Life in the Albatross


Posted on : 9:38 PM | By : Anonymous | In : , , , ,

My current internet is tethered through the iPhone but we are working on setting up wifi so I can post photos and videos.  I wanted to tell you what it's like out here.

As you know, it is very early March and this is Canada after all.  Vancouver Island is the warmest place in Canada but we are still seeing some below freezing temperatures when the sky is clear.  Before we moved in, John finished sealing the floor with an anti-rust paint and an anti-corrosion paint that actually coats the floor with aluminum.  Then he laid a heavy plastic vapour barrier, then 2" pink foam insulation with an R value of 10, and on top of that is some high-quality plywood that is quite smooth.  These layers still need to be bolted down and sandwiched with large bolts that go through to the underbelly of this beast.  For now the plywood is so big and heavy it doesn't shift when we walk on it.  It is surprising what costs the most... the floor ended up taking $1100, but he sheet metal that will cover the outside of the school-bus style windows will only be $200.  Rather than removing all the windows, we are only removing some and replacing them with double-paned RV windows, and the rest will be covered with metal and painted to match the exterior, and sandwiched between insulation on the inside.

But camping is the best part.  The way we have it set up right now is our queen mattress, the girl's sleeping bags and blankets, the playpen, and the dog crate are all within a a 15' area in the center of the bus divided on either end by leftover vapour barrier plastic.  In the center of this is a little electric space heater fireplace. This increased our night-time temperature by about 20-30 degrees.  Everyone is also wearing warm polar fleece pajamas, the baby sleeps in our bed, and everyone has double blankets.  Fortunately this is as cold as it will ever get in here.  The first night we were here it was actually way warmer and we didn't have the plastic and our beds were all spread out, which is what I ended up showing in the video I will upload later.  Insulation will be added in the next week and the bus won't experience such extreme changes from a greenhouse in the sun to a freezer at night.

One reason I was so willing to do the bus this way is that I am fascinated with how humans function differently when their lifestyle changes to one with less convenience.  Whereas my mind used to wonder what to have for dinner, I am now also concerned with how to cook it and how to keep things fresh without a fridge.  While the cold temperatures make us bundle up, they also keep the ice in my cooler frozen and the food from my fridge is still good while we eat through them.  I now have a George Foreman grill, and a crock pot.  I have made grilled fish, pitas, sandwiches, and bean soup for dinner and all of it tasted so delicious.  There is something about spending time outdoors that makes anything taste just that much better.  We sit and eat in front of our fake fire surround by blankets and it is quite cozy.

We do have access to a toilet, and access to plumbing.  However, the well here isn't safe to drink so we buy water in a big jug for that.  But I just fill up my other water container for washing up.  We also get to use the washing machine and dryer.  We have electricity in the form of an extension cord, which is where I plug in my crock pot on the floor by the heater.  We also are using the bus batteries to power lights, and they are being charged by a charger so they don't die when we use them, which actually isn't very long.

So, we wake up in the morning a little bit after the sun, put our hair up, take the long walk to the bathroom, and have our breakfast.  This week it has been cold breakfasts, but when I get my canopy and set up my camp stove we will have eggs from the chickens here on the farm.  Then we do our homeschooling.  The way I have this set up is each girl has a box with an assortment of books I put in.  They just go to their box, pick what they want to do and we read and draw and learn for a couple of hours.  I will rotate these books around eventually as the rest of our books come out of storage and into the bookshelves in the bus, but for now they are keeping them busy.  Then I bundle them up and send them outside where they stay until they get hungry.  Then we have lunch.  Today it was peanut butter on a tortilla and fruit and apple juice and chips and salsa.  Then back outside they go while Rainn has her afternoon nap.  Then they come back when they are hungry and tired, they change into pajamas early and we might watch a movie on my computer or read in their beds until dinner.  A few times a week we go swimming at the local pool, get clean and wear the kids out even more, and by the time they climb into their sleeping bags they beg to go to sleep.

The adjustment from being inside most of the time in a wet and rainy urban environment to being outside most of the time in a somewhat wet early spring homestead environment has been exhilarating and exhausting. I am so relaxed and feel so at home in the outdoors, and I have so much energy even though I am working harder and my sleep gets interrupted more.  I walk the dog through the field and follow the paths that the deer make, and listen for geese and birds returning to the island.  When I take a shivering walk in the dark to use the loo and I can't help but stop and marvel at how many more stars there are to see.  I've missed the sky.  I've missed how noisy the forest is.  I've missed that heavy, heavy dew in the morning from the mist that hangs over a valley just before dawn.  I've missed the sunrise.  I've missed seeing the girls running and screaming until they run out of breath and can't run anymore, instead of running into a fence.  I've missed tire swings and the rooster crowing before dawn because he tries to beat the other rooster to it.  I've missed not caring that we get muddy in the mud and grassy in the grass and dirty in the dirt.  I've missed the quiet.  I've missed falling into bed and slipping into deep, deep sleep quickly and painlessly.

Feeling symptoms of stress, tension, anxiety, panic, nausea, heartburn, perfectionism, obsessiveness,  tiredness, etc. etc?  Let me write a prescription for you...
Step 1: Get rid of everything you have that isn't Useful.
Step 2: Find a way to live very, very cheap and as close to nature as possible.
Step 3: Do it!

Comments (1)

Sounds like an amazing way to live. Looking forward to hearing about all your adventures.