Moving Away from Everything


I moved to Knoxville over 10 years ago, met a boy, married, bought a house, and had three babies. I knew it would be the city we lived in until the end of time. It was home.

But then life happened.

Within eight weeks’ notice of a new career opportunity, we sold nearly everything we owned, packed the largest suitcases we could find and a few dozen moving boxes to take the must-haves, and moved 7,800 miles half-way around the world. After 27 hours of travel with four backpacks, three kids, two adults, and a partridge in a pear tree, we landed on a tiny little island smack dab in the middle of the wide open Pacific Ocean by the name of Guam.

Do you know where that is? No? Me neither. Or at least I didn’t until I Googled.

So here we are almost six months later. Let me tell you something oh so profound: Life is crazy. Embrace it.

I am very much a planner, like an entire life pre-planned planner. This little move was nowhere to be found in my plans and put quite the twist on all future plans. But we did it and I’ll tell you why.

We thought about what the move could do for our family. My husband spent nearly half the year traveling for work, I spent most of the year working a couple different jobs and participating in several social obligations, and the kids spent lots of time doing several events, camps, sports, play dates, etc. We had a lot going on. While we were all passionate about the things we had going on, maybe it was all too much. The move would really allow us the opportunity to slow down and spend more time together as a family all in one place.

My husband and I had lived in Knoxville as long as we had known each other, only ever owned one house and all three children were brought home from the hospital to that home. We had no plans of leaving the place we were so comfortable in. This move was seen as an opportunity to expose ourselves and more importantly, our children, to a new way of life, new culture, new food, new people, new language, new hobbies and new surroundings. What better way to learn these things than to be completely immersed in them!

While we had been several places around the U.S. and to see family in Canada, we hadn’t really traveled long distances as a family. To be quite honest, I didn’t have much desire to. The anxiety of long flights with three young children, as well as the costs associated, always turned me away. But then this move happened. It forced us to experience the unknowns of traveling extensive hours and boy, am I glad it did. Living on the opposite side of the world opens up opportunities we never imagined we or our children would ever have. I can’t wait to explore more and now I can’t fathom doing so without our children!

Home in Knoxville was our comfort but sometimes we can all benefit from throwing comfort right out the window and pushing ourselves to experience something out of our comfort zones. There is so much knowledge to be gained from experiencing unknowns and that is the one thing I have learned most from this move. All five of us are learning more about ourselves individually and as a whole family unit. Everything from food and language, to how each of us handles jet lag, to who is most easily adaptable — it has certainly been an incredible learning experience for us all!

I share these thoughts to highly, HIGHLY encourage you to consider the opportunity for your own family should it arise. The first time my husband brought the idea home, I didn’t think twice to call him crazy and move on with my day. But fortunately, the idea came back around again and we jumped!

Whether the move being considered is abroad, cross-country or even just across town, I encourage you to think twice before shutting that door. Sure, the move has certainly come with crazy chaos and challenges, but I’m absolutely sure that what we will gain from the experience as a family will far outweigh the harder days. Embrace the crazy. You will benefit greatly! 

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I’m Kara, wife and mom of 3. A Florida native, I relocated to Knoxville over a decade ago to pursue a master’s degree where I promptly fell in love with the endless supply of sweet tea, southern hospitality, and peach cobbler. Oh, and my husband! I’m a physician assistant by day, wife and mom by day and night. When I’m not caring for sick patients, I enjoy traveling as a family and spending time with friends at local events downtown. We had always called Knoxville home, but after returning from spending two years living abroad, our lives are forever changed. We left a piece of our hearts on an island out in the Pacific Ocean and took with us the desire to see more. If words could explain, I’d write a book, but until then, occasional blurbs and social media posts will do!


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