Where I live ~ Our Mountain Home

In the last 24 months we've lived in five homes, three different provinces/states, and two countries. At the end of 2014, if all goes as planned, we will add another house to that roster and six months in the American outdoors hiking through fourteen states.

(Prior to our current life we lived a fairly fixed-address existence, residing in one state for almost a decade and at one address for five years.)

kids running outdoors

Since November 2011, the Gaspe peninsula is where we call home, but I think "home base" is a more apt description. In all this moving and adventuring I am doing my best to really appreciate the places we live, whether we live there for one month or two years.

This adventurous, slightly nomadic way of living is not everyone's cup of tea, but in truth we're all just passing through. Some of us live this philosophy more lustily than others.

deer in road

Perhaps because we are not committed (at this stage) to staying in one place for a long time I appreciate the beauty of those places that much more. I don't take any of it granted.

For me, appreciating involves sharing. Sharing very literally - opening our home to family and friends; and sharing here, in words and photos.

I want to share our mountain with you. I've shown many photos of the inside of our home and the river.

Today I'm taking you up and out. To give you a bird's eye view and to introduce the neighbors.

This is the mountain where we live. I'm calling it "our mountain" in the same way I would say "our street". We don't own it, in fact, we own less and less these days and our quality of life keeps going up and up. It's just like all those simple living gurus have been saying for years.

welcome to my neighborhood

Meet my neighbors

We live at the base of ski hill, at the end of dirt road. We have seasonal neighbors.

In winter, it's the locals who stay at their ski chalets on the weekend. In summer, it's tourists and travelers, fisherman and families; renting chalets and accessing the river, nearby beaches, and mountains.


It would appear I live in paradise, as long as your definition of paradise includes a long winter and a buggy summer.

Our year round neighbors are the wildlife. Wild animals are a part of our daily life and include deer (we see deer nearly every day), the ubiquitous squirrel, rabbits, porcupine, raccoon, fox, and multiple species of birds that visit our deck feeder and add their song to the quiet mountain air.


Last week, on a particularly beautiful spring morning, our family all went separate ways for our outdoor time. I hiked up the mountain, and took these photos. Damien went trail running along the cross country ski paths. The kids went to the river.

I met Damien back at the house while the kids were still out. We both marveled at the beauty of our backyard. This lifestyle and location is better than our dreams. How did this happen?

mountain trail

Our experience living here is upping the ante a bit. Having experienced the freedom of the outdoors from our door, the beauty of the woods and access to the mountains, we wonder, how could we possibly do better than this?

We are still just passing through and enjoying every moment we can.

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  • Tonya

    Tonya on April 30, 2013, 1:53 p.m.

    Renee, Thank you for sharing the beauty that surrounds you. I really like what you wrote about us all just passing through as our family considers a new adventure it can be hard not to worry about what others will think.


    • renee

      renee on April 30, 2013, 2:08 p.m.

      Tonya, I say this in total kindness and compassion - to you, me and everyone else - sister, we need to get over worrying about what other people think. Most people in our society have a very limited imagination - for their own lives and others. I think we can blame modern education in part for this. 

      This hang-up of "what we people think about me" has crippled me in the past, and sometimes it still does, especially during dark seasons, like parts of this winter. But life can be full of so much incredible opportunity, adventure, beauty, and fun! if we just stop caring what other people think about us (if we're good parents, good mothers, good homeschoolers, good wives, blah, blah).

      I know you know this but I want to encourage you to go for it - go for the life you want to live with your family and say good riddance to comparing and calculating yourself against others and thinking of how they might be doing the same to you. When I live in this freedom (and I don't always, I have to fight for it) is when life really "cooks". It's like firing on all cylinders and feeling that the possibilities are endless. This is the hope and future we want to give our children and it's the hope and future we have to live in the here and now for our own lives. 

      I am cheering you on, loudly.


  • Sarah m

    Sarah m on April 30, 2013, 9:16 p.m.

    It looks so different without the snow! :) 

    I totally get the sentiment of not taking anything for granted in a certain location. I very much feel the same way, and truly felt I knew my hometown of 27 years so much better because I explored every nook, cranny, museum, trail system, and landmark thoroughly. I think you can find beauty and adventure in any location, but there are limitations to certain parts of the country, geographically speaking. Oddly enough, most people find our little small border-town we're currently living in boring, ugly, and just a pit stop to gas up before the border, but we have LOVED living here so far, and have found much beauty and kindness here. 

    I'm excited to hear more about this '14 state' trip, although I think I already know most 'public' details since I follow your twitter & instagram feed while I'm on your site reading. Just this past winter I read "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed about her hiking the Pacific Coast Trail and her experience. :)

    After almost 3 decades of only seeing a bald eagle in a zoo, I don't ever think I'll stop gawking when I see them flying or perched in our new surroundings, in the wild. They are simply incredible.

    Sarah M


    • renee

      renee on April 30, 2013, 9:23 p.m.

      Sarah, I think perspective has so much to do with it. You are coming with fresh eyes to where you live. Yay, we're planning a thru hike of the AT and we've totally know this for over a year and I really need to start writing about it and kind of "announce" it but other writing keeps getting in the way. 

      Watcha' think about Wild? There were parts I liked and then parts I didn't. I think Wild is a good title for it, in all respects. I have a brief review of it here. 


  • Sarah m

    Sarah m on April 30, 2013, 9:56 p.m.

    Ya know...I kind of felt the same way (it's just the only memoir I've ever read about hiking a multi-state  trail, so I mentioned it). I think, personally, I'd given it a 3 out of 5. Glad I read it because I loved reading about the scenery and places she was hiking through, and had a few moments of laughing along with her (oy! her shoes!) but I couldn't really relate to her personality and personal choices. I think it took me 2 weeks to read, which is about 1 too many, so it was a little slow. I don't actually know who else I'd recommend it to. 

    Goodreads overwhelms me because I'd want to write a review and rate every.single.thing. I'd ever read or could remember. I just can't join it for sheer time I'd spend there. I do love reading my friends ratings via facebook, though. :)

    Sarah M


    • renee

      renee on April 30, 2013, 10:02 p.m.

      I've been using goodreads as my virtual library of things read for years now. I don't review everything though, not by a long shot. I wrote that review because a friend asked my opinion and I basically copied what i wrote in my e-mail to her (smile).   

      I used to use goodreads to generate lists of books I read to the kids and books celine read, for homeschool records. I don't do that anymore since our reading has changed so much in the last couple years. I like goodreads to find new book titles, I get almost all my books to-read ideas from my goodreads friends. Also, because we have downsized our hardcopy library so much and I don't keep fiction books at all, for me, I like having a record I've what I've read - somewhere. Or partial record. I don't update it as often as I should. In a different life, where I lived in one place for many years and didn't have minimalist leanings I would have a vast home library, floor to ceiling with those ladders that roll along the wall. In my real life, I used goodreads instead (smile).


  • Lauren

    Lauren on May 1, 2013, 3:52 a.m.

    I enjoy your blog so much! I look forward to reading it all day. I am in HOT and DRY Arizona. And seeing these pictures of somewhere that is so far away makes me happy! Thank you for sharing!


    • renee

      renee on May 1, 2013, 11:38 a.m.

      Lauren - thank you. I'm not sure if I've made your acquaintance here before, so welcome! I also love reading about people's lives elsewhere, which is something I love about blogs and reading blogs. I learn about different ways of living. I was talking to a friend recently who lives in Nevada where they have to conserve water, a concept unheard of here where mountain streams and springs flow abundant. But of course lots of water means lots of bugs (smile).


  • Ashley

    Ashley on May 2, 2013, 12:07 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures! I would love to be able to walk out my door and enoy a trail like that! There are days I would love to just be surrounded by nature! I get to enjoy traffic, tons of tourists in the summer and jet noise here in VA Beach :) Being a military family we get the chance to move often. We are coming up on orders and it's been very stressful trying to decide if we want to stay or go. There are days when it would be nice to settle down in one place, especially when you just start to feel at home. There is a wonderful eat local group here, many farms to buy from and lots to do. Yet, we don't want to miss the opportunity to experience someplace new, it's so much fun! 


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on May 2, 2013, 4:25 a.m.

    Thanks for taking the time to "map" your home and daily trail! It's fun to be able to physically visualize you more in your environment. It is a really beautiful place where you live!


  • anastasia @ eco-babyz

    anastasia @ eco-babyz on May 6, 2013, 6:05 a.m.

    So beautiful! Now I don't have to imagine where you live anymore when reading your posts ;)

    We are at the point in our life where we know we are not going to stay where we are and we are sitting on this edge of not quite knowing where we'll go. We really don't want to stay in the U.S., don't know where we want to move yet, or when we can sell the house, or if we will have a third baby. But we're not staying here for long north of Boston. 


  • Jess

    Jess on May 6, 2013, 12:16 p.m.

    You continue to be an inspiration and reminder that we can choose our own paths (don't need to bend to societal expectations).  Also looking forward to hearing about your AT expedition!  Our kids are young (1, 3, 5), but we've toyed with that concept down the line!


    • renee

      renee on May 6, 2013, 12:22 p.m.

      choose your own path - a hearty "yes". need to bend to societal expectations - an encouraging "no". Welcome to my world (smile). I'm glad you are inspired likewise. 


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