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2017, A Year in Review

Happy New Year, friends!  Two days ago, Bruno and I rang in 2018 with my parents in our rental home here in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  We had the fire keeping us warm while we performed a tradition I haven’t gotten to share with my family in years – New Year’s Predictions.

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

The game (or “exercise,” as my parents insist we call it) works like this: each person writes 10 predictions for the upcoming year.  It can be about oneself, loved ones, or the wider world.  We share our predictions aloud then fold them up and put them all away until the following New Year’s Eve.  365 days later – having inevitably forgotten all our predictions – we revisit them as a group and see how many we’d gotten right.

This “exercise” inevitably leads to conversions about the upcoming year (there are mutterings of plans, goals and hopes), but also reflections on the year we are bidding farewell to.  This is what I like best about our Predictions exercise – the reflection it fosters.

So now I write one of my personal favourite posts to write – because of the reflection it incites – A Year in Review.

2017, you have certainly been… well, interesting.  Different, for sure.

The theme of the year for Bruno and me?  Change.

Our year began with the purchase of a big blue shuttle bus.  After months of searching for a new home-on-wheels, this purchase couldn’t have come too soon.  It also meant, though, that we had a very big project ahead of us: that of converting our new vehicle from a 26-seat shuttle bus into our new home.

Our new Big Blue Bus next to our now-sold but much-beloved Totoyaya.

Our new Big Blue Bus next to our now-sold but much-beloved Totoyaya.

Thus began a totally unique period in our lives.  Travel ceased entirely.  We moved into a series of rental homes (in Phoenix, Tucson, and Baja California) while, for over three months, we ate, breathed and lived Project Bus Conversion.  It was one of the most challenging things either of us has ever done, and even though we stopped working full-time on the bus almost eight months ago, whenever I reminisce on spring 2017, I get a very visceral full-body shutter.  You can read more about our bus conversion here, here, and here.

Bruno and a HelpX volunteer building our new home-on-wheels.

Bruno and a HelpX volunteer building our new home-on-wheels.

Our bus conversion, essentially finished.

Our bus conversion, essentially finished and ready for the road!

Perhaps that is why our two-month North American road trip was a momentous time for us.  We were finally free, on the road again!  Not only that, but we were testing out Big Blue.  Though we missed Totoyaya at times (like when we wanted to park in cities, fuel-up at the gas station, or go off-road without getting stuck), we quickly appreciated the space and comfort of Big Blue.  Bruno had done an amazing job with the construction, and my design (especially of the kitchen!) was pretty darn good, too!

During the US portion of our road trip, we drove up through Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana, visiting a few national parks along the way.  It was a total tease because we had such limited time, but it sure got me pumped about returning one day very soon.

Enjoying our first dinner in Big Blue!  Yippee, we

Enjoying our first dinner in Big Blue! Yippee, we’re on the road!!

SOOOO happy to be on the road again!  (Here in Sedona, Arizona).

SOOOO happy to be on the road again! (Here in Sedona, Arizona).

Enjoying our inaugural road trip in Big Blue!

Enjoying our inaugural road trip in Big Blue!

We crossed into Canada, slowed down, and did an 8-week cross-Canadian road trip (which had us visiting even more national parks, whale-watching along the St. Lawrence, being in the country’s capital for the lead up to Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, and reaching Land’s End in the Gaspé Peninsula).  You can read about that road trip here and here.

It was at the very beginning of that road trip that we got the craziest and most amazing news of the year – that we were pregnant!  See, I told you 2017 was the year of change!

Amazing view from our "campsite" overlooking the St. Lawrence River!

Amazing view from our “campsite” overlooking the St. Lawrence River!

Two happy travelers (and parents to be!)

Two happy travelers (and parents to be!)

We went on one last road trip – this one to Nova Scotia with both our families – but otherwise, we opted to put Big Blue to rest for now, maximize our time at home with family, and prepare as best we could for the upcoming new addition to our family.  This meant spending a couple of months with my parents in their New Brunswick home (thank you, mom and dad!) and then a couple of months in France near Bruno’s family (where I got to reunite with my two best girlfriends for an epic Euro-trip).  Last month, we moved into a home in Nova Scotia for the winter, which is where we will welcome our new baby in exactly (because it’s an exact science!) one month from today.

Our three-RV family road trip through Nova Scotia.

Our three-RV family road trip through Nova Scotia.

Ahhh... summer family reunions!

Ahhh… summer family reunions!

One 2016 trend seemed to continue through 2017 – that of living in homes.   In 2017, we spent exactly three months traveling overland, and 9 of them living in various homes.  While I can say that renting homes in Tucson, Ensenada, and Antigonish did provide interesting cultural opportunities and that I would like to integrate occasional home-rentals into our travel style in the future, we do plan to get back on the road in a more full-time fashion next spring… with baby in tow!

Big Blue parked at our rental home in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where we finished our conversion.

Big Blue parked at our rental home in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where we finished our conversion.

Overall, 2017 has been a year of intense highs and lows.  In most ways, nothing has gone according to plan – the year didn’t look at all like what I expected it would when I reflected, last New Year’s Eve, on what was to come.

Yet I wouldn’t change a thing.  Truly.  We needed to go through the lows of the bus conversion in order to have the amazing vehicle I now get to call home.  And I obviously wouldn’t change the baby growing in my tummy for all the travel in the world.  The trips down the east coast of the US and into Mexico that we had planned for this past fall/winter will simply be rescheduled until next spring.

I wouldn’t even change the fact that we’re spending winter in Canada.  We may be cold, but Bruno and I are happy.  We’re cozy by the fire in this little wood cottage, and we’re excitedly counting down the days until we meet baby.

Can

Can’t wait to show you all more photos of our winter home in my next post. Stay tuned!

We hope that your 2018 is warm and cozy, too.

2017 Highlights

  1. Finding out we were expecting our first baby in June. (Due date: February 3rd)
  2. Getting on the road with Big Blue in May.
  3. Our 3-RV road trip to Nova Scotia with both of our families in August.
  4. Our four days in Yellowstone National Park in May.
  5. My Euro-trip with two of my best girlfriends in November.
Taking Big Blue (and ourselves) to Yellowstone National Park!

Taking Big Blue (and ourselves) to Yellowstone National Park!

An epic girls

An epic girls’ trip to Spain and France!

2017 Biggest Challenge: Without a doubt, building our new home-on-wheels.  We won’t be planning on doing that again anytime soon.

2017 Biggest Lesson Learned: That life happens when you’re busy making plans.  Somehow, still, we’ve made tons of plans for 2018… We shall see which of them comes to fruition!!

What plans do YOU have for 2018?  Happy New Year, everyone!

  • rcs - A great summary of the past year…made me recollect our part in it. So much to look forward to in 2018.ReplyCancel

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