We can hear our three year old singing himself to sleep on the baby monitor and I’m watching our littlest, crawling around squealing with delight as he pulls himself up on the sofa. We’re immersed in the everyday and also, we’re not.
Nothing has changed, and yet everything is about to change. It’s a change that we want and an adventure we’ve been talking about for so long. We could have planned it different ways… but after years of waiting and wondering about the right time or the right destination, we’ve decided. We’re selling the house and moving out to Canada.
I’m hoping we can live somewhere close to the wilderness. I’m excited to experience what it is like living close to the spectacular wildlife and to show our children the wonderful and diverse natural world that we live in. I am so looking forward to experiencing the seasons. And there will be snow, more or less of it depending on where we go. I’m looking forward to embracing it, learning to ice skate and learning to ski. Taking whole seasons to learn. I’m looking forward to summers spent by lakes, spent staying in cabins and exploring with the boys. I want my boys and I to grow and develop experiencing it. All of it.
It feels like we are on the edge of something big. I have moments where I think what we’re doing is absolutely crazy. Other times I wonder how I’m going to do the simplest things in order for it to happen. Like pack up all our belongings and take the pictures off the walls. The photographs I gazed at whilst giving birth, the walls that have protected me and my family whilst we have made our way into the weird and wonderful world of parenthood. We’ll be taking the pictures and the memories with us, but there is a sense of loss at saying goodbye to family, our home and to the wonderful friends we have made during our time here.
At the moment we are sitting with many unknowns. There are a couple of job opportunities in the pipeline, the visa is underway and we’ve accepted an offer on our house. Exactly when and where we are going is unknown. Thankfully any gaps between selling our house and getting out to Canada will be covered by a stay with Grandma and Grandad Vicars in Ireland, which will be a wonderful start to our adventures, and one we are full of gratitude for. We are also truly thankful that our beautiful Ottis will also be spending his retirement out in Ireland with them. We decided it would be the perfect place for Ottis before we made our travel plans, so my hope is we will go with his blessing.
Mike and I first visited Canada nearly 10 years ago. That trip was intended as a recce to see if it was somewhere we would like to live. We travelled from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and absolutely loved it. To my surprise at the time, my favourite places were in remote Newfoundland. Which really did come a surprise, as I had vowed I couldn’t live anywhere that didn’t come furnished with a Costa coffee shop.
After years of Mike and I growing together, I feel like our ideas have evolved and changed with us. The thread all the way through has been that we want an adventure, somewhere far away with mountains and forests, but how and when that was going to happen has taken on different forms. Everything we have done so far has been an adventure of its own, developing careers, exploring different places, becoming parents, building a home in a warm and loving community, making new friends and staying in touch with old ones.
It was during some development training that Mike undertook that we both threw ourselves into one of the exercises. When I was doing my therapeutic training, these kinds of exchanges happened on a regular bases. Mike described it as like having his coat trapped in the car door as it pulled away… but nonetheless, these were journey’s we still made together. Except this time it was me doing a bit of the running! The idea was to sit and imagine our 80th birthdays, making a note of all the things we wanted to have achieved by then. It was a powerful process for us both. What I came to realise was that I had always believed that we would travel and live somewhere else, at least for a bit. I found that at each point in our lives that we had previously considered it, it hadn’t felt like the right time for us to go.
Reflecting on this and where we all are right now, I realised that now was the perfect time. Having read Braving The Wilderness and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown just a short time before, and having post it notes with her quotes all around the house, I was feeling inspired to “choose courage over comfort” and move forward with our life plans We both came to the same conclusion, which is largely exhilarating and a little bit scary – between us we are going to make this happen! Shift out of comfort and right into the unknown.
We’ve decided we are up for it, in all that it brings.
It will be the first time I’ve travelled anywhere without a return ticket. It will be the first time we’ve stepped out as a family of four to go and explore…
…bring it on.