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Departure and Week 1: Canada: Haliburton, Ontario

25 Jul

Departure & Week 1

On July 15, 2013 – after months of planning, de-cluttering, packing, sorting and dreaming – we were ready to start our adventure. Stuff (home & office) stored in a 10×20 storage unit and our house in the Beach rented for the year to a family from Washington, DC.

Although I consider myself a person that easily recycles, de-clutters or throws out things – I have gained a huge respect for those that are able to sell or get rid of ALL of their belongings to embark on a travelling lifestyle!  How attached we are to our stuff!  My goal and hope for this year-long trip is that our family can change our perspective on owning material things and will come back learning to live a much more de-cluttered and streamlined life, one that appreciates experiences, love and life over stuff.

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First stop; a week of family time at a cottage outside of Haliburton, Ontario – on Pickard Lake!

When thinking of our year away, many words come to mind: “Relaxation”, “Family & Connection Time” and “Excitement” are certainly some of them.

Relaxation: The cottage we stayed in was a gorgeous two-level vacation home, right on a private lake, on a remote piece of land with absolutely breathtaking surroundings.  It had been months since I last picked up a book, let alone finish one.  That week, I relished in finishing a book, sitting on a gorgeous deck overlooking a stunning Canadian Lake –while enjoying watching Emile and Filou have a fabulous time in the water (jumping, swimming, diving, snorkelling and fishing – even doing comedy shows, using a small floating deck as their stage – they were just on fire, cracking joke after joke – each one followed by a crazy jump in the water). What a joy!

Family Time: Among the many family games at the cottage was a nice big dartboard that served for many a friendly competition (especially between YiaYia (grandma) and Emile).  The outdoor fire pit also facilitated some nice family time, enjoying several campfires (nothing better than a burnt marsh mellow or hot dog in the fresh air, while listening to Papa’s guitar tunes?)!  And yes, if you are wondering, Anthony has brought a travelling guitar (not sure how long that item will last but very nice while it’s with us….)

The other important family aspect to this week certainly was the time with Yia Yia. As an incredible inspiration in the boys’ life, she sees them at least once a week.  The time together away in this beautiful setting was a perfect send-off and goodbye to her as we embark on our journey. We hope to have her join us in Latin America in 2014.

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Adventure: After a week of 30C, sunbathing, swimming, boating and relaxation – it was time for some adventure.  On our last day, while sitting on the deck, enjoying my book – a ferocious wind came out of nowhere.  The lake became wild and angry looking (but beautiful). While I looked up, I saw that a children’s water slide had been swept from the deck into the lake and was quickly taking speed, floating away.

Without hesitation, I took a dive and swam after it – although it took all my strength to quickly swim against the strong winds to reach this item. When I had covered about half the lake, I finally reached it.  My family was having mixed feelings of me “risking my life” and “admiration”.  Luckily, I feel pretty confident in the water (thanks mom & dad for all the swimming lessons when I was young) and with some “mind over matter” attitude, I swam back with the slide in my hand against very strong currents of water and wind.  The admiration of Emile was worth it alone. I truly was his “hero” for the day, and he was encouraging me tremendously from shore….talking  me so sweetly back to safety (never had so many spontaneous hugs in a row from him :).

Once back on shore, huffing and puffing, a few other items needed saving such as a Muskoka Chair (and for those of you that knows what a Muskoka Chair is – you know that it is a fairly heavy chair, not easily swept away by wind)!

Shortly after this lake rescue mission, we closed up the cottage –  that had now gone without power – and quickly departed.  We later heard that we just made it out in time, as the area had received several tornado warnings….we had no idea that we were in a tornado region but we did notice the fallen trees along the road, and the tremendous storm (incredible rain and wind) in which we had to drive back. Thankfully, we made it back safely to Toronto to catch our first flight. Destination: Halifax, Nova Scotia!

So, our first week did live up to expectations: a nice mix of relaxation, family time and adventure. Good start to the year!