Happy Holidays to all our Friends and Family

Happy Holidays from our little piece of Paradise.

Here's what we've been up to in 2007:

You really never know how some plans will play out.  When we jumped off the cliff, leaving the security of our lives in Atlanta to travel for a year, we only had a vague idea about where we would end up after traveling.  It seems the secret is to watch for signs from the universe and go with the flow.

At the end of our travels, we found our piece of paradise in seven acres, 15 minutes from the rural town of Cotopaxi, Colorado.  We bought a 26' travel trailer to live in while we were building our dream house.  We had it parked in an RV park about a 20 minute drive from our property.  We took a trip back to Florida to pick up our dog Simon from Teresa's sister Dianne in Cape Coral, Florida.  It was a long drive for a confused little doggie.  He was coming from sunny South Florida to snow-packed Colorado in a matter of days.  And in the middle of our trip back, we were stuck in Amarillo, Texas for three days over New Year's because of an ice storm that closed roads all around us.  When you're not having fun, you're having an Adventure!

When we first talked to the locals about moving to the Salida area, everyone said we had to bring our jobs with us... and we did.  During our time in Atlanta, Teresa had secured some work and Andrew had put out a few feelers with his former company, Nexidia.  Thankfully, both came through.  Now, imagine us trying to work out of a 1972 vintage 26 ft travel trailer with a restless dog and only one table in it.  Needless to say, we started to search for office space in Salida that could offer us high speed internet.  Eventually we settled upstairs at the 134 F building, a gorgeous renovated historic building.  It was nice to be able to spread out a little bit in our ~250 sq ft office.  It also allowed us the opportunity to really get connected to Salida.  Even though everyone said we had to bring our jobs with us to Salida, after passing out our business cards enough times, both of us have been able to acquire some local work, which helps connect us to the local business community.  In October, our little company, Tanda Enterprises, LLC joined the Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, as the snow started to thaw, we started to plan our property development, but we kept running into problems.  Because we found several feet of snow on our property when we got back in January, we couldn't do anything until the spring thaw.  We found we could not get a good cell phone signal or high speed internet on our property, important for our work.  A friend let us house sit for a hundred year old farmhouse and critter-sit some chickens and goats for a couple of months while he was out of the country.  During this time, we found out a good bit about ourselves.  Although we love animals, we're not sure we really wanted life on a rural farm.  We love the interaction with people and would probably not be happy in such a remote area of Cotopaxi full-time.  As spring progressed, we ran into more problems.  Our cost estimates for construction were spiraling out of control.  We found out that building in a rural, mountainous area can cost twice (or more!) what we were expecting.  And with the simple improvements for property development costs on top of construction... Ouch!  Things were not going as planned.  As we say, the universe was telling us to reconsider.

So in June, we decided to look at existing houses in the Salida area, just to see what was available.  We found a passive solar house very similar to the one we were designing, with a fenced in back yard for Simon, waiting for us, within our price range, about 4 miles from the town of Salida.  Within two weeks, we were under contract!  Amazingly, we were able to get out of our office lease, allowing us to move our office into the house.  We closed on the house and moved in July 31st.  We felt this was the right decision for us, even though this is not what we thought we wanted.  The universe smiled.

We had been unsettled for nearly two years.  At one point, we figured we had things scattered at about ten different locations in four different states.  Once we had finally made a decision to settle in Salida, it definitely felt good.  We finally were able to consolidate and get all our stuff in one place!  In September, we went back to Atlanta to celebrate with Andrew's dad for his birthday.  We also went back to retrieve our furniture from where it was stored in Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA.  (Thanks to our friends Anita and Phil for helping us store the majority of our stuff!)  The drive back was, thankfully, uneventful.  All the boxes are now unpacked and it feels great.  Overall, the big move went well.  We still have our property, and still plan to slowly develop it as we have the time and the funds.

We've been having fun so far in Colorado.  In the summer, we enjoyed Salida's biggest festival, the FIBArk whitewater festival (check out our video) and a Colorado Brewer's Guild Rendezvous.  We've also really enjoyed getting to know Colorado's vibrant acoustic music scene, spending many enjoyable evenings at Bongo Billy's Salida Cafe.  We also entertained a few house guests before we had much furniture.  Dan from Golden, CO came thru for a night and Ed from Atlanta flew in for a Cessna Pilots Society seminar here in Salida.  We took a Cessna flight up to Leadville, the highest elevation paved runway in North America.  We had a visit from our good friend Gautam in September and the three of us took a trip to the Great Sand Dunes, about two hours from here.  In October, we joined some friends heading to Taos for a Balloon Rally and went up in a hot air balloon. 

In November, we flew back to Atlanta to celebrate Thanksgiving and visit friends. We took a quick trip thru the new Georgia Aquarium with Teresa's sister Sue and her family passing thru Atlanta.  We then flew to Florida to visit with Teresa's brother and sisters in Ft Myers.  We played tourist and visited Solomon's Castle and Edison's Winter Home.  After a short overnight stay in Everglades City and a bike ride thru Shark Valley Park in the Everglades, we continued onto Boca Raton to visit with Andrew's grandmother Rose.  

Our Holiday plans this year will be to stay in our new home and enjoy our life in Paradise!

May the Universe smile on all of you with Peace and Happiness!

Teresa & Andrew

What a long strange trip it's been...
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