The lights of New York City may dazzle, but the comforts of home offer more warmth. Three years ago, Eugene, Ore., residents Linda and Kevin Pirch moved to the East Coast when Kevin took a teaching job at Lehman College in the Bronx.
Baby Ella was the tipping point. For years, Shane and Allison Young flirted with the idea of moving from Portland to Coeur d'Alene. When the couple learned they were expecting a fourth child, they decided it was time to commit.
Sheryl and Scott Kinder-Pyle like adventures, especially those they're called to. As Sheryl sips tea and Scott drinks coffee, they share a pastry and talk about God and church and a move last year that took them all the way across the country.
Leaving Spokane was just too tough, so Cheri and Gary Reed decided to stay. "The girls had been after us for years hoping we'd move over here," says Cheri, adding that returning to the couple's home in Toledo, Wash., grew harder each time they visited their two grown daughters and their families. "I'd cry all the way to the freeway."
The taste of a fresh cherry changed Jackie Erovick's life. In July 2006, while touring the Inland Northwest after a family reunion in Montana, Erovick and her family happened upon Green Bluff. They stopped at an orchard, sampled the ripe cherries, struck up a conversation with the orchardist and spent two hours walking the 10-acre property.
After first arriving in the United States from communist Czechoslovakia, Paul Hajek earned $3.15 an hour washing dishes at a Fred Meyer bakery in Lansing, Mich. "Actually, I'm glad I did that," Paul says now, reflecting on the job that helped him learn English – and simultaneously encouraged him to go to Michigan State University and earn a degree in physics.
The Spokane that Jon Louis left 20 years ago is not the same city he came back to earlier this year. When he left in the mid-1980s, people asked him if he experienced culture shock moving from Spokane to the East Coast, he says.
On a whim, Eliza Shotts sent her chicken mole nacho recipe into a contest sponsored by "Emeril Live," the popular Food Network show featuring chef Emeril Lagasse. And bam! She won. On a blazingly hot day in mid-July, Eliza stood in the kitchen of her log home in Chattaroy, waiting for the arrival of a New York film crew.
Dawn Lindblom remembers the moment she knew she loved her work. As volunteer coordinator for a Minneapolis nonprofit, she'd spent the day with a group of college students, helping clean and maintain the home of a person with a disability.
In a fog of grief, Dexter DuPont moved to Spokane. Devastated by the death last winter of his wife, the 72-year-old former actor packed his belongings into a 17-foot trailer and left Burbank, Calif. It began to snow as he pulled into the driveway of his small rental home across from Audubon Park.
Lyle Tostenrude beams as he shows off his expansive, eclectic garden. There are deer-shaped topiaries, pruned arborvitae and carved bonsais. There is heather and cotoneaster. There is a sunken porch, a hot tub and a pond, 11 Buddhas, seven concrete pagodas and five foo dogs.
She's taught junior high and high school. She's been a consultant for private industry. And she's worked in the Washington state governor's office, coordinating work-force training programs. Pam Lund is drawing from all three areas as the new chief executive officer for Girl Scouts Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
As a teenager, Linda Dellens learned compassion while volunteering for the Special Olympics. "I remember so distinctly going to the Special Olympics events and seeing kids with bigger problems than my own," Dellens says. "And yet they didn't care. They were happy, joyful, friendly – not surly."
As a child, Lona Holm rode horses along a five-mile stretch of state highway near Edgewood in Puget Sound. At most, she'd see one, maybe two, cars. "Now, it's bumper-to-bumper traffic," she says. "It's just toxic over there."
When a debilitating disease kept Karen Druffel from the ocean, she and her husband created a coastal oasis at home in Spokane. A few years back, Karen's rheumatoid arthritis nearly stopped her annual coastal trips. Bad spells sent her to bed for days. To help her convalesce, she and her husband, Joe, began planning a backyard retreat at their Browne Mountain home.
Pursuing his dreams took Sean Owens far away from Spokane. Living his dreams brought him back. "The entire focus of my life was to become a pilot in the military," Sean says, noting childhood photos frequently show him dressed in oversized fatigues. "That's all I could think about."
A chance to advance her career brought Susan Miller to Spokane, but the region's weather and countryside sweetened the job. "It's just such a beautiful place," says Susan, the director of sales and marketing for Belo Corp., which owns KREM-2 and KSKN-22. "It's just wonderful."
The birth of a second child prompted Amy and John Sklut to re-evaluate their lives. The couple's life in Marin County, Calif., seemed too disjointed. John worked long hours as a juvenile public defender. Amy stayed home with their kids. Running errands, going to work, and visiting friends and family meant long commutes in heavy traffic.
Atlanta, Georgia's, oppressive heat and six-lane, bumper-to-bumper traffic had begun to wear on Julie and Winston Tan. Each summer for the past several years, they found themselves fleeing the Southern city, heading to cooler temperatures and family members in Canada and northern California.