The first question that everyone asks me and my husband Henry is “Why Canada”. So, I guess the best place to start this online journal is when we made the decision, which takes a little more back story.
Henry and I have been together since 2006 and have been blessed with a very happy and adventure filled relationship. We always wanted children and in (I think) 2013 we started “trying” for a baby. We were not that couple who babies came to straight away and got a pretty downhearted at our attempts. In 2014 Henry proposed and we decided to hold off our family plans and have a fabulous big fun fair themed wedding in August 2015. After the big event and a wonderful honeymoon in the states we went back to trying for a baby. In March 2016 Henry turned 30 and we went on a life changing trip to Canada with his distant cousin from Alberta. (that is a very brief cut of our history – didn’t want to bore you with the details)
Previously to all of this Henry’s dad, Jon, had done a lot of family history research and we had connected with the Canadian Curtis family. The family were separated due to the 1st world war. There were 4 brothers and two had already made the decision to move to Canada and start a new life, the others were due to follow but the war broke out and they were drafted. (That is a very long story short so excuse any vague/incorrect facts) Jon arranged a family reunion and we connected with these distant relatives as if we had known them our whole lives. Perhaps this is where the initial seed was planted.
Back to the trip to Canada in 2016.
Henry and his distant cousin Dan are both avid snowboarders so for his 30th Henry and Dan planned a trip like no other. We flew to Calgary and embarked on a 2-week journey visiting every ski resort we could from Calgary to Vancouver and back. Chugging along in our little RV Henry and I saw so much of this beautiful country and truly fell in love. The grandness of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and the pure lush beauty of BC was breathtaking. As my blog goes on, I hope to tell you more about these places and share some experiences as I encourage everyone to visit this part of the world if you get the chance. Whilst driving up the coast from Vancouver to Whistler, I remember well us both saying “We should do this, we should live here”. Now I know everyone dreams of living in their favorite holiday location, but this was different. It wasn’t just one spot; we fell in love with the whole country.
I’ve always had a love for Canada. I spent a lot of time in Ottawa as a teenager as my best friend moved from the UK to Ontario when I was 10 and being the spoilt little brats we are, insisted on spending our summers together still. I remember beautiful summers by the Ottawa river and having a “real Christmas” in the snow with them one year. Perhaps a little bit of me always wanted to end up this way to be closer to her as well. (FYI Were still best friends to this day and she now lives in Toronto)
Henry and I came up with a 10-year plan to change our lives and move to this beautiful wild country. We both always wanted to start a business and work together to create something that we were proud of. Both our dads have had their own companies and its always been inspiring to us. We dream of one day owning some land and building a luxury retreat in the mountains for people to come and visit and experience the wild. Little cabins in the woods with open fire places, natural hot tubs and fresh local produce. This is still our dream to this day.
When we came back from the trip and told our friends and family that we wanted to move there I don’t think anyone really believed us. But we were determined. Babies did not seem to be on the cards for us so we would embark on a new dream and do something of merit in our lives.
I could go on forever telling you the tales of our follow up trips, but I don’t want to bore you with my holiday shenanigans. After a period of real heartbreak over not being able to have a baby we decided to bring our plans forward and move as soon as we could. If we couldn’t have a baby then we would have a life filled with adventure. We went out the following year in the winter for a short trip to check out the west coast to find a place to move too. After deeming it a little too expensive for our budget we then came back again in the summer of 2017 and travelled across BC & Alberta again in a little RV searching for that perfect spot. We remembered from our previous trip how much we loved Banff and how convenient it was to be so close to Calgary and the Canadian Curtis family so we made a b-line for the Bow Valley. For anyone who hasn’t visited the Bow Valley, it’s about an hour west of Calgary and just on the boarder of Alberta & BC. Banff is a tourist hot spot for people from all over the world and after a day or so spent there we deemed it just that. Too touristy for us. Although beautiful we could not see ourselves settling there. Just next to Banff is the beautiful town of Canmore (Which we now call home) Canmore had everything we wanted. This town is so beautiful, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies, the Bow river running through the middle and an abundance of shops & restaurants. This was the place for us!
We came back from the trip, told our families that we had found our new home and planned to move by March 2019. I still think no one believed us!
In 2018 we had an excellent year of making sure we spend some quality time with all our family & friends. We traveled to places in Europe & the UK to make sure we didn’t regret “not going somewhere or doing something”. Then the hurdles began. In October 2018 Nacho, our youngest Dachshund broke his back. Rushed in to emergency surgery and then 2 weeks spend in rehab. Henry and I had been saving along time for the move and Dachshunds being notoriously expensive to insure meant that we had no pet insurance. Our dogs have always been like our children so there was no way we would just let him go. We forked out for the treatment, and lost A LOT of our savings. A few weeks later we were all devastated by the death of my Nan. A wonderful woman who was so close to so many. 5 months and we were going to be off, and I was grateful to have been there when she passed but couldn’t help feel the guilt at leaving the family. Then the unbelievable happened.
I was pregnant!
This was the most wonderful, but equally as complicated event Henry and I could have imagined. What did we do? Did we stay? Did we still go? So much time was spend worrying and planning and after some very emotional conversations we decided we would still make the move, just a little later then we had planned.
Our son Rocket was born July 20th 2019 and he is just amazing.
I think everyone assumed that once Rocket was born that we would cancel all our plans and just stay where we were. Now I am pretty strong willed and when I have my heart set on something, I make sure it happens. We postponed our move until January 2020. Rocket would be 6 months old, we could have one last UK Family Christmas and then we could begin our new life with our new little pal, and off we would go.
I don’t think I will ever get over the guilt of taking Rocket away from his grandparents. But this is not an intentional side effect of our move. We are not running away from anything or trying to keep him from anyone. This was our dream. I had had a baby, not a brain transplant. And I don’t think Henry and I would ever be able to move on with our lives without giving this a go. We felt truly selfish and the heart ache of saying good bye to all your friends and family is not something you can prepare for.
For those of you planning the move, I sympathize. It is hard to say good bye but if you really believe it is right for you then I say go for it. The tears will pass and you will arrive in your new home more determined than ever to make it work so that those tears were not for nothing.
January 9th, we went to the airport, 8 bags, a pram, a car seat and 3 Sausage Dogs, Henry, Me and little Rocket. It was extremely emotional, and I am so grateful for the love of our families for letting us go. We were sent off by Henry’s mum Judy, his brother Dan, my brother Harry and a wonderful surprise visit from my parents who flew back over from France just to say good bye. We know it is not easy for everyone but we also know that we can all adjust to big changes, and we hope to make those who believe in us proud.
We had to give it a go…. And here we are. We moved in to a temporary Airbnb for 3 months while we got our act together.
Then March 17th 2020 lockdown began!