Updated: Sep 2
“THE BEST ANSWER I CAN GIVE IS: WHY NOT?”
Within just three months we’ve discovered a new city, bought a house, and begun the move halfway across the country to Oklahoma City.
It’s pretty darn exciting and goes to show how anything can happen.
We had no intention of moving to this part of the country. NONE.
In your fact, had you looked into a crystal ball in April and told me a move to OKC was even on the cards, I would have laughed so hard and told you fortune telling abilities needed a lot of work.
And yet here we are. Closing on a house and making the 1800 mile trek to the dead center of America.
So why are we making this move? The best answer I can give is: why not?
Amy and I met fourteen years ago in Los Angeles when I was screening my first movie at BAFTA. We knew pretty darn quickly that this was it. Amy was a producer with a company based at Paramount Pictures, and I was living in England. I asked Amy if she would ever consider moving to England, to which she replied: “Yes, that sounds great… for August”. So I packed my bags for the first time and headed to set up life in the city of Angels.
Two kids later, we often found ourselves talking about moving out of Los Angeles and experiencing something new. But we failed to find a place that excited us both. We must have visited fifteen cities across the country and while they made great weekend getaways nothing ever clicked.
Los Angeles has been immensely kind to us, and we’ve lived a life that people all over the world would die for. Such as surfing and paddling with the dolphins off Venice beach, year-round outdoor living with the most amazing and eclectic group of friends, big city living with everything available at any hour, hobnobbing within the entertainment capital of the world be it having lunch at Spagos with Larry King or Finn and Ella playing Josh Brolin’s kids in a Cohen Brothers movie. The Janes family has lived and embraced the LA life. It has been brilliant. We are enormously grateful.
But something happened on a brief trip to Oklahoma City that made us all sit up.
We saw this alternative life we could be living and, at that moment, Amy and I found ourselves saying ‘are you thinking what I’m thinking?’
Now I knew nothing about Oklahoma before this trip. It was somewhere in middle America (not sure where – but as it turns out it is directly due east of LA and just above Dallas), it was, and could still have been for all I knew, a dust bowl, and my most significant reference point was its namesake musical.
But, what we found was a city going through a resurgence. A city that has made substantial investments into what it has to offer; from sports teams (it’s now home to an NBA team and the Dodgers triple-A affiliate) to a canal system flanked by restaurants. From a modern streetcar system, to America’s top Olympic training center for whitewater rafting. And, of course, then we can’t discount the outdoors.
The central part of the city is all 1920-1930s homes with real character, and the tree-lined streets make me think of the good ol’ American family movies I used to watch on Sunday mornings back in England. The closest thing I can put it to is what I imagine Austin was like 15-20 years ago before it boomed.
Driving through the streets, Finn asked what the boys were doing walking along the sidewalk without their parents. The idea that they would be free to walk to the park by themselves was a new concept to him. And that’s when it started to dawn on us that we don’t have much longer left with the kids… they are growing up so fast that in the blink of an eye they’ll be adults. And, wouldn’t it be great if, even for just a short while, we gave them a taste of what being a kid was like outside of the big city?
Later that day we made our way out to a friends family farm and got to experience the kids falling in love with fishing (that’s Finn below), riding horses, and picking dandelions to make fresh lemonade. It was awesome.