We feel very at home in our current “home” town Santa Cruz, California and have grown very fond of this special & beautiful area (which I find has near perfect weather where the sun shines over 300 days a year and its rarely too hot or too cold) and love the mostly smart, liberal minded, spiritual community. We love the beautiful beaches, redwood areas, lakes, ridge tops, meandrous country roads and wonderful hidden away nooks and crannies. When thinking about best places to live in the whole world, this area will always be one of the tops because of its beauty, family nearby, great weather, University town, great community, near ocean and close to two great cities (SF and San Jose), not far from LA and my connections there and within close driving range to some of the most spectacular places on the planet (Big Sur, Tahoe, Yosemite, Napa, Mendocino, Monterey, Carmel, Lake Arrowhead etc etc).
Most of my adult life I have lived at quite a distance from my family since I lived in NYC for years, then bi-coastally and then at the beach in LA. Its been wonderful living close to my mother these last 16 years and watching her experience a close bond with my daughter for the last (almost) 6 years. To our delight, my sister moved back to this area as well a few years ago and has recently married the man of her dreams. So this family bonding has added another layer of gratitude and connection to this area as “home”. We always go to my mom and step fathers home in Capitola for most holidays as my mom makes the best traditional feasts that I know of.;) So it will be strange now not having that. DaVinci's father and sister and most relatives also live only a few hours away and are a very important part of our lives. Ms. Mozart adores her “cousins” on both sides and the adults are deeply cherished too.
So it will be hard to leave family, the VERY hardest thing about this trip. Since we are no longer young, our parents are no longer young either or our sibs, so that is always on our mind. We hope to stay connected thru the internet and webcam and visits and thank goodness for Skype (http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html) and free calls to any where in the world.
Our last home plays a big part in this world tour scenario. Its not really a coincidence that we found it after an extensive trip to Europe. I found it by accident when I was lost after spending almost 2 years looking for a new “home”. We were attached to our first home together where we got married 15 years ago in its redwood grove, twelve tree “fairy circle” with a hundred year old out door hearth there that had “this hearth is home” engraved on it.
We found that we really enjoyed using all of our combined creativity to create “home” together and a feeling of “heaven on earth” for us. We both love beauty and ended up creating magic there which would be hard to replace, thus we were quite fussy about what we would accept for our next “home”. I remember a friend saying when she visited our second home (she had done a retreat at our first home), “where do you find these places?” quite incredulously.
Actually we take some time finding what will meet our requirements for home and then take lots of effort , “sweat equity” and tight budgeting on creating that inner vision that we see when we look at the rough canvas. We enjoy the process and seems to come naturally for us. I knew the moment we saw our diamond in the rough that it was our dream home. It’s high on a ridge top in the middle of no where next to the oldest working vineyard in California. I was totally lost when I found it and it looked like an old hacienda that had burnt down years ago. But when DaVinci came home late, I just gave him a sandwich for supper to eat on the way and told him he just had to see it. He saw it immediately as well. When we finally got a chance to walk inside it took our breath away. It was new, it just looked old and was made by an artist with great love and we could feel that and wanted to add to that and finish the vision that it gave us.
When there was nothing but mud and scraped earth on the land, we saw the vineyards, lawns, lavender, olive trees and gardens that would come. We knew what we wanted inside and in fact were already painting and doing changes before we actually closed escrow. We learned a ton in the process and fell more in love with it each day. Someone once said that what you value, you give your time to and we certainly gave our time, energy and money to that house to create our dream home. We stretched to get that house and thought of every clever way to expand it within our tight budget.
When DaVinci's mother died shortly after having her last birthday at our newly purchased home, his father came and stayed sometimes and they used the energy from their grief to dig holes for the olive trees we put in ourselves, or painting the perimeter gate wall together. We did not plan on a wall and gate at first, but the deer made it clear that we would not grow anything on this lovely flat land without a fence of some kind, so we found a way that would honor our aesthetics and solve the problem. In that large cooks kitchen that I loved, I told my mom on her 72nd birthday that I was finally pregnant by giving her a card signed by a baby's name I had been talking about for a long time and watched the tears stream down her eyes. I watched DaVinci stay up working late night after night after a long day of work and commute as he made a wire basket by hand for every single vine in the vineyard so that the gophers could not get to the roots.(400!)
But always the house gave back as there was never a morning that I woke up in that house with that inner light and awesome views that I did not remember how grateful I was for the beauty that surrounded me. It resonated so deeply within both of us that it was almost more of a shrine to us than just a home. It was pristinely quiet and peaceful and we cherished that and the nature that gave us daily shows from quail families, hummingbirds and deer to bobcat and owl.
We are not wealthy and live in a state of outrageously expensive real estate, so we knew what a blessing we had been handed by fate and hard work. Upon first seeing it, my brother said, “If you can't be happy here, then you can't be happy anywhere” and that was so true. The happy memories from this special home are endless. My goodness, what a wonderful place to get pregnant and raise a child. I was grateful to have a glorious blessing way there, many retreats shared with others, sponsoring some of the top healers in the world and lots of gatherings with family and friends.
So why in the world would we ever let go of such a wonderful home? Many people thought we were nuts and it was indeed a very hard decision that we thought long and hard about. I still miss that home in some ways and yet it still lives inside me too and we know we have done the right thing.