A Little Sunshine Goes a Long Way

 

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We finally broke through the persistent clouds and rain and had a bright sunny day on our Vancouver Island adventure. It was a transition day, which seems appropriate, but we weren’t moving far, so we slowly packed up in the morning and said goodbye to family who had joined us for the week. Then we had lunch at a farm-to-table restaurant (or table-on-farm because it was all right there) and hung out on their property for a little while, chatting with the farmers and locals and playing with Cam. The food was amazing and so fresh and the people were so passionate and friendly. Continue reading “A Little Sunshine Goes a Long Way”

Outsourcing Pollution

It was a surreal moment: we were driving through fresh Canadian air surrounded by fog and century-old evergreens when we flipped on the radio just in time to catch this interview with Dr. Steven Davis, sharing the tough findings of his research on how consumption in the West actually results in the premature deaths of people in Asia and other global manufacturing hubs. This is real.

Continue reading “Outsourcing Pollution”

Sorry Nanaimo, it’s not you it’s me

We’re halfway through our slow road trip across the west coast of Canada’s big island and it’s time for a little expectation adjustment. Everyone I’ve talked to over the last few weeks tells me it’s unseasonably cold in British Columbia this spring. We wanted to get a little insight into what the off-season might be like just so we’d have a realistic picture of life in the region if we moved here but we might be scaring ourselves off in the process! Continue reading “Sorry Nanaimo, it’s not you it’s me”

Finding Real Things: OUR Ecovillage

Our first venture on the island outside the charming city of Victoria was to OUR Ecovillage, 45 minutes north. We somehow got our wires crossed and thought the tour was at noon, so we planned to check out of our tiny house Saturday morning and head to the tour immediately after. At quarter to 9 that day, I looked it up again and realized the tour was actually at 10am. The benefits of a tiny house became apparent immediately as we started throwing packing our bags – there wasn’t that much room to spread out so packing was simplified. Still, we pulled up twenty-five minutes late to the tour and thankfully they let us just walk in and introduce ourselves since the large group that day was just wrapping up introductions. We walked in right behind a couple who missed the first ferry from Gabriola island – over lunch we got along so well that that we plan to meet up with them and see their place next week. Continue reading “Finding Real Things: OUR Ecovillage”

Finding Real Things: Yarrow EcoVillage

We visited Yarrow Ecovillage on a typical west coast rainy winter day and the community, like the bees, were huddled away in the hive. The diverse handful of people we did meet were everything from retirees who are busier than ever, to a young family who happened to be alumni of the same small college in Michigan as us!

Emma is a self-proclaimed introvert and regardless she described feeling like she just needed to say hello when she saw us leaving after our tour. We are very grateful she did! We now have friends in Yarrow. We met up with her and her husband Shane and their 6 month old son for coffee and it was a joy to find people that we could connect with so easily. We’re realizing that the people we meet are going to be the key to feeling (potentially) at home in each place we visit. We were able to connect quickly and talk about real things (like the challenge of economic diversity in an ecovillage that naturally has a high price tag) and they also gave us great insight into local life – like how they walk to the river and have community picnics in the summer, the good fishing nearby, and we shared laughs over the joys of raising chickens. Here’s a little recap of our experience and reflections on Yarrow Ecovillage:

What if I just don’t like Nature?

While we’re looking for a place to put down roots, access to nature keeps coming up as an important piece for us. We want Camille to have spaces that feel wild and that she feels like she has independence and yet respect for a big world. She already seems to have an instinctual affinity for the natural world – pinecones and other treasures hold her attention much longer than bright toys.

I wouldn’t call myself exceptionally outdoorsy but I like do like to get outside. I really enjoy camping, climbing, snorkeling, and getting fresh air among other things. And I find God in creation. But what if I just don’t like nature that much? What if I’m a homebody who prefers to be indoors, warm, kind of clean, and buffered against what is natural? These are some of my fears as we look for a place to put down roots and we talk about our values for our future and our daughter. I recently read a book called Twelve by Twelve, about a normal guy who moves out of New York City and lives off grid instead. This summary doesn’t do the book justice but he discovers the ability to be more in harmony with God and the environment. This quote stuck out to me: Continue reading “What if I just don’t like Nature?”

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?? Continue reading “Hello Canada?”

We’ve Got Cream Cheese!

This time in Thailand for us is all about experimentation. There’s roominess here – we have affordable childcare, flexible work schedules and are living on a few beautiful acres of orchard not our own. There’s less accountability and less personal investment than we want to have in the future, but for now, we’re hoping to use this time for a bit of trial and error.

So on that note, I found a small farm in our area that delivers raw milk. We don’t typically drink cows milk and haven’t for many years. So why would I want 5 gallons of raw milk delivered to our door? Continue reading “We’ve Got Cream Cheese!”

Adding Grain Weevils to our Diet

We’ve decided to allow our years in Thailand to be one experiment after the next. It’s kind of like a gap year for high school graduates or a sabbatical – a block of time where we’re renters again, we have affordable childcare and intriguing work, big adventures, and some time left over for some slowness and simple living practice if we schedule it all right. Maybe someday (that’s a big but hopeful maybe!) we’ll be able to grow or trade for grain but for now, we are adjusting to country life (and life in a developing country) and trying to source and experiment with good wholesome food. Continue reading “Adding Grain Weevils to our Diet”

A little about fashion and DIY Baby Pants

In a past life, I used to create my own fashion line. Actually it was in this life, but it seems like a long time ago. It was a great creative outlet and I met inspiring artists in Minneapolis who put a lot of thought and care into what they wear, where it comes from, and how it is made. I was on the board of a fledgeling eco-fashion organization that challenged me to keep the human and planetary costs of fashion at the forefront of my mind, though I didn’t always succeed at upholding those values while creating my collections.
Continue reading “A little about fashion and DIY Baby Pants”