We are currently staying on Vancouver Island and are now getting to experience the rewards of our decision to become a fulltime family! The trip over here was long and expensive since RVedo had to take a ferry ride… however the time and expense were well worth experiencing what this island has to offer! Today, Joel finished up work early and we headed to Rathtrevor beach, about 45 km from our campsite. Joel had been told by a park ranger that the beach had shallow water where the kids could play. Little brother napped in the car, while his sister talked, and talked… and talked… the entire way. Following the chatter, we stopped for coffee in Nanaimo, and then continued on our way. We had no idea what we were in for when we arrived at our destination. The parking lot was crowded, and we lifted the kids (Ok, Joel lifted the kids… and then lifted me) down a steep wall that held back water when tides came in. It was low tide, which created sand pathways that stretched almost to the neighboring islands. The crowded parking lot led to a beach that seemed sparsely populated, because there were what seemed like miles and miles of beach stretched out around us, framed by snow covered mountains in the distance. Daily the beach covers with water, and then recedes again, leaving warm pools full of starfish, sand dollars (which we saw alive… for the first time ever) and lots of little crabs, clams and other shellfish. This was absolute paradise to our curious kids… they spent literally hours digging, searching, and discovering.
As I watched the kids play in the sand, I remembered back to our decision to pursue fulltime travel as a family. One of the first large toy items I sold in preparation for downsizing was a big red crab shaped sandbox that was cluttering our back porch. At the time, I had planned to replace it with a smaller box of sand for the patio in front of our camper… to make sure our kids still had the sensory experience of sand play. The idea of that now seemed so silly as I watched my kids dig in sand on this huge beach that stretched out into the ocean. Rather than digging in sand purchased at Toys R Us, in a large plastic crab sandbox, they now dug holes to find real crabs, which scurried under our beach bag…as if they could be safe there. Side note… Crabs are hilarious. The way they walk all sideways… with their short little legs. Anyways, hours on the beach with our kids busy in safe and shallow water, I continued to process our past several months.
Shortly before our departure date, I had a garage sale where I sold pretty much everything we own… a friend visited the sale and observed my possessions being hauled off in cars by random strangers, and she asked me “Doesn’t this feel weird? It is like… your life!” I had thought about that a lot at the time. It did feel weird, but mostly it felt liberating. These items did represent my life… and it was a fantastic life… but one that Joel and I decided we no longer wanted. Of all of the items spread across my garage, there were only a small handful that I would purchase again even if I owned a house. We had been living in the camper for a couple months, and I had already been able to truly experience how living with less is so much easier. And with that came the realization that material possessions drain my energy and discarding these possessions gives me joy. Certainly there were a few items that were really difficult to part with but for the most part, I wanted simplicity more than I wanted stuff.
In the category of difficult items to part with… my espresso machine. Originally I had moved it into the camper but then had to face the harsh reality that it took up my entire counter-space. So at the garage sale it was purchased by a college student, setting up her first apartment with her boyfriend. I wished I could have found it a more stable home, but the girl was willing buy it and it was time to let it go. I felt a little sick watching that beloved machine go out to her car… I hoped she knew what an awesome deal she had gotten and appreciated it every time she had a latte. But fast-forward to today, I looked down at our pile of stuff we had brought to the beach. I noticed our paper cups from our quick stop for coffee were now sitting in the sand next to our towels… and I thought about the trade I had made… my beloved espresso maker for a latte on this beach… And the now sandy cup that would hold our sea shells on the way home… And I couldn’t help but wonder… what would the world look like, if people, like crabs, could only walk sideways?