Other Ways of Living
I never tried to live differently. It just evolved as my life circumstances changed and as I followed more and more what my inner truth was telling me, also referred to as my ‘intuition.’
In 2017, I sold up my “happy place” in New Zealand and after 29 years, moved back to Canada in my late fifties to start up my life and my business all over again.
Why would anyone ever do that?
One day, when I still lived in New Zealand, I heard a whisper in my head, “Move back to Canada.” I was born there but I’d lived half of my life in New Zealand. The idea of moving back felt exciting, but when I really contemplated it, I was terrified. The thought haunted me.
I went to see a Reiki healer. We’d never met and he didn’t know anything about me. At the end of the session, he looked at me and said, “Oh, just one more thing.” My whole body froze. “You are going to move back to Canada.” His words, like an arrow, went straight to my heart. There was a truth about them that I could feel in my bones.
Standing on the deck in my backyard, I looked out over my gardens, the trees and the flowers. I’d planted them all and watched them grow. I loved my home. How can I leave this? I can’t. This is crazy. I shook my head, trying to shake off the clarity of the message.
Breathing deeply and slowly, I felt strength inside. Leanne, you are going to die one day, and you don’t know when that day will be. How do you want to live the rest of your life from now until that moment? Holding on to fear and dying in your comfort, or…? Tears of excitement and grief flowed down my cheeks. I knew.
In May, 2017, I arrived on Canadian soil with a suitcase in each hand.
Logically it made sense to get a place and establish my business again. But it wasn’t logic that brought me here. I sat to meditate and ask my inner wisdom what was next. In my mind, I saw the image of a camper I got excited. I sensed I wasn’t to settle anywhere yet.
My thinking mind had lots to say about that, “I can’t just go off and travel. I need to find a place to live. I need to set up my business. Where am I going to go?” But I trusted my intuition and started looking for a camper.
What kind of camper was I going to get? something I could tow? maybe a bus I drive? Or a van?
I settled on a truck camper. You can put down the camper legs and drive the truck out from under it when needed. A good plan I thought—until I actually had to do it.
Being on the road for 12 months presented its own considerations: being in all 4 seasons and running my business. I would need systems. I used 3 suitcases—one for summer stuff, one for winter and one for office stuff.
The camper was like carrying a small cabin on your back. It had everything I needed: fridge, queen bed, couch, stove, toilet and closet. Everything had its place and when the camper was moving, if anything was left out, it was doomed to smash or damage something else. This was one of the lessons I learned by experience!
I am a kinesthetic learner, meaning that I learn through doing. Unfortunately this means that I had to make all the mistakes in order to learn. I am also not mechanically minded and I don’t like getting my hands dirty. This part of the journey was stressful.
Anything that could go wrong with the camper, did go wrong.
The camper was so tall that more than once, I drove through branches of tall trees ripping off the antennae and whatever else was on the roof. With the camper on the back of the truck, I no longer had use of the rear-view mirror. I had to use the side wing-mirrors to maneuver. Twice I smooshed the hand railing on the back of the camper while backing up. Another time, I forgot to plug in the camper while I was visiting with a friend for a few days and ran the battery totally flat, all the food in the freezer thawed. On another occasion, the stove stopped working. It took me a few days to realise that the propane tank was empty. There’s more but you get the idea.
I thought it would be the mechanical break downs that affected me most but it wasn’t. The biggest challenge for me was not knowing where I was going to sleep each night. Where could I go that was safe and legal to stay the night? In the beginning, I thought I’d go to camp grounds until I discovered they cost about $50 a night.
As I embraced this challenge, I reached out to a women’s group on Facebook. I posted a photo of me and my camper, told them my story and asked if anyone would let me sleep in their driveway. 6 women put their hand up, all of whom I stayed with. I found out that some Walmart stores let you spend the night in their parking lot and that truck stops also accommodated over nights. In the United States, the national forests are free to camp in and my intuition led me to some magical, deserted and safe places to stay.
My most precious moments were with the people I met along the way. The people who didn’t know me, who opened their home and their heart to me, we will be friends forever.
I learned so many life lessons during these 12 months. I learned to ask for help, right away. I learned to trust and to pay attention to what my intuition is telling me. I learned to keep my heart open no matter what is going on. And the biggest thing that I learned was—I can do this.