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One year ago today, I had packed most of what I owned into a moving truck, and the rest was stuffed into a bulging duffel bag, one rolling suitcase and my Vera Bradley overnight bag. I enjoyed a last day in Denver–coffee with a friend, trying to sell my car, a lingering lunch with my mom at my favorite restaurant.

Then I was on a plane, headed across the country to start a new life in a new city in an apartment I had only seen on a poorly lit video call and a few photos. It was a life-changing step, and I had no idea whether I was doing the right thing.

As soon as I landed and saw husband waiting for me at baggage claim, I thought, “Oh right, this is home. He is home. It doesn’t matter where we are.” And then we stepped out to our friends’ waiting car, and the air smelled clean and moist, and we were still only at the airport, but I felt better about the place too. And when we got home, though we had no furniture except a borrowed air mattress and generously sized window sills, we also had champagne and the first of many wonderful bouquets from Pike Place. And when we went upstairs and I realized we also had that view, I thought definitively that I was doing the right thing.

So began a summer of exploration, a slow acquaintance with our new home. We rediscovered the rhythms of a life together in a new place, and we adventured at every chance. I slowly developed routines; I found my yoga studio, my produce stand, my favorite place to get oysters, my favorite place to talk on the phone and fill all of the people closest to me in on my new life. My family visited, and when they left, I was happy knowing they could picture where I was when we spoke.

With fall came cooler air, the rain and a new job. I was excited to have something new that was my own here. Autumn flew by in a whirlwind of reestablishing myself into the working world, re-adapting to wearing real outfits everyday, navigating sometime fragile and tense workplace politics, finding the balance between solace and relationship time in the midst of a very, very busy schedule.

Winter was dark, literally, the downside to living so far north, but it never snowed except for one afternoon for a couple hours while I was on the phone with a friend. I got a lot of use out of my trench coat, and we visited both of our families, revitalizing ourselves with the love of the people who have known us longest and some much-needed Vitamin D.

I’m not exaggerating to say that when the end of winter came, my whole life grew measurably better. I didn’t feel sad when it was rainy and overcast for days on end, but how thrilled I was to feel the sun again. And on top of that, Seattle finally felt like home. We have friends we see regularly; we are settled into our jobs; we have our usual spots but still try to go on as many adventures as possible.

If you know us at all, you know that we’re a couple who has moved around a lot. It’s part of the DNA of our relationship. But here, we feel at home; the wanderlust will never leave, but there’s a palpable relief each time I come back.

And though we love it here, apartment life is temporary, and we need another grand adventure. For the last three years, we’ve talked and dreamed and researched and planned to “move to the forest” and live our adventure every single day, facing new challenges and building a home for us and our friends and family. So now we’re embarking on our biggest adventure to date. As of today (what a great anniversary of living-her gift!), we are land owners. Set in the idyll of San Juan Island is a cozy 39 acres we get to call our own.

As the terrible 90s song says, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,” and as I end my first year here in Washington, the next beginning has only just started to unfold.