One year ago today, June 23, 2012, the Armstrong family arrived home to Canada. With a bittersweet mix of emotions we were surprised at the familiarity of unlocking our front door, placing our suitcases in the same spot on the floor and looking down the long hallway of the house that had been our home for the previous 10 years. We had experienced so much change in the last year yet here, everything was just the same – the smells, the pictures on the walls, the light coming from the windows. Immediately we were transported back to our old life and it felt great to be home.
When I woke up the next morning and opened my eyes, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t dreaming. That we had actually traveled around the world on a journey of a lifetime. Over the next few weeks, we reunited with family and friends, got caught up in our usual summer activities and fell into a familiar routine. But something had changed. Tony and I were hungry for more. Moving from place to place, submersing ourselves in other cultures, exploring and learning had become our way of life and we really missed it. We knew that we had to move on to our next adventure.
And move we did! Last November we bought a beautiful 120-acre property an hour outside of Toronto and started a transition from city to country life. It’s taken us 7 months of buying, selling, renting and moving but as of this week, one year after our trip around the world, we have pulled up our Toronto roots and planted them on our own farm! Growing and raising our food, breathing clean air and having space to roam has been a long-time dream and we used our travels to volunteer on farms around the world to get our hands dirty and learn as much as we could. So now it’s time to put theory into practice.
We have named the farm Headwaters because of the importance our little part of the world plays in channeling the flow of creeks and rivers and underground streams from the highlands of the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario. But the name also symbolizes the flow of information and hands-on experiences we will be offering anyone who wants to spend a day or week or month and get closer to the land. But that’s a whole other story, and a whole other blog!
This is my last Intrepid Mom post. I am moving on to intrepid farmer now! But since we’ve returned home I have spent every day thinking back to those amazing individuals and families who welcomed us with open arms and shared so much of their lives with us, complete strangers. These new global friends who we lived and worked with shaped our journey and we miss them very much. I picture a future time when Tony and I will be knocking on familiar doors in Ireland and Kenya and Ecuador and all the rest, sitting down with a beer and carrying on where we left off without missing a beat. But for now we will carry on the tradition and open our doors to fellow travelers who are looking to us to help them find their way.
So here is the part where I recognize all the people who meant so much to us on our travels and who we continue to connect with. Thank-you for your kind hearts, your open-mindedness and your generosity of spirit. Come and visit us in Canada!
Suzie and Michael Cahn and family – Carraig Dulra, Glenealy, Ireland
Michael and Denise Sloan and family – Ballard Farm, Kilbride, Ireland
Randall, Lucia, Katie, Francesca, Riccio, Maddalena – Spannocchia, Rosia, Italy
Dima, Bashir and Abla Khadra – Amman, Jordan
Yamaan Safady – Amman, Jordan
Paola Farran and family – Amman, Jordan
Leslie Kann and family – Amman, Jordan
Petra Allmendinger and staff – Sandai, Mweiga Nyeri, Kenya
Diane, Lucio, Oliver and Bianca Santoro – Howick, South Africa
Paul and Shareen Duncan and family – Dovehouse, Howick, South Africa
Rajesh Jangid and family – Nawalgarh, India
Tara and Sandeep Dewan – Silver Spur, Jaipur, India
Lory Fallador, Awe Chantakian, Tom Duerdenand and staff – Koh Ra Ecolodge, Thailand
Janine and David Ugalde – San Juan de la Vega, San Pablo del Lago, Ecuador
Lucille, Anthony, Lilly and Coby Sylvester – St. George’s, Grenada
Liz, Stephen, Brenda and family – Barking Horse Farm, Santiago de Puriscal, Costa Rica
Patsy and Robert Miller – Santiago de Puriscal, Costa Rica
Bill Skinner – Santiago de Puriscal, Costa Rica
Chris Johnson – Montezuma, Costa Rica