Leaping

Posted on Apr 6, 2010 in Eliza Brownhome, Featured | 8 comments

The summer of 2002 everyone must have thought I went crazy. I started dating a friend (who was also the ex-boyfriend of a long-time friend of mine) and by the end of the summer, we announced that we were getting married in September. When I called my parents to tell them I was getting married they didn’t even know I was seeing anyone. That was only half of it.

We also bought a 1984 Bluebird schoolbus and told everyone that we were going to convert it and live in it, in the middle of Vancouver. We owned it for a year and were slowly trying to do the conversion on the weekends and not making much progress. We thought if we moved into it, our progress would be quicker. My older sister and her family were moving to Vancouver around that time and we came up with the idea to try to find a house for them to rent where we could park the bus in their backyard. We thought we would subsidize their rent for two years before looking for somewhere else.

We started keeping our eyes open for good potential houses. As we went about our business in the city, there was one house that we always noticed had the perfect space. It was on a corner, backing on to a huge green park with a lake complete with swimming beach and where the farmer’s market is held on Saturdays. On Sunday nights, there is firespinning in the park and every summer there is a lantern festival that attracts 10,000 people. The park is in the middle of metro Vancouver in a vibrant diverse multi-cultural neighbourhood. The yard was perfect and had just the right space for a 40′ long bus.

My brother-in-law came to Vancouver to house hunt for his family and one evening, after dinner, we drove by the house just to give him an idea of the kind of sweet space we were dreaming of. A few days later, Stewart came back from his search with the classifieds and grinned “You’ll never guess what house I just looked at!” We couldn’t believe our luck that the house was actually for rent!

We went to the open house with the landlord and there were a lot of other contenders. The rental market in Vancouver has been tight for a few years now and the house was reasonably priced. We thought it best to be upfront about our plans to park a 40′ bus on the property rather than ending up with a mad landlord on our hands later. We were very worried that the landlord would never want to rent to us with our crazy idea to park a bus there. The weekend passed slowly with much hand-wringing and driving by the corner wistfully staring. At the end of the weekend, the landlord called to let us know that he had decided to take a chance on us and it was ours. We called it the Destiny House.

Destiny House circa 2002

Destiny House circa 2002

We stayed for 5 years. We got to know all of our neighbours. We built a parking pad for the bus, redid the whole yard including putting in a 40′ long veggie garden beside the bus. I developed a close relationship with my sister who I’d never been close to as she is seven years older than I am. Both of my kids were born there and all of our children grew up more like siblings than cousins. We became fixtures in the neighbourhood and we learned the meaning of the word community. What started as a bunch of crazy spontaneous ideas in 2002 became the most magical experience. I could never have imagined such a perfect vision of this dream made into reality. I wanted to live in the bus in the city and by taking a leap of faith, it came out way better than I even envisioned it.

Destiny House circa 2008

Destiny House circa 2008*

We’ve moved on now but we’ve been having a lot of discussions with my sister and we now share the mondo beyondo dream of creating a more permanent version of that life: living together on the same property, growing our own food and letting our children run free together. And I’m happy to say we aren’t just dreaming it, we are actively taking steps towards this dream.

How about you? Have you ever taken a leap of faith and found the results far exceeded your expectations and fears?


* Whoa! That ivy is out of control – I guess it sorta creeps up on you. Also, note that this photo was taken the morning we were moving the bus which is why it’s on the street rather than in the backyard.

8 Comments

  1. I love Destiny House!

  2. I love your leaping story!

    Not that I’ve ever “danced in the fire,” so to speak, but I’ve leapt once or twice. At 23 I moved across the country without knowing anyone in my new city, determined to have a better options that in my old town. I’m still here in Madison and looks like I’ll be staying for good!

    I met my husband one snowy February day, was engaged in June, married in November, and our daughter was born the following October. I suppose THAT was a leap too! A wonderful, joy-bringing leap. 🙂

  3. What a beautiful story! That sounds like my year long but magical, lifechanging year nevertheless, living with two amazing male roommates in a cabin on a lake in the middle of nowhere in Victoria is 1997 while I went to university. I LOVE stories like this. Makes my heart happy. 🙂
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..A Successful HBAC, A Failed Birth Plan. =-.
    Twitter: bfmom

  4. The ivy has been trimmed now. We can see out the windows again!

    The mondo beyondo dream feels really mondo right now.

    Love the story!
    Twitter: melaniemcintosh

  5. I’m so excited that you’re taking steps to realize your dream – that is FABULOUS!

    I don’t think I’ve taken a leap that is that big, at least not yet. But I’m working on it. I have found that it gets easier with practice. Following your dreams is like everything else, that way. Only far better in the long run.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Making Peace =-.
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

  6. I’m glad you’re writing more about this! It is fascinating and inspiring.
    Leaps . . . moving to NM after law school, and moving back to KC when we found out we were pregnant. But even more than that, putting my career on hold to be a full-time mom to Kieran. Definitely a leap of faith, but the best one I’ve ever made.
    .-= Dionna @ Code Name: Mama´s last blog ..Project: Spring Green =-.
    Twitter: CodeNameMama

  7. This is awesome! 🙂 So happy to hear you are dreaming big and making plans to live the way you so loved to live before.

  8. My husband and I are just embarking on the process becoming “Skoolie” family. We have some questions about living in your bus in the winter and how insulated etc… There are not many Canadians we have come across I was really hoping you could answer some of our questions?

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