Thirteen years ago, I ventured on my very first traveling escapade by myself for ‘3 months’. Little did I know my rambling soul would be ignited, and I would be leaving behind everything I knew; including my lovely family and home, anything material beyond my backpack, for years to come. Unknowingly, I embarked on a life journey of exploration, self-discovery and independence, as the extremely timid, fearful, anxious, awkward girl inside me needed to blossom.
Apparently I had a lot to learn as my journey over the last decade took me to numerous countries covering 6 continents – working, volunteering, living, loving, traveling – engaging with so many beautiful & interesting people from across the globe that it’s impossible to only name a few.
Traveling taught me quickly that trusting the universe and embracing the unknown would be most beneficial. It’s either that or fear it with the constant ‘what may happen’, and with traveling being an obvious constant journey of the unknown, embracing my journey and all its happenings seemed like the obvious and most feel-good approach. The unexpected is going to happen, particularly when you are traveling in foreign places on a daily basis; I have learned it’s how one reacts to and perceives these trying situations, helps immensely in shifting one’s reality. Having faith in each step has shown me over and over again that when we let go of the need to control (anything & everything), let go of fear, open your heart, you will enter the flow and synchronicity of the universe, and all the potential and possibilities for our own unique being will present itself right on time.
A couple years ago, my life took a difficult, unexpected sharp turn, as life tends to do sometimes. I was lost, and empty. I needed healing and, my rambling soul needed to turn somewhere. I needed to find a path back to acceptance, gratitude, love, and happiness; so i ventured to explore life’s options. I know life’s hardships is an open door for personal growth, learning, evolving but sheez it can be tricky at times. It’s been a winding road full of challenges, unexpected happenings, countless emotions, presence, increased awareness, following my intuition, as well as outstanding times of learning, laughing, and pure goodness. My path is constantly unfolding before me as different opportunities arise and I wait to see where my feet will feel planted.
A few months ago, when I was in beautiful Bacalar, Mexico, taking some quiet time, I came to a decision quite spontaneously yet intiutively – I was going back ‘home’ to Ontario, where I grew up, to live near my parents. After calling numerous places afar home, wherever my heart and backpack took me really, my heart was calling me towards family. My rambling soul was excited at the prospect and welcomed it. The universe promptly answered my call with an astounding yes by presenting me with an ideal job a mere few days later. The position was not only in Ontario but in the town next to my Mum’s, and a permaculture job at that! Thank you.
After Mexico, I returned to Vancouver briefly, saw my fabulous friends, and then grabbed my van, Ollie and drove 4500 kilometers across part of Canada to return to my roots after 13 years. It would be a slightly different place from where I grew up, near the small town of Picton in southeastern Ontario – an peninsula of jagged coastlines, scattered with charming small towns, beautiful landscapes, micro-vineyards, artist workshops and some small organic farms.
I am so grateful that this door opened, and for my time in Ontario. I spent 3 months living in ‘the County’ as the locals call it, Prince Edward County. I worked as a live-in gardener/ cottage caretaker. Room & board are free and my wage was lower to compensate for it, which makes it affordable and possible for Ruth to be able to hire someone. Since it was early spring when I arrived and cottage season was still far away, my main tasks involved creating edible gardens for Ruth using permaculture principles.
The land was dry so we decided on Hugelkultur beds as they hold moisture, and create tons of wonderful organic matter through creating a diverse ecosystem with all the beneficial insects.
Hugelkultur beds once established after the first year will require much less watering. (What is Hugelkultur in more details?) I planted different species of plants all amidst each other, designing polycultures through companion planting. It was an incredible experience to grow so much food. I saw the seedlings that I started indoors blossom to vibrant, resilient plants. I left before most of the harvesting was to be done but some yummy early crops were radishes, kale, lettuce, chicory. Nothing more satisfying than harvesting your food right from the vine, wild or gardened, and eating it within minutes. Yum!
Needless to say, I had a fabulous time in Ontario. My mind and body were challenged working solo every day in the garden, but I loved it as it opened the door for me to learn immensely. My free time was spent hanging with my family, and many many new memories were made. I am grateful to have had so much time with everyone close to me. It was so novel to be able to do ao casual drop by my Mum’s. It was definitely heart breaking when the time came to live Ontario. It’s never easy to leave a place and loved ones. Never. Yet I always have a knowing that there is more for me to experience, and seek, hence why I go.
It’s important to understand that my free spirit and openness for different opportunities, does not mean that I lack desire for roots and a steady home. A common misconception, which is understandable, is that I always want to be traveling and moving and shaking. On the contrary, I am yearning for consistency and community of simplicity, respect and grand energy, not to mention somewhere I can create a living, and follow my passions. Yet finding that, while following my path, and much within the process of healing, hasn’t been so straightforward. Living a distinctive lifestyle, on the edge of societal norms and expectations is not effortless, as the all-too-common questions that everyone asks ‘what do you do’, or ‘where are you from’ are not so simple – I build, I garden, I explore, I photograph, I write, I travel, I love, I live life with passion, I let opportunities lead me as they come, I live in the moment as much as I can and I follow my heart. Where am I from? Hmm…. Vancouver has been my home base for the last 6 years yet I haven’t really spent too much time there of late as I have been in Ecuador the last two winters, and then different parts of British Columbia, Alberta, and the USA other times. Often I am living out of my van, where you would find most of my earthly possessions. The last time I had an apartment, an ‘official’ home was 2 ½ years ago. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Ontario, where I grew up, went to university, and most recently lived there in the spring. Now, I am in Moab, Utah living for 5 months while building some natural homes. So, where am I from? Well of course I am from my momma.
Which brings me to thanking my parents for bringing me into this physical realm and giving me such a prosperous upbringing, in so many ways. I realize through my journey how truly blessed I am for having (well beyond) the simple things in life – constant loving, caring parents who were able to provide for me with more than enough food, clean water, a beautiful spacious home and enough fun and sports to keep me entertained and out of trouble.
I’m grateful for my journey into adulthood, from that naive young girl. I’m grateful to have seen and experienced so much, and realizing everything holds a lesson to be grasped. I’m grateful to now have the confidence, experience and spontaneity to be ‘move’ half way across the country in a moment’s feeling. I’m grateful for all the love and acceptance that my family, and friends have always shown me, even though at times I’m sure they are only left in wondering, not exactly understanding my life’s path or even knowing where I am. I am thankful for this big bad beautiful life. Aho.
“I am not here to figure it all out. I’m here to love life and to allow it to love me back.”