If I get the same message more than once, I usually end up turning into a blog post..and this week I was asked the same question back to back and decided that this NEEDED to be a blog post…so here goes! Here’s our “how to” on moving to the Outer Banks, by the Hedgepeth family!
A little disclaimer? We may not be aligned with the same lifestyle as a lot of the people who have asked. We don’t know many people who would sell half of what they own, who don’t care how their home looks and has the ability to squeeze the way we do. But you know what…that’s the beauty, for us, in living here. We were able to start our journey knowing that it’s not what we have that matters, it’s not how things look…it’s the sea and the salt air we came for, the simple life. So many people tell us they also enjoy the simple life, and it’s absolutely possible that that’s true…but when we say the simple life, we mean like we don’t own a heck of a lot of “stuff” at all. 75% of our home decor are gifts from other people and we downsize every six months and get rid of things because we truly like things de-cluttered as much as possible with three little kids in the house. It’s important for us to know about everything we own and actually REALLY REALLY feel like we need it to stay, not just keeping it around “just because”.
We don’t have any flat out advice really about living or moving here because it’s just such a relative question! Your job or jobs are different, your lifestyle, your socioeconomic status expectations. Your preferences in so many departments…we just don’t feel like we have any solid general advice to share so we only can offer you how we feel about living here and some facts about how we function! And be ready to hear it because we came down here as gypsies who had a long term goal of eventually buying a house and becoming a little more established — but that was not our initial plan, the whole staying grounded thing is JUST now coming into the picture for us two years later!
1. Two bedroom condo….five people. We’re currently in the works of moving to a three or four bedroom in the next year…but yes, we made THAT work!! We feel like we deserve a small reward for pulling that off sometimes, it’s crazy hahaha!
2. We’re in Kitty Hawk, right when you get on the island. Stays pretty central to everything and nice location, but we are aiming on moving a couple of towns away soon to be closer to our church, school, etc.
3. The winters are not crazy cold or unbearable, they’re just the same as any of the Virginia winters I grew up with…we were on the beach with a newborn baby on Christmas Day last year, it’s fickle!!!! Unpredictable but nothing too crazy! A lot of people ask if it’ll be warm in March, April, etc…and there’s just absolutely no telling. You really can’t plan to have a definitely warm vacation unless you’re coming in the actual SUMMER.
4. Lots of things shut down in the winter but that’s because they’re so based on the demand of tourism season, they can’t just stay open and thrive during winter and it’s not the end of the world. Yes I miss some of my favorite places to eat but it’s still the perfect place to live, can not complain! There are still so many wonderful local businesses to support in the off season! 🙂
5. Okay here’s the kicker….as of right now, my super super sweet husband still commutes to work in Virginia Beach! He’s been doing that for TWO years! When people ask us how it works for us and we tell them he’s doing that, we hear a lot of “that poor guy” and honestly…yes, it’s a huge commitment on his end but it is on mine, too. I think people are forgetting that I’m home with three kids four and under for 12 hours a day and Mike will agree that although he has to do the driving, I’m experiencing a heck of a harder commitment to the commute than he is. This is what our season looks like right now but this won’t last forever. When he gets off the bridge and on to beach road at the end of his days, he’s beyond thankful! I don’t have to speak for him, you can ask him yourself – and knowing he’s okay with that makes me so happy. We’re a team living the dream 🙂
6. We aren’t extravagant. We are simple. Like, truly simple. We rent this place, we haven’t bought a home yet. We will in the next couple of years hopefully but right now we are just doing the best we can to take care of student loan and medical debt (almost paid!! SO close!). We don’t spend $200 at Target every 2 weeks (cause there’s not one here!!!! yet! I secretly don’t want one here sometimes because I don’t want to be able to walk in there lol!) — we don’t go on big expensive trips or vacations often, I don’t have designer things. We don’t have expensive hobbies (hellooooo thank you Jesus mine turned into an incredible gift of a career, because that was an expensive investment!) — we are just two parents who want to eat dinner on summer nights around the table with our kids and then take them to the ocean for dessert, saltwater kisses and sandy carseat rides home.
7. People ask us about the school system a lot and to be honest, we don’t have any solid input because Cammy’s our oldest and she’s only in preschool in Nags Head right now. We always laugh because we have parents tell us how good one school is, then another parent tells us how bad it is, and it just goes around and around and around. We’ve heard that all schools are wonderful or horrible so we have decided we will just buy a home where we want to live and our children will just go to school where they go to school. We have faith that based on what we’ve read our girls will turn out just fine, and if not, we’ll deal with that when we come to it. What else can you do? Sometimes there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer when it comes to these things that are so based on personal experiences.
8. We’re happy. Like, really really happy here. I’m not kidding when I say every single weekend we’re here all together that Mike and I hold hands driving on beach road just wondering how the Lord was so gracious to bring us here and why we somehow deserve it. We look for ways to give back and be even more outwardly super thankful for it because it just feels like this unbelievable gift we can hardly comprehend but we appreciate it more than we could ever describe.
On Father’s Day, Mike wanted to drive around. That’s all he wanted to do…we drove around to Wanchese, to Manteo, to Hatteras. Back down beach road in the golden light of the day, just sighing and smiling side by side. There are of course higher end fancy elements to this place, mega-homes and things that involve a different level of status living than we are on but if that’s why you move here, you’re missing the point. The gift of the Outer Banks is that it’s simply perfect. The air, the sea, the way the cicadas chirp in the summer on the sunniest days. Watching the surfers, learning about the incredible artists…supporting the hard working local businesses. Following the photographers who are always there to capture the waves and the sunsets, keeping up with the stories of the latest little nest of sea turtles on the shore. The baby dune grass they keep on planting even at the risk of one nor’easter taking it right back out again. It’s worth a painful sand spur in your foot sometimes, and that’s part of the essence, too. We hope if you move you enjoy all of the most amazing parts of this island and have a beautiful life changing experience the way we have!!!! :):)
We moved here TWO YEARS ago and have made two birth films since then with some Outer Banks footage love! Links below! 🙂