End of the Road
We’ve done this sort of thing before. We went on holiday with no reservations and no plans other than to eat at as many In-N-Out Burger locations as we could (for Jamie’s 50th birthday). We’ve moved to a different province and started over with a new home and new jobs at least four times. This was different, and not because we’re in our fifties. This wasn’t just a move.
We tried to let go of the weight we had been carrying. We did more than leave jobs and family and friends. We knew how to get a steady paycheque and how to fill a home with important collections. We weren’t going to start over just to consume that same lifestyle again.
We didn’t become minimalists. We don’t live in a tiny house. We chose lots of space, and a water view, and a small community where we can say hello to everyone passing by.
I settled into my home office to write, and Jamie got his drone back in the air. He also got back in the saddle, back on two wheels to explore the trails and beaches in the area. That’s the nice thing about fat-tire bikes. He can ride in the sand or in snow.
This is the end of the road, looking back to May 11th, 2019, where we started a new chapter in Pictou, Nova Scotia.
I tried to sleep in. Everything seemed off, even though we were back in our own space. We arrived in Pictou five days before taking possession of our house on May 15th, 2019.
The owners and staff at Harbour Light Campground were very accommodating. Jamie tried to pay for our site, but the owner gave us a free night and said to come back tomorrow. This actually went on for half of our stay. Jamie would go to the office to pay, and he’d be told that he couldn’t pay and to come back the next day. Their generosity and support will not be forgotten.
There was another couple from Vancouver Island beside us in a motorhome. The park had just opened for the season, but there were full-timers in the park, their trailers already set up.
I felt down all day and wanted to talk to my daughter. This took a few days to pass, the feeling that I needed to be quiet, and feeling tired and sad. The trailer felt tight and cluttered, which added to my funk, but this was our home for the next five days. We had pulled this trailer from coast to coast. I did appreciate waking up in our bed rather than another hotel room.
The next day was Mother’s Day. A call with Devon made my funk disappear. We were dealing with a huge lifestyle change. Recognizing that, and letting those feelings pass, knowing they were normal, that’s how I got back outside to socialize.
We took a walk around the park. The wind was icy and the roads were mucky. The trees were still bare, and residents wanted us to know this wasn’t a typical May in Nova Scotia.
We went into New Glasgow for lunch on Monday. The Dock’s owner, Carmel, wasn’t in. We wanted to share our news with her because she had taken good care of us while we were at lunch the month before and making the decision to buy our home in Pictou. We both had the Fisherman’s Special: a piece of fish, a scallop, coconut shrimp, a crab cake, and I had mine with yam fries, Jamie’s with regular fries. Both of us had bread pudding for dessert.
When we returned to the campsite, there was an eagle perched in the tree behind our trailer. I couldn’t believe the eagle sat there as long as it did. I felt protected. We had just delivered the bank draft to the lawyer for our house, and I welcomed the eagle to watch over us.
The day before we were legally to take possession, we got a call from our real estate agent. She had worked out the details so we could get the keys that evening, before 5 pm. All parties involved had to run around to meet the deadline. She was worried that we were freezing in our little trailer and wanted us safe in our new home. We got the keys, but we couldn’t stay that night in the house because we had nothing to sleep on.
The house seemed cold and dingy without any furniture in it. We met with two of the sellers, the daughter and the oldest son (the house was an estate sale). They welcomed us with flowers. We did our walkthrough, then gave the go-ahead to our lawyer to release the money so we could have the keys. We came back to the campsite and watched Netflix in the trailer.
May 15th was a wintery day. There was hail, wet snow and rain, and the wind had rocked our trailer roughly from side to side the night before. We left the campground by 8 am and parked the trailer at the house. It was difficult, but we managed it in the tight space. We emptied the truck and some of the trailer into the garage and the house. We had WiFi connected by 11 am and were on the road to Halifax by noon. We needed desks and a bed from IKEA. We had our dinner there (lobster gnocchi and salmon with lemon dill sauce) then finished our shopping by picking up two chairs for the living room. That’s still the only furniture in our front room; two chairs and a table between them for our drinks and a plant. There’s also a reading lamp, and Wally, our front door greeter.
We picked up our shipping containers a few days after moving in. That involved driving 40 minutes to Truro and doing that trip eight times before we would finish for the day. We could only haul one U-Box at a time and had to return each box once we emptied it.
Our experience with U-Haul in Truro was vastly different than packing up in Sooke. The large warehouse had forklifts that could handle the weight of the boxes. At home, with a large shop and garage, we unpacked each container in 30 minutes or less. Household items went into the shop, and tools went into the garage. We took our time unpacking keepsakes in the house. A constant stream of items came out of the Coffee House. I thought I would never get that trailer unpacked!
I didn’t want the last year to mean nothing, to not be acknowledged or reflected on. The end to our long trip was a celebration, and I still feel that way three months later. We created A Life Less Burdened to share our experiences, as well as our mistakes. Many people helped us along the way, and many more will be part of our story. This is the end of the road, but not the end of A Life Less Burdened.
We have more of Nova Scotia to explore, as well as Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. Next year we hope to get back to see more of Quebec, and the lake country in Ontario. We are slowly making the house our own. This home was full of life for at least 50 years with the previous family. There is love here, a place of belonging that we feel too.