My love of Cambria has evolved over the years. First, I adored it from afar. Then, I flirted with it during the occasional weekend or vacation visit. I pledged my devotion to it when I wrote my first books, and then when my husband and I bought a vacation house here. It was only natural that I would eventually turn that passion into a long-term commitment.

When my husband and I decided to sell our home in Southern California and move to Cambria permanently, it raised a lot of questions. Would we be able to downsize our possessions enough for our family to fit into a much smaller house? How would our kids adjust to their new community and their new school? How would it feel to be so far away from the place we’d lived for so many years? How would we survive almost thirty miles from the nearest Target?

The idea of moving was so daunting that it at first seemed impossible. We’d been in our previous home for most of our marriage—fourteen years. How would we sort through fourteen years worth of belongings? Pack fourteen years worth of clothes, kitchen items, and closet contents? Walk away from fourteen years worth of memories?

Dealing with the stuff was hard—and we’re still in the middle of it, with most of our things in storage. But the emotions, as it turns out, have been easy.

It’s hard to be sentimental about the past when the present is filled with the crash of the surf, the barking of sea lions, the whisper of the ocean-scented breeze through the tall grass, the song of birds in the trees off our back patio. It’s hard to miss the tract-house sameness of our former home when we’re surrounded by the unique charm and character of Cambria, where no two houses are the same and even the best of them can’t rival the beauty of the land.

I consider myself so fortunate to be here. And that has added something to my life that had been lacking for too long—gratitude.

I’m grateful for this place, and my place in it. I’m grateful for the lovely, welcoming friends I’ve met. I’m grateful for my husband, who made my dream his own. I’m grateful for my kids, who agreed to uproot their lives for my sake. And I’m very grateful to have the career I’ve always dreamed of.

There’s going to be stress—nobody uproots a life without it. We still have unpacking and renovations and settling in to attend to, and that’s likely to go on for some time. But there’s also the peace of knowing I’m where I belong.

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