Society Magazine

From the Rock to the Sandbar

Posted on the 18 December 2018 by Seliharris @seliharris
From the Rock to the Sandbar Early morning here as I write this. I'm sipping coffee before getting ready for work, and watching a fox snoop around the property. He's walking around the perimeter, just searching at first, before zeroing in on the prey he spotted in the tall grass poking out the snow - a mouse of some sort probably. He pounces. A mad scramble ensues, followed by Mr Foxy trotting off through he potato fields next door with his prize. It's a amazing way to start the day...
But let me back up. I'm getting way ahead of myself here. I should start back in 2016 where it all began that I came to be watching this fox right now. It was that year that my wonderful partner Allison wanted to take me on a vacation to visit her good friends in PEI. I hadn't been to the island since a family vacation when I was in my teens so I was up for the adventure, and of course I wanted to meet her friends I heard so much about. In planning that trip, however, I had no idea that I was going to fall in love with the place and want to move there. Yes, the province is quite majestic  and has several reasons for people to go there, but it was staying with Allison's friends - now my good friends as well - on their homestead that specifically made both our motors run. Experiencing that lifestyle in person that year is what truly started the journey for us. Being people who have desired such a lifestyle, or similar, throughout our lives, it makes sense really, and I'm thinking now that Allison knew that vacation would be a spark for us. She just had to get us there to get a taste of it.
Returning to St. John's was somewhat difficult, not that we absolutely hated our existence on that island or anything. We both love much about Newfoundland and have very close friends and family there. We really didn't all that frequently discuss leaving, not until that summer of 2016. A flood of ideas and plans rushed into both of us as we drove around PEI daydreaming that year. We both could clearly visualize what life could be like for us if we just took a chance and went for it... But in all honestly, most of our discussions on moving sort of went dormant in the winter of 2016/2017. We settled back into life on The Rock, returned to our cycle, and outside of figuring out some financial stuff, many of our move thoughts went quiet for a while. It was the love of St. John's and life there that kept things dormant perhaps, but in the back of our heads we knew we weren't settled, that something was off for us. There was an itch we knew we had to scratch.
We ended up going back to PEI the following year for another vacation, staying longer this time, and during the summer instead of spring - spring, something they have in PEI by the way. I spent much of that week picking blackberries with now a good buddy, the same friend we had stayed with on their homestead in now back-to-back years, and it was awesome. One hot evening we ended the day by meeting the ladies at one of the many red sandy beaches, and jumping right in the ocean. The warm salty water stung the many cuts from the blackberry bushes, but it felt great. It was an amazing way to end a long day picking berries, and just a taste of the things I could be doing if here. Those few days in the woods foraging with a friend I realized that if I were here, even with a full-time job, I'd have far more opportunity to enjoy those outdoor things I love so much. And this was beyond the homestead, where I knew I'd already get ample outdoors just doing the farm work that would need to be accomplished. City life isn't for me, that's clear, and in Newfoundland it was the bay culture and access to nature that I truly cherished, and didn't get enough of. PEI is not much different from home really, just on a smaller scale, yet more connected to the outside world in many ways. I'll eventually express all the reasons why we didn't just homestead back in Newfoundland, but I'm too busy in the now to look back at the past. There's lots to say on that though, and I'll get there.
When I wasn't foraging and playing in the woods with my buddy during that vacation, Allison and I experienced what we could of the beautiful PEI summer, and we talked about life there as we became more and more infatuated with the place and the idea of homesteading. By the time we left that year, we knew the next time we'd be back we'd be going there for good. I wont bore anyone with the details of buying our first piece of property. Everyone who's done it knows the challenges and milestones in that process. For us the biggest hurdle was that we were in different provinces trying to work it all out. Allison had already found a new job in PEI and had moved there just as summer was getting on the go. I stayed in Newfoundland for a few months sorting things with my career, and I was also in charge of all the packing. She found an opportunity early on in searching for work, and left abruptly, taking very little with her at the time. The rest stayed with me and I picked away all summer as the apartment became a box maze more than anything. I can't say I wasn't anxious. Being away from Allison for so long as we dealt with something this stressful for most everyone wasn't easy, but I'm so proud of us for what we achieved. We had some luck along the way of course, and some fortunate circumstances which I'm very grateful for, plus a lot of help. I can't say express enough gratitude towards family, and certainly our good friends here in PEI, who housed Allison in the first months while I was back home, and have been extremely helpful every single step of the way, both before getting here and since. Those two are like family to me now, and I foresee a lot of fun years ahead for all of us.
We've only been here two months and I already feel settled, content, like this is where I was supposed to be. It almost feels like a dream to be honest. I guess Allison and I are both lucky to have found each other. I definitely feel that way; ecstatic to have someone who shares similar goals and dreams, and has a drive to help push us to realize them. We're a great team, and I love her and this life we are now living very much. We have quite the journey ahead, as we both attempt to juggle full-time day jobs while running our little hobby farm. There will be several challenges I'm sure, and many things to learn and do, but I feel we can handle anything together. We've come this far.
Looking back to that spring of 2016 I remember saying to Allison that if we're going to do it, I'd like to be there by the time I was 40 years old. There was something about that milestone that I wanted to hit, perhaps a creeping fear of such a large change at that age, and it would give us 2 years to make it happen. Turns out we made it by 4 days. We rolled into the new home on Tuesday October 9th, 2018, and that first weekend in PEI I was celebrating my 40th.
Best - birthday - ever.

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