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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, those who finally found where their future lay

"Though farm chores and construction work are the most physically demanding jobs that I currently do, they feel like recess to me. And there's something really beautiful about work that feels like play."

Chip and Joanna Gaines became famous for their ability to transform outdated homes into dream houses. The concept of buying a rundown home, fixing it up, and then selling it for a profit is commonly called flipping a house. Many shows follow this format, usually in big cities like New York. But the chemistry between Chip and Joanna brought a unique charm, highlighting their small town, Waco, Texas that their audience fell in love with. It’s the town where they were born, raised, and chose to build their lives – their yellow brick road.

Joanna and Chip Gaines did have a taste of the big city life. Joanna had an internship at a CBS television news program, “48 Hours”, in New York City. She later moved back to Waco in 2000 to work in her father’s car shop. This was where she met Chip in 2001 when he came in to have his car repaired. Beckoned by love at first sight, Chip knew right then that he was going to marry Joanna. The unpredictable and easy-going Chip had to work to win Joanna over, but his charm proved irresistible in the end. Joanna’s exposure to New York City influenced her store, which became Magnolia Market. The couple’s first son, Drake, is even named after the Drake Hotel in NYC, the venue for their inaugural trip together. Nevertheless, it doesn’t look likely that the parents of five are ever leaving small-town farm life.

Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Market, Fixer Upper

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Ernest Hemingway at sea envisioned by AI

“Fish," he said softly, aloud, "I'll stay with you until I am dead.”

Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and moved to Kansas City in 1917, a decent-sized city to become a reporter before being called to fight in World War I. After the war, he went back briefly to the USA, where he met his first wife, Hadley Richardson in Chicago. The couple then decided to take refuge in Paris, a thriving city for expatriate American authors where he published his first big success ‘The sun also rises’, a story of post-war angst. It was in Paris that Hemingway fell in love with more than just his work and first wife. Hemingway married four times, his second came in Paris. Alas, love works in mysterious ways, and it can come and go, which is why Hadley granted him a divorce when Ernest fell in love with his second wife, and her best friend, Pauline Pfeiffer.  He honored both women in his posthumously published masterpiece, ‘A Moveable Feast’, but many believe this book showed that his first was still his favorite.

Once he left Paris, Ernest blossomed by pursuing his love of nature, specifically fishing and hunting, by touring Africa. His safari adventures had a huge physical toll on him, having survived several plane crashes and injuries. Yet he still kept going. Eventually, he would settle in the Florida Keys and then Cuba during this three-decade-long return to nature period when his Pulitzer Prize-winning classic ‘Old Man at the Sea’ was published, a few years before his passing.  He spent his last year of life in Idaho’s Rocky Mountains and its plentiful lakes, showing his love for nature, and fishing until the very end. Unfortunately for Hemingway, by this point he had given up on life, as his last years were marred by mental illness, prompting him to end his own life at the age of 61. No one ever said that nature cures everything, but at least fishing and the sea were Hemingway’s inspiration when he had the will to live and thrive, making the quote above more than just a line in a novel, but his autobiography.

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Ernest Hemingway, Old Man and the Sea

Kevin Costner on his aspen ranch envisioned by AI

"You've got to blaze your trail or you're just going to feed at the trough, ...Feeding at the trough can get you pretty fat. But I choose to go my own way."

Kevin Costner is a renowned American actor, producer, director, and author who was born in Lynwood, California, United States. This city was part of the suburban jungle of Los Angeles. At one time in the late 80s and early 90s, Kevin was Hollywood’s most bankable star with the natural epic ‘Dances With Wolves his Academy award-winning centerpiece. When you get to be that big, actors are afforded to choose the roles they are offered, and Kevin hasn’t played too many urban characters, with ‘The Untouchables’ a notable exception. As such it comes as no surprise, just a few years after his major grand successes in the 90s, he took his money and bought a 160-acre ranch in Aspen, Colorado. For Kevin, it was about peace and fulfillment, as for him nature gave him a chance to have a simpler form of life. Something his wife In essence, it’s somewhat like a prodigal son story where the countryside allows Kevin to return home if a home is one’s sanctuary. This doesn’t mean Kevin left the city for good, he is still a wealthy actor after all. He has kept his Hollywood home, like many people who have both urban and country dwellings.  Today, 30 years after his greatest success he has again risen to the top of his craft, as the star of Yellowstone, a nature-based cowboy TV series that is America’s most watched in all of its iterations. Kevin truly did find success on the farm.

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Kevin Costner

Surfing in Byron Bay, Australia AI

"Zac will still stay in Australia. He just loves Australia so much," the source added. "He is working and busy with several upcoming projects. He is happy, healthy, and enjoying life."

Zac Efron is a famous actor who swapped the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for a quieter life near the beach. He was born in the 50,000-person-strong beach town of San Luis Obispo, California, and later became popular through the ‘High School Musical’ movies. After spending many years in Hollywood, he returned to a more laid-back, seaside life. On October 18, 1987, Zac Efron, or Zachary David Alexander Efron, was born. He is an American actor and singer who first made his mark in ‘High School Musical’, a series on Disney Channel. His birthplace was San Luis Obispo, California, but he was brought up in Arroyo Grande. Efron’s acting career started with minor roles in TV series like ‘Firefly’ and ‘ER’. He got his major break in 2006 when he played Troy Bolton in ‘High School Musical’. The film’s success led to two more sequels, which boosted Efron’s fanbase. 

In 2020, Efron moved to Byron Bay, Australia from Hollywood. This coastal town of roughly 6000 residents is known for its beautiful beaches and relaxed way of life, aligning with Efron’s values and reminding him of his ocean-side roots.  His decision to leave Hollywood for Byron Bay is a typical ‘prodigal son’ story. Efron first left San Luis Obispo for Hollywood, where he found fame and success. But he later realized that he was happier living by the beach, just as he did as a child. His story shows that a successful and fulfilling life isn’t always found in the city. Despite his celebrity status and achievements, Efron chose a simpler and more sustainable way of life. His story shows that the excitement of city life and fame can sometimes be less appealing than the calm and simplicity of the countryside.

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Zac Efron

House Beautiful (Chip and Joanna Gaines), Brainy Quote (Chip Gaines), Biography (Ernest Hemingway), Biography (Kevin Costner), Bright Side (Zac Efron), People (Zac Efron)

All images are AI-generated using Fotor and are not meant to describe the subject matter they portray factually, but figuratively.

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