Park Is Where We Home It

It feels good to not be living out of a couple of duffel bags. For the first time in three years. Everything we need has it’s place. We think…. We still have a whole whack of stuff sitting in a 300 sq ft storage unit out in Scarborough waiting to be dealt with. We haven’t moved or selected which of our books will make the cut yet. Soon…. We just needed a break from moving.

In the past week we’ve hosted friends and family for breakfasts, afternoon tea, dinners and a nitecap in our new place. That feels good. We’ve discovered that we can’t really host more than four people (in addition to us) at a time for a sit down meal. That’s an adjustment for people that have routinely hosted more than ten to twelve at a time. It means we have been editing our kitchen and dining possessions. It also means that we are going to be social regardless of where we live, whether it be in a big old house in a neighbourhood we loved, a Volkswagen Van on the side of a mountain in New Mexico or a tiny apartment on a main artery in Toronto. We are quite comfortable here. We like the space we’ve created with Men at Work. Thanks Paul for taking on this crazy project! The noise and light pollution and the overall building environment are challenging. And interestingly, we are finding that people keep to themselves in this apartment building. Maybe all apartment buildings?! It is definitely less social than living in a house in a neighbourhood or a campground. This, for us, is even more challenging. We feel isolated despite the constant noise of Bloor Street. We have decided we will give ourselves a year to decide if this place is right for us. For now, it will be a fine immobile home (thanks for the term Syeira!) from which to work and entertain.

We’re including photos of the before and after in this post.



Another bit of news: we have decided that we will NOT be changing careers after all. No, we will not be mobile baristas. After actually moving in we realized all too clearly the limitations of our chosen living situation. Turns out the truck needs to be stored year round in a dry, climate controlled space with electricity and it needs to receive a constant trickle charge when not in use. We do not have parking. There is parking in the basement of our apartment building that we have rented but commercial vehicles are prohibited by the co-operative’s rules and regulations. Yes, we are still learning about what it means to live in a co-op! Also, the mobile café came outfitted with all kinds of café accoutrements like café table and stools, wooden counter, tent, umbrella, etc, etc for which we do not have storage. We would have had to find and rent storage for the truck and the accoutrements which would have been cost and energy prohibitive. Our desire to simplify was quickly becoming the polar opposite. Since making the difficult decision not to go forward with the purchase of the truck we’ve realized that what we were most excited about was the marketing, promotion, design opportunities that the truck project illicited. The schlepping and coffee making were at the bottom of the attractions. So, if you hear of any design projects send them our way!! We’re ready to get creative.

We’re eager to spend some time on the open road and in the quiet of nature this summer. We camped a couple of times last week and it sure felt good to be back in the van… it’s a happy place for us. The best was camping right here on the periphery of Toronto at Canada’s first Urban National Park (the Rouge) with our Chattanoogan friends Jess, Andy, Braden, Wrigley and O’Malley. We met them ten months ago at Van Riper State Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then a couple of days later found ourselves coincidentally camping side by side at Porcupine Mountain State Park on Lake Superior. Fast forward four months and our paths once again converged at Manatee Springs State Park in Florida. We purposely stopped in Chattanooga on our way back to Toronto at the end of January to attend Andy’s Lookout Wild Film Festival. And boy, are we glad we did! Every film, short and long, was inspirational and joyful – a celebration of active outdoor pursuits and dreams fulfilled. We could easily make this an annual trip! Having just passed one year on the road, Andy and Jess and gang are making their way east in Canada. They happily (for us) stopped in Toronto for a few nights. We took in a Blue Jays game, toured them around a little in the van, camped overnight at the Rouge staying up way too late talking around a campfire while Braden delivered an impressive number of parcels to each of us, and shared dinner at our new apartment the following evening. Meeting and making friends on the road is one of our favourite aspects of travelling in the van and proof that even nomads can create community. We know we’ll meet up again. Sooner or later! Thanks friends for making Toronto a stop on your route! And thanks for the ball game!!

If you’d like to get together, give us a shout! In the city or on the road! /