Who we are......        


Carol and I had spent 5 years in Toronto and were at one of life's crossroads. We were ready to settle down by not being city people we could not envision the rest of our lives in the big city. So much time is wasted commuting to and from work that we didn't see it as a viable way to live. Of course, the easy solution was to live near work but we both worked in opposite corners of the city which meant that one of us was always stuck in a car. As well, the sheer number of people made anything from weekend get-aways to daily excursions (including simple bike rides) a chore. Instead of settling the decision was made to move - to where we didn't know!





Stephen: Born and raised in the northern Ontario town of South Porcupine (near Timmins) our many family camping trips and weekend cookouts on various Canadian-shield rock outcrops ensured that I developed an appreciation for the great outdoors. It also helped develop a tolerance of mosquitoes. I grew up with my sister Kate and cats Tonkie and Goatie (the first two) and Pud and Iso (the second two with Pud overlapping a bit). After a difficult start, I eventually excelled in school and by the end of high school was doing very well. In terms of free time, I preferred to spend it outdoors playing in the nearby bush or building things in our well appointed (tool-wise) workshop. In 1988 I got my first taste of southern Ontario when I studied mechanical engineering at McMaster University from where I graduated with honours. With that successfully completed, I traveled Europe for two years working here and there to make ends meet. I spent most of my time in Austria where, by the time I left, I had acquired a rudimentary working knowledge of German and had improved my skiing skills.

Finally homesick after two years on the road, I returned to Canada and obtained temporary work assembling two mining shovels back in my hometown of South Porcupine. The plan was to make a bit of money before heading out west for more skiing. Fate of course had its way and I was offered a Heavy Equipment Technician apprenticeship at one of the local mines. Occasionally, I am astute enough to recognize a good opportunity when one comes along so I jumped at the chance and successfully wrote my trade exam four years later. It was during this time that I met Carol who was later to become my wife. It is interesting how the different turns of life work out...

Shortly after completing my trade exam, the opportunity arose to work for Komatsu, a major manufacturer of heavy construction/mining equipment. The position being in Toronto presented a dilemma for Carol and me but in the end I accepted. Although it was an amazing learning experience and a chance to experience life in the big city, five years of sitting in traffic was enough and the time came to move on. The intelligent thing to do would have been to seek employment in an area more suitable to our interests but Carol and I both felt that we had one last travel adventure left in us. Another problem with work is that it can become all-consuming and recognizing that this was likely the last chance to take a real break we decided to save our pennies and have an adventure....





Carol: I was born in the big city of Toronto. When I was little however, I always thought I was in a small town as I grew up in the Beach. I was in the same house my dad grew up in, went to the same schools he did and walked everywhere. My dad even walked to work and came home at lunch... not very common for Toronto! I spent my summers at the family cottage that had been built by my grandfather on Lake Dalrymple in 1923 (between Beaverton and Orillia). At the cottage we spent every minute outside canoeing, swimming, exploring and just having fun - I grew up always wanting to play outside. As well, I went to various camps where I learned all my different camping, canoeing and outdoor skills. After high school I went to Queen's where I took occupational therapy. After working for a short period to make some money for traveling, I headed off to Australia and New Zealand for a year. On return, I applied for several different jobs but fell in love with northern Ontario's lakes, rivers and trees as I flew into Timmins for a job interview. I decided that if they offered me the job I would take it and... I got the job! While on ski patrol in Timmins I met Stephen but shortly after a dilemma arose as he got a job in Toronto which meant I'd get dragged back to Toronto if I followed him. In the end I followed him and the rest as they say, is history. We were in Toronto for 5 years and I worked in pediatrics as an occupational therapist. I loved my job and greatly miss working there but it was time to get out of the rat race. Since we didn't know where we wanted to live we decided to take a Cross-Canada adventure to help us decide. So off we went!!







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