When we made this LEAP, this big leap of faith and my incredible hunk of a husband agreed to make the commute to work for his family to live in the place we really wanted to be…it was a very life changing moment. At this life season it seems that EVERYTHING that happens is on such a grand scale! Having a baby, going to England, having another baby, shooting in the British Virgin Islands, moving to a new state, going to Disney World…everything has felt so BIG for the past few years. To move to another state only 1 hour away may not seem like a big deal to most..but anyone who spends a couple hundred to thousands of dollars to visit this place over the summer for one week of serenity..hopefully they DO get why this was such a huge deal for us.

We have an Outer Banks Anniversary— it’s THAT serious for us hahah! June 1 is our date and we recently celebrated six months of officially being locals here…and these are some of the top lessons we’ve learned in the short time we have lived here!

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1. The traffic warnings meant nothing to us. We were told before we got here both by locals and non-locals how awful the traffic would be in the summer. Oh my gosh it’ll just be so backed up before and after the bridge, and the bypass, just awful. Well sister, you may have NOT lived in Norfolk and Virginia Beach for the past few years if you think that’s bad! This was one of the things that really annoyed us more than anything and I hate sounding negative about it but it was very negative to hear constantly and in such a “warning” manner..like it was going to ruin the experience of living here for us. My absolute FAVORITE locals had a tone that said “yeah it’s rough some days but who cares, we LIVE here!” Always finding the positive. I loved that!!!

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2. Sunsets have heartbeats here. There are SO many gorgeous places to see sunsets whether you’re in the mountains, the suburbs, the city, but there is like another entire element to them here. I knew that, and Mike will tell you that whenever we were in Hampton Roads and it was a pretty sunset one of us would mention to another “if it’s this pretty here, can you imagine it in Nags Head right now?” Here — there aren’t tall buildings obstructing a very wide angle perspective of the sky so you are getting a 360 of the sunset in most places. I can watch the sun set over the sound with bright pinks and oranges and all the colors in the world WHILE watching it turn to blue, purple and pink mimicking watercolors over the ocean just through another window in the condo, where we have a mini ocean view! Golden hour is SO golden and happy here! And the sunsets and rises are truly ALIVE. The sunrises actually feel like new beginnings and new chances for amazing things. It’s so inspiring just to watch the sky change daily in this place!

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3. Surfer boys, guys, and old salty dogs. And girls of course, too! Oh Mikey– don’t read this and get jealous, haha! There are some really hunky ones here yes, and Cammy has sat on the beach with me on Cammy-Mommy dates before watching them all out there but no really, this is about more than the hunky ones. I LOVE watching those surfers rip and tear it at our MP4 spots and at the pier and all of the amazing shots by Daniel Pullen, too. Watching them though is something I found almost therapeutic, a way to put my phone down and enjoy the scenery more. I did get some awesome videos of them though, but overall– I learned that I LOVE watching them surf and if you ask me to sit through any other sport I almost can’t! Baseball games if I have a tall beer in my hand maybe but watching surfing is all about the elements and how the surfer is going to gage and connect with them to ride and tear it up…it’s scary and inspiring at the same time and I just love it! I think what I love most is when I see an old salty dog my dad’s age, salt and pepper hair and age that looks good on him go out there and surf. I’m weird, I know. I just love the most random things in life and appreciate these guys for some reason..maybe because of my dad’s stories of surfing when he was younger!
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4. Anxiety finally started leaving my life. For the past several years, I’ve had the WORST anxiety ever. I remember when I lost a job about 6 years ago I was so devastated I almost had an actual heart attack — I thought I was dying! Most of this was because of things I had been through, life happenings, money, the usual..but a lot of it was because I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. When we moved here, we both started to change SO much. We thought our marriage was good before, the normal arguments here and there, etc..but then when we moved here things got WAY better and we didn’t even realize they needed to go up! Or that they could! There is so much more flirting in this household now and I have calmed down significantly, I still freak out and stress out occasionally, especially the week of Mike’s car accident but I am finally learning to slow down and calm down more. Something I never thought OCD Type A me could do!

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5. MATERIAL THINGS DON’T MATTER. I GET it people I live in an Instagram world with you!!! I do! But you know what my most beautiful possession and grand high end fancy thing is that I post about, over ALL?! MY DAUGHTERS. The best thing ever! And my husband, and my brides and my work. That is the most beautiful! Not the cute outfits and the expensive furniture and jewelry. Yes, I love that stuff too and oh I am a lover of all things Target and girly but we sold and donated a LOT of our stuff to minimize our life. We chose a $995/month condo with no recent paint job and sand spurs COVERING the yard to be able to be somewhere that makes us feel happiness. Not touch it with our hands, not have ownership of it, but to put our souls here in the middle of it. The skies, the sun, the sand, the ocean, the elements. The AIR. THE SALT AIR. It’s priceless. And watching our daughters breathe that in, THAT is my happy and reinforces that material things don’t make me happy like feelings and experiences do.

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6. The limits keep it simple. Did I go into a mild depression when I heard Awful Arthur’s is closing for a couple months? Yes..but it’s GOOD, too. I am so happy they get a much deserved break along with several other restaurants and businesses. I am so glad that people on this island TAKE A BREAK- whether it’s because there won’t be enough business for profit or because they just want to, it’s a good thing. Those three words, take a break, in sequence scare me and I don’t want them to! I want to know how to take a break too and I have scheduled a couple of consecutive weeks during the winter where I plan to do so…I have to just stick with it! So when we don’t have all of the options open to us that we would in Hampton Roads, we have to cook at home like we should do more of anyway. Be creative. Be simple. Simple is such a beautiful thing when it comes to your lifestyle, I never would have thought that trying to keep up with the Jones years ago. I have never felt less pressure and happier than when we stopped need material things so often..and the limits on what is open here in the winter really help with that! Will we still make occasional Chesapeake and Virginia Beach trips for a couple of Christmas gifts and to see Santa? Yes! But not having it available 5 minutes away helps SO much! I shopped so much less this summer because of it and we can finally start tackling that debt!

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HAPPY 6 MONTHS TO US HAHAH! 🙂

Posted by:amandahedgepeth

Hey there! We're a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.

2 replies on “6 Lessons in 6 Months | Outer Banks

  1. i LOVE your outlook on life, Amanda. It is beautiful. This post is everything! I swear you are my OBX twin! Everything I feel for this island, you always sum it up beautifully. It is HOME. Traffic, tourists, hurricanes…none of that changes the way it makes you feel! We have been saving for years for that move, and I still have books I saved as a little girl with my “future homes” circled, haha. Seeing you make your dream come true, makes my heart SO happy. It gives me hope! Keep the beach pictures coming!!! 🙂

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