Adventure Living

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 (now Ciel).

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 starting to raise teenagers.

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. I did a lot of blogging during these years.

We accomplished a few significant things after launching Life 3.0, we:

  • Became self-employed with location-independent work.
  • Lived on the beautiful Gaspe peninsula, in the mountains and next to the ocean.
  • Became backcountry skiers and snowboarders.
  • Started a blog business and developed streams of online income earning through blog-launched products and services.
  • Worked together as a couple.
  • Ran a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign.
  • Built a family culture that fosters inspiration, possibility, excitement and hope about the future.

And then we hiked the Appalachian Trail, all of it, together.

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 our core commitments to our marriage and family, and discarded the rest. And we moved to Montreal.

The Montreal years

In June 2015 we moved to Montreal. Our home for the next 9 years was a 3 bedroom, first floor apartment of a fourplex building with its own backyard on a busy city boulevard.

During our season in this beautiful, cosmopolitan city we raised teenagers into young adults; graduated all our kids from homeschool and into post-secondary education; re-discovered our individuality in our work, vocations, and creative interests; and continued to invest in a supportive and passionate marriage.

The intensity of our outdoor adventures cooled during our Montreal years but our interest in travel did not. The pandemic contributed to this re-distribution of energy and interest.

While living in Montreal we undertook 4 big cross-continent roadtrips out west, 2 with our teenagers and 2 trips with just us two. We made many more trips to Nova Scotia. Damien and I also took up canoeing.

Adventure living changed as the kids grew towards and into independence. A lot of our resources, time, and effort went into this launch phase of family life.

The news as of Spring 2024

The kids are now grown. One is working in his career, the other two are nearing the end of their undergraduate post-secondary education years. And we're on to our next big adventure.

In May we're moving to Nova Scotia to live communally with my parents. A story told here on the blog and here on YouTube.

Damien is well established in the company he works for and I am wrapping up a masters degree in Educational Studies. It is unlikely we will work together, for income, in the future. Our 27 year marriage has never been stronger.

Our interest in roadtripping inspired us to buy a small, lightweight travel trailer. With the increase in our income from Damien's stable work and my own paid employment (a big change from our hard-care adventure years, see above) we were able to purchase one. And as of this writing (spring 2024) we are awaiting its production at a small manufacturer in B.C. Canada.

The adventures on the horizon are: becoming empty-nesters, building a life with my parents in Nova Scotia and discovering the outdoor opportunities there, and roadtripping with a lightweight camping trailer. And also, a big one for me personally: gaining employment in my field of interest and education.

Adventure Living posts by topic

Over the years I have written some of the nitty-gritty details and grandiose ideals of the above stages and experiences in various blog posts.

These posts tell a story - the good, bad, and ugly of dreaming, making things happen, taking steps forward, sometimes failing, re-adjusting or stepping back, dreaming again, and making new things happen. This is a cycle we have repeated in our marriage. And it's this cycle, more than any actual trip or undertaking that is the "adventure" of adventure living.