Well, we did it! I feel like we have carried out a seemingly impossible, monumental task!
In the last nine months, we have sold all of our possessions, wrapped up 4 years of started renovation projects, sold our house, sold our cars, closed two businesses and refocused our lives into a new direction.
It has been one hell of a lot of work, but I can tell already that it was worth it!
In fact, I said to Chris yesterday that “even if our plans to go travelling didn’t work out, and we had to come back and start over, it would be worth it.”
I feel like I have cleansed my soul. Like all the burdens that I had been carrying around with me, have flaked off.
This includes mental burdens, emotions that hadn’t been dealt with properly. Memories that I was holding onto, that didn’t serve me anymore. Things that we both kept, triggering memories from past lives, that were keeping us both from growing and expanding.
This includes physical responsibilities that were sometimes crippling. I would have stints where I felt so overwhelmed with life, that I would have to just lay on the couch for an entire day. Staring off into space or numbing my mind with scrolling through Facebook all day. If I had the energy, we would try and go outside for a hike or other recreational activity, trying to escape the insanity.
Having been self employed for most of my adult life, including opening and closing multiple home based business’, my life revolved around paper work. Deadlines to file and pay things like goods and services taxes, workers compensation reports and bills (oh the relentless pile of bills!) Business licences and insurance policies (we had 5 on the go) needed to filed and renewed …. the list literally goes on and on. Not too mention that I did all of my own bookeeping. Add this to working full time, volunteering for various community organizations, and attempting to nurture and develop my creative side by constantly having numerous creations on the go at once.
My life was a constant push and pull of things that “needed” to get done.
I say was, because as of a day ago, all of that is gone now.
We are on day two of leaving Powell River, my home of 11 years, and Chris’ for 4, and of course we still talk about “our house” in the present tense, as if we are only on a vacation visiting friends.
This morning I took a few moments to remember my thoughts when we drove away from the house. I looked in every room before we left, we hugged the neighbours, and then we were gone. Poof! Just like that!
We had spent our last day running around town dropping final loads at the dump, the thrift store, and returning items we had borrowed from friends in our final days. We also spent the day in a bit of a limbo as our “get away” vehicle had been in the shop for two days, and for most of the day, we didn’t know if we were leaving that day or not.
My parents had kindly driven their camper van out to us from Alberta in August, then flew back home. The plan was that we would have a vehicle to leave Powell River with, allowing us to freely sell both of our vehicles, and still have a way to get our remaining belongings (only a couple boxes and an art piece or two) back to store at our parents before we flew off.
Until the last week, the camper van just waited in our driveway. But as soon as the vehicles were starting to get sold, we used it to shuffle back and forth, moving them from here to there. (On a side note, our vehicles never did sell, at least not for what they should have, but that’s a story for another day.)
On Sept 18, the getaway van died. The fuel had run a bit lower than I would have liked, and it started chugging down the road. I thought it just needed more gas, so Chris bought a jerry can (we had owned about 10 of them!!) and went and got more gas to put in it. It didn’t help, and the van stayed parked on the side of the road that night.
Our plan was to leave on the 20th. And although we had decided that there would be no stress, and that we could leave anytime, our families had different thoughts. They wanted to know when we were coming through to visit, so that they could prepare. Not too mention that once deciding on the 20th as our leaving date, we both REALLY wanted it to happen.
At about 1:00 on the 19th, a tow truck driver picked up the van. Now, this is a story for small town living! We were out for lunch with friends when the tow truck driver finally called and said he was ready to meet us at the van. However we had just gotten our food, so Chris asked him if he could wait half an hour. Instead, he asked where we were eating, stopped by to get the keys, and went and dealt with it by himself, towing it to the shop! In the meantime, we had one of our vehicles still with us, so we’re still able to get from A to B.
Late that day, we stopped in at the shop to see if they had looked at it yet. They hadn’t, they were hoping to get to it in the morning.
We had friends over that night, sitting on our patio furniture (that the new owners are buying,) in our living room. We both drank too much wine, which is probably a good thing as it allowed us to sleep that night. We were a buzz with anticipation. Most of what we felt was excitement, although some was surely anxiety about the state of the van.
We woke up the morning of the 20th, waiting and waiting for a call. We immediately decided that the only thing to do, was to finish cleaning out the house, getting rid of the last of our items, and just acting like everything was going to be fine. And so we did.
We live in a ferry dependant community, meaning that we can only leave at certain times of the day. Originally we had hoped to leave on the 5:15 ferry, getting us to our friends across the water at a reasonable time. The clock was ticking, we still had lots to do.
Finally at 11 Chris called the shop to see what was up. They were just running diagnostics, and they had narrowed it down to a couple possibilities.
We continued cleaning. Out went our recycling, our items for the thrift store, items that needed to be dropped off around town. We shuffled things back and forth, cleaning the house in stages between trips, until finally our last load had to go. Our mattress and two items of furniture that were junk, got loaded up, and we were off to the dump.
THIS WAS IT! Our mattress was going! There was no turning back! If we had to stay another night, it would be at a friends house. We just kept moving forward, one step in front of the other. I never faltered in my faith that everything would be okay. That we had a plan, and it just had to work out.
At 3:45 we got the call from the shop. The van was running fine. Apparently it had been running crappy in the morning when they moved it into the bay, but after running a ridiculous amount of diagnostics on it, they couldn’t find anything wrong with it, so they just started it up again. They drove it around, and it ran like a dream.
No questions asked!
We bolted down to the shop to pick it up. The towing of the vehicle was covered by my Dad’s extended auto plan insurance, but when we asked the mechanic what we owed for repairs, he said nothing. He told us that he didn’t fix anything, so he didn’t see any point in charging us anything. Most of a day of running diagnostics, and he didn’t see the need to charge us. We were ecstatic! What a town we lived in! What a wonderful send off gift!
At this point we realized that our hopes of getting the 5:15 ferry were dashed, but we still could get the 8:45 boat, our last chance to leave that day.
We picked the van up, drove straight to the car dealership that was going to sell my vehicle, dropped it off and went home to pack up our remaining stuff and finish cleaning the house.
At about 6:30, we headed down to the ferry terminal, got in line, went for dinner, and that was it! We were gone!
It’s surreal to me that we have made this crazy transition, that there is no going back, that we have nothing to return to. That life is still going on, everybody is going about their daily business, but we aren’t.
We have all of a sudden jumped into a life of meaning and decisions about what we WANT to do. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are details to solidify, and at some point, money will have to be made again, but for now, RIGHT NOW, we will enjoy this blissful existence. For we have literally spent the last 9 months giving our absolute all, just to get to this point.
I wrote the above segment to this post, this morning when I woke up. Shortly after, we went for a walk to a nearby coffee shop to grab a bite to eat and a coffee. Not long after sitting down to enjoy our goodies, some inexplicable tears started rolling down my face. Chris was looking at me inquisitively and I kept apologizing, not really knowing why it was happening. Always the analyzer, I immediately jumped into my head to try and figure out what was happening. The conversation in my head went something like this:
“Why am I crying?”
“Well you have sort of been through a lot, it’s okay to cry.”
“I’m not sad though, I don’t understand?!”
“It’s okay, you have been through a lot. It’s okay to cry. This is all part of the process, just let it out.”
I wasn’t a sobbing mess, they were just streams of water leaking out on their own accord. Crying is one of those things that is most commonly associated with sadness, but after a few moments, I realized that it was joy. It was nothing more than utter relief and joy.
So I sat with it. Tears of happiness and the realization of what we have accomplished, and what we have to look forward to, just poured from my eyes.
It reminded me of a time in Amsterdam, where we had a 23 hour layover on our way to our 6 week trip through Greece, Italy and Bulgaria, almost 2 years ago. I hadn’t travelled internationally in 8 years, and I had the exact same feeling of happiness and relief in a little Vietnamese restaurant as I watched the throngs of people walk by the windows. There too, tears of joy leapt from my eyes.
This is it! I have once again found joy! THIS is what I have been searching for!
I vow to myself to never let it go again. Sure, there will still be hard times, but my life will be lived with passion and determination. No more strings pulling me in a thousand directions. No more wrestling in my mind about what it is I SHOULD do.
From now on, we are making the rules for our life.
From now on, we will NOT simply exist.
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Current Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Current travel plans: The next couple weeks will see us driving through BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan to visit friends and family before flying to Costa Rica mid October.
If you are a traveller, and you would like to connect and talk travel, or if you just want to chat with us about our experiences, leave a comment below and we can connect!