Originally from Alberta, Canada, Damien and I moved to the northeastern US in our mid-twenties for Damien's employment. After a couple years in NJ we moved to Maine for lifestyle reasons and as our children grew from babies into elementary aged children (three kids, all born in different places) we bought a home in a mid-sized Maine city and Damien found secure employment in his field of computer programming.
It was in these years of our life, roughly 2005 through 2010, that I started blogging. I wrote mostly about homemaking, homeschooling, and mothering with a "creative, urban Maine flavor".
It was also during this time that our family developed a strong outdoor activity ethos and committed ourselves to spending one day a week together in nature, usually hiking (even in winter).
We started to dream about the direction we wanted to take our lives. We wanted to live in a more natural environment, build location-independent work, experience beauty and adventure right outside our door, integrate our passions with our livelihood (could we earn a living from our interests?), work together as a couple, and raise our soon-to-be teenaged children in an atmosphere of possibility, adventure, and excitement about the future.
As non-permanent U.S. residents, the employment piece of this puzzle was nearly impossible to achieve in Maine in a timely manner (i.e. before our kids were almost grown), and to make a very long story short we moved back to Canada.
That move re-booted our family life. We christened this move Life 3.0.
Life 1.0 was the start of our family life as a couple. Getting married, having our first child, Celine.
Life 2.0 was our move to the States, the period in which we formed our family identity and culture, solidified our values, and added Laurent and Brienne to the mix.
Life 3.0 was taking the foundations of who we are as a family and individuals and launching the next stage of family life - moving back to Canada to the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, becoming self-employed, and raising young adults.
From 2011 to 2014, the overarching theme of my blog was living the life I want with the family I love. And my goal during that time, in writing my personal story here, was to encourage and empower others to do the same: to know who you are as a family, dream as a family, make those dreams into goals and then go for it.
We went into that adventure knowing it would change us, having no idea the extent to which that was true.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail as a family was a dream of ours. A dream that took everything we had, and then some.
The story of that hike is told in our video series, in bits and pieces here on the blog, and now, at Outsideways. It was an amazing experience in many ways, but it was also very difficult for me as it came on the heels of our three year spell of international and inter-provincial moves, a switch to self-employment, and living in a different culture.
As a stability-seeking, routine-loving homebody I ended our Appalachian Trail hike burnt out and drained from the physical, emotional and mental demands of our journey, and from the previous three years leading up to the experience.
Heartbreakingly, our dream of working together turned out to be somewhat of a nightmare in reality. After a de-construction process, in which we questioned almost every aspect of our lives, we decided to return to our pre-Life 3.0 division of labor and income earning as we fumbled our way forward through my healing and recovery.
We kept the things that were working for us, like homeschooling, and the things we are committed to, each other and our faith, and discarded the rest. And we moved to Montreal.
We're now writing the next chapter of our adventure story. Living on the first floor of a fourplex apartment in a big, beautiful, cosmopolitan city; raising teenagers into young adults; graduating all our kids from homeschool and into post-secondary education; re-discovering our individuality in our work and creative interests; investing in a passionate marriage; traveling; and re-defining what outdoor adventures look like for us.
This page is a curated list of posts that tell this story in-depth; in the nitty-gritty details and grandiose ideals.
These are not how-to posts, though sometimes I share helpful resources and ideas. More than anything these posts tell a story, the good, bad and ugly of dreaming, making things happen, moving forward and stepping back, dreaming again, and making new things happen.
Planning a trip to Montreal? Check out If you visit Montreal for insider tips and recommendations.
Once our children are grown and we are no longer responsible for their food, clothing, shelter, and education, we'd like to decrease our burn rate and live in a small, completely paid for house (we are inspired by the tiny house movement) in a place we love. That place is, as of yet, undetermined.
As the kids move towards and past high school graduation, I would like to become more established in a post-homeschooling vocation as a online writer. (I think, I'm figuring this out right now.) Both Damien and I value relationships and want our work to have meaning. (Don't we all?) Maybe we'll work together again. I don't know.
Both Damien and I love to travel, visit new places, and meet people. We dream of living communally with our grown children and grandchildren. It remains to be seen where these dreams will take us.