The morning after the Big Download: Golfinha at our campsite behind Red Mountain.
The Road to TerraSol
For 3½ years, I'd been happily living as a nomad in my VW van, Golfinha (go-FEEN-ya). We followed a seasonal loop, visiting friends around the American West: down the mountain states in the fall, Arizona in the winter, up California in the spring, to hometown Seattle for the summer.
The pandemic made things harder — more isolated, fewer visits, the profound uncertainties that have rattled us all. I started thinking about my other life-long dream: Having a place where friends could gather and make good things happen.
A funny thing happened on the way to Tucson . . .
The Tucson area had captured my heart the year before. It was the first place that had whispered, "Mary, 'home' could be here." Returning in October 2020, I planned to thoroughly explore both the city and surrounding area, feeling for where exactly "here" might be.
I was especially curious about Patagonia, based on what I'd read. After looping around northern and eastern Arizona, I stopped there on October 20, "on my way to Tucson." I thought, "What the heck, I'll stop in at a realtor's office."
From "No Way" to "Hell Yes!"
I shared my vision with realtor Kathleen James, who quickly schooled me on local land use parameters. Then she said, "You know what property might be perfect..."
I checked out the "Purple House" that afternoon — and thought, "OMG, No Way. A 115-year-old house that had stood vacant for 2 years on an acre overgrown with invasive trees . . . It's too much."
That evening, at my campsite up Harshaw Road, the Big Download came. Like a movie unspooling in my mind, I saw how it could all work. Kathleen was right: This place could be perfect.
The sudden "Hell Yes" to such a huge decision was disorienting at first. But I proceeded, step by step, listening for doubts, watching for yellow flags. None appeared. One month later, papers were signed, and TerraSol began.
It has been quite a lifestyle change, from minimalist vanlife to yardwork! and power tools! and making long-term plans!
And I'm thoroughly enjoying it all. Except for the damper the pandemic is putting on things, of course. I sure look forward to working and playing with lots of great people, relaxed and in-person!
I appreciate your interest in TerraSol's unfolding story. Let's see what we can co-create!