Hello Canada?

In just ten days, we leave the foothills of northern Thailand for the west coast of Canada where we’ll spend nine weeks exploring and testing out whether it’s a place we’d want to put down roots in the future. And between now and then, we have two trips planned! Although I know we brought this on ourselves, I have a low level anxiety humming in my body since yesterday – the first day of March. We have laid plans, booked flights, and mapped our our time in such a way that most things will just happen to us if we ride the current but still I fret about being prepared, about how it will all go, about whether or not I’m forgetting something major. WAIT DO WE HAVE OUR PASSPORTS??

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This weekend we are meeting the ISDSI students back in a small organic farming community outside of Chiang Mai where we’ll live in homestays with local farmers (who by this time are friends of ours) and shoot video of the students learning from the villagers. A few days later Tory will leave for a quick trip to Burma! Neither of us has been there, but he found an NGO we’re interested in supporting and is heading there as our family’s ambassador to make a personal connection with the ordinary radicals who are teaching and propagating organic farming practices in the face of big agro.

After his return we’ll try to soak up as much of the Thai sun together before we make another pilgrimage across the ocean and begin our great grey Canadian adventure.

Here are some of our intentions:

  • Keeping routine in the face of uprootedness. Especially for Camille but also for us: consistent outings, nap times, work schedules and adventures, and following the same patterns in new places.
  • Soul-keeping. I heard this from my brother and sister-in law who are really good at committing to intentional rhythms for their mental and spiritual health while traveling. I like to think that this kind of thing has the power to turn a vacation into a sabbatical.We really want to find ways to stay present in the moment with God and nature throughout this trip. This might include getting up before the baby wakes, spending some time in prayer and meditation, yoga, writing morning pages, seeing the sunrise, getting enough sleep, going to bed early, etc. We’ll pick a few things that make sense for us.
  • Vet locations based on emotions. There are too many facts and factors to make a proper calculation on where to live. There is no right answer. So it has to be an emotional decision and we’re planning to tour around and see where we feel sparks or guidance and if BC is the right place for us at all.
  • Pretend to live off the land. Because this is something we’re planning to have as a big part of our lives in the future wherever that is, we’ll make time to try out practices like going fishing, living on a farm, sourcing local food, and using the bikes and burley my dad is bringing for us as our go-to for local transportation.
  • Make a soundtrack. Since Tory has a knack for matching music and memories, we hope to listen to new music along the way and leave with a soundtrack of songs that mark the trip.
  • Keeping organized. We have a term called the “Roffsplosion” which is the way we tend to descend upon small temporary living spaces with a fury. Typically we are just reacting, pulling everything out of a loaded suitcase to find the diapers and then leaving everything splayed out randomly because we won’t be there long. This trip, we plan to stay organized! We need to learn to enter a new space with intention, utilize storage space properly no matter how short of a stay, and pack light (as light as we can with a baby).
  • Bucket List. Make and pursue a bucket list of adventures and local scouting out of simple pleasures to try to get a taste of what life in each different place might look like. On Vancouver Island that could look like skiing, rock climbing, walking on the beach, momma/baby yoga class, and who knows what else we find along the way. Maybe we’ll throw a little whale watching in there!
  • Try out a variety of different options and dig in a little. We’ve booked a several different locations for a few weeks at a time and left some room for surprises and to follow new leads. We’re moving every one to three weeks, in small increments, from downtown Victoria to a rural farm outside of Nanaimo, to a smaller island off the main one. While we’re in each new place, we’d like to dig into the school system and real estate markets as well.
  • Explore kid-friendly community options. Camille is just started to be engaged and excited about social interactions and we’re hoping to expose her to other kids and kid-friendly activities along the way. It’s a great way to meet other people and to see what family life is like in each place.
  • Make connections. We’re excited to follow some leads friends have already put us in contact with but also to be open and meet and learn from everyone we meet along the way. So far we’re staying exclusively at BnB’s so we’ll be sure to meet some interesting hosts and ask them questions about life and location. We’re excited to seek out people and communities, potential friends, mentors and teachers, and try to connect in meaningful ways in a short time.
  • Spend time with loved ones. We’re very grateful that some family and friends are able to meet us and spend some intentional time together, as well as getting to introduce Camille to some of her second cousins, aunts and uncles for the first time.

Part of this trip is being completely open to God’s nudges and the magic of saying yes so we haven’t booked ourselves solid and there’s enough time to explore things and stay in new places that come up along the way. I’m sure this list will continue to grow but these are some of the things we’ve been talking about prioritizing as the trip creeps ever closer. We’ve also discussed specifying technology off-hours and I’ve been considering a processed sugar fast. Any recommendations for making this trip special?

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