"Write like it matters, and it will." -Libba Bray

Building the past...


          Sometimes it is easy for us as human beings to only focus on the future and get caught up in what is to come. On a very regular basis I become extremely fixated on the future and what I want to achieve. An Italian novelist named Umberto Eco put it in a very simplified way; “we like lists because we do not want to die.” Think of the lists we make on a daily basis: grocery lists, honey-do lists (of course we don’t want our honeys to die), and the big guy… bucket lists. A list is in some way, a security blanket. The list says “I have things to achieve and I am going to achieve them, just watch me!” I’m a firm believer that as much as there are a lot of things I don’t want to remember from my past, it has shaped me into the woman and mother I am today. Without the past there can be no present, no future.

          As a mother it is totally normal to worry about building your child’s past. Strangely put I know, but technically that’s what we’re doing, building what your child will consider “the past”. Sometimes when I look at Mollie frolicking around being all amazing like she does, I wonder to myself… Am I doing this right? Will she grow up to be strong, confident and full of kindness? Have I given her too little? Have I given her too much? I’m a millennial, am I too self-absorbed to raise this child into a good human? My incredibly supportive parents raised me well and helped me avoid that last question. The newest question on the list is… What if she doesn’t like van life? 

          Any parent can relate to at least one of those questions. Most of the time people tell you on the regular what a good job you’re doing, and that’s great; but let’s be honest here. Parent-hood might be the best hood but we are all just winging it. Being a single mom for the past seven years has been the greatest accomplishment of my life so far and I wear the badge proudly. But what if Mollie doesn’t like van life?

          Mollie and I have had lots of chats about moving into the van full time. We’ve talked about what it will mean to leave our friends and family behind. We’ve talked about minimalism, letting go of “stuff” and cutting back. This life change is about so much more than just a road trip. It’s about life lessons. A couple of years ago we began drastically cutting back on eating out at restaurants (and I’m a total foodie so the struggle was real with this one). We only shop for clothes twice a year, once in the winter on Boxing Day and again in the spring. When we do shop, we buy sale items or go to consignment shops only. We buy our food in bulk instead of in packages as much as possible to cut back on our foot print and cost. We downsized from a two bedroom apartment to a one bedroom apartment (for a single mom and her young daughter this wasn’t a very big deal). We have yard sales, we budget and we save. Mollie opened a bank account and is currently saving her monthly allowance to go to Disney World. We have talked about school and the fact that as much as our daily routine will be our own choice, we will have a plan as to how she does her studies each day. We are growing with the van together. We save together, we build together and we learn… together.


          The past is important; it’s where we’ve come from. When I look back into my own past it is a reminder that I’m helping Mollie to create hers. There are of course experiences that I had as a child that I want Mollie to have. Sticking her feet deep into the red sands of Prince Edward Island, watching whales and swimming in bio-luminescent waters off the coast of British Columbia. Not so she can experience these moments as I did, but so she can create memories of her own. Some of these adventures may become memories she holds onto forever, some may become memories she chooses to forget. My only hope is she looks back on everything we built together and says “if my mom did all this, I can do anything.”


          Usually when you make a list you end up with a time line. We have a rough time line and I am crossing my fingers that all goes well. Our hope is to be full time in the van by next spring; one year from now. We would like to live in the van while I work and Mollie finishes out grade five to save money. Being rent free for several months before we head for the west coast will allow us to save a lot and quick! Monday to Friday I work a full time office job to help save for Major. We have dedicated the majority of our weekends for the next six to seven months to converting the van. In Canada, winter is always coming. In this time we will also be doing pop-up farmers markets and craft shows in Ontario to help promote our soap and our adventure blog. It’s going to be, without a doubt, a crazy summer.


          So yes, I have a time line, but to be honest; I haven’t made a list. So no security blanket… SCARY! For once in my life I am attempting to not get caught up in what is to come and embrace what is right now. To enjoy every one of these days of summer and every person who helps teach and build with us throughout it. To reflect and be proud of the past I built to get here. 

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