Friday, 3 January 2014

2014: the year we step out of comfort zone

we felt this change coming for a long time now. the city has been dragging us down. into debt, making us fatter, complacent, unadventurous. we know we've not been living life to the fullest and it was hard to admit that. mang, it's just so easy to fall into the traps that north american living sets up for you. 

but, it's Jan 3rd, friday, and I'm feelin' alright with the world.

March is our last month in this city, Toronto. 

we've still been struggling with our ultimate responsibilities as parents and what this trip will mean for our family. so, to ease that, we've set up some boundaries, low expectations and we have taken on the attitude of: what do we have to lose. if this fails, well, at least we tried to follow another path, to try and find a better way of life. not held down by 'things'. but living with the realisation that life only happens once, so get the fuck to it!

We will spend April with my folks in Chatham, getting organised and ready to hit the road in May. 

the plan - Chatham to Alaska:

1. stow n go van. 

2. only driving 2-3 hours a day, which is only fair to m-cakes..with all the hurrying, stressing we've done this past year, it's time to slow it down. A LOT.

3. we are part of - which has the profiles of farms & families across canada that need volunteers to stay and help out on the farm... this looks after our accommodation and most times, food. bam! the two most expensive parts of a roadtrip are taken care of. we meet new amazing people, we assist families who are also trying to create an alternative lifestyle, m-cakes gets to be around animals, dirt, lakes, mountains, fields, fresh air, bugs all day long. we get to use our skills in exchange for seeing a part of this beautiful country we haven't really even glimpsed yet. 

4. in between volunteering stops, we will get some odd job work, to try and track down enough $ for some groceries and some gas money. we are budgeted for a 3 month trip , without funds, but will be seeking odd jobs, as we go along, to avoid dipping into savings. the more we save, the longer we stay on the road.

5. we are also part of couchsurfing, a house sitting network, and a boondoocking network.... internet don't fail us while on the road. hah!

6. in between stays, we found a groovy 2 room tent, with awning that attaches to the back of the van and becomes this amazing tent space.... for only $300. we toyed with the idea of a tent trailer, but why spend $5k on a trailer, which just makes life harder.... with just a van, it will be easier to go incognito along a lovely little lake somewhere along the way.

7. we have vowed to stick to this for 1 and a half months. no matter what happens. 

in 2014, we aim to step out of our comfort zone. terrifying, full of mistakes to be made, problems to be solved, getting fit, making new friends and creating memories.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Struggling with what a parent should do to benefit their child...

Sometimes, I think, wow, wait - why would I leave a job with benefits with mediocre pay, a great boss, freedom of hours, walk to work of 20 minutes, in one the best cities in north america? Is it my responsibility to give up any dreams and any ideas I might have, for the greater good of ensuring she has a stable childhood? Is it really my job to ensure that all goes smoothly for her and the hiccups are minimal?

Sometimes I wonder if I am being selfish.

But then, sometimes, I think that this journey we are planning to take will teach her more than any school will and by doing this, we are forced to live simply, which means less time spent working , ultimately creating more time for her and her development. Instead, is it my responsibility to show her what living without invisible boundaries should be like? That we are given chances and opportunities to make our lives better but it is up to us if we take them?

Perhaps it's just the urge to over think things in this day and age can lead to us to worrying more about the future, instead of just enjoying the present. Parenting is such a personal thing and everyone wonders if they are doing it right....

Monday, 28 October 2013

being a modern day work slave...

the article below talks about the lack of freedom you start to feel, particularly when you work so hard and have a really hard time seeing any reward for that. Monetarily, I feel no rewards for my hard work, because we go into into my over draft every single month on a single income, but I have a greater reward than money for my hard work. I see that everyday, when i get home, my little gal is with her daddy - she excitedly runs to the door to tell me what they did that day, who they saw, what toy dropped in pee at the park (don't ask) and I can come home, see her wrapped in a blanket with daddy, on the couch, reading the latest haul of books from the library. Moments which have reinforced that why should i feel like slave, when the door is really wide open and I have the ability and power to change that? How having time & space with those you that you love is really all we need to make us feel whole, not those teal suede boots I just saw in that shop window or that gadget that everyone is swooning about...

we have tried to simplify our lives... so, we took these steps:

1. one income (mine, as an admin asst) so that we keep M-Cakes out of daycare. Daycare for her would be $1300 a month - the same as our rent, which I cannot fathom. This keeps O-dad from feeling drained from blue collar labour that he does not enjoy and keeps Molly at home with a parent. we aren't saying everyone should do this, it just works for us and our personal beliefs about how we want M-Cakes raised.

2. O-Dad got rid of his cellphone 3 years ago.

3. i got rid of all of the data on my phone. I only have 60 outgoing texts a month and 60 minutes of talk time on my phone. The amount of times, i would aimlessly pick up my phone to putter around on facebook, google, email, text, shop - it was such a waste. I started doing that while at the park with M-Cakes and that was when i knew enough was enough. I had to do this and get rid of the grip this phone had on me. But the best part of all this, AFTER going through the harsh withdrawal symptoms, is that my phone bill is $15 a month. yup. thats it. this gave a another small taste of what actual freedom feels like - not to be ensnared by an object that takes away time from your loved ones. 

4. we just don't buy stuff. we really don't. o-dad would KILL me if i came home from a store with a fancy vase or a new pair of boots (i already have three, and I never wear them, really.) we don't buy frivolous stuff. we buy the odd vinyl record (only after both parties have approved the purchase, that is!) and we but some booze, here and there and we see live music shows. That is all we buy. I can't even bring myself to buy papertowels (hullo?!? use a hand towel!). the other day - o-dad fixed my hairbrush, so i wouldnt have to buy another, and you know what, it works beautifully (pics to follow and you won't believe your eyes..hah), and we spend money on day trips or weekend getaways. that is it.

5. we don't have a car. 'nuff said. havent had a car in 2 years. sometimes, it's a pain in the ass, but most of the time, it's fine.

check out these guys - they are inspirations...

and check out how to de-crapify your home

next steps towards life simplification, we purge the apartment of our worldly goods....

Sunday, 27 October 2013

watch this interview... beautiful. he says what we are feeling.
it's the end of october, 2013.

we are a small family of three, living in downtown toronto. but we're slowly trying to transform our lives into living a new adventure in 2014. we are unsure of exactly what the adventure will be, but we feel an odd awakening happening, that we just cannot shake. we know we need to make a change and that there must be another way of living in north america, other than what we are supposed to believe. 

Maybe if we start this, a mischief of three, we could grow into a massive mischief, of other mice who decide to take a month or a year out of your everyday life and give a travelling adventure a try, alone or with your family or with a friend... and we would love to be able to connect with these other mice and welcome them into our mischief....

the process of determining a family adventure, is just that, a process... 

1. make some extra money, as we are currently a one-income family in a very expensive city. we've got a few tricks up our sleeve and will post them in the next month.

2. getting rid our stuff. we live fairly simply, but mang, the abundance of stuff we have and we really need to purge. purging is painful, did I mention that yet?  

3. how do we make a living while on our adventure. these thoughts plague me at times, but sometimes, i think, que sera sera whatever will be, will be. you can feel totally positive one day, then completely negative the next day. but the important part is to realise that ANYONE WHO EVER STARTED AN ADVENTURE of any kind, always has these same thoughts.

4. what will the adventure be. there are some options we are tossing around.

5. can we create some kind of change for others while embarking on this journey and could we possibly influence others to do the same?  can we give of ourselves and leave a legacy in some way while we adventure? can we teach our daughter outside of the box? can we help others during our adventure, make new friends, new experiences and create a new life for ourselves that we would have ever known existed unless we take this leap?

6. try to erase the fear of leaping into the unknown so we don't live with regret.