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We’re Moving . . .

In early May, Logan found out that his boss, along with his job, will be moving from Portland, Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts. He was offered the same research position in Boston and it’s a sexy opportunity. The institution is a research hospital near Cambridge, Harvard, and MIT. The lab will be in a brand new, state-of-the-art research facility overlooking the Charles River. In fact, the facility is being built specifically for Logan’s boss and three other faculty that will be leading a new graduate school program.

With low living expenses, a tiny house on wheels, and my location independent job, we’ve had a lot of choices to ponder over the last three weeks. We considered towing our tiny house across the country and moving to Boston. We also talked about staying in Portland, moving back to Northern California. As we talked, Logan and I asked ourselves what our gut instinct was telling us. Our instinct was screaming, “Move back home!”

On our bike camping trip last weekend, we finally decided to move back to Northern California at the end of August. There are a lot of reasons for the move, but the biggest one is this: my dad’s health is not improving. The combination of two stokes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia have not been kind to his body or mind. We might be lucky if get a few more years with him.

The selfish part of me wants to stay in Portland. I love our friends, neighbors, and the city. But my gut tells me that I need to be closer to both my parents and to Logan’s family. If I stayed in Portland, I’d regret the decision. I don’t think I could look at myself in five years and say that I did the right thing. We have a house on wheels, so that when situations like these arise we can help family when they need us the most. In addition, Logan has been talking about shifting his career from research to teaching, his true passion. And this move will give him the opportunity and time to rethink his work.

I’m incredibly grateful; grateful for our friends, family, and our little house on wheels. Leaving Portland makes me sad, but I’m looking at this move as an opportunity; an opportunity to remake our lives, to focus on our family, and to have a whole lot of fun in Chico, CA.

Be well,

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Liz May 28, 2012, 10:56 am

    Welcome home to California! Have you found a place to park your lives in Chico, yet?

    • Tammy Strobel May 28, 2012, 2:42 pm

      @Liz – Not yet. Luckily, my lovely brother and sister in-law live in Chico. I’m hoping they can help us find a place to park. Also, there are a few RV parks that look promising.

      • Dave West May 28, 2012, 7:53 pm

        My wife and I are Chico grads. Check out Paradise. We commuted down the hill for our student teaching. Paradise is close to Chico, but much prettier, and cooler in the summer. The tiny house looks great.

  • Ev`Yan Whitney May 28, 2012, 10:59 am

    Oh, Tammy. This news makes me so sad, because Jonathan & I adore you & Logan. But. . . I completely understand where you’re coming from & why it is you’re relocating. I think if it really came down to it, I would likely move to be closer to my family, as well; especially if my family was experiencing hardships. I deeply admire you for being selfless enough to make this decision. It can’t have been easy! And I hope that we’ll get a chance to see you before you two pack up. We’ll miss you!!!

    • Tammy Strobel May 28, 2012, 2:34 pm

      Ev`Yan – Thanks for the sweet comment. 🙂 We won’t be moving till the end of August, so there will be plenty of time for coffee or dinner. Hope to see you soon!

  • Sarita Li Johnson May 28, 2012, 11:10 am

    Wish you guys the best!

    This: “If I stayed in Portland, I’d regret the decision. I don’t think I could look at myself in five years and say that I did the right thing,” is a great thing for you to realize now, instead of five years from now!

    Welcome back to CA.


  • Tami -- Teacher Goes Back to School May 28, 2012, 11:12 am

    tough decisions – all. i’m truly sorry to hear your dad isn’t doing well, but happy to hear you have the opportunity to really be there for him and your mom.

    welcome back to northern california. portland makes an excellent weekend get-away destination. we’ve been going at least once a year since we left in 1998.

  • michelle May 28, 2012, 11:21 am

    What a HUGE decision. And, true to form, you’ve both done it with grace and introspection.

    Congratulations on this new adventure!

  • Sarah Sloan May 28, 2012, 12:01 pm

    Chico is one of the best towns in the country. Like Portland but with outstanding weather. You will be so glad you did it!

    • Tammy Strobel May 28, 2012, 2:35 pm

      @Sarah – Indeed! Logan and I went to school at CSU, Chico. Although, I have to disagree about the weather. It’s way too hot in the summers. 🙂

      • Anonymous May 28, 2012, 5:47 pm

        When it’s hot you could tow your house to the mountains… Like butte meadows. Logan will have summers off as a teacher. You could try to even get a camp spot at the plumas pines resort on the west shore of almanor. That would be idyllic.

  • Teri H May 28, 2012, 12:07 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and don’t know if I’ve ever commented… We recently sold everything and bought a fifth wheel and truck to experience travel, adventure and living small. We love the idea of a tiny house if we ever do decide to settle down somewhere (most likely Texas which is where we are from). We just drove thru/by Chico in the last few weeks and spent some time in the Portland area. As we drove thru Chico, I looked up info on it on WikiPanion… and both my husband and I thought it sounded like a neat little town! We loved Portland while we were there too! Best wishes for your new chapter in your life.

  • Debby May 28, 2012, 12:27 pm

    My own selfISH person can’t say I’m not happy about you moving closer, especially when I’m up in Chico often, but my heart is aching to hear Mahlon is still not doing well. I have always used the “Will it matter five years from now?” in making my decisions, even when raising my children. So glad you do as well. Be safe my friend in your travels and let me know when you touch down.

    • Tammy Strobel May 28, 2012, 2:36 pm

      @Debby – I can’t wait to see you more often. Sending you hugs from Portland. 🙂

  • Tyler Tervooren May 28, 2012, 12:34 pm

    Oh, Tammy! I’m going to miss you and Logan so much. But, I really admire the both of you for making this decision. You have so many options, but you knew exactly which one was right for you.

    Like I said the other day, you guys have been dealt one hell of a hand lately, but I don’t know any two people better equipped to not just get through it, but come out stronger on the other side.

    Godspeed to you both. I think a going away party will be in order…

    • Tammy Strobel May 28, 2012, 2:37 pm

      @Tyler – Your comment made me cry. I’m so sad to leave Portland, but I know this is the right decision.

      And we will be having a going away party! Dee and I have something in the works. I’ll keep ya posted on the dates.

  • Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate May 28, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Tammy and Logan,

    We’ll miss you here, but it sounds like California needs you more than we do. I guess I’d better get off my duff and come to see your tiny house before it rolls away.



    • Tammy Strobel May 28, 2012, 2:38 pm

      @Katy – For sure! We’ll be here until the end of August. Would love to see you before we tow the house down the road. 🙂

  • Kane May 28, 2012, 1:20 pm


    Doing what is right for you and Logan and your dad is good decision.

    And thinking about Logan’s work I guess, to put it into perspective, that as he’s good enough to attract the sort of offer to go to Boston with his boss, there are bound to be opportunities for him in California. Assuming that what’s on the tale right now is all that there is I would argue is a mistake.

    Family beats ‘sexy job’ every time.

    I hope all works out well for you and yours.


  • amanda May 28, 2012, 1:23 pm

    Tammy, It sounds like you guys have really thought this through, and it’s so good that you have the ability to move easily with the little house. Being close to your mom and Mahlon will definitely be worth it. And for Logan to have made the choice he did toward teaching, to me, really seems like an important one, like this will be the catalyst for him to shift into what he most wants to be doing. You can never go wrong with reasons like these. I’m really glad for you both.

  • Lynda May 28, 2012, 1:51 pm

    My daughter and her husband just had to make the same choice for the same reasons. They were living on the East Coast while my SIL was going to school. They had decided to stay and set up a practice there. Her father recently had a series of serious heart attacks and several heart surgeries that were touch and go…they are now on their way back to California…she too did the “Will it matter five years from now?” He’s from Chico, she’s from Colusa County….small world. We are glad they are coming home and humbled they would do such a wonderful thing for us…to bring our grandchildren and themselves back home.

  • Stacey May 28, 2012, 2:11 pm

    Congrats! I’m sure you’ll do what’s best and LOVE whatever you do!
    My hubby’s an academic, which means lots of moving/uncertainty. (for example: we’re off to Ithaca for a year, then Minneapolis), and even though it’s scary, I sorta love the chance for adventure 🙂
    Of course, there’s no perfect solution, because we’re constantly moving closer/further from some family/friends… but it all works in the end.

  • Sue M May 28, 2012, 2:26 pm

    Since my husband and I live in the Boston area I was hoping to hear you’d be bringing the Tiny House movement to our neck of the woods. But I’m happy for you, Mahlon and your Mom that you are going to be close to them. The fact that you have arranged your life so that you and Logan have the flexibility that you do is a testament to the smart choices you have made.

  • sondra May 28, 2012, 3:19 pm

    Greetings from Davis, CA! We’re actually moving to Seattle at the end of summer, so it seems we’re trading spaces almost. Good luck with the move; sounds like the right decision.

  • Kai May 28, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Thinking of you and your family, Kittens. It’s good to know you two are so thoughtful about big decisions and that your hearts are in the right place. Relocating and distance? Tough. I hope the preparations are going well.

    Miss you and L. xo

  • Susan May 28, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I so admire your decisions regarding family and work and allocating your priorities to do what feels morally right.
    I had never before heard of the “will it matter in 5 years?” consideration. My family has sadly disintegrated because their actions have been just the opposite with thoughts based solely on “what is in my best interests at this moment”. We lived a happy 30 year suburban life on the West coast. My children went to local colleges and I acquiesced at my husband’s retirement and moved 5 hours away with him. Four years on my husband has ended the marriage to be with his college girlfriend, my children are both chasing the big dollars in foreign countries and I live solo in the original, family city. They all want to live here and I am the contact/coordinator and informer of all things family. We are each alone because of decisions made in complete contrast to those chosen by you, Tammy and Logan. I applaud and envy what you are about to do.

  • Rich Milliron May 28, 2012, 8:45 pm

    Tough decision, but when the winter comes you’ll be glad you’re not in MA! My wife and I have worked at Chico State for 22 years (College of Business), and I love this town – But, I’d find it hard to leave Portland and all the great little breweries (my “hobby”). Sierra Nevada is great, but I’m in Hog Heaven, when I’m in Portland 😉 Good luck with the move!

  • Aime Lopez May 28, 2012, 8:51 pm

    These are big news!!!… but I was thinking that you would do it any time soon… I support your decision, Family is FIRST, no matter what… and you know that changes are for good, I hope that everything you decide goes as you wanted, my prayers are with you and your family and don´t feel that you will regret of anything, you can always come back to Portland 😉

    Wish you the best!!

    God bless you!!
    Love & Harmony…


  • Kristin Noelle May 28, 2012, 10:52 pm

    Sending love and deep peace to you both. What a gift to both be on the same page with this decision!

  • Jonathan Blundell May 29, 2012, 6:19 am

    From my experiences – you’ll never regret spending too much time with your family.

    Blessings on your move.


  • Nika May 29, 2012, 6:26 am

    Hi Tammy and Logan –

    Good luck with the move!!! Many people don’t listen to their “gut” often; that takes courage.


    P.S. If you see me signing a post as “Nika,” it is a nickname.

  • Eva May 29, 2012, 9:14 am

    This sounds like the best decision–family is most important. But it’s not clear from your post, Logan is quitting his job? Or is he moving to Boston or telecommuting or something?

    (As a New Englander, and at the risk of offending other readers, I’m not surprised you wouldn’t want to live in the Boston area even without the pull of family; much winter cycling would make you a Hobo or Total Freak, not a Cool Eco-Urban type, unfortunately. The west coast is so much more friendly to bikes and they are such a part of your life it would make sense to stay anyways.)

    • Tammy Strobel May 29, 2012, 11:05 am

      @Eva – Logan was offered the position in Boston, but didn’t accept it. So I guess you could say he is quitting. He’ll be working at OHSU until the end of August; right before his boss moves to Boston.

  • Natalie May 29, 2012, 9:37 am

    I admire your (you and Logan) decision. I think you are making the right move to be with family while you can, especially if it’s your gut instinct. Good luck in your move, and how awesome that you can take your existing home with you. 🙂

  • my honest answer May 29, 2012, 10:04 am

    All the best with your move. I’m sure that you have made the right decision – and as you say, the purpose of living so simply is that you can be mobile when you need to.

  • Racheal May 29, 2012, 11:26 am

    your amazing. What an amazing life you lead. I just found the tiny house design on facebook yesterday and I am truly intrigued. One question: when you do move, do you buy land ahead of time, within a city or town grid to be able to hook up your utilites?
    thanks and take care,

    • Logan May 29, 2012, 3:04 pm

      Hi Racheal,

      We won’t be buying any land. We’ll be looking for a spot to rent similar to our current situation. The tiny house was designed to work either on or off-grid so we are flexible if we end up outside of the city. 🙂

  • Sandra / Always Well Within May 29, 2012, 11:47 am

    There’s almost always some sadness that comes along with a move, but I think you will be so happy with the decision you’ve made. You have a huge heart and to be close to someone you love in their final years is a precious gift for all of you. I wish you a smooth transition.

  • Rose Byrd May 29, 2012, 1:02 pm

    Tammy, I have had a little bird telling me you and Logan would end up moving back to Northern California. And since Logan thinks he really wants to teach more than continue in pure research, this seems like a very good choice for you guys, just based on what you have shared with us, your devoted followers! I am beating multiple prayer drums for you guys as you move through the summer with your preparations! Always praying for Mahlon and your mom, of course!

  • Diane May 29, 2012, 1:04 pm

    One of the advantages of your tiny wheeled home is that you can always move back someday, if that’s what seems right at a later date. You have the flexibility that most people lack.

    It’s hard to make decisions like this, and I congratulate you on putting your family at the top of your consideration. I’m sure your parents will be happy and relieved to have you nearby.

  • Kathleen @ Frugal Portland May 29, 2012, 7:41 pm

    My first thought was, “how on earth can she justify moving to Boston when her dad is so sick?” but then I kept reading. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing.

  • Michael May 29, 2012, 7:49 pm

    Wow! I see everything is already packed in the moving van (tiny house) a whole 3 months early…
    It is always good to spend time with family no matter the circumstance and being able to move quickly is one of the reasons you two bought the tiny house. Best of luck to you two in Chico and in a way you aren’t moving, you’ll still be at rowdykittens.com.

  • kim May 29, 2012, 7:57 pm

    Thank you for being a model of how to prioritize the truly important things in life. Good luck with your move!

  • Nicole Marie May 29, 2012, 10:32 pm

    Best of luck in the next part of your journey! You and Logan’s story, and that of your little house, has been a great inspiration to all of us looking for a simpler life, and Chico won’t know what a force for positive change hit ’em! Good luck and joy to you both!

  • edgar May 30, 2012, 7:33 pm

    Welcome back to Northern California. Chico is not that far from we live, Napa Valley.

  • Lesle Alvarado May 31, 2012, 8:04 am

    Reading this post, I’m truly impressed by how your lifestyle — living in your tiny, mobile, home — has allowed y’all to focus on the really important issues (which are enough in my opinion) and not have to worry about selling, finding, and moving to a new home.

    There’s a huge country and world out there to explore, but I applaud your decision to move home. Having lost my daddy in February, I can’t stress enough how extraordinary it was to spend every possible moment with him those final days.

  • avelottes May 31, 2012, 12:57 pm

    i love the picture..

  • Susannah Conway June 1, 2012, 4:31 am

    A decision made from the heart is always the right one 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you in Portland in July! xxx

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