by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
For the past few weeks, my husband and I have been moving to the mountains of North Carolina from Northern Ohio farmland. It’s been our dream for a long time, but it’s been an emotional adventure too. Our log home is on a thickly-wooded mountain top with the proverbial gurgling stream running through the property. Our new home can only be reached by a mile and a half of one-lane dirt road that winds by awe-inspiring waterfalls and gasp-inspiring drop-offs.
It is bliss. The beauty of tele-commuting is that you can live and work virtually anywhere—accent on virtually. We did our homework before moving here; we knew that our options for communication were limited. DSL will probably not make its way up the mountain for a decade, and all cell phone signals are lost at the end of the paved road. But we now have satellite Internet, and a landline with an unlimited long-distance plan will be up and running in a few days.
The last week or so has been frustrating though, and we’ve found out how important our immediate communication is to us. We’ve made several trips into town to sit at the visitors’ center to use the free wi-fi to check email and pay bills, and because of unexpected family issues, I’ve had to drive to the nearest parking lot to make cell phone calls several times a day. Yesterday, I drove down the mountain at 6:00 a.m. to call the electric company to find out why we didn’t have power. I had to drive back immediately to check the outside breaker. Fortunately on the way back down, my nearest neighbor stopped me to tell me that the whole mountain was out, and the power should be on in a few hours. It was.
The communication inconveniences are nearly over, and I’m back in business—literally. Bill and I painted two walls of our office forest green and the other two are log; it makes for a cozy work area. My desk faces the forest behind the house, and this morning light is playing on the tips of the tree leaves. The air is still heavy with last night’s downpour, and I can hear the living stream through the open window. There is a nest of fly-catchers close by, and I can see the parents swooping to catch insects for breakfast. Although two satellite dishes interrupt my perfect view, they remind me that communication comes with a price, but technology can give us access to the world even from remote locations. Forgive the cliché, but I truly do have the best of both worlds.
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