The Process of ‘Going Back’

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sometimes anticipation gets the best of me. it’s an exhausting process for my mind and i experienced a whole lot of it before my trip back to portland, oregon over the weekend. in case you haven’t been a reader from the get-go or forgot (i totally forgot to put socks on before my tennis shoes this morning so i get it), we moved away from portland once before.

when my husband and i started our business, we took a massive risk, sold most everything we owned and left portland to move in with my in-laws in a suburb of houston. to say it was a culture shock would be an understatement. while i am so grateful to them and that time to help us grow our business, everything was so different than portland. the people, the food, the climate (i cannot handle humidity), the activity level, the politics and of course, now living with other people! thank my lucky stars that my in-laws are fantastic so our relationship was never an issue but more so the stark contrast between cities and lifestyles.

IMG_9004 sunny day portland oregon waterfront

from there we embarked on a 50-city north american speaking tour and one of those stops was back to portland. the instant we landed at the airport, i felt a crushing sense of longing for my old life. i feared we made the wrong mistake by leaving everything we loved there to chase a dream that had no guarantees (not that any do). i wrote about it here and as i reread it, i did have to smile since now i write this from colorado. eventually of course we ended up moving back to portland after 6 months in texas but i was feeling quite nervous about going back this weekend.

i was afraid that i would step foot in that airport again and feel the same sense of longing to be back in that city and not in colorado. i was afraid i would walk through the city with my husband and wish with all my heart that we still called this place home. i was afraid that i would feel that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing whether we made the right decision to move away again.

us in portland

i am happy to report that i truly felt none of those things during our time back in portland. what i do miss about that place are the close friends that still reside there but thankfully we are all the type of friends that don’t mind a plane ride in between us.

the difference between the two trips back after moving away are vastly different. when we left the first time, we were eating through our savings to stay afloat while we hustled to make our communication business work. while we had a sweet set-up at my in-laws (and the most gorgeous pool ever), it was still a strain on our relationship because we didn’t have a place of our own. not only that, but we were on the road without a single trip back to texas for 75 days straight! our future was also very unknown and still up in the air about what we wanted to be doing with our lives.

ryan and chelsea avery portland

this trip back, we are a bit more leveled out than we were then. our business has stabilized, we have a place to come home to instead of bouncing from city to city oh and i am gestating a freaking human! she was all sorts of squirmy while we were there so everyone had the opportunity to feel her move inside me (wild). i was so relieved not to be consumed with the desire to want to be back there but instead able to focus on spending time with our close friends there (more details on friday about why we were there – it was so exciting)!

i am thankful we have the opportunity to grow as humans. i am thankful that we don’t have to feel or see the world in the same way we did in the past. it was such a fantastic trip for many reasons and one of the main ones is the realization that we are right where we are supposed to be.

have you experienced something similar to this?


  1. Elyse

    June 1, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Did you write this for me, Chelsea? It certainly feels like it! I needed to hear this.

    • chelsea

      June 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      happy to hear you relate, elyse! i know you have some big changes coming up (so exciting!) but it does feel good to be confident in our decisions!

  2. Audrey

    June 1, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I read the first line of the last paragraph as, “I am thankful we have the opportunity to grow a human.” (Which totally made sense! Then I re-read it and saw I was mistaken.)

    I was really worried about this when I moved out of my parents’ house. I’d lived there in the summers during college and then I moved back in for four month between graduation and our wedding (per their request). When we got married, I moved most of my stuff from my bedroom/basement area into our new 500 sq.ft. apartment. After that there were a few times when we’d be at my parents’ house and I’d disappear into my basement bedroom and sort through memories left behind or cry. Eventually I came to terms with living in a shed 😉
    When we bought our house ALL of that changed. I now prefer my living room to theirs and I find it annoying when I have to go back to my old bedroom to try and find something (which isn’t even where I left it since most of my stuff has long been in my own attic or basement, ha). Change is difficult- whether it’s houses or cities. I’m glad you’re adjusting well this time!
    Audrey recently posted…Sweating in Style

    • chelsea

      June 1, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      haha love it and honestly it may say that…pregnancy brain is REAL.

      thank you for your thoughtful comment and sharing what it was like for you audrey. i have a bunch of warm fuzzies with your line of “I now prefer my living room to theirs” that’s powerful. i am now also feeling quite luxurious that our first apartment was 631 sq. ft 😉

  3. Nina @ Hugs and Lattes

    June 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I still wish I was in school or at least in grad school. But then again, I work at a college so it’s hard to “distance” myself to come back and get perspective.
    Nina @ Hugs and Lattes recently posted…Stress Dreams [Vol. 1]

    • chelsea

      June 1, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      sometimes i still wish i was in school too nina! my husband and i were recently talking about college and now if only we could shake ourselves and be like “DUDE! your only stress is an exam and which flavor of vodka to buy!” perspective is hugggge. that would be tricky if you are still in that college scene but i am sure it’s different to be on the other end of things!

  4. jenniferhastonsays

    June 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Yes!! I have experienced something like it. We went on a road trip (blog post coming) and it was NOT fully planned which gave me heart palpitations.. at first, but then I realized- plans aren’t always going to work out and “going with the flow” while not NORMAL for me represents growth. It wound up being a lot of fun!

  5. Marilyn Jess

    June 2, 2016 at 4:44 am

    When you return to a place that meant so much, one of the things I have found is that your view is different. Your story here illustrates that. There are places where you definitely feel more in tune with the vibe there, and others where that isn’t the case. Yet, you can’t recreate the vibe you felt back then, because, as you beautifully say, you grow as a human. How wonderful you observed this, many truly don’t stop long enough to do that.