Photography,  Travel

Time to Catch Up Sharing a Little Life Update

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while since I last posted and I’ve really missed you guys!

Wow, it’s so strange to be writing for the blog again after such a long break. I have a lot to catch you up on but first I thought I’d start with a little bit of news about my life. Because I respect your time and I realize we don’t all have the whole day to read long blog posts I’m going to give you the punch line first before the long version of the story. Drumroll please………….I’m back!!!! I’m going to be living in the States again for now and at least for the near future!!!Okay, now for the longer version, I wrote you guys a autobiography. Haha, okay not really but seriously, this post is loooooong! This is for all you detail oriented people (like me ?). If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I’m citizen of the United States (born and raised in Tennessee actually), and that I moved with my family to Southern Chile when I was 17. For the past four years, I’ve been on this crazy journey in Patagonia with my family. Living there is what inspired me to start this blog so that I could sort of chronicle all of my crazy days spent in various kitchens there.

Now here’s where it gets complicated and where you’re probably asking “Why did you move to Chile in the first place?” Well believe me, I wish there was a quick and simple answer I could give to this question but there are honestly many different reasons. It’s sort of like a bunch of little clues along the way all lined up and pointed us to one place.

Suffice it to say that my parents wanted to expose us to some travel and to a different culture. Because of this, they poured hours of study into where in the world would be a good spot to take our family, both for beauty and for travel and culture. They ( who would be the first to call themselves crazy ) found that the South of Chile would be a great place to meet these goals, and in particular, the South of Chile ( Patagonia ).

So, in 2013, we sold the farm in North Idaho along with basically EVERYTHING we owned at that time. Here’s the thing, I am one of 7 siblings so that made 9 of us at first, but our numbers didn’t stop there. In addition to the all of us, my older sister (who was married with a baby on the way at the time) and her husband came down to live with us shortly after we moved, followed by my grandma (my mom’s mom). So, picture this, 11 people sell EVERYTHING and relocate to Southern Chile taking LITERALLY only what could fit into our suitcases. Each of us had 56 KG ( 100 pounds ) of stuff, and that was all. Oh, and then a little later on my younger sister met the man who is now her husband and he moved there as well. Now when you add him and my, now 2-year-old, nephew update that number to 13 people.

Living in Chile has been an amazing experience for every single one of us. We’ve met so many incredible people from all over the world who I hope to call friends for the rest of my life. We tried so many new things, learned countless life lessons, and even got to see a volcano erupting right in front of us.

The thing is, living in a foreign culture does have its challenges. Without being too specific, we had a sequence of family events within our household starting back in January that sort of had us all feeling like we could use a vacation from our extended vacation in Chile so to speak. That’s why we felt like it would be a good idea for all of us to pay a visit back to the States. Let me emphasize that it was just supposed to be a visit. We really wanted to reconnect with family, in particular my aunt in Northern Idaho. ( @lifes-a-donut ) All of us, and I mean all of us came to the states for this ”visit”, Haha, we also all brought empty suitcases so that we could fill them up with goodies and take back to Chile. Well,….that didn’t happen.

Probably one or two weeks into the visit to the States, (during our time in Florida ? ? ? ⛱), some things started falling into place for each of us that made us realize we needed to be here a little longer than planned. I guess you could say we were all coming alive with some of the possibilities and opportunities that we saw in different things. That’s when my parents made the decision that we were going to extend our stay, and then somehow within in just a few days after that ”for a while” turned into “indefinitely”Remember, I said we all came with empty suitcases. A hugely ironic part of this story is that we now have close to nothing. All of us came with the minimal amount of Summer clothes to make as much space as possible to bring things back to Chile. What I’m saying here is that this crazy gang is basically at reset when it comes to belongings. More importantly, since we came with plans to just visit, we’ve been staying with my aunt, so um……eh hem…….I guess that technically makes us homeless, haha.

Before you get too worried though, you should hear the news that we’ve just rented a house and we’re moving into it today actually. The new kitchen is incredible ( future post, I promise ). We have been slammed with hunting and gathering everything we need to live. Beds, blankets, sheets, towels, spoons, forks, etc., you name it, we have to buy it. It’s quite an adventure. I plan to be posting pics of my new kitchen and studio area along with anything and everything else about this new chapter in my life if you’re interested.

Back to the subject of my time in Chile though, I just wanted to add that I have nothing but good to say about Southern Chile. It’s gorgeous and the mild climate if fantastic. However, there is just something to be said about differences in culture and for this next part of our lives we feel that the need to be closer to family for a while outweighs our love for living abroad. Things change in this massive, yet very small, world and (if we’re any example) sometimes they change rapidly. I’ve witnessed my parents be mobile and fluid to change, and I’ve learned so much from simply that. I’ve also experienced, on many occasions now, the exhilarating freedom that comes from not being tied to possessions and “stuff”. That’s a knowledge I wouldn’t trade for anything and nor would I trade one of the relationships I’ve made along the way.

Now that I am back in the States I’ve got to admit to being extremely excited about so many more opportunities being available to me when it comes to my blogging. As for what this will mean for the future of this blog (which started on the premise of me living as an expat in South America)? Well, I’ve yet to completely define that but I do know I can’t wait to find out and I’m hoping you all want to follow along to find out with me.

Wow, if you’ve made it this far I have to say I’m extremely impressed and really appreciative. I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you and get back to posting regularly!



  • Vickey

    Tori I enjoyed every moment of your blog.
    Welcome home!
    I’m looking forward to reading more about you and your wonderful family.
    And browsing the delicious foods you prepare

    ~ God Bless ~ ? from sister Vickey Milner


    I wondered what happened to you! Best of luck on this new adventure, and its good to have you back in the States!

  • Kathleen

    Aloha and Congratulations to all of you! How exciting! Guess what…. we are “unexpectedly” moving back, too 🙂 We leave next week. Will you please ask your mom to give me a call when she has a minute to breathe in the midst of it all? Thank you and Good Wishes for your next Adventures.

    • Tori

      So good to hear from you, and how great that you’ll be moving back! Yes, I’ll absolutely tell her to give you a call and I know she’d love to catch up. (P.S. Did you notice you guys made it into my post????)

  • Paul

    Welcome back! My primary connection to you guys has been through your blog. Super proud of you and we are consistently blown away by your awesome photos. Keep up the good work and tell the whole gang hello from the greenest state in the land of the free.

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