Ahoy! Home at Last

Let’s drop dead someday, saying yes. That’s a life. Courage is the root of change. Change is what we were built for.

– Paul Child to Julia Child

Since May 2014, home and our search for home have been recurring themes of this blog. We lived in a van longer than we initially imagined. We lived briefly in a co-op apartment in Toronto and for four years in a rental in Amherstburg. This past year, we lived in a borrowed house in Toronto. Today, we’re writing this blog post from our ‘permanent’ home in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

We moved to Nova Scotia two months ago. In a way, it feels as though we’ve been here much longer. Like many choices we’ve made over the last 34 years, this move happened quickly. Historically, we have been very decisive. Christian has been the driving force behind most of those feel-right decisions all these years. I, Julie, am the Robin to Christian’s Batman. And this move to Nova Scotia is no different.

Though we have desired to live near the ocean for nine years, the time was never right. And then, after this past year and a half of cancer treatments in Toronto, we decided the move would be folly, unthinkable, mainly from the perspective of cancer care. It would mean leaving the city in Canada with the best cancer care. However, after discovering this house on MLS, we volleyed the idea to Christian’s Toronto oncologist. Surprisingly, he supported the move and immediately contacted a fellow oncologist in Halifax, asking that he pilot Christian’s cancer care going forward. And so, before we had even signed the papers to purchase this house, Christian’s first appointment with his new oncologist in Halifax was scheduled. It was like old times, an in-the-gut feel-right decision.

Moving to a new province may seem abrupt, but the east coast of Canada has long been on our radar. We came close to purchasing a small cottage in PEI in August 2021 and a house in Pictou a few months before. Between July and September, we looked at homes virtually everywhere in Ontario, online, in person and through friends without success. Throughout the process, we repeatedly asked ourselves if we wanted to live out the rest of our lives in a place where we didn’t necessarily want to live, letting cancer be the driving force in our decision-making. Living in the van spoiled us for choice, and we’ve increasingly prioritized beautiful surroundings, culture, food, and community. We stumbled upon a sweet home in New Glasgow, and our Nova Scotia friends Katherine and David offered to do a walk-through with us on Facetime. We liked it! Following the house inspection, we agreed to a short three-week closing. During that time, we arranged to move our belongings from storage in Windsor, Ontario, to Nova Scotia, plus all the other attending details of moving and changing provinces. We arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia, on October 3rd and took possession of our new home in New Glasgow on October 4th, where we slept that night in the van in our driveway. Our belongings arrived on the 5th, and we immediately began setting up home and exploring our new province.

New Glasgow is close to the Utopia we were searching for. We are happy to report we have access to great food, a year-round farmers’ market, and the downtown within walking distance of our home. The nearest beach is a mere 15-minute drive; excellent hiking options abound; Halifax and the airport are an hour and a half away. We do have fantastic internet and room for visitors. Did we mention we love visitors?! For 34 years, we have always trusted our shared instincts and that everything would work out for the best. Now that we have the security of a home base, we are excited to resume our wanderings in 2024.

Everything in Nova Scotia is touched by the sea, which finds its way into our food and drink, the way our skin feels, how we talk and smell, the roll of our gait and even how we look at the world.

– John Demont, The Long Way Home: A Personal History of Nova Scotia