The coronavirus pandemic changed so much for Americans — how we live, work, interact, travel and prioritize what is most important for us.
For one couple, Tom and Vanessa, safety became the priority — and for them, they felt it was time to leave the city of Minneapolis for a new home in the wide open hills and countryside of Wisconsin.
In October 2020, they began their journey to a new way of life.
Now, well over a year after their dramatic move, the couple believe the shift was good for them.
Looking back, the memories of the summer of 2020 in the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis nearly two years ago still haunt them, however.
The city changed — and it was too much.
Their faith in God, the couple said, was their guiding principle as they took a new road and took that first step toward finding their American dream home.
I sat down with Tom and Vanessa several months after we completed filming, and just after their episode aired on FOX Business Prime.
I wanted to see what perspectives they'd gained from making such a major life change.
"We are so very grateful to have found our own little sanctuary of peace in the woods."
Here are highlights from our conversation about their move.
Question: What was your experience with filming the episode? The crew, the cameras, the driving — did anything surprise you about being on television?
Answer: Leading up to the three days of filming, we had no expectations other than to just go with the flow and have fun.
The experience as a whole was very positive. We had fun visiting with the crew; it was very clear they took pride in their work.
Watching the show [later], we were amazed at how well they pieced all the takes together to tell our story.
Q: How has life been since you bought the home? Are you happy with the purchase and with the area you chose?
A: We moved to our home in the country at the very end of October 2020.
"When we first moved to the country, we thought five acres was a lot of land — and now we are hoping to buy more."
We are so very grateful to have found our own little sanctuary of peace in the woods, as the world has continued to spiral out of control all around us.
When we first moved to the country, we thought five acres was a lot of land — and now we are hoping to buy more.
Q: Vanessa, talk a bit more about your decision to leave Minneapolis. You don't go into much detail on the show — but I can't image what it was like. It must have been frightening.
A: Riots, lootings, shootings, fires and carjackings became a daily occurrence and were all around us.
We knew our life as city slickers was coming to an end.
"We think it's important to be grateful in all circumstances, as God always has a plan."
Gone were the days of walking to the gym or the grocery store — or even walking the dog by myself.
Tom didn’t even want me to drive in the city alone for fear that I would get carjacked.
Q: I love the interactions between the two of you. When you both look back at your life together so far, what are you most grateful for?
A: We think it's important to be grateful in all circumstances, as God always has a plan.
We're grateful for it all, the ups, downs and "all arounds."
Q: Besides Minneapolis, are there any other life events that you felt shaped who you are today?
A: We found out we were grandparents when Asher was 2 1/2 years old — he's now almost 8.
We immediately made a decision to prioritize our life around him and his needs.
That, more than anything, has shaped who we are and how we live our life today.
Also, I started a social selling business in January 2014.
The success of my business has allowed us the freedom and flexibility to do so.
"American Dream Home" airs Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Business Prime. All episodes are streaming on Fox Nation as well.
To learn more about the couple profiled in this story, click here to watch this clip from "American Dream Home."