Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Our 10th Home of the Year!

One year since The Local Gypsies Spot was born, we are moving into our 10th place of residence for the year.  Similar to this time last year, we are renting a cottage for a longer-term stay which always gets me both excited and apprehensive.  It will feel nice to unpack our bags (that we otherwise just leave open on the floor and live out of)

The cat loves our out-of-the-box way of life

and in this place we even have some space to set up our own paintings, decor etc.  What makes me a little nervous is that we’re committed to live here for a year, maybe more!  The commitment gets even deeper in that we’ve built a chicken coop for a family of chickens that we are expecting on the property!  Luckily, the coop is movable (like us), however we must confess that it will never fit into our gypsy-mobile/Range Rover.

We are expecting!....Chickens and a rooster!

I have also committed to working for an organization that runs out of this house (you may know it – Free Spirit Tours) and the owner/entrepreneur/my friend has got me nicely wrapped up in several projects that will keep me busy for a few years by the sounds of it.  Could this be the end of our nomadic life?  Not likely.  I don’t think Dylan will completely settle until we’ve purchased land or a house, and even then, we will move on.  It just may not be 10 homes in one year, perhaps one home every ten years. wow. that seems just crazy.  Ten years in one place?! Are we getting old?

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The Nomadic Life

Staying true to the title of our blog, we are on the move again.  It’s always a relief when we move around, because it means that this blog is still relevant.  Dylan is dying to buy a house and I wouldn’t mind it either, but this blog is always in the back of my mind, knowing it would have to meet its end when we settle in one place.  Truthfully, it’s not the blog I would mourn, but my nomadic freedom that it represents. For the past 8 years I have instinctively avoided purchasing items larger than my backpack – besides my bike.  It has made moving so easy that I am happy to do it often.  I love being able to up and go in less than a week’s notice – a house-sit here, yoga course there, rental to fill in the gaps.  There’s something about it that makes me feel light and free.  Owning a house would be nice so that I could nest a little, but knowing it could sell anytime would be better. hah.  I think I’d still have a hard time purchasing something as large and cumbersome as a bed or a table.  If I was a cartoonist, I’d draw me with a heavy bed strapped to my back trying to ride my bike….ugh.  The comic would probably culminate in the buckling of the bike with the bed crushing us both.  Talk about being weighed down.  Plus, did you know that most of our back/neck pains and aches in North America are caused by so much sitting in a chair-like position – driving, eating, working?  Our hamstrings grow tight, pulling on our backs, our ankles get so used to that 90 degree angle on the floor and our hip flexors grow short and lazy, compressing that sciatic nerve everyone’s always complaining about.  Even our soft, cushy beds do us more harm than good. Down with chairs and couches, in with cushions and floors!

If you’re wondering where we’re going here’s the line-up

– I’ll be at Spirit Point Wilderness Camp in Algonquin working for the next 3 weeks and Dylan will stay with my parents

October 2010: My parents place Thornbury, Ontario

November 2010: House-sitting in Markdale

December 2010: a (furnished – no bed-buying yet) rental house in Heathcote, Ontario – this could be for a long haul….maybe even more than a year!

We rarely stray from the Beaver Valley/Georgian Triangle area and all of the above locations are within these boundaries.  We have chosen to live in this beautiful area for it’s pure beauty and access to all the natural playgrounds you could imagine.  Our families are close by and we are developing an awesome community of like-minded friends and colleagues.  We have lived in a log-cabin in the forest, on the beach and will be moving to on the river.  We make less than $30,000…actually I think this year will be less than $20,000 as I took some time to nurture some projects and commit to the work I am meant to do.  We are happy, and I think from living in the moment and finding happiness within, great things have come to us.  If you don’t happen to live in this beautiful, natural area but would like to see, feel, taste, hear and smell it for yourself, please let me know, we would love to share it with you!

“Can we pretend that airplanes, in the night sky, are like shooting stars…”

I was at a workshop a few days ago on sustainable food systems. It was no more and no less than a bunch of interested and invested members of the community coming together to discuss food. A quite overlooked vital force of life, now available in cans, buckets, bags, dehydrated, deep fried and deep frozen form.

In a breakout group, someone questioned why we use airplanes to transport food and how it seems unsustainable. This same person, however, was supportive of human air travel. “Airplanes, they’re never going away” she stated, “I love flying, I love traveling”. My heart sank. First, because in a self-righteous, “eco-purest” fashion, I wanted to pretend that I don’t fly, that I will never fly again because of the massive emissions that are spewed out, and that it’s not necessary. I lost a little bit of hope, thinking that we have become so addicted and dependent on air travel – going to far off places – that our blindness to the damage it is doing will be our demise. When collecting bonus air-miles I recently questioned why I’m still collecting them if I hope to never need to fly again.

On my way home from the workshop, I faced the truth. Of course, I do want to fly again. I want to visit my family in Holland. I want to re-unite with my Sustainability colleagues in Brazil. I want to play mas in the Trinidad Carnival again. I want to attend my childhood best friend’s wedding in Mexico. True, these are all wants and can be dismissed, but what if I actually will need to fly. I am trying to run a business off of a bicycle. I have no idea if I can make this work.

It’s been 2 years since I landed back in Toronto after 2 years of a lot of flying, and I’m getting tired of my carbon diet. I miss the thrill of going to the airport, waiting at the gate and then watching clouds pass by for hours. It would be relatively easy, no one would hold it against me, or give me dirty looks. I want to just mindlessly fly fly fly without the self-inflicted guilt trip that I know better, that I know that this is not satisfying a real human need.

So far, I’ve been good. I chose Montreal over Vancouver for my Yoga Teacher Training course in July, so I will diligently take the train or bus. I have stayed put for 2 years in Ontario and 7 of those months I’ve been in the same region using my bike as my primary form of transportation. I recently handed over the family car to my brother, so my partner and I share one vehicle…a “new” 1984 Range Rover with dreams of a diesel engine running on recycled cooking oil. And my work is to share the language and understanding of sustainability with organizations and individuals.

I figure I’ll continue with my sustainable life until a true need emerges to get on a plane. So far, I’ve been able to find perhaps more happiness by staying in the same place than when I was making great friendships far away and leaving them. I even believe deep down in my heart that I will be even more happy when I am a true part of the community I choose to live in. A sad farewell to my dreams of living in India, Japan, New Zealand, Holland and the Caribbean. A welcome to rural Canadian life. And when the time comes to decide to fly or not, I’ll have to justify it to my toughest critic….me.