Leaving Arizona, A Lament

As I sort through accumulated treasures of the last eight years ready for the removal men to box up our lives and whisk them away, I tear up now and again. I have petitioned for this move to England and yet . . . . we have been comfortable in our Arizona bubble of the good life.

My days consist of meals out, coffee with friends, swimming, shopping, yoga, reading, writing, blogging, walking amongst the desert flora, book club, watching wildlife from our balcony, writing group and wearing lightweight to barely any clothing all year round.  What’s not to like?

Unbearably hot summers are alleviated with air-conditioning or going north. Our neighbor expressed it as eight months of heaven and four months of hell. Even now when it is 105° outside we’re comfortable, until the electricity bill arrives.

Our quest for the last eight years has been to look for the perfect place to live. With family spread around the world, there is no such place for us but all other factors considered we came close to it in southern Arizona. The weather has been kind to us in our ridge top apartment as we’ve watched monsoons and dust storms sweep through the valley from the comfort of our balcony. While the rest of the country endured an insufferably long winter we put the heat on now and again and wore trousers instead of shorts.

All photos taken from our balcony. Please click to enlarge. Go on! You can’t see them properly unless you do, especially the dust storm and the pink rain!

The next few months, year? two years? will consist of uncertainty, insecurity and temporary accommodation tempered by the warmth of family and friends. At least I hope they will be pleased to see us.

I have made a pact with himself, the green card-toting Englishman, who apart from his views on politics and guns could be a native Arizonian.  For two or three months each winter – possibly beginning December 26th – we will cross the English channel and head south until we reach sunshine.

Right now I am in my anxiety default position – brain freeze and inertia. I gaze at our apartment with Native American and Mexican decorating touches and my American Southwest photos adorning the walls and don’t want to touch a thing.

Our year’s hiatus from travelling, cocooned in comfortable stationary housing, has turned into two-and-a-half years of spinning our wheels.

Which way now? The UK beckons.

I need a new blog title. What do you suggest?

86 thoughts on “Leaving Arizona, A Lament

  1. Hello Carol. This particular post reached out to me as Virginia and me (I? always get that confused) are still in AZ (a block from the Phoenix Mountains Preserve at 24th St and Shea, off the 51). Though we love it, (including the haboobs!) this is year 4 and we are beginning to seriously contemplate “The Next Big Move.” Stateside? Overseas? So many possibilities! Have to do it while we still have the remains of our youth (early 60’s), health, serious curiosity syndrome and the hard-won coins to make the leap. I look forward to following your adventures in Jolly Old. Cheers, Nelson

    Like

    1. Hi Nelson! We were so close and now so far away!
      We had discussed buying a house in Fountain Hills as we loved it there and possibly selling it in five years time and moving back here. We found all the aggravation of severing our ties there to move back here hugely, I mean HUGELY stressful, and I don’t think we would have survived it in five years time. That sounds dramatic and I’m not normally a drama queen (only in print) so here we are. Where are you thinking of moving to? Any ideas?

      Like

      1. It is tough to ‘sever’ those ties, especially since Virginia has family here (a main reason we’re here). We are thinking of leasing our house instead of selling. At first anyway. That way we can do extended landings elsewhere to see if one grabs us. Take another look at Asheville, NC maybe? Spend three months in Bali (haven’t been but adored Thailand and want to see the rest of SE Asia). Virginia is an Anglophile and I have Irish and US citizenship, so we want to do more Europe, but it is so dang expensive! Mediterranean areas for sure. I love Central and South America much more than V, but if we could find the right combo of perfection for pennies on the dollar, who knows?

        Like

  2. Cripes. I’ve missed so much! Why does everyone start having monumental life changes whilst I’m… uh… doing the same? Just read up about your arrival in the UK. I hope that you are settling in. As for the blog name, why change? Or maybe something like “Rooting for Roots”, or “Red Brick Reveries”? Hmm. I’ll think it over – still at waking up with coffee stage here in France. Big hugs, Carol xxxx

    Like

    1. Well now. That’s a bit spooky Joanna. I was just composing a comment to you after having read your interview last night just before lights out. I’m drinking tea and trying to come round in our new temporary abode in the UK. Guess what? Now don’t tell anyone but we’re thinking of living in Cornwall. Or France. I don’t remember reading about your monumental life changes. Have I missed something? Hugs too yoo too. XX

      Like

      1. We are very good at spooky in the Blogdom. My big change is taking the form of my mother-in-law, who has become omnipresent in our lives since Papounet died. I am living, breathing and dreaming about her – she has been very sick and we are still working on making her happy and healthy, with 600km return drives every two weekends, phone calls, paper work… I didn’t talk about it on the blog because I don’t want to whinge, but life’s a bit of a roller coaster at the moment.
        Cornwall is fabulous place to live. So is France. How on earth are you going to decide???

        Like

        1. So sorry to hear about you m-i-l. You are a good d-i-l. I wish her well.
          Finances will probably make our decision for us. The UK is the land of high taxation. From what we can see, France is worse. And you’ve put me off by challenging me to fill in a French tax form. It would be hard enough in English, but in French? Yikes!

          Like

  3. Carol, what an incredible view you have from your balcony. Just delicious. But my memories of living in the UK and Europe also include much beauty – just a different sort. Wishing you all the best in your journey of discovery. And as to the blog title, how about “This Way Now!” 🙂 ~Terri

    Like

    1. What a good idea Terri! As you may guess from the length of time it has taken me to respond we are struggling to get online. The pay-as-you-go data we bought doesn’t work on our campsite! I feel cut off from the world. Yes, our balcony view was fantastic but I’m enjoying the green here in the UK. Oh, and family and friends too!

      Like

  4. this was so beautifully written – you share from your heart in such a personable and flowing way – and best wishes – I have moved many times and I could relate to much of what you shared here – 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for your complimentary comment and good wishes. Struggling with the internet in a “new” country. Hope to be back in the thick of it soon but busy buying data, phones, a car, a house! lol

      Like

  5. There are always those moments of uncertainty, fear and sometimes shock when making big changes in your life, but it sounds like you have good friends and family to give you a warm welcome on the other end. I do think there is truth to the (somewhat corny) saying it’s about the journey, not the destination, so you should keep your which way now title. Beautiful photos of the pink rain and dust storm, can’t wait to see the ones of the pretty English countryside. Safe travels across the pond.
    Brenda

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Brenda. Although we are now in the UK it’s definitely not the end of our journey. I’ll probably keep the title as people seem to associate that with me now. And as for the *&#* journey, it was horrendous but we’re here safe and sound!

      Like

  6. Fabulous photos and what a view to enjoy…but your determination to make your move was clear in your postings – it seemed through your writings it was time to turn the page. Your anxiety is so understandable but your excitement also comes through loud and clear. Your loyal followers look forward to future updates – travel well!

    Like

  7. Im sure you will miss Arizona. You left your heart there for why else did you burrow a hole there while trying to figure out which way now?
    I wish you the best in your next chapter. Change strengthen us, since uncertainty is right there next to it.
    You sounded like you are bidding us goodbye, but you are actually saying, see you in the next bend…

    Like

  8. What a brilliant view to be leaving behind… but then who knows what the new views will be…. I think it is exciting that you are heading off to another part of the world with new adventures and new happenings awaiting you… in fact you don’t realise how lucky you are… so many people are stuck in one place all their lives (happy or unhappy) and just don’t get to move about at all… as for the name change? Why? You still don’t seem to know which way now, so until that day arrives I’d keep the name… Best of luck with all the move, shed a tear or two ’cause the laughs and life will meet you on the other side .. and the anguish you now feel will soon be forgotten as life takes on a new direction and new exciting adventures that will make these days become just a bit of history…

    Like

    1. You are a very deep and thoughtful guy, Rob. Yes, we are lucky. Most people don’t have choices. We’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment by choices but at the same time I realize how fortunate we are. It will all work out in the end and we’ve had some great adventures along the way. Thanks for your good wishes. All the best to you and your “bumps to negotiate.” ~Carol

      Like

  9. Like Sue, I felt really sad reading your post … endings are like that. I hope WhichWayNow simply takes on a new meaning 🙂
    I love your pictures and your stories. Hope to see many, many more of both!!
    Safe travels Carol.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Joanne! There will be more travels, adventures and knowing us, misadventures! Your kind word are much appreciated. Wherever we end up, we will continue to travel and experience .. . . . “things!” I’ll be watching for your edgy adventures as well! ~Carol

      Like

  10. Absolutely beautiful photos! I understand the feelings of sadness of leaving something that you’ve enjoyed and the anxiety of moving on to something new, even if it’s what you’ve longed for. Along with everyone else, I’m looking forward to reading about your new life adventures. And I also think that your blog title is still perfect. Wishing you the very best. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you Laurel. We’ve had the most stunning views from our balcony. It’s hard to leave the scenery and the perfect weather, friends and neighbors. Who knows what the future holds? Time will tell. I’ll keep you posted! ~Carol

      Like

  11. Like the blog title as it is, but could change it to This Way Now, or One Direction (am sure that last one would get you plenty of hits!) Lovely pix! But you’ll have new pix to take and new things to see. A new adventure ahead…..exciting! (and I know just how you’re feeling….I’ve campaigned to get us our of our current relocation and it’s gonna be happening in about 6 weeks! Finally…and yet, there are things here I’ll miss much to my own surprise!)

    Like

    1. Oh! I didn’t know you were on the move. I hope it goes well for you. One direction. Do you think that would attract the right followers? Haha! Worth a try. I don’t think we’ll ever go in one direction. Good luck to you. I’ll be watching to see what direction you go in. Best wishes. ~Carol

      Like

      1. Yes, perhaps when I leave here, I’ll have to actually write to my own life prompts and not the prompts of my club here. ……now that will be a new direction! Good luck to you too…..can’t wait to live this transition with you through your posts!

        Like

          1. Well, it’s a bit different for me writing for my class here and then just posting the week’s work, but I do nothing longhand at all. Most of my “work” takes shape in my head, then I move to Word and just get ideas down. From there, it just kind of forms itself….at least so far….

            Like

  12. No need to change the title. Which Way Now will still be appropriate I believe. It’s always hard to leave a place you’re settled in, even harder when it involves moving continents, but I am sure you and Himself will do OK. And maybe you’ll find that Home, before we do! Bon Voyage Carol – I look forward to your new adventures (BTW you have to go a LONG way south across the channel to find winter warmth – we’re talking Canaries at least)
    Jude xx

    Like

    1. Thanks for the good wishes Jude. Good luck to you too. When we head south I’ll be happy for some sunshine and blue skies. I’ll let you know if we find it. If we find a house with a nice fireplace I may not leave home!
      Heading your way Friday! ~Carol

      Like

  13. First Off… YOU AND I WERE NEIGHBORS! I live just north of Phoenix. However… I am in the cooler area of the states except…HUMIDITY is a killer!!
    Second… Keep the Blog Title… Which Way?? Perfect for going home and lots more adventures to come!
    Third… Good Luck To You!! You will find enjoyment in all your new places to photograph!
    P.S. GORGEOUS PHOTOS! I have never ever seen a dust cloud. And I missed Monsoon season! BUT because of you… I experienced it virtually! Thank You Carol and PLEASE keep on bringing us your love for life and humor! ~Nancy 🙂

    Like

    1. What a delightful comment, Nancy! I’m sorry we missed each other.
      We “enjoyed” several dust storms from our ridge top perch. The dust would come bowling down the valley while we spectated and miss us completely. Except on one occasion when it enveloped us and I got grit in my mouth and had to dive indoors!
      I’ll probably keep the blog title. We’ll still be wondering Which Way? for a while yet. ~Carol

      Like

  14. It’s not an easy decision to make, and we’ll be packing up and heading to the USA in a couple of months. I wish you lots of luck, and hope you’ll be very happy. Your photos are stunning, and I’m sure you’re going to miss Arizona, just as I will miss South Africa. *hugs* Sylvia

    Like

  15. I think you nailed your new blog title. Which way now? Home. That is the direction you are headed in for your next adventure. That is your new chapter. Home. Have a safe journey back and do not be a stranger.

    Like

    1. Home. That sounds nice. I won’t be dropping out of sight wherever we are. I’d hate to lose all my old and new bloggie friends! And there will be more adventures. All the best, Carol

      Like

  16. In all our travels I have found few places with better sunrises and sunsets than in the Valley of the Sun. Sedona, where we also lived for 5 years, does rival the “sun” events in the valley. I know leaving is bittersweet but you have a whole new chapter of your lives unfolding, which will be very exciting. Looking forward to hearing more about where you decide to settle.

    Like

  17. Wishing you peace and comfort back in England with family and friends.
    I understand your anxiety…been there, and actually have been going through it these last 6 weeks, and will continue as long as the invasion of millipedes INSIDE my apt. continues. Pest control comes every week to the community and has been spraying around and in my apt the past 5 weeks and this one. Doesn’t seem to stop them 😦 It is so sad because I am so happy to be living in Greenville, but at the moment don’t feel comfortable in my own indoor space. Apparently it is a bad year for these bugs!

    I am looking forward to continuing to read about your adventures on this journey call life.

    Like

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that Ann. I know how much you love Greenville and the bug invasion and spraying must be very unsettling fop you. Thanks for your good wishes and the best to you too. I hope you have your apartment to yourself soon.

      Like

  18. I’m sorry we missed each other in Fountain Hills, now it will be at least a couple years before I venture over the pond to see you. Big changes like you’ve done and are doing are not without regret and inertia, especially as it sounds kind of unsettled when you get there. Since I’m quite sure we’ve hardly scratched the surface of your US photos, will we see more adventures from here, or are you ready to make a complete transition? I admire your ability to make friends wherever you are, it’s a struggle for me. Dick told me one time that you would usually often toddle off to the pool to have a chat and a wine in most of the places you visited whether you knew anyone or not. Keep up the blog, whatever you call it (and I know you’ll come up with something snappy) looking forward to seeing more through your eyes . . .

    Like

    1. Thanks for the lovely message, Barb. I still can’t believe you came to Fountain Hill when we weren’t here! I hope to have a lovely new home to show off to you when you start your journey around the world.
      I need to keep up my revived American habit of talking to anyone anywhere. The English can be a bit reserved but at least we speak vaguely the same language so I can communicate!
      They took all my stuff away today and I had to sit there (then stand there) and watch them do it. My stomach churned the whole time. so glad that’s over with. But living out of suitcases for a while.
      Hope to see you in Blighty!

      Like

  19. your photographs are stunning… sights I never see here in Michigan, that’s for certain. God Bless you on your pending relocation for I felt very lost when I simply uprooted from living in Toledo, OH for 13 years to head back to the State of my birth 2 years ago. New name for your blog? How about: Another Fine Mess (an homage to Stan Laurel who was born in England) carry on!

    Like

    1. I didn’t know Stan Laurel was born in England but the Englishman I live with did! We certainly find ourselves in a fine mess often enough. Nothing exciting happens when you sit at home on your sofa!

      Like

  20. Love the pictures and the sentiment about moving. But I’m not so sure you should change the title of your blog. I’ve been in the same town for over 40 years, and I’m still wondering “which way”!!! Life has twists and turns no matter where you are.

    Like

  21. Yep, those big changes are always daunting, but there has to be some exciting in there, too! You’ll do fine. Before you know it you’ll likely be facing yet another change. Hopefully they’ll all be for the better! Wishing you happy trails!

    Like

    1. We will enjoy our new home and miss Arizona at the same time. We’re spoiled with all the travelling we’ve done. Nowhere is perfect. Everywhere is fascinating! Thanks for your good wishes. ~Carol

      Like

  22. I felt the same way leaving Australia to move to North Cyprus. 40 years in Oz and we were finally leaving. But it’s worked out fine, although I do get homesick for Downunder. I’m sure you’ll find new ways of living, but change your name? Nah…you’ll need it in the UK, for sure! Good luck with your move – I hope your luggage gets to the UK a lot faster than ours from Australia. It got stuck in Istanbul for 6 months – what could have gone wrong, went wrong, and it was only through a bribe by the moving company that we finally got our goods. Mind you, it was fun rediscovering what we’d packed 6 months ago!

    Like

    1. Our luggage (and we) will be routed through New York. I hope they can shunt it (and us) on to Heathrow! It won’t be the big unknown for us in England but certainly different from Arizona. It will be a big adjustment. I’ll keep the name for now as I don’t know exactly which way now . . . . ?

      Like

    1. Thank you so much Patricia. The last few days have been tough and your positive words are appreciated. I have a brand new notebook ready to record . . . who knows what? I will undoubtedly blurt it all out on my blog! ~Carol 😀

      Like

  23. I got choked up reading your post carol. A big decision for sure. I think you should leave the title as is. My guess is the two of you will be exploring wherever you are. Best of luck and I look forward to hearing more.

    Like

    1. Aww. Thanks Sue. I’ve had a difficult couple of days packing up and then watching all our belongings being boxed up and wheeled out the door. I’m now sitting in a hotel room amongst six suitcases. I hope that is not the sum total of my possessions! We’ll have a day of R & R tomorrow and then fly on Friday and then . . . . . . ? As you say, which way now? Thanks for your good wishes. Best,~Carol

      Like

  24. Aww… I know it must be hard to leave all that behind. But you’ll be back to visit, right?

    As for a new blog name… good grief, I haven’t the foggiest. My creativity is reflected in my second year blog name (adding an S to year)! 🙂

    Like

    1. I can’t think where to put an ‘S’ in a new title! Not Which Way Snow I hope! I hope we’ll be back. We are very fond of Arizona, especially it’s weather, especially it’s weather last winter. Where will we be next winter? Probably wishing we were with you in Vegas, Nancy!

      Like

Please chat - put your two pennyworth in!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s