My life has become decadent in it’s simplicity. In a word, I have “untethered”. We spent the summer and fall selling and/or giving away almost all of our things. Couches, clothes, kitchen tools, a handmade coffee table, bookshelf and dog beds, dishes and so much more. If it would not fit in our new 240 square foot tiny home on wheels it had to go. The letting go was massive and transformative and it happened on many levels. Each layer leading to more self discovery. Who am I without 4 sets of measuring spoons, without business clothes, without a Vitamix, who am I without a fixed address?

My summer on the Sunshine Coast started off with epic ocean paddling trips with my partner and our 3 dogs, and amazing mountain bike rides through the never ending series of rain forest trails. It was truly bliss after being away from the Coast for the winter months we took advantage of the natural playground we’d returned to.

Then on August 6th it all changed – again. We made the exciting decision to buy a motorhome and convert it into a tiny home on wheels. We needed enough space for our 3 dogs and 3 cats to feel comfortable and one evening while searching on Craigslist a new ad caught my eye. A 30 foot class A motorhome, built in 1990 and from what we could see from the pictures it was well taken care of. And as a bonus there was a nice looking bike rack on the back. Two days later I was driving our new addition back from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast. It was like driving a big old bus and I did a bit of hooting and hollering as I pulled it out onto the road for the first time.

With an inspired goal of having it ready to move into by November 1st, paddling and mountain biking got replaced with daily trips to the RV for hours and hours of back breaking work. We knew nothing about RV’s when we started and learned as we went along. Days spent renovating and repairing and evenings spent watching YouTube videos on how to do the repairs and renovations. We worked hard to turn it into a home that we would love living in. More to come on that – I will be sharing the before and after photos in my next post along with some of the crazy ups and downs that we experienced throughout the renovation. You will want a large cup of tea ready when you sit down to that post.

As I write this blog we have been living in the tiny home that we lovingly call “Freedom: The Travelling Vegan Beach House” for a week. We are unplugged and we are living in a beautiful park in the rainforest on edge of the Salish Sea. What a feeling, everything we own is strategically placed within the 240 square feet that is now our home. Our days so far have been slower, simpler and quite snuggly. I am exhausted at 7pm after breathing more fresh in a day that I would normally breath in a month. Cooking outside on a little stove, learning to play the ukulele in the evenings, slowing down and noticing the sounds of nature all around us have been exquisite and sometimes quite annoying (5 straight days of rain).

Ask me where I live and my answer is now simply “earth” and more specifically wherever my body happens to be located on the earth. I mean, isn’t that where we all actually live? I think we get trapped into thinking our neighbourhood, how many bedrooms we have, or our style of home actually means something. I am realizing that what means a lot more than that is how at home I am within myself. That is the only real home I have ever had, and that is the one I choose to return to and nurture.

As you will read in my renovation post, Freedom had lots of tricks up her sleeve that made our summer/fall interesting and full of personal evolution opportunities. She had one last trick for us two weeks ago that felt frustrating at the time but has since offered a gem of an idea that will be the driving force for the coming year. We gave notice to vacate our rental suite on Oct 31 and the day before we were moving out we realized that the solar panel installation had brought to the surface a serious electrical issue that needed attention. We knew we had to take Freedom to a mechanic to get things resolved or there would be no fridge/lights/heat etc. Our move in was delayed by a week as the electrical issue was resolved, and when we moved in last week, all systems were working beautifully. It was what happened in the week we waited for the repair that changed everything (again).

When we needed a place to stay as the repair was being done we reached out to our friend Sandra. She lives in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast and has a beautiful sanctuary she calls Goats on the Rock Animal Sanctuary. She did not have any guests booked in her rental suite and graciously offered to house us while we waited for the RV repair. It was the perfect spot for us to spend a week because there were pigs, goats, chickens, ducks and a delightful turkey named Nina right outside our door.

Sandra was busy building a new structure for the animals that they could shelter in on rainy days and I got right in there to help out. I cannot even describe in words how meaningful it was for me to be outside, building a structure for these sweet animals as they wandered around making delightful sounds. Sandra was also very appreciative of a big batch of soup I made one night so she could freeze it in containers and stay well nourished on her busy days of looking after the sanctuary. As I made more food and worked outside over the next few days, I realized I was living a dream I have always had. Working at a sanctuary with rescued farm animals.

Our plan with Freedom is to spend the winter between the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island and then head east when the rockies are safer to navigate, in the spring of 2018. We have a goal of landing in Nova Scotia by late next summer and everything in between will be 100% organic. We will be build our days on moments, and we will be driven by internal cues and follow them wherever they lead.

One of those internal cues landed (and I paid attention) while we were staying at Goats on the Rock. I could see that I was already living a dream working with animals, and creating nourishing food for Sandra, and I couldn’t stop thinking about looking for other animal sanctuaries across Canada that we could stop at and spend time volunteering. We could support both the animals and the people that lovingly take care for them on our journey. Between my partner Deb and I, we have a massive skill set that these beautiful people would be able to put to use.  And we come with our own home which makes us very low maintenance.

My partner loved the idea, she too has always wanted to spend more time at animal sanctuaries, and when I mentioned the idea to Sandra one evening I suddenly knew that there was more. I could see that the journey would be the perfect opportunity to write my second cookbook. I could envision spending time at various sanctuaries cooking meals and taking photos for my next book. Photos of the animals we meet would be prominent and would help promote the sanctuaries we visit. The idea felt so aligned, and truly exciting. Having my first cookbook The Vegan Comfort Kitchen in the world has been amazing, and the idea of having a second one come to life is thrilling.

So as I type this we are making our plans on what sanctuaries to visit, and my next cookbook has begun. It will be called “The Untethered Vegan: Food from the Road to Nourish the Soul”. I’ve already got several recipes finalized and photographed, including  Morning Glory Muffins (see photo) from my time at Goats on the Rock and will continue to add more as we travel from west to east over the next year. Watch for highlights of my journey on this blog with animal photos and recipes.

And if you know of any great animal sanctuaries in Canada that could use temporary help (a week to a month) let me know.

Cheers from my little spot on Earth,

Deb

 

 

 

 

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Showing 17 comments
  • Nikki Finnestead

    You must know about Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, I hope!! 🙂

    • Deb Gleason

      Thank you Nikki, I do know about Happily Ever Esther! Esther is one of my favourite people on the planet.

  • Anna

    AMAZING!! Loved reading about this latest adventure and the new plans. And I love that you’re tapping into your intuition for guidance… she always knows best!! xoxox

    • Deb Gleason

      How true is that! Internal cues are the only ones that make sense to me these days. It should be a grand adventure.

  • Judy Field

    Thanks so much for your blog, Deb… this is an absolutely wonderful read, and what an amazing adventure ahead. Safe travels and I look forward to each and every chapter along the way!

    • Deb Gleason

      Thanks Judy! It feels so good to be living from this place of simplicity and presence. Life always flows so brilliantly from this place.

  • Natalie Robichaud

    Deb this is so amazing! I love everything about this. Congratulations and all the best on your adventures.

    Will you visit Esther and her dads? There’s also Big Sky Ranch in Kemptville.

    Looking forward to reading all about your adventures.

    Happy trails.

    • Deb Gleason

      Hi Natalie, thanks for the suggestions! My brother was at Big Sky for a fundraiser this week and I look forward to finding out more about them.

  • Marie Payerle

    What a wonderful journey you are embarking on! You’ve probably heard of them already, but I do love Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary in Cambellville, Ont. They are always looking for help. https://www.happilyeveresther.ca/

    • Deb Gleason

      Thanks Marie!

  • ANNA WELTMAN

    Oh my gosh…..such good news!!!!!!!! Best of love for your next adventurous life shift!
    Thinking of you both, here in San Diego!

  • Morrie Sacks

    What fun! Sher and I have always enjoyed Hope for Wildlife and recently we discovered the bear rescue happening at Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers. We have also been watching many of the shows on tiny homes. So….what an inspired idea you have developed! It will be a treat following your escapades. Enjoy the ride!

    • Deb Gleason

      Great ideas, thank you Morrie!

  • Jennifer Eberts

    Wow Deb, I am completely blown away!! You two are nothing but an inspiration and I can only imagine what a great experience this next year is going to be travelling this wonderful country of ours!! Have a ball and the animal sanctuaries that you stop at and help are going to be so blown away with what you have to offer. I look forward to continuing to read your blog, xoxo Jen

    • Deb Gleason

      Thank you Jen for your comment! I don’t think I have ever felt as free as I do right now. It is a tender time on our planet and the way I see it there is no better time to get out there and live the the fullest expression of myself possible.

  • Raina McDonald

    Dearest Deb,
    Oh the joy I feel eminating out of my heart as I read your post! How magical it will be to welcome you to the east coast when that time comes! Rock on, sister!
    Love Raina

    • Deb Gleason

      You are part of this journey with us. We look so forward to being out east with you and your family. Our Ohana.

      xo

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