farm life

Reflections on Staying Put

This week I hit a milestone, which for most of the world isn’t much of a milestone at all. I slept in my own bed every night for 3 months straight for the first time since 2009. Unlike the rest of the world in some of my circles of friends, this is an achievement.

I write about this achievement on the day it is announced that the Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to three scientists for their work studying circadian rhythms. Switching time zones frequently has so many potential ill effects, I don’t think we’ll even come up with them all ever. After losing my father to melanoma in 2015 I also began to wonder about the possible effects of so much air travel as well. Flight attendants and pilots are twice as likely to get melanoma, what about frequent fliers? There hasn’t been a specific study that I have found on that, but it isn’t hard to imagine there might be at least some increased risk.

Positives from Staying Put

There have been so many positives from being in one place. One simple one is I’m home when people happen to be in the area! In the past, people would frequently visit nearby and reach out, I almost never was home to see them though. Now? Even though I moved to rural Washington State I’ve had more visitors than the entire three years I lived in Portland. Whereas I do miss seeing many of my jet-setting friends I run into in a different city every time, I’ve gotten to catch-up with many others.

Another big thing? I’ve been able to learn and take up hobbies that require you to be in the same place. I planted a real garden for the first time ever and had the time to harvest it! I’ve gotten a Livestock Guardian Dog (Ada) and I’ve had the time to train her (though she and I have a long way to go). I’ve been raising and training livestock (goats, chickens, ducks, pigs and a milk cow). These are all things that would be impossible to do if I wasn’t regularly home, they don’t let you bring your jersey calf on the plane.


For the most part, there haven’t been too many negatives from staying home. The main one has been occasional FOMO (fear of missing out) and also not seeing some friends. This is far outweighed by the positives.

Many of the Other Positives

There have been so many other positives it would be hard to list them all, though I wanted to have some more in here.

  • Rescuing and taming three stray kittens
  • Cooking and eating meals where the food mileage is less than 1. I grew the veggies and the beef was from the next door neighbor’s cow
  • Having a regular sleep schedule
  • Being able to go to the doctor multiple times for a nagging issue (I guess a positive though the issue itself a negative)
  • Knowing my neighbors and other people in town
  • Volunteering locally
  • Still keynoting 2 conferences remotely
  • Sometimes just sitting out and watching the clouds
  • Being able to say “look that rainbow is back AGAIN!”
  • Hosting 6 guests on AirBnb
  • Being the person the various animals run over to when they need something
  • Attending a weekly class (puppy school)

It is easy to be tempted to get swept up into the travel again. The past three months where not intended to be at home, various circumstances caused it. I hope though I can weight the positives and negatives better now and not get caught up in the jetsetting. That said, I do have a trip coming up this month. I am headed to State of the Map US in Boulder, Colorado. Maybe I’ll see you there? Sadly I’ll be cowless. Remember though, you can always come visit me at home in a cow’d state.






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