Come stay in Montreal (and can we stay at your house this summer?)

We're gearing up for a summer of nine weeks of adventure and travel. And I have a couple announcements to make in that regard.

Firstly, like last year we are opening our home for housesitters/travelers to Montreal. We had such a good experience with that last year that we are repeating it.

Montreal is an amazing place to be in the summer. (Part of me thinks we're a little crazy to leave during the best season but we need mountains and travel, we need a change, we want to see family. So we go.)

This year Montreal is celebrating her 375th birthday. The city was founded in 1642 (our homeschool co-op just finished our musical play telling that story) and we Montrealers love to celebrate. This summer the city will be full of its usual summer festivals with the addition of anniversary celebrations, many of them free.

If festivals and out-and-about isn't your thing, we have a cozy little apartment in a great neighborhood where you can chill and enjoy a slower pace with easy access to that unique Montreal summer vibe - restaurant terraces, cafes & boulangeries, green spaces, free swimming pools, art in the park, so many things...

The point is, our home is available this summer and we want to share it with you.

I have four (between writing this yesterday and editing and publishing this morning, we've gone down to two) weeklong spaces left: June 23-30 & July 8-16

If you're interested, and would like more details (housesitting responsibilities, our location, etc) contact me right away since we're leaving in a few weeks (ack!) and I'm trying to get this wrapped up as soon as I can.

Even if you're not available this summer but are interested for the future, leave me your email address because I've started to keep a list of names for future housesitting. Also, if we have a cancellation this summer I might need a substitute.

With our kids growing up this may be the last long trip we'll all take together. In future years it's more likely that at least one of them will stay home for work or school and we won't need housesitters. But who knows. Celine is currently location independent, self-employed like her father so we might have a couple more summers of adventure together. I don't know what the future holds, only that this summer it's the whole gang, and I'm going to love it while it lasts.

Second announcement: we're traveling out west again this summer!

Last year's trip was an amazing adventure for our family. It was part vacation, part work, part family visit, part big beauty and nature, part personal and family growth. Our travels took us to Montana, Alberta, and Ontario and all the states and provinces from Montreal to these destinations and back. We drove the whole way.

When we finished our trip (actually during our trip) we decided we wanted to do this again. Get in the car next summer and go west. We want freedom to travel with our big kids and we needed a vehicle with a bit more space.

taking my place in the middle of the backseat and listening to Little Women with Brienne through Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota

Our trip last summer proved that three adult-sized bodies in a row seat was not comfortable for 12 hour driving days. That we basically remained friends through last year's driving is a testament to both our relationship and the saving grace of audiobooks and devices. But we needed a bigger vehicle if we were going to do this again, so we did some financial finagling when we got home, bought a bigger car with a larger roof carrier and we're ready (with vehicle space at least) to hit the road in a few weeks.

Would you be interested in hosting us if we're driving through your area?

We've strung together a summer itinerary based on the location of work contacts, friends, family visits, and places we want to see. And we're looking for places we might crash (and maybe visit for a day) as we drive through from one area to the next. Like last summer, we're doing this trip on the cheap.

Our itinerary is:

  • Driving from Montreal to Colorado Springs. That will be 3, 10-12 hour driving days, we'll be spending 2 nights on the road, camping or hopefully being hosted at someone's home.

  • A week in Colorado. Exact accommodations TBD.

  • Drive from Colorado to Nevada, spend one night in Utah. Looking for accommodations or a great tenting recommendation.

  • Spend a week in Nevada, planning to backpack in the California Sierras from our homebase at a friend's house in NV.

  • Three weeks in the Bay area of California, staying on a friend's boat in a marina. This piece still seems incredible to me and I don't know how this part is going to play out since we're still waiting to hear back details about the boat - electricity, water, wifi??? Lots of questions.

  • A week of driving north through Oregon, Washington and lower mainland BC. We're looking for a couple places to stay as we travel north.

  • A week camping/crashing on family property at Adam's Lake, BC, followed by a weekend family reunion at the same spot.

  • Drive to Edmonton, AB spend about a week with family.

  • Drive back to Montreal (long driving days) through either Canada or the US. Looking for a couple places to spend the night as we drive through.

It's a big trip. We have most of our accommodations figured out and we have tents. But we have a few places in our itinerary where we would love to stay with people, if possible. Especially as we're driving through, it's so much easier after a long day on the road to crash at someone's place - on a floor, in a bed, pitching our tent in your yard, whatever works.

Traveling this way always stretches me but it also offers unexpected gifts of new experiences and friendship. I remember I was a bit apprehensive before our trip last year. How would it work to stay for three weeks with a work/friend contact in Montana? How would it work to have people stay in our house all summer? I didn't know what to expect and that made me a little anxious, as I always am going into unfamiliar territory.

This year it's a little more familiar. We're going new places but we're trying a similar strategy of travel and we'll see how it works.

We don't want to burden people, we don't expect people to provide things for us, but if people have space and time they want to share, we want to make those connections. We want to meet you.

Likewise, we want to share what we have in Montreal. It's here. It's available.

So, let's talk if you want to come to Montreal, or if you want to host us as we're traveling this summer. Please email me at renee at tougas dot net if you're interested in staying this summer or hosting us on our travels.

Here's to adventures on a budget and traveling on the cheap, sharing what we have.

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  • Lori

    Lori on June 7, 2017, 12:56 p.m.

    We had such a great time house sitting in Montreal last year! I look forward to reading about your travels this year. We are hoping to take a big road trip out west next summer. The kids are getting older and these are great memories.


  • Julie

    Julie on June 9, 2017, 4:15 p.m.

    Renee, I am a long time reader and occasional commenter! I am interested in your place possibly in July. Also, I am in the Bay Area and would be happy to talk to you about staying at our house, which has more than enough room for a family of 5 and is near public transportation. Especially if you need a place to stay when we are or of town and you want to housesit! Please email me! Thanks, Julie


  • Jennifer Cawood

    Jennifer Cawood on June 10, 2017, 8:54 p.m.

    Renee- I've read your writing for a couple years, and I really enjoy your thoughts on every subject. I'd love to be on your email list for subsequent summers. We're moving from the states (Georgia) to the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario late this summer. We'd enjoy hosting your family on future trips that bring you our way, as well as immersing ourselves in Montreal for awhile. Enjoy your adventures with your family this summer! P.S. If you'd be willing to coach/email me about homeschooling wild and free teenagers in Canada, I could use some advice!


  • Amy W.

    Amy W. on Aug. 1, 2017, 11:30 a.m.

    I am so sorry I didn't catch this blog post before your huge trip. I would've loved to host you in Colorado. Hopefully next time!


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