We haven't done very much yet to realize these goals other than think and brainstorm a bunch. When we got back to Whitehorse just over six weeks ago we spent the first four weeks with family and friends (including a 14-day canoe trip down the Teslin and Yukon Rivers with our dads, my brother and his friend, future blog post to come). The last few weeks have been a bit more dedicated to planning and researching places to buy land, info on building a small home, laws and regulations regarding starting a business and other work opportunities that we might enjoy. We are being very picky since we want to consider as many options as possible (we have at least 21098901293 ideas but don't know where to start) and have no real deadline yet. We're taking everything one small step at a time so it won't be so overwhelming.
Right now we are looking for a car to buy. We've been very picky with this as well, focusing on fuel economy, reliability and cost. We were hoping to find something very fuel efficient (Volkswagen TDI perhaps), something with roof racks and interior space because we'll be living out of it for awhile. After many kijiji searches, emails and test drives, we have finally, I think, decided on one. It's a 2010 Nissan Cube - manual transmission, almost on par with Honda Civic for fuel economy, comes with roof rack, trailer hitch and is coming from a family friend who maintains it very well! We're getting a very good deal for it. At first I hated the idea (since it's such an UGLY vehicle), but I've let the idea brew and am getting excited about it now. We haven't seen it yet since it is currently in Edmonton (parents dropped their kid off at University) but will be in Whitehorse on Wednesday (and hopefully in our driveway!). It is not a car I would have EVER thought I would drive, let alone own, but I think it's going to be pretty awesome.
This weekend we are going to run in the Klondike Road Relay, a 175km relay run (10 legs) from Skagway Alaska to Whitehorse. So in our busy days (hehe) we are also working on training for the run. I have leg 4 which will be 21km flattish and in the middle of the night (starting at 1 or 2:00am), and Andrew has the first leg starting at 7pm which will be 5km of flat running at sea level followed by 9km of straight uphill to an elevation of 450m. We haven't had very long to train but are feeling optimistic.
The other thing that we've got going on is searching for land in the Yukon and B.C. and planning out how to afford it. After the Klondike Road Relay we will be driving down to BC to continue our search, but not after spending 10 days with Andrew's sister Kim, her husband Nathan and our nephew Harrison! We think they'll like our new Cube.
We don't yet know what we will be doing for work or where we will end up. But we are going to try not to rush and see what opportunities are available before jumping into anything. So far we've thought about things like starting a hostel or B&B, opening a restaurant or small bakery or food truck, doing engineering consulting work (probably small "green home" projects but open to anything), becoming involved in the tourism industry in Northern Canada, living in a co-operative community, etc. But so far the only thing that we know for certain is that we both want to end up finding a way to live simply, mortgage free, and build a home and way of life that gives us everything we need and want including lots of free time, that might inspire others to do the same - this is how we see ourselves making a difference in the world. Andrew likes the idea (and I as well) of eventually using our property as a show case or training area for others to learn about lower impact living, how you can reuse materials for building, how growing your own food can be rewarding, how you can live without waste, etc.
It is certainly an adjustment. Being back in Canada and facing the reality of not having enough money to travel forever or continue doing whatever we want, when we want, is daunting. After seeing some of the things we've seen this year we both know that we don't want to go back to life the way it was before we left and we both want to do something that will improve the world somehow. We have some options right now with the money we have left. The fun part is deciding what to do with it :)
Not having any plans for some people is very stressful, but for us, it's all about Bein' Chili.