to welcome that change + see the road ahead as another great adventure, or to stay stuck where i am, or worse yet, only yearning for the past (which i most certainly do not do. hehe.)

come what may, we cannot stay in the same place, repeating the same story. we may not know what lies ahead, but with confidence we can be sure that, as long as we stay true to our selves, the universe will continue to guide us as our lives unfold, moment by moment.

it’s up to me to continue my story. to not forget about the stories of the past + simply move on, but to continue to write the story of my ancestors. for wherever i go, whatever i do, they always remain with me.

lake junaluska

walking i am listening to a deeper way. suddenly all of my ancestors are behind me. be still, they say. watch and listen. you are the result of the love of thousands.

- linda hogan, chickasaw indian.

me cross lake junaluska

peace + light as you travel your road. xx