Tuesday, December 26, 2017

[Merry] "C" word.

For the majority of my life, the feelings most associated with Christmas are anxiety, sadness and guilt. It's never really been an easy time of year. This is my fourth Christmas since my mother passed away, and since I moved west. And it's my first Christmas I've made an attempt to write about it.

I feel like every Christmas since I moved west has been sort of a step-by-step healing process of making peace with the season. And as I'm sitting here trying to write about it, I think I just realized a big part of the reason why. I've had absolutely no cash with which to participate in the commercial Christmas the last 4 years.

That and being so far away I have no place to be, so if I want to spend the day wandering in the woods or lounging in my PJs, I may. I miss family dinners and seeing everyone together, but that part of the holidays gets harder for everyone as people pass on or move away. And now I know what it feels like to be the one that moved away...

My first Christmas out west was an interesting shock out of the whole traditional holiday season. I had nowhere in particular to be, no one in particular expecting me, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. I went for a walk on the downtown east side, and made a friend whose feelings about this time of year resonated with my own. We spent the day together roaming the parks and streets making merry and enjoying the holiday lights.

The whole experience changed my perspective enough to no longer fret for the holidays. That shift was critical to my survival in a far away place. The reality of moving so far away is simply this: "home for the holidays" is seldom a feasible option. But that means, everything else is.

My second Christmas was spent with a couple friends, a dog, and a pickup truck on the mud flats down by the lake. It was a gorgeous, yet frozen sunny day, perfect for a Christmas bonfire. That was the beginning of basically living the rest of the winter in said pickup truck, and it was a beautiful, humbling reminder to be grateful for what I've got. There was something incredibly satisfying about spending a Christmas out in nature. I loved it so much, it has since become my tradition.

For my third Christmas in BC, my partner and I skipped town to go fishing. We drove to several spots to enjoy the winter view, and ate cold pizza for lunch on the hood of the van while watching the sun dance across the snowy river.

We were both invited to his family gathering, even though they didn't know me that well. I was nervous and awkward, but once I was introduced, it was nice to be included in a family atmosphere. We were both squatting in his family's trailer at the time, and though it was nice to have a warm and dry place to sleep at night, we wished for a home of our own.

A couple weeks later, after months and months of camping, couch surfing and trailer squatting.. our Christmas wish came true. We found our tiny farmhouse in the valley.

Neither of us have been big fans of the holiday season, and we're glad to have one another to enjoy the escape into the wilderness. This year to keep up with our tradition of spending the holidays in nature, we took a Christmas eve hike into the woods behind our land. We're so broke this year we couldn't afford fuel to get out to our good December fishing spot, but it was really cool to see what kind of wildlife we could track in our own backyard. I'm glad that we were grounded as we got to experience our local area from a perspective we never had before, which we both enjoyed.

We woke up Christmas morning in our own home. My first Christmas here was in a hostel, the second in a pickup truck in the woods, and the third was out camping whilst squatting in a trailer. Despite having no money, no way to buy gifts or travel far, I couldn't be more grateful to wake up in our very own little home.

Christmas in BC has changed the holiday experience for me. I have no space to hold onto the guilt or sadness. I'm forced to be present, in the moment. Having my partner by my side and living in the place I've always dreamt I'd be is a special gift to me.

Thank you all, near-ish and far for all your love and well wishes this holiday season- and the lovely holiday card collection hanging on our wall. I wish everyone peace and joy and good things in 2018!


Monday, December 18, 2017

Yet still hopeful..

I should be overwhelmed with anxiety right about now.. I just can't let it eat at my brain anymore. Looking back over the past few years of blog posts I noticed a couple of things. One, there is a fairly consistent pattern of ups and downs, and second.. I wish I wrote more. And thirdly, I seem to have predicted every change somehow. Could have been keen sense or lucky guesses, who knows.

Right now, I'm blank.. it's hard to say which way this will go. Since being a subcontractor work has never been so slow. There was so much work this summer we were turning jobs down.. even last year at this time we were swamped. This season was a killer combo. We lost one big contract that would have held us over all winter as it was postponed. Then the next one we got we lost money on HUGE. And now we've been waiting two weeks for a job that was due to start mid November.. today was supposed to finally be the day we begin. And nothing. 


There's one week til Xmas, and we were hoping to be able to spoil my partner's kids a little. Last year was rough for both of us but we managed to pull something together. This year we're praying just to make it through. Thankfully we'd hoarded most of the recycling we accumulated this year in the shed, and made two trips to town to cash it in.. 160 bucks in cans and drink containers. We were able to get a couple bags of produce and a tank of gas, with a few bucks to stash for emergency. 

But that, unfortunately, won't cover the rent. Or the hydro, or insurance.. Or any of the other crap that ties me in. 12 days till the end of the month and I'm praying for a miracle. We've thankfully found a few day jobs to keep us afloat but nothing major. This isn't the way I'd expected things to go, but then again, it's my life which is nothing short of unpredictable. 

The past week or so I've felt so guilty that we might lose out on this place that I've barely been able to leave it. With any bit of rain (and there's been lots) I hide inside as if to savour the roof over my head keeping me dry instead of bothering to venture out from under it. I've been using this as an excuse in my mind to sit inside.. pondering if perhaps we should be using up what's left of our food stores as to not waste it in the case that we might have to pack up and live in the van.


I can't foresee- after everything that's happened to get me where I'm at- that this is all over. I refuse to pack it in, I'm not giving up. Something must give. We will find the miracle contract. We will make the rent. Our little farm will live on.. somehow.

I finally got up out of my puddle of depression and went for a walk this morning. I reveled in the mystical beauty of the rainclouds dancing around the mountaintops threatening to snow. I stood in awe of the massive eagles and heron as they effortlessly sailed between the trees right beside me and the mountains way off in the distance. I took many deep breaths while I watched the ducks bob about in the water.

Something happens when suddenly everything is under threat of being lost or ending. Reality seems more real. Food has flavour that floods in memories. The feel of rain on the skin, the smell of the air... Moments seem to drag on for eternity. There's a quiet and a stillness that is peaceful inside the chaos. Time stops.

And then it catches up with you..


Tomorrow is a new day. Today, I'm hopeful.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December already..

11 months now I've had this lovely little house to call home... and I'm stressing every day trying to rustle up enough dough to keep it going. This time last year we had more work than we did time, and now we've been searching for weeks to pick up new contracts with no luck.

Don't get me wrong, I love having time off from work, it just came a little unexpectedly and we weren't financially ready. I'm so thankful that we invested in a big chest freezer to keep our summer garden goodies in, our produce stash along with a giant bag of rice has kept us going. We Also stocked up on flour and various other baking ingredients, so if we can't scrounge enough money for fuel to get to town, at least we have a somewhat full pantry for a while.

The bit of extra time just happened to coincide with the eagles returning to the valley. And an ankle sprain.. So the past couple weeks I've been slowly rolling up and down my road with my hazards on, a foot on the brake and a lens to my face with the driver's door open. Anywhere else but here you'd def get looks for that, but I live on a dead end road out in the country. And right now, it's eagle country. There's plenty of people rolling around with cameras pulling over at random to get the shot.

Unfortunately, a storm took out our greenhouse a couple weeks ago. This on top of the sprain and being out of work really got me down. We ended up having our first frost the other day, which means the crops that were inside the greenhouse are pretty much toast. I've decided to keep a little green in my life this winter by adopting some houseplants. I even found a perfect mini lemon cypress to stand in as our Christmas tree. It's so cute!

So in summation, lots of ups and downs this season. My ankle is starting to heal, so I'm doing my best to get back on my daily ten thousand steps. I'm hopeful that work will pick back up again soon, and our home will be saved for the winter.

As always, thanks to all my amazing friends, fams and fans that have kept in touch and kept my spirits up. It gets a little lonely out here at times, but man is it lovely. If I don't write again before then, I wish you all a merry ho ho.. and bring on 2018!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Those Three Words.

"I must have been dreaming" you said.
I laid quietly pretending to be asleep.
But you weren't dreaming, you heard me right.
Last night like every night I whispered
those three words in your ear
as I huddled closer to your warmth.

Three little words I dare not say out loud..
it's kind of crazy how a phrase that
resembles the projection of one's heart
could be so scary.
It's not like you don't know it,
in everything I say or do,
and every time I look at you..
those three words.

And the hundreds of times you've
asked me what I'm thinking
when I see your face and smile..
and I just pat your hand or hug you and
"it's nothing".
All the while I'm thinking to myself,
those three words.

It's like I think you won't believe me
if I told you how I feel,
as if you'd never understand
that it's so powerful, so real.
Maybe some things need not be said.

Perhaps it's enough for us that exist
the way we do.
You're there for me, I'm here for you.

Never a day passes that I don't
Hold you close and whisper...
Those Three Words.


Monday, October 9, 2017

October Love.

It's my favourite month of my favourite season, and this may be my favourite October yet. Rainbows, sunflowers, pumpkins and sunsets. I'm sitting in my living room, surrounded in Home. Pumpkins piled around my plants by the window [and on the porch, and everywhere], produce boxes filled with garden treasures, sunflower seeds drying in their trays, cedar, sage, lavender and mint.. and sweet views out my windows.

Which totally makes up for the chaos that my work life has become. Contractor life is very unpredictable at times. Some jobs are nice money makers, others are a near complete loss. We never really know when we'll be paid, so having the garden [and preserving it's goods] has really saved us through. I hope I never have to go another season without a garden. I'm getting good at my new trade, but still I dream of one day making a full-time gig of growing food.

So yeah, about them rainbows.. there's been one [or a few] every day this past week. The weather patterns out here this time of year make them a common occurrence. Cool mornings, a little sun in the afternoon and rain in the evening. The sun sneaks below the rainclouds for a final peek before setting, creating these beautiful rainbows and blazing sunsets. It's just incredible, I feel so blessed to be here to witness it all. This is our first Autumn in the valley, and I'd been looking forward to it.

And the sunflowers! This was my first time having a plot to plant them since Ontario [besides an attempt in a bucket on a balcony], and they grew to be giants here. The seeds I've been carrying since I'd planted the first handful [unknowingly] on the day my mother had passed. these were the last of that crop, and now I can save the seeds from these ones and continue on with the strain.

The best seeds from the biggest flowers will be kept for next season. The rest, delicious snacks! The seeds from this mammoth are big enough to cover my thumbnail. I'm hoping by spring we can find a place to plant a bit of a sunflower field. They do well enough on their own, and love arid conditions, so there may be a seed-bombing in our near-ish future.

And these pumpkins.. It's pretty safe to say I'm obsessed. I love growing them, and looking at them, I love their smell and colour and texture, I love pumpkin pie it's my absolute favourite! And soup and roasted pumpkin seeds too. So next year, more pumpkins. Their patch must be updated, as this year's attempt was a last minute one. They need better soil and more space to grow.

In the spring we plan to turn, amend, and hopefully mulch their entire bed. This year we just dug little circles to plant the seeds and let the vines sprawl around through the grass, but as soon as they became too big to trim between, the grass took over. Next time they'll have much more space. And we'll likely have many more varieties. I love our little microfarm.


This year out here in the valley changed my life. It made me realize that dreams can and do come true. That some chances, though scary, are worth taking. That a vagabond can find a home. And that perseverance pays off. Once I had finally begun to find my footings out here on the west coast, it was a huge risk to move out to the country. I didn't know if I could keep working the jobs I'd had once I moved, or if I'd find other work if i couldn't. But I moved out anyways.

And I did have to quit both my jobs. And I did find other work, doing something I'd never thought I would get into. So here I am, in my dream place, making it happen. It feels damn good.

The only thing missing is my [friends and] family. I have made new friends out here, but it's this time of year I really miss everyone back home. Even when I spent months wandering with a rucksack on my back wherever I could make it to, I always made a point to make it home for the holidays.

No matter where I've ended up, it's always been in the back of my head that if things don't go well, I can always go home and start again. But I never really pondered what would happen if things did go well. I suppose I wasn't expecting to last this long out here without returning to my homelands for more than just a visit. I guess I never really thought about how it might feel to be so far away from everyone when they're gathered for a legendary turkey dinner, and I'm out here contemplating what I'm going to do with a holiday Monday.

Probably load up the boat and go fishing. My new BC holiday tradition.


That garden tho. Seriously. It's hard to worry about anything too much when I'm standing there overlooking my edible landscape masterpiece, admiring a mountain sunset. Knowing that I've found my place, land that I can grow on, and a community I can thrive within. It's hard to miss a place I love but can't stand to live in, when I'm in a place like this.

I'm so thankful for every minute of it.

That said, if you're reading this, Happy Thanksgiver. Please know that even though I can't be close to you, you're always in my thoughts. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and I believe that to be true. Not that I didn't love you all before, but being so far away for so long, I've learned a whole different appreciation for the important people in my life. I'm thankful to have you in my life. My friends and family [same diff amirite?] are my lifeline and I know I wouldn't still be here if i didn't have your love and support. Cheers to you this turkey day, and every day. All the love.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Dollars and Scents.

I'll be honest, I've been a closet Scentsy fan for years. The year before I'd uprooted my life and moved west, I was gifted a warmer. I loved it so much I gave my mother a warmer, and we would 'go in' on orders and share our bars. My favourite scents pertained to Autumn, and she loved anything and everything that 'smelled like Christmas'.

Given that the sense of smell is so strongly connected to memories, when she first passed away, the last thing I wanted at that moment was something so vivid. I gave my warmer away. As a matter of fact, I gave almost everything away. I bought a Greyhound ticket west without a plan. For almost three years to follow, I had no fixed address. After what seemed like forever house hopping, couch surfing, and most especially camping, I finally found a place to call Home.

My partner and I moved into a tiny farm house in the middle of winter. Given my history, it took me a while to settle in to the idea of having a home. The seasons have since come full circle, and now that Autumn has arrived, I feel the urge to celebrate!

I sat down at my computer to visit my friend's Scentsy page. I browsed around for my favourite scents, wishing that I myself had become a consultant years ago. Witnessing my friend's ascent from consultant to star director, and in such developing a well-paying career that allows for travel and lots of free time, [not to mention all the free trips!] I wish I would have sooner followed in her footsteps. Instead of just ordering some product, I decided to sign up.

I had so many reasons not to before. Worries of whether or not I'd be a good sales person, concern of what my friends might think if I were to sign up for a multi-level marketing outfit, doubts that I would ever make it work.

Needless to say, I'm over it.

Truth is, I enjoy the product. My scent to memory connection has always been impeccable, so much so that the smell of the sun hitting freshly rained upon fallen leaves quite literally moves me to [happy] tears. I love when that happens.

I am so blessed to have moved to such a beautiful place, but it doesn't always smell as nice as it looks. Farmers often fertilize their fields, and the well water in this old farm house has a questionable odour at times. We have a rich, beautiful, yet ever-so-ripe compost heap for our massive garden [which you can thankfully only smell from the zucchini patch], and let's not forget that family of skunks that has taken up residence somewhere close-by. All in all, if I'm not in the middle of baking or having a fire, it smells like, well... farm country!

Thus, I finally caved. Upon doing several web searches, checking local flea markets and directories, I have yet to come across a local consultant. I do my best to always support local farmers, bakers, craftspeople, and tradespeople [as I am a few of those things myself!], and so I thought, perhaps I should be a local Scentsy slinger too. I do enjoy their products, as I'm sure fellow country folks might as well.

Don't worry, I didn't sign up for this thinking it'd be a good 'get rich quick' scheme, but I am hopeful that I might generate a little extra income. Not so that I can quit my apprenticeship and go bohemian, I actually enjoy my new trade. But I'd love not to have to work at it 5, 6 and even sometimes 7 days a week. And not so that I no longer need to grow my own food, I really do love gardening. But I'd love to be able to spend more time doing it without worrying if the bills will get paid.

That said, if it doesn't pan out, at least my rugged little house out in the mountains will always smell amazing. And my old adventure van/workhorse will no longer stink like.. well, all the things. It'll stink pretty too!

Thanks for taking a moment to read this. If you'd like to share in my indulgence, check out my page... or perhaps you'd like to join me on this scented venture? I'm here for you every Scentsy need!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Happy VANiversary, StarShip Delilah!

It was a year ago we found you, and the weather was just the same the day we brought you home. First good rain of the season, a bit of a chill in the air.. and you were there for us. Beautiful, blue... patina and perfect. Best four hundred bucks ever spent, for forty thousand kilometers you have carried us. Well worth every cent.

You've taken us on so many adventures. To places I could have never been without you.. Camping in the mountains and fishing trips, you kept us warm and dry. Up mountain trails and down the backroads, to lakes and rivers and streams. You helped me find the most beautiful places, that once only existed in dreams.

When winter came, you didn't once fail me. We dared the icy slopes which bigger trucks had slid backwards and down, but you pulled through. And there was that time we took a wrong turn out in the country where even snow plows dare not go, and you blasted through all the waist high snow drifts with ease. I'll never forget that ride, the most exciting drive of my life.

Having you opened up my world. You gave me more freedom to choose a new line of work, and for us to find a home base far beyond the reaches of public transit. The freedom to explore the world around me from a broader perspective, with a little 'home' on wheels.

Thank you StarShip Delilah, for everything. For all those blissful moments 'out there'.. for carrying all of our gear, our food, our firewood. Thanks for not giving up no matter where we ventured, for laughing with us at those '4x4 only' signs.

It's been a good year. It's been a blast having you around, you're a real conversation starter too. That still surprises me.. it's not like you're a show car or a sports car or a big jacked up truck, but what you are is nostalgia. People love to see you, still out there on the road. You were many people's 'first', even best or most reliable vehicle they'd ever owned. You inspired complete strangers to share stories and memories with us in the most unexpected moments, and that's pretty cool of you.

I never expected what was to come once we found you. You changed my life. You gave me the opportunity to become comfortable enough to drive. To push my own boundaries, to challenge myself. When I was younger I never had the desire to drive, but you opened my eyes. It'll be a challenge to find a successor as my trusty automobile, things just aren't built the way they used to be. Like my solid steel, oldskool driving machine.

Moving out to the country was a dream come true. We couldn't have done it without you.. You carried our couch, our bed, and all the things. You helped us find a place to call home. So many trips for lumber and soil and garden supplies, you even carried the rototiller not just once, but twice! You're a work horse, a tent, a mobile living space. Thank you for doing it all, with grace.

Happy Vaniversary, StarShip Delilah!


Saturday, September 16, 2017


Once a vagabond, always a vagabond. In mind and in spirit, and occasionally in body too. Though I've had a pretty solid home base for 8 months, it's hard not to feel like a squatter. I am, after all, on someone else's farmland. My partner and I both feel this way. You just never know where life will take us, where we may have to move to find work, or what might happen to this ever-changing landscape. We have planted seeds and established roots here, and have even planned our layout for next year's crops. But that doesn't mean we aren't ready to move on if we have to.

The nature of our work keeps us on the road most days. We usually make it home to sleep, but keep a bit of camping gear in the van just in case. And we always have a tote of food and water, a portable kitchen, and a change of clothes too. What a change from living out of a rucksack. I can carry a lot more things. I try my best to keep it minimal. Last summer I would drag my rucksack with me to work, if I didn't have time to make it to my storage locker in the morning. I'd be the one getting changed and brushing my teeth in the staff bathroom.

People get a kick out of us at lunch time when we bring out the stove top to cook. We have been asked on more than one occasion if we just live in our van, a question to which we never really have a straight answer. Last winter before we'd found this place, we had organized ourselves in such a way that we would essentially be camping at our jobsites. We were prepared to use the resources we had access to such as the electricity to keep us warm and charge our wares, and on some more remote sites using scrap lumber to build a fire. Every town has a laundromat, every gas station has a washroom we could use to get clean.

As ready as we were, I'm glad we found our little farm house in the valley. It's our piece of paradise. We fit in well here, and quite enjoy the country life. If we do decide to move on, I refuse to do so unless we find something just like what we have, only better. Garden space, a river out front, mountain views, and we're allowed to have our smoker and fire pit too.. we're kind of spoiled. A home base that satiates our vagabond-ish needs. It's kind of like camping, with a roof and power and ruining water.

Winter is making it's way back again as quickly as it left, and we are preparing. Totes need stocking with food and water, firewood needs collecting, and seeds need to be stored. We must look into purchasing some warmer wares and repairing what we have. The generator is good to go. The garden is winding down, the freezer is almost full.

Wherever I am, I am home.

Whether it's here in this farmhouse in the valley, or on a patch of gravel in my van down by the river, no matter where I find myself, I am home.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Manifesting 'The End'

I'm often haunted by that little saying, "be careful what you wish for". Pretty sure I'm not the only one. If ever I say something might happen this way or that, my partner always says, "well don't say it like that, you speak it into existence!". He constantly reminds me that our minds are more powerful than we could ever know. We put on a show the other day, it's a mini-series on the NetFlix called How the World Ends. It demonstrates how people throughout history have predicted the world would end, and prepared for the apocalypse.

Part way into the first episode [that's about as far as we got], the narrator explains that 40% of people in America believe that we are currently living in the end of days. The ol man starts yelling at the TV, 'well of course we're in the end of days, all of civilization has made it so by predicting it!'. Suppose he could be right.. That by our entire history of civilization believing in our impending doom, we have manifested it to be so.

Perhaps we are the force of nature that pushes Mother Earth into her next cleansing cycle. Maybe it was our 'End Days' way of thinking that kept us living and consuming in a way that rapidly accelerates our climate to change for the worse. Maybe those of us who want to witness The End so bad have been reincarnated again and again here on Earth to make it happen.. Perhaps we gathered a crowd to watch the fight.

We see it every day in microcosm manifestations, the world is bleak around those who believe it to be so.. yet there are those who live through whatever comes their way with a smile on their face, and no matter their trials and troubles they survive and thrive happily even in the darkest of days. The girl who lived a sheltered, comfortable life with everything provided is hiding in her room on anti-depressants, while the old man who has been to war and witnessed his best mates blown to bits sits outside in the sunshine smiling as he picks his guitar and sings.


Not saying that I know what I'm talking about, just talking about the way I see it. It's probably 'too late' to change our self-inflicted fate, but at least we can choose to live out the rest of our days with a smile. A meteor could crash into the Earth next week wiping out life on this planet, or you could walk out into the street this afternoon and get hit by a bus. There's no real way of knowing when our end comes, but there's no sense in sitting here fretting about it. All we have is Now.

Live like there's no tomorrow, but plant seeds just in case.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

3 years later...

Ah man I'm bad at this. It's been an eventful summer that's for sure. The garden exploded, and we've literally been feeding the town with it. We use our produce in barter and trade, and the freezer chest is full. Loads of it are just given away. It's a beautiful garden, my best one yet. It's a fair bit of work to maintain, but it's more than worth it.

It's been a long, hot season. It's rained sparsely twice in the past 3 months, and this is the worst season for wildfires yet. We had a few days of relief from the smoke, but as I drove home today I could see a thick haze on the horizon. We're enveloped once again.

We find relief from the heat out on the water. My partner reclaimed a boat he had stashed in a barn. It took us a bit to get it up and running again, but it's been well used since. We are surrounded by lakes and waterways and blessed with beautiful places to fish. Our season started out well, we caught 7 rainbow trout in a few hours on our first lake run. Only half the luck since, and now we're waiting for the salmon. And the rain.

Work has been ...interesting. I have learned a lot in the 8 months I've been working with metal. I am learning from the best. Our team is highly sought after in the valley. Contract work can be unpredictable at times though when it comes to lining up jobs (and getting paid for them). We've had a couple nerve racking lulls, but then a week later we're turning down work because we're booked solid. It's kind of funny that we live in a tiny little farm house, and work in 4-8,000 square foot homes worth millions. And some with unbelievable views. BC stands for bring cash, and man do they ever.

I wish they'd share the wealth... though our schedule is full, our budget is still hella tight. We just barely made rent on time for the first of the month, and with so many bills coming up [and a couple weeks before we can expect any more pay] everything is on the line. My wheels, my phone, and ultimately our home. If only we could pay rent with vegetables...

It makes me think about the perception of wealth. If produce was currency, I'd be rich. Therefore, I suppose I am. It's reassuring to know that if the economy went for a dump, at least we can produce our own food, and lots of it. We need to get a bigger fire safe for our seed collection.

Besides going to work and our occasional trips to town, we live a very simple, localized lifestyle. It's very old timey and laid-back. As I was saying about the barter and trade, it's a part of life out here for 'people of the valley'. Most of our food came from somewhere in this community, trading zucchini and squash for farm fresh eggs, and our tomatoes and seeds for the sweetest corn on the cob I've ever tasted. It's such a contrast from city life, out here in the country.

Which by the way, was always a dream of mine. It's been 3 years now since I landed here. 3 years ago I stepped off that greyhound bus. I had no real plan.. If you would have asked me right then and there where I'd have seen myself three years later, I wouldn't know what to tell you. I could have ended up anywhere, or continuously traveled.. I could have gone back east, back to the land from which I came. but I'm still here.. I somehow passed the test of time that comes with east-coast peeps moving west. many go back in the first year and a half. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't considered it more than once. 

 It wasn't the easiest choice to make, nor the easiest ride to take when i decided to stay. I've faced almost as much adversity the past three years as I had in the 29 years before that, but also experienced some of the most beautiful, priceless moments of my life. I would never take it back for anything. the places that I've been, the people that I've met.. it's just incredible. Even if I had to lose everything once or twice to get there. Even if I had to miss everyone back home so much to make these new connections, I would never wish it hadn't happened. 

If someone would have approached me that day I stepped off the bus and told me where I'd be in a few years and what I'd be doing, my response would probably be something along the lines of 'I wish...' and that's the craziest part of all. I wouldn't have believed it. Couldn't have even dreamt it... at the same time now that I'm here, I couldn't have imagined it any other way. Although I have these memories of my mother speculating how my life might end up if I moved out west, and it's almost creepy how spot on she was. I didn't really believe her either. But if I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure I did say 'I wish'. If I could only tell her, and hear her say 'I told you so...'. But I do. 

I do.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Just when you think it's alright...

Suddenly, it isn't. I mean it's not the end of the world or anything, it just feels like it in this moment. I suppose it's a good thing I have a hard time getting comfortable in life situations, because in a moment (especially when you least expect it), everything can change.

Sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me, but sometimes it saves my ass. It's too soon to tell which way things will go, but I'm doing what I can right now to be ready for anything.

As I was saying the last time I wrote, this past year has been one of the best in my life. I've made so much progress on a personal level, overcoming my fear of driving, building on a career learning a new trade, and finally establishing a real home base. Having a partner at my side through it all that doesn't give up is a real plus. It all seemed 'too good to be true'. Maybe I was right.

But maybe it's just a bump in the road. Maybe we'll get it all sorted out. Maybe we can find work in time before we lose out on our place. The feeling of potential imminent loss has made me realize how much I truly do appreciate where I've gotten. But isn't that always how it goes.


We took a chance venturing out on our own as subcontractors in a trade that's greatly sought after. We had so much work, we hadn't taken a weekend in months. We were exhausted, but finally getting to a point where we could get ahead. A couple more weeks of plugging away, and we'd afford our vacation.

When we showed up for work a couple days ago, there was no material on site. When it finally arrived, so did a cheaper, inexperienced crew to install it. Which was all fine and good, as we were about to jump ship for another company that offered us full time work and an array of new tools. As we'd prepared to do so, we learned that it's not an option until spring.

So here we sit, broke and confused. What just happened? How did we go from too much work to no work at all? Is this because I asked for a day off?! Be careful what you wish for, I suppose.


With little else to do but think, we chose not to. We took to the lakes and rivers to calm our minds. We paced the garden picking produce from the vines. This morning I spent making calls out for potential work, with no leads as of yet. And now I sit here folding laundry, catching up on chores around the house we've been too busy working to get around to, wondering what the hell we're gonna do to keep it all. Or what the next step might be if we can't.

I'm prepared for the possibility that I could end up on this journey on my own, once again. But I'm hopeful that won't be the case. Flying solo has its advantages, but happiness is so much better when it's shared. Struggles are a little easier too. Just in case, my anxious mind is listing what to do if everything falls through.

Looking around the house, I'm taking inventory of all the things I need to keep, stuff we can get rid of, and what all could go to storage if need be. Preparing myself to once again be mobile, living in my van. Mapping out the towns that might be best to bum around in.


It's been a long day. I ended up at the beach, in the quiet. No sound but the waves of the approaching tide. The sun is setting and the heat of the day finally wanes. I'm thankful for these places I can tuck myself away. I'm glad that despite my ever changing situation I can find peace in the chaos. I'm grateful for all that I have, if only for today.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Summer Daze.

What the hell is wrong with me? I mean, I know what's wrong with me, and I know what I have to do about it, but I just... don't. I make excuses. I don't have the time or energy to take better care of myself. Yet if I made the time, I'd have the energy!

This past year has been one of the best of my life. I met my amazing partner (the one my mother described to me but I didn't believe existed), I finally started driving, I moved to a beautiful place where I have a monster garden, surrounded by lakes and mountains that I enjoy fishing and exploring.. and yet here I am, feeling like a piece of shit.

I have made a little bit of progress since my last post though. I'm working on my anxiety. I suppose I've been stuck in that "too good to be true" mentality for so long that my mind tricks me into believing that it's real. That if everything is good, there must be something happening behind the scenes that's out to get me.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all easy and sunshine and rainbows, it's hard work to maintain this lifestyle and at times, shit happens. And like in any relationship, there's personal histories on both sides that make it difficult at times to relate. But overall, I couldn't have imagined myself being in a better situation. This is my opportunity to better myself and I don't want it to go to waste.

My partner and I walked down to the slough yesterday to pick blackberries, when out of the blue my good friend from back home (who I regard as my little sister) messaged me to tell me she had purchased a juicer. She said that I had always been an inspiration when it comes to healthy living. It was in that moment that I truly realized I had let myself down. I felt guilty that I could inspire someone else to make healthy lifestyle choices when I myself am fully failing in that department. What a wakeup call.

Summer is nearly over. I thought that by moving out here I'd finally be in a position to do what needs doing to get my health in order. It's been 6 months. I'd imagined myself being a lot healthier by now, and having the energy to enjoy all the goodness that is surrounding me.

It. Is. Time.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The crash.

I haven't published a post in a while, though I have many sitting in draft that I just haven't been able to finish. Sometimes it's hard to find the words. 

I'm coming up on my 3 year mark of permanently uprooting myself from Southern Ontario, and a lot has changed since then. There have been many ups, and some pretty severe downs.. and though on the outside I have made a lot of progress and achieved some pretty rad life goals, on the inside I'm falling apart. 

My health is failing, being the number one down. My physical health, which I had come to master on my own through nutrition, exercise and meditation, I have all but lost touch with. This is affecting my mental health in a serious way this past 9 or so months, and as a result I have been pushing away my partner. 

I'm on the brink of losing everything I have worked so hard to achieve, just as I'm about to finally make a huge step forward in my career. If I don't get my health in order, and fast, I'm going to be in some serious trouble. I don't want that. I don't want to lose out on decent job opportunities, on the homestead I've put my heart and soul into, and the partner that helped me make it all happen. I must make a change before it's too late. 

One day at a time, right?

I woke up this morning, sick and tired of being sick and tired. I awoke to the realization that if I don't take control today, I won't have the energy to keep on working, to maintain that beautiful garden, to keep getting out into the world, on the water, into the mountains. 

I have everything in life I could have ever dreamt of and then some, and I have been letting it go to waste by letting myself go to waste. I don't want to be sick anymore, or angry, anxious or depressed. I want to live the life I have, and be happy. 

Today is the first day of the rest of my life, and I will make it a good one. I will only eat healthful, nutritious foods, I will do my best not to have a cigarette, and I will smile. 


If you're reading this, thank you. For your love and support and kind words and thoughts. I would have never had the strength to keep my head above water the past few years without you. I will get through this, like everything else. One day at a time. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's day.

The first one without her was the hardest. Being that it was the Friday of mother's day weekend that she'd lost her grip on this plane of existence, the emotions that ran through me at that time were almost unbearable. Mother's day, however, was never really an easy one.

My mom suffered from depression for many years. And of course, she missed her mom. My brother and I would always do our best to make her smile on her special day, but sometimes she just wasn't having it. It was one of the two times a year we could anticipate a phone call from the police or the hospital (or having to call one of the two).

This is the fourth one since she's been gone. It has gotten easier as I've become more comfortable with the idea that she's still around in some way, and no longer suffering. So it's okay to be grateful for her bringing me into this world, without feeling guilty that I'm in it without her.

We went down to the river where I set some of her ashes adrift. The weather was beautiful, and the trail was quiet. We hiked as far as we could without our waders and just enjoyed the views.

The drive back home was short and sweet, an eagle followed us back to the highway from the creek. As soon as we arrived home, we kicked off our shoes and stepped into the garden.


Here I am, in the mountains, with an epic food garden outside my tiny farm house. Sandy Shores Farm.. in dedication. I'm learning a trade, driving a van, and living the slow life out on the country. My brother has a decent job, a car of his own, and we're both blessed to have partners in crime to share our lives with. This is all she ever wanted for us, to have a good life and enjoy. I know she's smiling with us.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

The adventures of staying put.

If you know me, you know I have a hard time with the idea of staying anywhere too long. I get itchy feet, the travel bug bites me pretty frequently. Or at least it did.. I'm not sure if I'm just getting old or I've finally grown out of it. Not completely, I still like adventuring, as long as I have my home base to which I can return.

I've had some tempting offers for travel come my way the past few weeks, which I somewhat hesitantly declined. Usually if someone says to me, hey let's drive across the country or, grab a flight my way I have a place for you to crash while we go explore for the next month... I'd be all over it like white on rice. Not this time.

Staying put is an adventure for me. Putting down roots and having a place of my own is a kind of unknown. I've moved more times than the number of years I've been alive. Most of my twenties were spent toting a rucksack someplace or other. Renting rooms, basements or storage lockers to keep my belongings in place while I wander.


There's excitement in having a space to grow a huge garden. Every day something is happening out there, sprouting, growing, changing. Being able to produce my own food and have extra to share sounds like a pretty good time to me. Having something to look after and put energy into that has a bountiful return. It's fun, satisfying and relaxing to spend time wandering the rows and maintaining the plots.

Our space changes every day. Structures are built as they're needed, then disassembled and re-purposed as our needs fluctuate. Today the bird scares were taken down and their posts became our fence. Our poly tarps became our greenhouse, our rocks to hold the tarps in place became a border for the zucchini patch.


I appreciate simple luxuries such as having a kitchen to cook and create in. I don't mind having to clean it knowing it's my very own space. I get to use it whenever I want. That's a pretty rad thing coming from a long history of rooming houses, hostels, crashing couches, shared spaces or no place at all. Maintaining my home and living space is a pleasure I don't take for granted.

I feel so lucky and so blessed to have found a place in a small town in the valley. The commute to work can be a little far at times, but at least it's a nice drive with a sweet view and not being caught in gridlock city traffic. The sky is always changing, the clouds put on a show. We see columns of rain, patches of snow, and often enough a beautiful rainbow.

We went to town to buy a line trimmer on the weekend. And I was thrilled! It was my birthday gift. I couldn't wait to take it home and make my yard look good. I'm stoked for the season to change so I can see what this place looks like when the trees have leaves and it's sunny all day.

Oh yeah, and I'm learning a trade which in itself is another huge adventure. I'm getting better every day. If I learn the ins and outs, I could be traveling in the future to follow the work. I think we're in a pretty decent place to be close to developments for a good few years to come while still being able to enjoy life outside of it all.

Life is good. And still an engaging challenge to navigate through day to day life. Staying put isn't necessarily an 'easier' way of life than being transient, it's just different. Maintaining a routine, a house, a garden, a schedule.. it's satisfying. Learning more about our little town and the people in it is intriguing. I'm excited for the upcoming farmer's market season. For summer, and autumn, and everything coming full circle.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


I never thought today would be so hard. 14 years ago today was my first day in the field rocking my film SLR capturing the 420 scenes, celebrations and marches for freedom with the crew. Matt if you're reading this, thank you times a million for bringing me along. It's also my 14 year friendiversary with everyone's good homie Clay, and his amazing family. Today is the first year since that I haven't talked to him on this day. I miss him. We all do.

Three years ago was the first Toronto march since that I did not attend. It also happened to be Easter Sunday that day, and my mama didn't want to be alone. She invited me over for Chinese food Easter/birthday dinner. It was the first time in years I'd seen her smile (with teeth!), and the last time I ever hugged her goodbye. If only I had known it'd be the last time I'd see her face to face.


Yet as I stand here in this garden, they are with me. My mother lives on in the sunlight that shines bright through the rain. Our brother is heard in the excitement in our voices as we rejoice the emergence of new life. I believe it to be true that we live on in the hearts and minds of those who love us.

Today I am thankful for these memories. Today I am grateful to have my bare feet in the soil, watching my garden grow. For my life and everyone who has been a part of it, I am blessed. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Talk of the [tiny] town.

I suppose it's hard not to be noticed when you're the new kids in a small town, especially when the overall population is less than 150 people. People tend to be more neighborly, everyone waves as they pass on the road. Our epic transformation of the land we live on has drawn a lot of attention.

Though we live on a dead end road, there are several people that travel along it each day to watch the birds, or pick up hay and firewood from the farms at the end of the lane. Since we started digging, passers by have been slowing down to see what we are up to. We are now known as 'the gardeners'.

Last week a local cyclist, a retired officer, stopped by to chat while we were working the composted manure into our main veggie beds. He asked us how we like living out here, and commented on how we were blessed to have a 'million dollar view'. We talked about gardening and fishing, and how the small town vibes are much more inviting than living in the city. He was happy to see us out there working the land, and said he'd stop by later in the season to see how we're doing.


Ten days later, our beds are already sprouting. The landlord noticed our methods (and that they're working) and asked us to help poly a 'small' test patch on his huge farm. He was so impressed by what we could do with our little plot that he had his whole family stop by to take a look.

Even the people at the trading post have taken interest in our gardens, and we've lined up future trades. Our gardens will produce more fresh veggies than we can handle and preserve, so the overstock will be traded for farm eggs and honey. That means come late spring or early summer, ninety percent of our food intake will be from ten feet to a mile away from our home. If that's not eating local, I don't know what is!

Hopefully we will have some fish to add to the freezer too, fresh from the river. Fellow anglers in the area know our vehichle, and stop by to chat when we drive out to our spots. Though we've only been here a few months, this little town has become our home. And I love it!