First exciting step to reaching our homestead dream!

We’re doing it! At the end of the month we will be leaving our tiny apartment in a huge city for a tiny apartment in a smaller city.

So what are we so excited about exactly? Well, this new city is surrounded by rural land with affordable housing prices. Finding employment for T in a place where her commute could be no more than an hour was looking pretty bleak. However, we accomplished this in late November and are planning the move for a January start date. Once settled in, we’ll start looking for a property.

How we got here

We initially made the decision to run off to the woods in September 2019. We went to a family event in north-western Ontario and wanted the kind of life we saw, which was a stark contrast to the loud and chaotic city we lived in. We fell in love with the open spaces, hearing crickets at night, and the wonderful community we got to be part of for those few days.

Our original plan was to start looking for a job in a rural area for myself in September 2021, as H can work remotely. This was partially due to some opportunities I would have at work before then and because I felt guilty leaving while I knew they were understaffed. Turns out this wasn’t as simple as covering for one person. With COVID causing lock downs and budget issues in the spring of 2020, hiring was effectively frozen.

For the last 11 months I have been working at least one extra day per week just to feel like I wasn’t completely losing control of the workload, but never quite able to stay on top. We had some serious discussions of how we would manage if I had to just quit my job and recover from burn out.

The search begins

I found that day dreaming helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel and gave me hope. I started looking at jobs that might help us leave the area we are living in and wondering “what if?”. Next thing I knew, I was applying to one. I went through the whole interview process but didn’t get the job. While it was a disappointment, it was also a confidence boost to have been selected to interview for what was a serious step up from my current role. I started looking at postings more seriously, and eventually applied to another more in line with my current title. This time, I got it.

In accordance with our plans, I was able to secure a temporary contract for a position in a low enough cost of living area that we could theoretically afford to buy a small hobby farm. The best part is the job is something I actually am excited to be doing, and the organization is large enough that the pay cut is barely worth thinking about.

Minimizing the trade offs

I have always worried that my career would suffer if we took the plunge, but it looks like we might have found the perfect balance. Time will tell if this job runs into the same challenges I faced at my old one, or how COVID is impacting this organization. All we can do is look forward.

So there we were, with five weeks to buy a car, move to a new town, and gambling it all on the hope that this two year contract will turn permanent or lead to another job.

There still are some downsides…

Because we had to find a place quickly, we ended up taking on a sublet for someone who wanted to get out of their lease. The rent itself is about $50 more than we are paying currently, but the utilities are going to be triple. We aren’t sure if that’s usage or related to delivery and equipment rentals, but we will try our best to reduce that number. So much for taking advantage of the low cost of living right away!

The move will also require buying a car, which is something we are currently in the process of doing. It was an eventuality, but driving in a rough climate and having never had insurance before is anticipated to add $600 to our monthly expenses, and that’s having paid cash for the car. We’ll write a post about that process once we get a better handle on it.

And then there is the mental toll. Most of the heavy lifting will have to occur in the last week of December, as I am expected to keep working until at least Christmas Eve. I’m leaning very heavily on H to get through this and it’s showing us how strong of a team we can be.

It’s still hard. We’re coming to grips with how much it will cost for the movers, for instance, given that we are planning on moving our things and ourselves on difference days, given the five hour drive.

Despite all this, we are really excited to have some forward movement towards our goal, and we can’t wait to document our journey here.

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