Tim and I – he from a suburb of the Twin Cities and I from Fargo, ND — met 20 years ago during our undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). The Duluth landscape with the awe-inspiring lake and woods nestled in the town became embedded in our souls, but we left to travel the world.
After graduation we lived and worked in Germany when Tim was in the Army, travelling to 20+ countries, hiking in the Alps, camping in the Arctic Circle, and kayaking on the Mediterranean. We then moved to western Massachusetts so I could pursue an MBA and Ph.D. in management and enjoyed all that outdoor New England had to offer. I was fortunate to land a tenure-track position at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, which brought us back to our beloved Midwest in 2005. We welcomed our first baby into our family and became consumed with first-time parent issues.
Life was good. Then life happened.
Over the course of two years, beginning in 2008, we experienced devastating loss: Tim’s brother was killed, I experienced three consecutive miscarriages, and a close friend’s baby died.
At the same time, we were entrenched in the grind of everyday life: two-full time jobs, a house, and a child. With heavy hearts, our days went by in a blur of commutes, diaper changes, and dirty dishes.
We were sad. Really sad. We felt stuck.
It was when we finally made it through the first trimester of my fifth pregnancy that we felt hopeful again. Grief coupled with the anticipation of a birth created a deep space to reflect on life as a fragile gift.
We asked ourselves: How do we want our life to be?
The answer was simple: to raise our children in a place that is an extension of the natural world around it. We had dreamed of returning to Duluth for nearly 20 years. We decided it was time to make our dream a reality.
So we chose to move to Duluth, MN in 2012 not because of a job offer, not because of family close by, rather because we wanted to live a life based on our desire to be outdoors together.
I left my tenured position as a professor; we sold our house in 39 days, secured rental housing, and packed up our belongings. Tim was fortunate to be able to continue his employment with a health insurance company by telecommuting from a home office. I now teach for the University of Wisconsin Online MBA program and as an adjunct professor at UMD.
Duluth, the town our children will call home, and its natural environment are now woven into the rhythms of our family life. Outside In Duluth chronicles these outdoor adventures.
To learn more about Daley and Finley, see the blog’s “About” page.
What does Duluth mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thanks!