Golden to Evergreen: My Migration Northward

Many have asked me why I decided to move from Pasadena, California to Olympia, Washington. In this article, I will explore the twists and turns that have led to my journey north.

My Love of California

As you know, if you have read my bio, I am a third generation Angeleno. My mother and father’s families have lived in the Los Angeles area since 1915 . My love for all things California is deep, and hard to put into words. My offering which best describes my passion for the history and culture in the Golden State is the California Out of the Box curriculum which I authored and published 5 years ago. In this state history curriculum — history, habitats, social studies, geology, and more are combined for a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to studying the history of the Golden State.

My mother at the California poppy fields

I am just shy of 50; I lost both of my parents to rather sudden deaths. Living in Los Angeles (at least for the last 10 years) has provided comfort for me; being able to visit my loved ones at their final resting place in the Hollywood Hills was a pilgrimage I made several times a year. I have countless memories of decades in California exploring natural areas, beaches, and culturally important places in and around the city of Los Angeles. One difficult aspect to my time in Los Angeles was saying goodbye to many young families that left the area over the years; the high cost of housing pushed many friends to relocate to other states. Some of my favorite things: visiting my Grandmother’s favorite Thai restaurant in Studio City, our yearly trip to Hollywood Bowl world music concerts, traipsing around Hollywood as a Fairfax High School student — being close to the Cinerama Dome and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and attending a number of the 1984 summer Olympic events with my family.

(And for those Californians reading this, please know I am still connected! I have more in the works for the California Out of the Box curriculum, so stay tuned!)

The Covid Years: 2020-2023

Before Covid, things were cruising along. I taught at an in-person homeschool co-op in Monrovia, which I really enjoyed! My kids were doing well: My daughter attended a great arts charter high school in Duarte, my boys and I were beginning round two of homeschooling. I was looking forward to teaching 4th and 7th grade.

Then it all changed—March 2020.

Our homescooling experience changed dramatically after that point, as I am sure you can relate to. Many of the reasons we homeschooled seemed distant. Field trips were off the table: Museums were closed, natural areas fenced, and parks roped with caution tape. Yuck for everyone!


A little after a year after after the pandemic began, as I mentioned previously, my dad passed away. Five years prior to his death, he moved from Los Angeles to Mt. Vernon, WA. He picked this area as my sister and her family lived there. In February 2021, I boarded a largely empty airplane to fly to Seattle to say my last goodbyes to my father. I had always thought his decision to move from Los Angeles to Washington was interesting. Once he made the move, even though Washington was rumored to be very cold and wet, he never complained about the weather. He seemed to enjoy the quieter pace of life and being surrounded by nature. He always said he moved up to the Evergreen State “to better himself,” and I believe this was the case for him. Being in nature was a peaceful experience and gave him time to prepare for his final journey.

My dad at Glacier Point

About fifteen months ago, I felt a similar stirring in my soul for nature and being in a slower environment. I wanted to live amongst green trees, nature, and birds. I decided I didn’t want to look at a back fence anymore. I was tired of city life—tired of living in a stall, tired of living in a tightly drawn rectangle. I am sure many of you can relate to this as well. In Covid, many, like me — developed a “fatigue with current surroundings.” Last January, this fatigue led to us put our home of twenty-one years on the market; we loaded up our belongings and relocated to Olympia, WA.

Things I Love about the Pacific Northwest

It’s been almost a year since I have moved to the PNW; in most ways, I have been ready for this move and have never looked back. I appreciate living closer to my last remaining relative from my family, my sister, Lisa Ellis. I have loved living amongst evergreens, maples, and ferns. Our home overlooks the Puget Sound, so I am very aware of marine life, fish, invertebrates, seals, and whales in the area. If you read my post on Earth Party and Earth Story, you will know I love orcas! I am thrilled to live closer to them. I spend time each day hitting Orca Network’s Facebook Group to see where the whales are swimming and feeding in the Sound. In some ways, this move has felt — the move I was destined to make — for a while. Many things — including my love for orcas, are coming full circle. This move has made me — “more me.”

I have recently joined the ranks as a volunteer at the local Olympia Puget Sound Estuarium. I look forward to all I will learn while in service to this amazing place of education. In addition, I look forward to connecting with homeschoolers in Oregon and Washington! I’d love the opportunity to engage with you. I’d love to hear more about what you are looking for in terms of classes and curriculum. I look forward to meeting as many as I can.

What do Carrier Shell Curriculum and Classes bring to the Pacific Northwest? Here is how I’d answer this:

We LOVE homeschoolers!

All of our instructors have either homeschooled their own kids, or personally been homeschooled. We understand how homeschool parents think, and what the challenges (and blessings) are. We are excited to journey with your family in your educational choice.

We LOVE experiencing learning firsthand.

Going back to my time at the P-22 Mountain Lion/Urban Wildlife Festival in LA, I bring to my classes an intense desire to re-link and contextualize learning so that students have rich, vivid, transformative experiences in our classes. Your kids will not be bored! Our instructors participate in student’s learning; they are not on the sidelines.

We offer many classes in writing (IEW), US and world history, art, and science. Our science class uses our Earth Party Science curriculum for grades 1-6, which we published in 2020.

One of my California students said, “You’ll have to write a Washington Out of the Box curriculum.” Maybe someday….I’ll need to learn a lot about this great state before I can author a state history curriculum with any competence!

We’d LOVE for you to try our classes and curriculum!

Please click the button below if you are interested in more information. You will receive a special promotion available only to PNW families.*

*Promotion available for a limited time only; we reserve the right to discontinue at any time.

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