From Silicon Valley to the Mountains
(Alana's story of meeting and marrying Richard)
Growing up in Silicon Valley, I was well aware of all the possibilities of how technology and computers could enhance one's life. Nonetheless, when it came to dating, I was hesitant to meet people online. (Call me old fashioned.) The problem I faced with living in a huge tech-savvy city was that finding someone who had the same goals and values as I did was pretty much near impossible - goals like being self-reliant and living off the land.
So when one of my co-workers at the animal shelter gave me (yet again) the 'you-gotta-try-online-dating' spiel, I decided to go for it. But it couldn't be just any dating site. It had to be one where I could find other people actually living they way I was so inspired to live. (I had lived for 4 years in Yosemite National Park and knew at a very young age that living in the great outdoors was what I wanted more than anything. I wasn't simply a gal who talked the talk. I walked the walk.) That's when I discovered, out of the blue, FarmersOnly.com.
I bit the bullet and decided to join. That was early in 2010. I was surprised by how quickly I was contacted by other people. I was under the impression that it was a very small niche online community. It turns out there are a ton of farmer boys out there! But one in particular caught my eye because I had just completed a class on natural building through the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, CA, and, lo and behold, this guy had just completed building his own straw bale house in the mountains (and he was handsome to boot). But the bum wasn't contacting me!
So I sent him a quick compliment on his construction job and, in a matter of minutes, he had contacted me back thanking me and telling me a bit more about it. And then he kept contacting me...and I kept writing him back....and in that process I quickly came to learn that not only was he a person who knew the same kind of construction methods that I was interested in....but also we had a heck of a lot of other things in common as well. We were like peas and carrots! Here was this smart, funny, handsome guy who was living in the middle of nowhere (I kid you not) doing everything that I had aspired to do, from permaculture to raising chickens.
After a few months of talking 'round the clock by email or phone, he invited me to visit his place. He wasn't able to leave it for more than 24 hours at a time because of the animals he had to care for and because he is incredibly remote from even the nearest neighbor.
We planned my visit in March, for his birthday. This trip involved me not only taking a 5-hour drive up to mountains, but another two hour drive from there to his specific mountain, and then from there ANOTHER hour long drive on his snowmobile to get to his actual house. Talk about playing hard to get....literally!
Before I left, I had made him send me copies of his driver's license, the GPS location of his house and his mother's phone number. My family and friends also had this information. One of the great things about Richard is that he sent me pictures of his place/daily chores/whatever he felt was picture-worthy to me just about every day, so it helped put my mind at ease.
Even though I had been talking to him every day for months now, I was still apprehensive to actually MEET him in person. I'll always remember what he said to me when I called him right before I hopped in my car for the trip: "No matter what happens between us, I want to make sure you enjoy yourself and have some fun....deal?" DEAL!
Meeting him for the first time was like meeting my long-lost best friend. Sure, there were the initial butterflies in the stomach and the 'hey, I didn't know you wore glasses at night!' kind of surprises along the way, but we instantly had that feeling of companionship between us. It wasn't long before that companionship turned into a loving romance, and long story short....we were married last August and I'm enjoying my second winter snowed in with him.
Imagine being snowed in with your spouse for up to 6 months at a time and STILL enjoy each other's company once the snow melts! (I can't tell you how many of our friends and family said during our first winter snowed in, 'Well, if they don't kill each other, then they'll be the best of buddies, that's for sure!')
All joking aside, I think back on the unbelievable fact that two people (one so remote that he doesn't even have a house address) such as us found each other. I often tell people, "I could not have written our story, who he is and everything that he brings to my life any better, if I tried." And for that, I am forever grateful to FarmersOnly.com.
We're so glad you found each other, Alana and Richard. Best wishes always from FarmersOnly.com.
More about Alana and Richard:
"Every day out here is a learning process for both of us. We both respect the great outdoors immensely and realize that while it is our idea of paradise, it also comes with a huge number of challenges. We remain in a constant frame of mind to learn and prepare...and prepare and prepare. Our property gives us more than what we need when it comes to food and materials, and we are looking into how we might be able to have a small business as a result (while always making sure we have our mountain's best interest in mind...it will be here long after we will and we want to leave it as healthy and natural as possible). I look forward to growing our family, both our animals/livestock and children of our own."