RSSCategory: the JOURNEY

Perfect Off the Grid Property

| October 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

off the grid waterfallWe are looking for a property potentially to go off the grid on and in Ecuador and have put together a list of what we’re hoping the land will look like:

Off the Grid Plan for Land

Running water capable of micro-hydro, which translates to waterfall or fast stream with good, year round flow…

Within 1 hour drive of a hospital

Arable land – good to grow food

Minimum 2 hectares would love more.

Established orchard/gardens

Some kind of shelter/structure

Access road, short path.

Access to telephone hard-line

Off the Grid Homestead

We are planning to create an off the grid homestead. We will be growing our own food – fruits and vegetables in a garden close to the home. We hope to have goats, chickens and perhaps a pig. We will be creating our own electricity via micro-hydro and our own methane via a bio-digester.

We are a family of 3 who are trying to simplify our lives and want to live from what the land offers by going off the grid.  Our intention is to integrate into the local community and become part of a system that works for the people of Ecuador. A local farm community would be ideal for our needs but we are open to your knowledge of the area.

Quito farmland

Quito farmland

Temperature is a factor and we’d prefer to be warmer than cooler.

The hospital is also a factor as we have a health concern that may become an emergency situation, so we need to be located within a one hour drive of a hospital.

We are hoping to spend approximately $30,000 for land that is assessed at $25,000 +, so we may qualify for residency.

This is our ideal list; we will be flexible as we start our search and start to see exactly what is available, but in an ideal world we’d get everything we’re looking for and be able to off the grid …

School Daze

| October 2, 2012 | 1 Comment

What will you do about your daughter’s schooling? It’s one of the most asked questions we get. As we have been planning our exit from North America we have, of course, taken the education of our daughter into consideration, and as we move forward we do so with confidence that the educational choices in front of our girl are unlimited and do not have to fall under the mainstream mass production guidelines of the North American public school system.

school bus

school bus

We have also involved our daughter in the process and she’s been involved in the discussions.

School Days

Her school experiences have been mixed that’s for sure. We started her in an alternative school and she never wanted to go. I was the mom with the kid who hanging onto her leg begging her to stay.

It took until the middle of grade 2 for me to believe it would be okay to change schools, to overcome that feeling that she wouldn’t be able to adjust. A neighbor who was a teacher told me she’d have changed schools as soon as the problems didn’t get resolved and I had her in a new school within 48 hours.

It was a good move – immediately she loved her new school, despite the ups and downs. She had 4 amazing teachers at View Royal; Mrs. Westinghouse, Mrs. Nielly, Mr Fraser and Mr Vargas; she will never forget them and has their life lessons stored in her heart forever.

Reality Check

Since we were going to be leaving for Ecuador after the school year started she decided she wanted to go and start middle school.

There were 3 very specific reasons why: 1) she wanted a locker, 2) she wanted to eat lunch in the cafeteria and 3) she wanted to reconnect with friends after the summer and before she left for our adventure.

school sign

school daze

After 2 weeks of middle school she decided she was done and that was fine with us. She knew she had the option to leave if she wanted it and she took it. She learned a lot in that first 2 weeks of middle school and so did I.

The lock she was given for her locker didn’t work so they replaced it with another lock that didn’t work and she needed a teacher to help her open it up every time she needed to use it. Grade 6’s aren’t allowed to eat in the cafeteria; but 3 days a week they are allowed to go to a snack booth and buy a hot dog or piece of pizza then leave… so much for that.

And friendships were different. Things had changed. She saw dynamics that she questioned and she wasn’t comfortable with. She was experiencing what she considered a negative atmosphere and she spoke out. This time she was not letting the bullies win at school and after 3 years of being picked on she’d had enough.

Broken System

Why shouldn’t the kids in older grades learn to cohabit and treat kids younger grades with consideration, kindness and respect? She and many of the new grade 6’s were and still are being picked on by older kids who see that it’s ok to bully cause no one is really watching.

She was taking the public bus by herself for the first time and a grade 8 student from her former Girl Guide troop was always at the bus stop waiting at the same time making mean remarks in front of other kids. She stood up for herself after we discussed it, but why at 11 years old should she have to?

She was coming home bothered by how she was seeing kids being treated and there was no way to help her friends, at 11 years old she only has so many tools in her toolkit. What are kids actually learning in the schools and organizations they are forced to be part of?  It’s not how to be better people. Is school only about book smarts?

Life Lessons

Ecuador school kids

Ecuador school kids

Our 11-year-old learned that her expectation of middle school; what she saw on TV, what she imagined it would be, it was not.

What I saw when we went and waited for Paisley outside that last day of school was not what I expected. The kids who were the happy, vibrant, self-confident, outspoken individuals of elementary school, sat alone, walked with their heads down, stood just on the outside of the groups listening in… Have their spirits been broken? I hope not; my heart broke just a little as I watched quietly on the sidelines observing the cast of the bullied, excluded and exhausted.

I’m glad we are in a position to be able to offer our girl a choice in her educational path… and even happier it’s such an unusual one.

Home School

We are lucky to have very close friends that are a homeschooling family. Over the years they have shown us what successful education looks like.

The children and their commitment to their family is a model that is no longer followed by the mainstream population in North America but should be. The kids are smart, thoughtful, ask questions galore and get all the answers one way or another, they’re happy, resourceful self-starters, they all know they are loved … and they are not alone.

All the families in the homeschooling community that we have met have the same successful attitudes and outcomes and they all believe the same thing – the kids come first. These are lovely families; not without hardships, they are hard workers, self-confident, happy and passionate about their children’s ability to thrive on their terms … and we are now one of them.



Ecuador 101

Our expectation is that we will all become fluent in Spanish in the next 6 months; that in it self is a lot to learn and a worthwhile educational path. But it won’t stop there; we will be learning the customs, traditions, foods and infrastructure of Ecuador and we are going to learn about land resources and sustainability issues as we hunt for our property throughout the warmer regions of the country.

When we get settled we’ll decide the next part of our girl’s educational path, together. There are many options and opportunities for learning to come, including the Ecuadorian school system, but for now we can move forward confident that we will all learn as much as we possibly can in the months to come and we know that our girl will continue to learn worthwhile knowledge that she’ll use in the future.

Dad always said …

| July 15, 2012 | 1 Comment

We all grow up listening to our parents repeating life lessons over and over again. Here’s one my dad used to say whenever I found myself wanting to quit … and I’m now one of the greatest problem solvers I know!

dad's quote