La Crémaillère: First Day At the New Home

We are pretty excited about our new purchase: a home on wheels. 

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 An old gondola for storage space.  

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Cracking the first of many bottle of sparkling.

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Cheering to my new setting.

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Loving my new backyard.

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And the views are to die for.

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Much better than TV.

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Getting cozy.

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Friendly neighbourhood. And again, can’t beat the view.

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The sun painted the mountains of a stunning alpenglow.

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And left the sky with a blood moon.

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Not bad for a first day at our new home.

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Considering the RV Life: Is This For You?

I am a home owner. A home on wheels owner. That feels good to say. Plus, I don’t owe any mortgage and I don’t pay someone else’s mortgage. It might not be luxurious like a home with multiple bedrooms, a nice jetted tub or double car garage. I also don’t own the land. But it has a functional kitchen, a cozy living room, a comfy bedroom, a shower and a flush-able toilet. And, I get to choose my backyard and my view whenever I want. What else do I need, really?

Owning and living in a trailer is something I always considered doing. We had a truck camper a few years ago that we used for camping on rainy weekends and in the chill autumn days. Then we traded it for a 24′ trailer that ended up staying in the backyard for a whole summer until we traded it for a boat. At the time, we weren’t ready to live out of our town, further from our social lives. But years went by, and we grew up as the town developed, and after the series of past events, we decided it was the time to invest into a home.

So the idea of living in a trailer came back to mind. We saw immediately the BENEFITS of the RV life:

Not dealing with landlords Finding a place to rent in town for 2 adults, 2 dogs, 2 vehicles, and big toys isn’t easy at all. While the majority of accommodation aren’t pet friendly, only a few have parking for more than one vehicle. As for the toys, better find a place to store them. There was no way we could sign up for another year of steep rent and strict restrictions. We chose to stay at a RV Park/campground for the winter months. There are no restrictions on pets, parking, or toys. We go day per day, and have the freedom to leave whenever we want.

Save money on rent and bills The daily rate includes full hook-ups (hydro + running water) and wi-fi Internet. There are laundry facilities and hot showers on site. Staying at a RV Park will allow us to save around $1,000 on rent and bills monthly.

Personal ownership  Owning a home without owing a mortgage is absolutely amazing. With $5,000 we managed to find a trailer that suited our needs. With a little bit of TLC and making it ready for the colder months, we are excited to turn this vehicle into a cozy home. And after the winter, we have the freedom to travel, or stay, or re-sell it, hopefully, at a similar price.

Having the freedom to wake up in the setting that you want To wake up into nature, in a safe refuge tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the resort is refreshing and grounding. Whether you choose to live on the road, or stay at a same place for a period of time, the advantage of RV living is to have the possibility to choose your backyard.

RV living seems like an attractive lifestyle. But before stepping into anything serious, there are a few THINGS TO PUT INTO CONSIDERATION:

Can you live the compact life? Depending on what size and type of trailer you choose, it is most likely to be slightly smaller than your previous accommodation. Getting used to a smaller space is something to think about, especially if there is more than you living in. As for us, we left a 300sq ft bachelor to move into a 280sq ft trailer. We should be fine.

Can you get rid of things you don’t need? Downsizing, downsizing, downsizing. I’ve been downsizing every time I’ve been moving, but this time is crucial for this new lifestyle. I had to get rid of things I didn’t need, or haven’t used in the past year. I donated TONS of clothing to my local women’s shelter and gave stuff to friends. As much as it was hard to give away certain items, it felt good and refreshing to own little, living off the essentials.

Are you a fixer-upper, or have a friend that is? Having a trailer is like having a car: if you buy new, less work you’ll have to put in it right away. If you buy used, there are always things that need to be fixed. Either way, regular care and maintenance is needed. When we purchased our trailer, we had to fix the leaks on the roof, rip the moldy carpet, put a new floor, and now we have to winterize it and possibly build a roof for the winter. Luckily, my partner is very handy and that helps a lot. A community at a RV Park is usually very tight, and everybody will most likely be happy to help out.

Are you ok with living further from town, but closer to nature? RV parks are most likely to be nestled in a natural surrounding. It is a return to the basics, living off-grid, away from the hustle and bustle. You might trade the cable TV to a good book, the gym for a walk in nature, and the nightclub to a bonfire with neighbours. I guess I was always meant for this!

Are you willing to acclimatize to a smaller space in order to have an incredible backyard? Are you willing to own less to be able to live more? Are you a fixer upper and are looking to save money on rent, own your home and stop paying for someone else’s mortgage? Are you looking for an adventuresome lifestyle, away from the crowds, and closer to nature? Then look no further. RV living is just what you need.

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My new neighbourhood and backyard.

RV Living: I Bought A Trailer

The insurance lady handled back the papers to me: “Congratulations! You are officially the owner of a trailer.” I looked at her, a most satisfied smile spreading from my face to my whole body. She had no idea what this meant to me.

After living predominantly in the beautiful resort town of Whistler for the past 12 years, it was time for a change. This small town has done amazingly for me during all those years: incredible nature hiking trails, quiet lakes, immense snowboarding terrain, tight community, inspiring people. But things have started to develop: The town has grown into becoming one of the most popular four season resorts in the world, hosting millions of visitors every year. Not only the village, the town and the hills are busier, but the trails are crowded, the lakes populated and the secret spots no so secret anymore. I get it. This is how resorts work. If it wasn’t for tourism, this town wouldn’t be what it is today… That’s what we wanted right?

This past summer was the busiest season in Whistler’s history. Of course that’s great, for businesses and for employees to bank on some good money. But the labour shortage brought exhaustion to locals stretching crazy hours and loosing sanity. This labour shortage was, in part, a result of a lack of accommodation. With more and more outsiders buying properties, and Internet platforms such as AirBnB attracting money hungry investors, it left Whistler with barely any accommodation to rent for long-term tenants. And for the lucky ones that found a roof, they could expect to pay 70% of their income just on rent. With a labour shortage, laughable steep rent, and more tourists to cater to, a 10+ hour day, 7 days a week schedule wasn’t surprising to hear. We don’t live in this beautiful town solely to work: we are here to live an experience. How can we do so in such circumstances?

A couple months ago, I received an email from my landlord. They told me that the house was sold and I had a month and a half to move. When I was advised, I was assured I would be able to finish the 7 remaining months on my lease. But the new owners didn’t want tenants, and rather do a nightly rental business with the place. I guess when you buy a million dollar home you do whatever you want, even if it is to dump people in the houseless streets just before winter. It is the second time this year this happened to me. I am a mature and professional adult, and a clean and quiet tenant with great references. That was it: I was done with landlords. I was done with their unbelievable restrictions, greediness and paucity of compassion. I was ready to have my own place, but I wasn’t financially ready for Whistler’s outlandish real estate.

So I bought a trailer.

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Stay tuned as I live the RV life and share my experiences with you!

Festival de la Galette Sarrasin

Québécois love their poutine. But they also love their buckwheat.

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The buckwheat made its way to Québec during the first colonization, principally by the Bretons. During this time, the buckwheat flour was used to make crepes, and was accompanied with baked beans, molasses and a glass of p’tit caribou It became a popular meal rich in protein for lumberjacks and hommes des bois.

Every year in October, Louiseville welcomes everyone to join its autumn festivities. This rooted folk tradition is a popular family event where cultural and social activities galore.

Here you can discover the local culture with a folklore ambiance, and taste the richness of the fresh produce from Québec, made with passion and essentially, love.

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You are welcome to bring your camping chairs, motorbikes, grandmas/grandpas, kids and pooches, and spend the day savouring homemade concoctions that the Québécois proudly have to offer.

Bon appétit!

Top 10: Things You Can Do To Embrace Your 20’s

At the edge of entering the 30’s, I reflect on the past 10 years that went by. I have to admit it: I’m a late bloomer. In fact, the reason why I left the city was because people were going too fast. That was never a road I wanted to chase. So no, I don’t own a house, or have a family, or a professional career. But damn did I have a good ride!

Here are 10 things I did that truly enlighten my 20’s (please remember that these are personal suggestions taken from my own experiences. They are not things to do, but rather things you can do):

1. Travel.

When I travelled overseas to a developing country for the first time, I was only 20. I soon became addicted to discover new places, learn about cultures and the people. This travel bug has allowed me to trot the globe, visiting 5 continents and exploring 25 countries (and yet, I’ve only seen 12% of the world). My travels have educated and shaped me into becoming the person I am today. Travelling will not only open your mind and your heart, but it will also teach you life skills, build your confidence, make you compassionate and appreciative of the differences, and make you grateful and thankful for what you have. Travelling is indeed, the richest experience of my life.

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2. Stay active.

Ok, I’m not talking about dieting here, I don’t believe in diets. Drink that wine, splurge on that pasta, enjoy that left-over pizza for breakfast. You’re only 20-something, you are allowed to enjoy the pleasures of delicious food, as long as it’s with moderation. The trick here is to be active, breathe fresh air and have a good balance in your life. You’ll find that the more active you are, the less crap you want to eat. Go for a doggy walk, go skating on the lake, go mountain biking, go dancing, go play outside, go have fun! There are tons of active ways to get that booty moving, and it doesn’t have to be boring. Living in the mountain ranges of the Canadian West Coast for the past decade, I found myself spending most of my time on the mountains then anywhere else. In fact, I am the proud owner of 10 Whistler/Blackcomb season passes, with some years counting up to 100 riding days.

3. Discover a new passion.

You might already have a bucket list with new things to try. That’s great! Try new things, scary things, things you never thought you would ever do. Challenge yourself. Sign up for that mountain bike drop-in class you always wanted to try, get a membership at a yoga studio, start painting, writing, photographing, cooking. You might fall in love and develop a new passion that can lead you to new people, new places, new opportunities. I was always attracted to the depth of the ocean and its intriguing creatures. So when I got PADI certified in Panama, I immediately fell in love with the underwater sport. As of today, I scuba dove in 3 oceans, a total of 51 times, and I still have a lot more on my list!

4. Cultivate personal relationships.

You might realize while you live through your 20’s that there isn’t much left of that panoply of friends you had in your teenage years. People change, develop new taste and evolve in different ways. The importance is to keep close the people that matters and let go of the negative relationships. Choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with positive and inspiring people. The real friends are the people that will inspire, encourage and support you through the years. They shape who you become. Get to know who the real friends are and keep them close. Also, appreciate your parents. They are the ones that will love you unconditionally no matter what happens. Stay connected, love them in return, you never know when they’ll be gone.

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5. Work to live, not live to work.

I work to make enough money to live comfortably, have a fun lifestyle and travel as much as I can. I work hard, but play harder. I don’t want to work my ass off for someone else’s dream. When I’ll have my own business, I’ll make sure I have the right balance with work and life. Working hard in your 20’s toward your retirement years? Really? And then what? Experience life when you’re 65? Sure. But for me, I’d rather do it all now -now that I have the energy, the health, the open-mind and the flexibility. Of course I’m not saying to blow all your money and end of broke by 30. But remember that money comes and goes. You can be financially responsible, but don’t forget to live and have fun, now.

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6. Volunteer.

I did my first volunteering experience last year, where I taught French and English to kids and empowered women in Morocco. I also stayed with a charming local family. It was challenging at first, as I felt that I learned more from them than they did from me, but it was the greatest reward at the end, when everyone showed their appreciation with warm hugs and sincere words. Along with helping people in need and giving back to the world less-fortunates, volunteering helps build confidence, increase social and relation skills and gives a sense of accomplishment. To get more information on how you can help, visit IVHQ.

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7. Pack up, move, relocate.

You’re young. You might not own a house yet, or have kids or hold a professional career. Pack your things and move to an other city, an other country, overseas. You can always come back if that ain’t working. When I left my hometown at the age 19, I knew I was never going to come back. I moved solo, 5,000km across the country, with the little English I knew, a backpack and a snowboard on my back. Moving away helped me experience new scenes, meet new people, live different lifestyles. I found a home in the mountains with breathtaking scenery and inspiring people -roommates that became a family. And when I got an offer to work in the Caribbeans 8 years later, I jumped on the opportunity and packed my bags again. Along with fear, anxiety and uncertainty of jumping into the unknown once again, I put my life in boxes and flew South where I lived and worked for nearly 2 years -some of the best time of my life, and a roommate that became a best friend.

8. Spend time alone.

It’s ok to disconnect from social life once in a while. Spending time alone will help you reboot your brain and unwind, enhance your creativity and concentration and give you an opportunity to put things into perspective by reflecting on where your life is heading. Play some music, crack a bottle of wine, read a book, watch your favorite shows, dance in your living room, write in a scrapbook, day dream. Do the things you love. Why even not take the road for a few days, fly to a new destination, backpack to a new country. Spending time alone is healthy and beneficial. Don’t underestimate the power of solitude.

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9. Meet new people.

Whether it is while travelling, or at a new job, or at a new yoga class, open yourself to others, you never know where that new relationship will lead you. People have different background, outlook on life and each and everyone has something to offer and a beauty to be seen. Meeting new people will help you expand your skills and knowledge, boost your self-esteem, be culturally aware and understand the world.  Also, increasing your network can be beneficial for your future. For me, travelling gave me the amazing opportunity to meet people from all around the world, whether it was on a plane, at a hostel or while riding an elephant. Some are acquaintances, some became my best friends. If there is one thing I am the most grateful about my 20’s, it’s for all the amazing and inspiring people I met, from all around the planet.

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10. Experience, experience, experience.

Your 20’s are the time to taste freedom, make mistakes, do crazy things, live your own list. No one should tell you how to live your life. Never say no to opportunities, take risks and embrace every moment. Get weird, let loose, embrace your oddities. Have fun. Be wild. Be young. You’re free. My experiences are the fruits of choices and decisions I made. Good and bad. They define who I am.

You don’t have to take the common highway and hurry up to your destination, choose your own road, at your own pace. Smell the flowers. Enjoy the journey. You’ll have your 30’s to figure out the rest 😉

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To my friends and family: Thank you for all that enlightened this journey, to the ones that stood by, to the ones that inspired, to the ones that became family. You are part of who I be. The 20’s have been the craziest, wildest and raddest ride. Am a bit scared of letting it go, to be honest, but I’m ready to start fresh and begin this new chapter of life. Time to be awesome! Peace, love and always, believe x

-Capucine