Since 2012 Lue and I have been living full time in an RV. We started off in a 28′ Sunseeker motorhome with 2 cats, 1 of which was geriatric. Seriously, Tigger was 23 years old but other than being completely blind, was pretty healthy. The other one, Stitch, was a rambunctious 3-month-old kitten that we rescued from an industrial area parking lot.
We bought the motorhome pretty much out of necessity for work. We follow a mobile aggregate plant all around Northern Alberta. The nearest accommodations are sometimes an hour or more away, traversed by pretty nasty, unmaintained haul roads. It seemed logical.
For the majority of the first full season we stayed in hotel rooms. This became really old really fast. We like having our own space. We don’t like housekeeping staff poking through our stuff (whether or not they are, they are in my head).
So, at the time, we bought what would work and what we could afford.
This was a rough year.
Lucien and her 2 sisters took care of their dad while he passed away on Vancouver Island. We subsequently inherited his senior cat, only to have her and Tigger pass away shortly thereafter.
In September my grandmother had passed away in Nova Scotia. I took a couple trips back home this year. Once in the spring to spend some time with her, she had gone into a temporary coma and family was being notified. Once again for her funeral.
Lue and I barely saw each other this year.
The one really great thing that happened was that our first nephew, Graydon, was born in October.
On January 1st we finally tied the knot. We rented a cabin in Ucluelet, BC and eloped without telling anyone. This pissed our family off pretty good. We were sick as dogs with the influenza virus. So badly that we spent the eve of our wedding (New Year’s Eve) in the Tofino hospital sharing a gurney wearing sars masks. If that’s not love and perseverance then I don’t know what is.
For the first 3 months of the new working season, we spent it in a gravel pit in Fort McMurray, around a bunch of alcoholic rednecks (the majority of our co-workers), and an hour away from any grocery stores or laundromats. Also, due to our unaligned work schedules, when I had time off, Lue was working and when Lue was off I was working. This left us both with an extreme case of cabin fever. My cross-shift and I entertained each other with post-it note wars. It became be a hilarious game of scavenger hunt to see what pun the other had left to be found.
Our niece was born in June and we took her on her first camping trip to Jasper, Alberta. Thank goodness the motorhome had a good air conditioning system.
This Christmas, I quit smoking.
In the beginning of 2015 we finally upgraded from our motorhome to a shiny new 5th wheel. A 38′ Montana with 6 slides. The change felt like we moved into a mansion! The biggest luxury was finally getting a proper bedroom door as opposed to a sliding fabric curtain thing that never stayed shut.
That summer, camping in Jasper was upgraded to “glamping”.
In December, we parked the trailer, drove back to Vancouver and hopped onto a plane with Lue’s sisters and our 2 nieces to Malaysia. We transported their dad’s ashes back to his homeland and the rest of his family. We spent 5 weeks experiencing many facets of the country. From the most disgusting public toilets you can imagine, to swimming with tropical fishes in paradise.
This last year, globally, can be summed up in 2 words. Shit show. Between Brexit, the US presidential election and the many deaths of beloved pop culture icons, our alcohol intake increased substantially.
Then we went to the dentist.
We made the best of it. We both had to get cavities filled. What a fun-filled day that was. Seriously. Both Lue and I had half of our faces frozen and we laughed at each other trying to eat, drink, and do terrible Elvis impersonations. The dentist recommended we eat soup. I imagine he was giggling inside.
The end of 2016 marks much disappointment with our neighbours to the South, anxiety about what it means for us Canadians, but also gratefulness that we live in the country that we do.
Our country may not be perfect, but if it weren’t for Canada, we may not have had the experiences or the opportunities that we have had in the past and look forward to in the future.
Embracing our alternative lifestyle.