The Airstream, in motion

With trepidation and a little bit of angst, I found myself behind the wheel of our 2004 Dodge 3/4 tonne truck, pulling our 8500 pound Airsream (empty weight!) behind, on her maiden voyage Our Airstream (yet to be named, but most certainly a ‘she’) — we, uS, one. Today so happened to be the 8 year anniversary of our meeting and ultimate relationship. On that note, the day seemed most apropos and nostalgic in giving both our Airstream and our new life together on the road wings.

The rain was lightly grazing the mirrors which held my beloved in focus. My other beloved sit behind me, coaxing me gently and with reassurance, as my Father sat beside me with a smile and suggestions as to safely maneuver ‘the beast-ess’ around corners and in circles. I was actually surprised at the solid state she stood stoic in her willingness to be towed and turned on demand. The trailer having its own brakes helped me to feel safe under this 16180 pound load. A scary thought indeed, barreling down the highway. A silver bullet with the capacity to bear dreams and cre8te havoc, an instant and breath in the making. So with courage, hesitant exuberance and a little bit of defiant false certainty, I maneuvered our Airstream forward, backwards and in circles, learning with cautious hands and light-hearted spirit. A steep learning curve, but a necessary baby step forwards towards our dream in the making.

slaDE~ was a natural at driving and piloting our trailer. Having experience under his belt of driving trucks in Alberta and Burner’s balloon trailer across the Arizona desert is a most helpful bonus. Of course, we’ll learn together with another set of eyes and ears as a positive asset on this journey. The first big lesson of the day: checklist, checklist, checklist. A few potentially tragic missteps cropped up, but luck was on our side and with that, we have learned, like piloting an airplane, a checklist is most beneficial in going through the details of safety before launching into motion. Seems like we are all human and open to error and misjudgment, regardless of our experience and skill. Here’s to a safe and long life on the road.

It was a fabulous day.

The winds of change

It’s amazing how a moment in time can change the path of decision. A huge learning curve for uS in this new lifestyle has been to cre8te lists and priorities, setting daily goals for our ever-increasing tasks on our to-do lists. Without a sense of direction visually available, trying to get everything done in a limited time-constraint would be far more difficult.

Although I had every intention to clean out the cubbyhole, slaDE~ and I had to seriously look at our priorities in heading south before the snow flies. The biggest time worry for me is learning to drive a brand new trailer (which is a whole new way of thinking and driving) in inclement weather conditions. Finding our way to a place below the snowbelt, to actually acclimatize ourselves to this new lifestyle, is the priority. The area where we are staying right now is THE snowbelt. The Great Lakes area is a huge snow area, and with the changing weather and world we live in, there are no guarantees as to when the first snow will fall. Hence, a sense of urgency behind leaving ASAP. De-cluttering with a purpose is one thing, purging under pressure with time constraints is another. So, with a somewhat heavy heart, I am leaving the cubbyhole cleaning until spring, when we hope to return to the farm and re-evaluate our whole wintering / travelling process. This will also be a juncture to polish up our Airstream into a glossy finish and take our time in weeding through our belongings. In coming to this decision, I seriously had to ask myself if this was an excuse to procrastinate. Coming to the decision and determination to clean out the storage area took a lot of dedicated resolve. But with complete commitment to the task at hand and the priorities we have for heading south, I do believe that we’ve made the right decision.

With that said, I STILL need to unleash the cubbyhole, and find my stuff! Namely a canopy in hiding, dishes and useful items for the trailer that will make our life complete over the winter (why buy new when we already may own it?). This means unloading 80% of my boxes and rummaging through their contents without the stress of needing to find a new location for it all. I’m truly blessed to have the farm as a home base and I’m very thankful and grateful for Dad and Karen opening their home to us, not just as guests but as family on a new road to living. Bless them.

Cleaning out the …..

Clutter. Stuff. The ultimate treasure hunt, leading me down a memory lane extravaganza. For me, the task of the century, the epitome of my mental clutter resides in the cubby hole downstairs in my Father’s basement. A 3.5 foot tall cement alcove, covering the width of the ENTIRE farmhouse, solely built to withstand the elements of earthquake, flood and even possibly fire. Built to store and stockhold all that belongs to his children. I’d say 90% of what is hidden in its depths belongs to yours truly. sKY, the pack-rat. Who would have ever thought that a world traveller, perpetually in adventure backpacking mode, could retain and stockpile so much STUFF?! But somehow I managed. After each traverse into the big wide world, I came home, unloaded, started over and took off in a new direction. Only to leave my discarded belongings in limbo, waiting patiently for a day such as this. I think my Dad even got tired of finally moving and shifting my stuff around whilst I was off gallivanting. And now, the task resides with me. Head on, no holds barred confrontation. Empty it out completely, stack it in the barn, and attack it with wild abandon. 30 some odd years of pat-racking everything that symbolizes my being, my wants, desires, dislikes. Everything that I own and covet …. STUFF. Now begins the process of emptying, sorting, filing, cleansing, purging, donating, recycling, freecycling, eliminating, selling, organizing, repairing, repacking, labelling and putting away all that doesn’t find a useful / needed place within our new home, our Airstream. Everything. All that fills my life, clutters my physical being, hidden in nooks and crannies long forgotten.

DeClutter Mind Map by Paul Foreman

De-Clutter Mind Map by Paul Foreman

I suppose the process began in Calgary. What a painful experience that was! How could we have possibly contained so much in 500 square feet? But we did. And with only 2 weeks to deal with our STUFF (plus everything else that goes with leaving a job, a home, a lifestyle, our community, a life and our friends), I was traumatized. S T R E S S F U L was the name of the game (thank you Robin and TJ for saving our butts in the final hour). My inner yogi basically flew out the window, and has yet to return! All the skills and abilities and advice I so often extolled to my students took a u-turn and was nowhere to be seen. Overwhelmed, drained, energy-sucking, vitality draining vampire. Stuff.

© clangnuts.com

The Evil Clutter Fairy © clangnuts.com

People say that we are brave in the new life we are about to embark on. I say that bravery starts on the inside, dealing with STUFF. It takes courage and honesty to approach the task of decluttering both our inner and outer worlds. slaDE~ and I started the process last night. To say that our process started out smoothly would be like saying that I fear nothing in this life. Quite the opposite. I fear everything and anything. I’m a huge scaredy-cat. Facing change and the unknown are 2 of life’s biggest challenges. Forever and always. My nemesis. But that’s okay. I know that I’m not alone. And slaDE~ is patient and willing to accompany me on this journey, of de-cluttering the possessions that WE own. However, single-handedly I must evict the cubby hole of all its belongings, sorting, organizing and cleaning my way through it in whatever way possible. The onus is on me. For only I can decipher the meaning and depth of it all. Where to start? Unload it ALL into the barn, and sort through each and every container, one rubbermaid box at a time. Bit by bit, piece by piece, breath by breath. Oh yes, with kleenex and camera at hand. It’s going to be one heck of a memory hike. I’m actually starting to look forward to it :).

Bone tired

The last few days have been so incredibly busy. Part of transitioning into a full-timers’ lifestyle is making sure that our new home is clean and comfy. Basically, we’re starting from scratch and we want to make sure that the mice which visited our Airstream trailer this past winter are completely gone and forgotten. Hence, the rental of a carpet and upholstery cleaner.

12 litres of vinegar + 14 litres of water + hundreds of drops of essential oils (orange, lemon, lavender and tea tree) = 1 disinfected and sparkling clean 1991 Airstream + 26 cushions (bed and couch, believe it or not) + 1 1994 Mercury Cougar (our current car :)) + 1 2004 Dodge pickup + 1 International big truck (for good measure).

So very tired, but at least I smell good and clean :). We’re that much closer to living in our new home. YaY!

Cushions, cushions everywhere!

Second day of cleaning the Airstream, inside and out, making it our own and starting anew, fresh and clean. We rented a rug shampooer / upholstery cleaner today and emptied all 26 trailer cushions into the band room in the barn. slaDE~ cranked up the wood stove (36 degrees Celsius last time we checked) and we spent hours cleaning every surface, sucking up a ton of dirt and grime. Quite surprising (and icky) actually! The cushions will hopefully dry completely overnight. The trailer floor may take even longer. But yes, so worth the effort. Tomorrow poses the next big job …. cleaning 3 vehicles with the rental steamer before returning it.

My secret to enviro-clean in such a cleaner? 1 part vinegar to 1 part water and lots of yummy essential oils to disinfect. High five to my husband for all the hard work we accomplished today; we are the smooth functioning green team machine.

Change … in all its glory

Butterfly transformations

Butterfly transformations

It’s interesting to be a witness to change in ones own life, if able to step back and view everything as if an outsider looking in, with no attachment or labeling of self. I don’t know if this is entirely possible, but I’ve been experimenting in my writing, as if I were documenting a stranger’s life. The results have been quite interesting and have given me an unexpected perspective that has helped me to accept and embrace the growing pangs of change.

Change is inevitable, whether we try to ‘steer’ the direction of our ship or are sideswiped by the unexpected winds of transformation. Fascinated by the concept of flight, I’ve often wondered about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Is the evolutionary process one of pain and difficulty? The end result of this rebirth cycle is one of pure beauty and freedom, the shackles of earth left behind, new horizons open to exploration and possibility. And so is the case of change within my life at the moment.

To be honest, at times I have moments of sheer panic and terror set in. Anything truly is possible when putting everything we live and love for out there, on the line, overtly susceptible to any tipping point and wind. When slaDE~ and I envisioned our dream and released it to a higher power, with a wish and a prayer, little did we know that the flood gates of change and opportunity would become open for the taking. And risk we did, jumping in with both feet. Now, here we are, being encompassed by and feeling the growing pangs. Conscious of each moment of birthing, emerging with new wings, slowly and with moments of pain and wisdom. Can we exit the embodied cocoon with grace and conscious development, fully aware, breathing and enjoying the outcomes {regardless of whether it fits the design and pattern of choice and vision}? By stepping back and realigning with my intention, I hope that I can step through these momentous times of upheaval with a joyful smile, and stronger because of the change which aims to teach and inspire.

The rule of Quest Physics

Elizabeth Gilbert sums it up best:

“If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.”

Eat. Pray. Love. across Canada

slaDE~ and I have spent many an hour driving in our Mercury Cougar, cross border, cross country (twice!), from boogie to drop zone and with no real difficulty or road-block. But driving under a time-constraint with a promise to be somewhere, in time for Thanksgiving dinner, has added insight into the Airstream roadtrip next month and what NOT to do. Continue reading

Prairie bound.

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity, preceded by an exciting adventure-filled summer. We were in need of a mini-staycation. The answer? Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort. After returning from Vancouver yesterday, our initial plan was to leave right away for Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, but we had unfinished business to deal with first, before heading back to Ontario. The romantic notion of fitting all of our life’s belongings into the car was far from realistic. We had an excess 300lbs of ‘stuff’ being stored in TJ’s garage. After re-evaluating our priorities and thereby adjusting our Thanksgiving family plans, we set about consolidating our possessions into well-stuffed ‘packages’ and shipping them rather economically through Greyhound Express. Far easier than packing up our apartment, thankfully, and far less stressful. Heather and Marcel were welcoming, as always, and we spent the night enjoying the company of good friends and family. The next morning, we sped off on our first leg of the cross-Canada journey and arrived in Moose Jaw in much need of a long soak in the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa. Spa soakingWhat a delicious treat! I felt as if a month’s worth of anxiety and busy-ness was stripped off, layer by layer, melting me into a comfortable state, in preparation for the long exciting journey ahead. And with that renewed sense of rejuvenation and refreshment, an amazing metamorphosis into my new skin was quickly evolving. I was coming home.

The journey begins … Are We There Yet?

There are moments in my life when I am able to stop long enough to pause, and truly reflect on the present moment, without being tugged by responsibility or emotion that threatens to break the moment of serene peace. Today, as we drove away from the outskirts of Calgary, fully rooted in the commencement of our journey, I had one of these moments.
Time stood still. One breath, one heartbeat, one awareness. In complete and utter awe at the magnitude of our decision, direction and resolution.
And it was breathtaking. Overwhelming. Exciting. Magnificent.
And with this presence, my existence attempted to reel backwards over the memories lived and loved in Calgary. As if gasping for air, my brain was attempting to comprehend the surreal truth that slaDE~ and I were leaving Calgary, moving forward on to the next exciting stage and changes of life. This prosperous city which initially started out as a kick off point to dreams and possibilities eventually became a bungee, catapulting us into our present moment: ‘semi-retirement’ following our Airstream dreams. Three years of hard work and continued growth had left us wanting for more, yearning for the building of a vaster community, sharing of our knowledge and expansion of our ambitions, goals and vision. So much is uncertain and unplanned … what path will we take? What direction shall we head, apart from south and warm for the winter? Where would our focus be …. skydiving, yoga, yogaFLIGHT, web design, pro-blogging, photography? Could we combine all our passions into one ever-evolving dream? Absolutely! RV There Yet? Absolutely not! We’ve only just begun. 🙂