Mark and I meet in the summer of 1999. He came into the bar and grill I worked at with his work buddies. They were a loud obnoxious bunch for sure. I must of looked good that night they came in because he came back the next day and asked me out.
We were both going through a divorce at that time. Neither of us were looking for love at that time for sure. I had been living out of my car for the past few months and had just moved into my mom’s apartment that weekend. I truly believe that is where the Wanderlust started for me. Mark’s soon to be Ex-Wife still had a ton of stuff in their house and he had just started to taste freedom of bachelorhood again.
It was a whirl wind of romance just like the romance novels. I would pinch myself sometimes because it was one of those relationships that you think this is to good to be true.
Before we knew what hit us he was standing on a rock over the Sunrift Gorge proposing to me. That was when we received our first lesson together from the almighty about material possessions . When Mark opened the ring box while proposing to me the ring flipped out of the box and fell into the Sunrift Gorge. He was so sick he never even finished asking me to marry him. Over the next several days we searched the icy cold waters trying to find the ring. It literally was running the whole dream vacation and we were both grumpy. We knew our time there was running out so I made a decision to go to the rangers station. There was no way we were leaving a few thousand dollar custom diamond ring at the bottom of a waterfall.
After talking with a few rangers one of them said they would scuba dive and try to find it. They would not make any promises but they would try. We meet them the next day. The scuba divers name was Charles and he seemed very excited to help us. We watched him dive around the icy water for over a hour with out any luck. His legs were starting to cramp and we were realizing with each dive he made how materialistic and ungrateful we were being. We told Charles to stop looking that it did not matter to us any more. We had each other and that was all we needed. With that being said Charles made one last dive and came up with the ring.
We were married at that same spot a year later with the same people who helped us find our ring.
We soon found ourselves in Suburbia. Yes there we were racking up credit cards buying new vehicles trying to keep up with the Jones. I had a huge closet full of clothes some still had the tags hanging never to be worn. I had a house full to the brim with stuff I did not need or use. Mark and I both were working 60 plus hours a week to try and keep up with the lifestyle we thought we had to have. Our two children were starting to mirror us. They soon thought that they needed what everyone else had but more. We lived like this for 5 years not realizing how much we were losing of ourselves and as a family. It took financial hardship and losing almost everything to bring us back into reality again .
We were able to get back on our feet again and down size. What a lesson that was for us. We talked about moving off grid but it never happened. Instead we moved to a small town. I quite my job as a realtor and started working for a farm store. Mark kept the job he hated so much and decided to commute a hour to and from work.
Life was less stress but still not good. We both had jobs we hated but we still had two girls in high school and we would push forward. We often talked about winning the lottery and going off grid.
Soon we just had one daughter in high school. Mark was so sick of his job he decided to resign after 25 years. He cashed out everything. Now you would of thought we would of been smart and went for that dream. Nope not us. We paid off our vehicles bought a few toys and landscaped our back yard. I often wonder what was going through our mind at that time. It is amazing how we would get when we had extra money. Yes we did some good things but some stupid things too.
Literally a month after the money was all gone I woke up that February morning and told him we were going off grid.
We are always the kind of people that are a day late and a dollar short. Our motto is better late than never!