Each week, I’ll update you regarding my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind me and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to write yours.
Date: from June 11th to June 16th
Miles on the road so far: 1057
States/Province we have traveled through: Quebec, Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana.
It hasn’t been tough to hit nearly a thousand miles in 5 days as we went from Granby, Qc to Grand Rapids, Ohio in a very short period of time. I’m currently writing these lines after a great evening in a small vineyard with amazing host… but that’s for the end of this article. Let’s start with the beginning of my journey!
Day#1 Leaving is the hardest step
The hardest thing to do when you want to achieve something big is to take the first step. In my case, this first step was the official departure. Funny enough, I had a hard time closing the door of my house and lock it for good. I didn’t see it coming, but it was a very tough morning. The night before, we had an “open house” with family, friends and about 40 children who were all friends of ours. It was a big party, we had fun, I was ready to leave.
The next morning was much harder. No more music, no laughter, simply the sound of my family packing up the last pieces of our trip into Freefall, our motorhome. We started the trip by having breakfast with close family. Here again, it was pretty hard to leave everybody behind. My advice on that: leave as fast as you can. There is no point in waiting forever before leaving, it just hurts everyone.
It was hard for everybody that morning. The idea is not to leave my house, but rather confirm that I’m jumping off into the deep end and hoping it was a good idea. A crazy one indeed. But when you are about to leave your comfort zone for good; you start to second guess your decision. Will I be happy? Will my kids be happy?
Our First Encounter – An Amazing Success!
We arrived in Ottawa towards the end of the day. We were welcomed by another family who’s leaving in a month from now with a similar project. In fact, we might get together somewhere in Central America.
It was kind of awkward to have supper with people we only had Facebook discussions with! But it truly felt like we had been friends for the past 20 years. I guess this is because we met while we are exactly in the same place in life. Both families are ready to leave everything they have for the unknown. We both are unsure of what is coming to us, but we are ready to take the leap of faith in order to live an extraordinary life. We entered their house with an open mind and they were very welcoming. Yann & Natasha became true friends within minutes. This was a flabbergasting experience and we finished our first day around 1am in the morning. That’s a great start!
Day #2-3 A Different Side of Ottawa
We had been to Ottawa last year during our RV “training session”. This is why we skipped the classic ByWard Market, Parliament and the Canal Rideau. We concentrated our time in museums this time. I must admit, I really like Ottawa. As Canada’s capital, everything is clean and museums are fairly accessible! It is also pretty easy to navigate through the city with my big fat 25ft long motorhome (and you need to add another good 5ft for the bicycle rack!). Ottawa is not a big city, about 900,000 people. It was good practice for me to drive through the city streets without being worried too much. Since there are lots of tourists, citizens are usually very respectful and they are not in a hurry (after all, 50% of them work for the Government! hahaha!).
We went to see the museum of War, by far my favorite. I was eager to learn more about the first and second world wars (these major events weren’t taught at my school !?!?!). I now understand a lot better why soldiers register and go to war and I was feeling very proud that Canadians helped during those two wars. Surprisingly, we stayed almost 3 hours (that’s quite a feat considering we have a 4 year old kid running all over the place!).
We also visited the Museum of History to see their special exhibit about the Canadian Gold Rush. It was particularly interesting since we will visit a part of British Columbia where it all started. We finished our day at the home of my wife’s old friend. They had us over for dinner and we had lots of fun. It was a little bit more relaxed since they have young kids. We then hit a private parking lot to sleep nearby. Around midnight, we hear a big loud scream “where the Fword are YA!!!…. Huh… not cool! My heart started beating like crazy. The man screams again “Ah I Fword (again!) found you!”… is he talking to us? Yikes… I’m not sure I want to find out. I now got ready to get out of the RV if anything came about, but I silently prayed that he’s just not talking to us. Good news! There is another voice answering his brutal call. Everything seems to fall back to normal and we don’t hear them again. I guess I’ll have to get use to this!
Then, the next morning, we spent half of the day to the Museum of Nature. Then again, amazing set up in a castle-like building. This museum is huge and it is quite perfect for kids (they have plenty of stations to try different things).
We were supposed to meet with another family that day but, they called it off since two of their kids had fever. To be honest, it was such a busy weekend we didn’t mind hitting the road and sleep at our first Wal-Mart instead! I was happily surprised to see how comfortable and quiet a Wal-Mart parking lots could be. I guess it will not always be the same, but this time, we had a blast!
Day #4 & 5 Niagara Falls
The next morning, we hit the road again to reach Niagara Falls. We are still learning our new routines in the RV and I must admit that we are not the fastest. So far, nights and mornings are not properly handled leaving us with very little time to work on our computers at night (at least, this is because we spend lots of time speaking with our children and have them going to bed late) and we seem not being able to leave with our RV before 10am (the main reason is because we sleep-in each day since we are tired ;-).
We stopped at Niagara-on-the-lake and a part of me just wanted to go around the vineyards. Unfortunately, I’m not alone in this trip and visiting vineyards this soon (while we will be doing it in Okanagan and Napa Valleys later on) couldn’t be part of our trip at the moment. Instead, we stopped by the lake to eat. It was fun to seek kids playing around the lake and I was particularly amused by the fact that an old lady didn’t seem to appreciate my 4 year old throwing rocks in the lake. She thought he would eventually hit a bird. As if my 4 year old kid could throw a deadly fastball at the ducks! It was funny as Caleb didn’t understand a word the lady was saying. It was a great time!
Then, we went to see Niagara Falls. I was impressed by the amount of water and its power. The falls creates perpetual fumes of water as it falls very fast. We had a nice time just admiring the waterfalls along with a good Mr. Freeze :-). After an incredibly busy weekend of 4 days, we decided to hit a camping and relax for two nights. I think it’s important also to not always be on the road and also to make stops like this. It gave me my first opportunity to get some good hours of work into my online website. I’m starting to fall a little bit behind, especially compared to the past 6 months where I worked almost every night. I’m slowly getting used to this new way of living and I’m starting to feel that I will have more time on my own to work. After two nights at the camping, it was time to hit the road again…
Day #6 Sleeping in a Vineyard
The beginning of our trip is particularly demanding as we need to do lots of miles to get to the State Parks (Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone). I don’t expect to drive every day for the rest of my trip, but my first week has been very busy (1057 miles driven already!). This is how we started day #6 with a 5-6 hours drive towards Chicago. We crossed the boarder at Buffalo with the nicest custom agent on earth :-). I guess entering Honduras will be less fun! Then, it was just a matter of driving and driving and… filling my gas tank! It’s incredible how it cost me $105 Canadian dollar but only $61 USD to fill my tank (go figure!).
After a very long day on the road, we reached a small, but very welcoming vineyard (Majestic Oak). You can see where we slept on the picture at the beginning of this post. When we arrived at the Vineyards, we could buy tacos and listen to live guitar players/singers. We took a bottle of white wine, ordered tacos and nachos and just chilled after the long day. Sleeping in the vineyard was an amazing experience. It was quiet and peaceful. I just loved it! As much as I enjoyed my first stay in a Wal-Mart, I will definitely look forward more vineyards 😉
The next morning, it will be another big day on the road…. To Chicago!!!!