Monday, July 25, 2016

Stepping outside our comfort zone

published in The Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotian section July 25, 2016
Moving 1500 kilometres across the country poses a few challenges. Selling a home, buying a home...sometimes foolishly buying a home and then trying to sell a home. Deciding what to get rid of and what to pack. Sticking your heels in when movers question you, and saying "yes, I really do want to move that eight foot long Snack Bar sign"! No, I'm not making this up. Loading 3 dogs and a man into one vehicle, and 1 cat, many garden plants and a woman into another vehicle. Driving a full day and stopping at a hotel, asking if they take pets, and then guiltily bringing in 3 large dogs and a cat (surely they didn't realize we had 4 animals). Loading everything back up and driving another full day. Arriving at the provincial border and unloading all the animals for the obligatory portrait under the "Welcome to Nova Scotia" sign in bitterly cold gale force winds on a spring day. Wondering if you are an absolutely crazy person, or someone with a great sense of adventure. Finally arriving at your new home, only to discover that there are many more challenges than you considered when writing your personal pros and cons when making your moving decision.

One big challenge when you move far away from family and friends that you have known for half of your life is that you need to create a new social circle for yourself. Settling into a new home that is infamously known for calling newcomers "Come From Aways" can seem a bit daunting at first. Eight years after making our move, we are proof that it can be done. It's not a quick or easy process. You can't wait for it to happen or take it for granted. You need to get active, get involved, and create your new life.

Only one day after the movers delivered our furniture, my husband and I were filling up at a gas station 20 kilometres from our new home. I heard him greet someone with friendly recognition and I wondered just how on earth my husband managed to know someone already. It turned out that it was our new neighbour, who had introduced herself to him while his was parked at the side of the road at the end of our very long driveway waiting for the movers to arrive. This neighbour turned into a good friend over the coming years, and provided us Upper Canadians with some much needed advice in how to adapt to country living in rural Nova Scotia. We were included in family suppers and get togethers. I was entrusted to feed their turkeys and learned not to be afraid of the gentle giants of the bird world. I was also responsible for feeding their geese, and I quickly learned that they were definitely not gentle creatures of the bird world! Oh, how I feared those nasty birds.

this goose did not appreciate my attempts to put food in the feeders
I also met many wonderful people, true blue nosers and many here by choicers like us, by joining a local photography club. There is nothing like a shared interest to create a bond with people. Regular meetings with lots of socializing, as well as outings to surrounding areas followed by a good meal at a local restaurant, created bonds and solidified friendships. Not only do I go on scheduled field trips, but now I often travel on impromptu excursions with friends.
an impromptu trip with a photo club friend found us in Little Harbour
When we moved to Nova Scotia, I kept records of our trials and tribulations and celebrations and successes on a blog. The internet has truly shrunk the world, and that blog helped create many new friendships. Relationships that started online have introduced me to people from Bear River, Pugwash, Halifax, Shelburne, Kingsburg, and more. Some of those introductions have progressed to true and valued friendships. I have gone real estate hunting with a friend I met through my blog, and now visit her in her summer home in Port Mouton. After knowing her for a while, we discovered that we were raised in the same Ontario city and went to the same high school, just a few years apart. It truly is a small world. I have explored new areas, walked fantastic beaches, collected beach glass, discovered new to me ocean creatures, enjoyed meals, blown bubbles, and have enjoyed being silly with some wonderful new friends.
exploring the cobble beach at Second Peninsula Provincial Park with two friends I met through blogging
Moving somewhere new can be very stressful, especially for someone whose life is well established in routine. However, a new environment can be of some benefit as well. It forces us to stretch and tip toe out of our comfort zones. Slowly, but surely, we can challenge ourselves and become involved in making our own lives more fulfilling and that is something good to focus on.
beach treasures


  1. Wonderful post. I'm flattered to be included and have no problem with your identifying me (should you prefer using names) ...

    Glad you moved down here and I get to share the occasional adventure with you ...

  2. Hey! I'm in there too :) Maybe I will meet Sybil some day :)
    I am so happy to have met you - and that you have helped me realize my dreams here in NS. Thank you!!!
    Also: beautiful article! Congratulations!

  3. Beutifully written- because of your skill with words and because your honesty.


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