Well everyone, we have news to share at last! Our transitional stage is finally coming to an end, and we are excited about moving into the next season of our post-tour life.

First of all–we are moving! Back to Alabama we go! Dave has just accepted a great mechanical engineering job offer extended by the company he worked for before our world tour–Neptune Technology Group. Let me take a minute to share the process of how we came to this decision.

This story really starts before the trip–with Dave working for four and a half years at Neptune as a mechanical engineer. It’s a great company (that designs and builds water meters, in case you were wondering!), super family-friendly, where he worked with lots of people whom he genuinely liked and respected. When he resigned from his job in 2011, he left on good terms with the company, and several of his superiors recommended he give them a call whenever we got home from our adventure. There was no guaranteed job, but Neptune is a growing company and Dave is a good engineer, so there’s always a chance. We were grateful knowing that option was there.

Fast forward to our return home. Over the course of our journey, we had a lot of time to think and talk about what we wanted out of the next season of life. One thing we kind of settled into was wanting something different than what we had before. We knew that most likely, we didn’t want to move back to the same house, live in the same community, work in the same workplaces, etc., after two years of a life-changing journey. We thought it might be hard, emotionally more than anything, to return to what we had before. We knew that picking up where we left off was not an option. So when we got home, Dave focused the job search here in Nashville, which we figured was a nice city that offered a lot of the things we were looking for in our next stage of life, including proximity to his family while still being within driving distance of mine.

And Nashville is a great city, which we’ve come to love. We like a lot of things about the culture here, including the progressiveness toward making it a bike-friendly place. We have also enjoyed having an REI down the street (and of course the work environment that has provided for me!). However, the whole time we’ve been here, we knew it was contingent on Dave finding a job. I never looked for a “career” job here because I knew if Dave didn’t find a job, we wouldn’t be able to stay.

So, after a few months of searching, we began to reconsider our feelings of returning to Alabama. We’ve known since we’ve been home that Neptune had a job posting for a mechanical engineer. But we also knew that we wanted to give Nashville a fair chance, and jobs don’t happen overnight. So in March, we set a deadline. We decided we would see how a few of the current job possibilities played out, and if they didn’t, we would plan on calling up Neptune to see if they were interested in Dave coming back to work. But in that process, we made some other decisions. Like I said before, it wasn’t that Dave didn’t like his old job, but that we had wanted to start a new life for ourselves. So we began to think about how we could go back to the same company but have a different life. We decided we would try a different city. Before the tour, we lived in Auburn, which is a lovely town, but from our home it was a full 50-minute commute for Dave to get to work in Tallassee each day. So we decided if we went back, we would move to Montgomery, a bigger city, which would give us an opportunity to “start over,” and also cut Dave’s commute time down to about 30 minutes. The more we began to talk about returning to Alabama and to the job at Neptune, the more we warmed up to the idea. Living there would put us just 45 minutes down the road from my sister and her husband, who just had a baby last year. We would only be two hours from my parents instead of seven. And the drive to Dave’s parents here in Nashville would be an easy, four-hour straight shot up I-65. By the time our official “deadline” for Nashville rolled around, we were getting excited about all the positives of a move back to Alabama.

We wondered if we would regret not having called Neptune sooner. Honestly, we could have called back in the fall and probably skipped a lot of the stress and frustration of this season of unknowns. But we’re glad now we didn’t. We aren’t leaving Nashville unsure of our decision at all. We won’t look back and wonder if we had given it more time if things would have been different. And our time here allowed us to see a few things… that for starters, the job market here is somewhat saturated. Yes, Nashville is a growing city, but that means LOTS of people are moving here looking for jobs. Also, it’s just not that industrial, and industry is where most mechanical engineers find themselves working. In the six months of intentional job searching, Dave really didn’t get rejected from many jobs. He only found a few that he was qualified to apply for, and almost all of those positions were canceled after he interviewed. So it’s not that they were choosing someone else, they were just deciding not to hire “at this time.” After that happened a few times, we began to wonder if God was not closing doors for us here for a reason.

That said, we are making our move back to Alabama with a different perspective than we had when we first arrived home from our journey. And we’re excited about Dave’s opportunities and career path with Neptune. Also, somewhat random, but can you believe that Tallassee, the city where Neptune is located, is the ONLY place we actually cycled through two separate times on our worldwide bike tour? We passed through once in October 2011 when we were on our way down to Abbeville, Alabama, from Maine. And we rode through on September 27, 2013, the day before we finished our whole trip in Auburn. Seriously, we went through other cities twice, like Santiago, Chile, and London, England, but never both times via bicycle. We actually came through Tallassee on two completely different routes–a small town of 5,000 people in rural Alabama, which probably does not even have more than four “big” roads that come into it. Maybe we should have seen that as prophetic–Tallassee… the crossroads of the world! (At least for us!)


Coming into sweet home Alabama on the last week of our tour. We didn't realize at the time that it really would end up being home for us! We came a long way to arrive back here. (And our bikes are showing the wear at this point!)

Coming into sweet home Alabama on the last week of our tour. We didn’t realize at the time that it really would end up being home for us! We came a long way to arrive back here. (And our bikes are showing the wear at this point!)

We’re excited to be moving out of this season of transition and into one of more stability. And throughout this season, we’ve come to realize many of the blessings that we took for granted in our life before the Tour. I think we’ve changed a lot as a result of the Tour, but perhaps just as much as a result of this transitional time. So we move into this new season with thankful hearts for a job at a solid company with great people. And we look forward to seeing what else is in store for us in Montgomery. As far as logistics, we don’t have a specific date, but we’re hoping to move within the next couple of weeks!

Oh, and on an unrelated closing note, I exceeded my 90 percent goal for riding my bike to work in May! (See this post for details.) I hit 100 percent, which meant a few days of riding in rain or into a fierce headwind, but altogether was a wonderful month of bike commuting! I logged 187 miles total and made 21 trips to and from work.