Friday, January 3, 2014


Seattle to Vashon Island, Washington | 17 miles

When we moved off the boat last month, we went to Chip's parents' house in Delaware to ponder our next move. Our belongings had been pared down to a scant few bins, now mostly tucked in the attic, a few in the car. The immediate plan was to visit my family in New Mexico. After that, the future had not even been sketched in, not even in pencil.

"How about Vashon Island in Seattle?" I asked Chip a few days later.

We had been exploring the idea of housesitting, looking through the listings on various sites, wondering what it would be like to live in someone else's house. I had signed up for and filled out a profile trying to make us sound mature, responsible, attractive. It all felt weirdly like online dating.

Looking through the listings one night, I came across a small lodge tucked into several acres of forest land near Seattle. It was on an island in the Puget Sound that is accessible only by ferry. The ad said it was available for January and February. Perfect.

Chip said yes. I sent a message and moved on, my expectations low.

Two days later, I got an email from the owner of the lodge. He wanted to talk to us.

After a Skype date, several emails, and a reference from friends, he offered us the "job."

The property was 2,857 miles from where we sat in Bridgeville, Delaware. It was owned by someone we had never met on an island where we'd never been.

We said yes.

Today, we boarded the Vashon Island ferry to see what we'd gotten ourselves into.

Driving around the island, we found a couple of tiny villages, with coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and shops. The undulating hills are dressed with towering pines that every once in a while step back to show off vistas of water and distant snowcapped peaks.

A coffee shop, roastery and handmade goods shop.
Just after three, we pulled up to our new address and had our first look at home for the next two months.

Inside we met the kind and intelligent couple who showed us around the grounds. This evening, in front of a roaring fire, we laughed and talked politics, philosophy and hope over a savory lamb dinner.

Our new friends head out tomorrow, leaving us in charge of our new retreat. Our treehouse bedroom overlooks the forest and sunset beyond. Down the hall, we have a yoga room and a separate exercise room. Downstairs, our little lodge built in the early 1900s has wood floors, two fireplaces and a rambling foodie's kitchen with a window box looking out over the veranda and front lawn.

On this, my third day of being 54, I am ponderously grateful for this life of adventure and my fellow adventurer. In our continued attempt to craft reality from fanciful dreams, we have found paradise once again.

We will be plodding here for the near future. Thanks for coming along.

Our sitting room.

The view with a tiny splotch of blue water.

A reminder of our roots.

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