We're Bruce & Celia Bowman. We've been residents of Santa Fe since the fall of 2003. We landed here by a circuitous chain of events that could have played out in any number of ways...
Celia was born in Hawaii and grew up in the San Francisco, CA area. I was born in Stocktom, CA, grew up in Reno, NV, then returned to California to finish high school & college. We met later in life and together we bought a Gemini cruising catamaran at the Annapolis Sailboat Show in mid-October of 2000. We took delivery of Goosebumps 6 months later in April and moved our belongings aboard. We were officially cruising.
Unlike most who go cruising, we didn't sell Celia's San Francisco house in the Sunset District (about 6 blocks from the beach). We were convinced that if we got out of the real estate market, we'd never be able to get back in. Unfortunately, this meant the house sat empty except for a couple visits each year. We didn't really want convert it to a rental and at the same time worried about the invitation offered by an empty house. We tried not to think about it and off we went to cruise the east coast aboard the Goose...
After a couple years it became apparent we had no desire to return to California. We'd seen just enough of other parts of the country to realize that there are some really gorgeous places to live and that don't require a huge chunk of your annual income to live there. But which state? coastal property? mountains? rural? Did we want a new residence? or a fixer-upper? We needed to do some research and more than anything just talk it out.
So in mid-2003, right at the start of the hurricane season, we drove cross country looking for places we might like to locate once we gave up cruising. I was lobbying hard for Oriental, NC where, in 2003, $350,000 would buy a 3 bedroom home with 300' of frontage on the Neuse River. Before deciding anything, however, Celia wanted me to see Santa Fe, NM where she'd vacationed a couple times over the preceding 15 years. She was sure I'd like it. Then when we stopped each nite she'd get on the internet and do some research: floods from hurricanes, more floods from storms up-river. Uh-oh!
We made it to San Francisco after a trip shortened by the death of Celia's mom. After the dust settled, we reviewed our feelings and decided that, yes, selling her San Francisco house felt right. But we didn't really put together a plan to make it happen. On the way back to Florida we made a couple more stops to see Sedona, AZ then Santa Fe, NM. Sedona was gorgeous, but we realized that after arranging the furniture and putting away the groceries, we'd be doing a lot of driving to do many of the things we took for granted. Off we went to see Santa Fe.
As I said earlier, I grew up in Reno. I suppose because of the similarities in climate and landscape, Santa Fe was the first place I'd never been that felt like coming home. On top of that, the same evening we arrived, hurricane Isabel came ashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina just off the town of Oriental, NC. As Celia had been trying to tell me for weeks, Oriental flooded. Again. I had to admit, if ever there was a "sign" to be paid close attention, this was it. So we got up the next morning, discovered Denise de Valle (realtor extraordinaire!) and bought a house in Santa Fe. It was literally that easy: 1 day to find our house.
Now a real plan fell into place: back to San Francisco, list the house with Peter Fong (a great realtor Celia has known for years), gather up my belongings from storage units scattered around California, move our combined belongings to Santa Fe, then get to Key West for the 2003/2004 cruising season. We made all that happen and were on our way out of California by Thanksgiving day.
The imagined annual living plan of 7 months in Santa Fe then 5 months in Key West turned out to be more than we wanted to deal with. What was a fun drive once quickly converted to a trial as the landmarks along the Interstates became too familiar. So in February 2005 we sold the Goose... and we now live full time in Santa Fe.