Not Goodbye, Just See You Soon // Our Move to Washington

Railroad car - HouseIf you haven’t heard … we’re selling our house in Paso and moved to Washinton state area this summer! 

Say whaaaaat? It’s crazy, I know. And I’m equal parts sad and excited for it. But, moving during a pandemic? Not fun. It makes things like saying goodbye and visiting our favorite kid-places “one last time” super complicated. So I’m sayin’ to the heck with all that and already making plans for a mom-cation here when this is all over.

Honestly, though, it was completely up to me, I’d never leave the Central Coast. It’s a place that’s charmed my heart in so many ways. In its scenic beauty. In its community. And in the many friendships that long-distance just won’t shake. For me, SLO County represents college days, career dreams coming true, meeting Bowen, our first house, the place our babies were born, those early motherhood years and the forever friends entwined in it all.

But this move comes with a backstory about keeping a promise. And my parents always told me it’s important to keep your promises. 

bowen and treesYears ago, Bowen and I made a pact that we’d live where I wanted first (Paso) to build my journalism career, and then we’d move to the Pacific Northwest to follow his dreams. And since I’m a stubborn Scorpio and he’s a supportive Taurus, I’m 10 years overdue on my end of the bargain. So it’s time for me to take his hand to lead us into our new chapter. But … I told Bowen the second he dies, I’m moving back to Paso.  🙂

Until then (ha), I’ve started a little SLO County Moving Bucketlist of places to go before we leave. They’re all outdoor places because of Covid-19, so all the playgrounds and indoor places we love like Hop’s Bouncehouse, Atascadero Library storytime, and the Paso Robles Children’s Museum are sadly off-limits. Luckily there’s no shortage of outside things to do:


SLO County Moving Bucketlist


1. Black Hill Trail, Morro Bay

The reason behind this one is really cute. When Bowen asked me to marry him, I was 26 and the proposal was a complete surprise.Beach - Tree ⁣He lived in Morro Bay and casually asked me to go on a hike with him one day. The Black Hill Trail was in his neighborhood – a short but steep State Park vista (and a proud member of The Nine Sisters volcanic mountain range) that makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. I’ve always wanted to take Clara and Wyatt up there and tell them daddy asked mommy to marry him right here! And a few weeks ago, we did it! I had the kids do a photo re-enactment of a proposal bc OH EM GEE the cuteness.

Aeolian landform - Landscape2. Marina Peninsula Trail, Morro Bay

The kids and I walked this coastal boardwalk trail in November 2018 to get some pictures for our review of a toy wagon. The wagon was my first big collaboration with a major toy brand and I was so excited to take it somewhere scenic and cool to show off our area. The wagon held up beautifully on the trail. Then, a few months later was the prize in one of my local Facebook giveaways to one happy family across the street from Clara’s school.

Photograph - Family3. Eflin Forest, Los Osos

A walk through the oh-so-magical twisty pigmy Elfin Forest was one of our very first blog posts ever! I went there in June 2016 with my mom-friend (local artist Liz Hudson!), knowing I was starting a travel blog soon. Baby Wyatt was strapped to me in the baby carrier with just socks – no shoes – and Clara was two years old with dirt-smudged cheeks and mismatched sweater buttons because it was a miracle we even got out of the house. Looking back on those pictures definitely cue the waterworks about wishing life had a pause button.

Facade - Brick4. Downtown Paso

There’s nothing better than walking into Downtown City Park with the Carnegie Library in the background, its red-brick walls catching the sunlight. History, beauty, memories of Concerts in the Park, car shows with my dad, parades, Christmas tree lightings and countless stories I’ve written about for the newspaper always on my mind. The park really is the heart of this community, and it’s always been that way for me.

5. Charles Paddock Zoo

New Red Panda Exhibit Opens at Atascadero's Charles Paddock Zoo _1

I don’t care if the big-city zoos in our future sport all the coolest and most impressive animals in the biggest habitats, Atascadero’s Charles Paddock Zoo is always going to be my favorite. It’s the place my children learned to walk, a small respite of fenced-in sanity for tired mamas and their not-tired kiddos to run around in, and it’s just so dang special. I’ve spent an extensive amount of time writing about and going to this community zoo and there will never be a cooler zoo out there.


Welp, now I’m crying. I’m going to really miss living here. All the mamas, friends, sources who followed me from the Trib and Nic and Hayley Mattson for so graciously giving me a voice in print again. Everyone. Thank you for all the support, and for all the fun.

Part of the magic of being a blogger is I’m not going away. I’ll keep my blog, Facebook and Instagram pages going to share our adventures. In life, in travel, wherever we are. 🧡.

See you soon.





About Tonya Strickland

Tonya Strickland is a journalist and Instagram influencer in the family and travel niche. A former Tribune news reporter, Tonya shares unfiltered #momlife content about places to go with kids. Her family moved from California's Central Coast to Washington state in August 2020. Their adventures now continue in the Pacific Northwest.

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