Starting a New Life - Why We Decided to Build a Homestead

Tetrault Welcome SignLife has a way of throwing you a curve ball, most often when you least expect it. It’s been said over and over again, “Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”

We lived in Calgary, Alberta for 11 years. Started our careers there. Had family nearby. Made friends, lots of friends. Had three kids there. And found ourselves never getting ahead, always promising that we’d make more time for ourselves, more time for the kids, more time as a family. But big city living just got more expensive. It didn’t matter how long we worked, we never got further than paying the next bill, making the next mortgage payment. What little was left over for our savings account was quickly eaten up by yet another unexpected expense. Sound familiar? Join us on our journey, exchanging hectic modern life for a simpler, more satisfying way of living.

But First, a Bit of Background

We first moved to Calgary from our small-town roots in southern Manitoba shortly after our wedding in 2005. We hit the ground running, and within the first few months, we secured jobs, rented a condo, and were on our way.

Our Calgary HomeFast forward a few years. We paid off our debt (check out our post on Financial Freedom to see how we did it!), saved up for a down payment, and bought our first place in 2009. The house was fantastic, exactly what we were looking for in a starter home, and in a wonderful neighborhood in south Calgary.

In 2011, we had our first child, Katrina. Time seemed to pass in a blur as life with kids tends to do, and before we knew it, Serge joined our family just 19 months later. Life seemed idyllic. Then came 2015, an especially difficult year for our family, and for a lot of people in the oil and gas industry. Gaby was laid off from his job just after we had learned that we were pregnant with our third child. While we were concerned about the prospect of providing for our growing brood, the layoff was exactly what we needed. Without it, we wouldn’t have started to look for alternative ways of living, and never would have found the courage to pursue the freedom in a simpler, more minimalistic life.

So How Did We Begin to Chase Our Dream for this New Life?

First off, we knew that in order to find the freedom we craved, we needed to reduce our expenses. Gaby was fortunate to have made some great contacts throughout his career, and was able to find a new position while many were still unemployed and being laid off. While he worked for “the man”, we set about making the necessary arrangements to move our family back to southeastern Manitoba. We listed our house with an amazing realtor (if you’re looking to buy and sell in the Calgary area, check out Fiona’s website at http://www.christiaansengroup.com) and with her help, our swiftly sold our house in the spring of 2016, when our youngest, Hunter, was only six months old.

When choosing our future home, we knew that our new accommodations needed to be out in the country, with enough land for our growing list of projects. The location also needed to have access to French language schools for our kids, one of which was nearing school age. We found the perfect place on the outskirts of the town Gaby grew up in, where we moved to in July of 2016. With our fixed expenses at less than half of what they were in Calgary, most of the work stress evaporated, bringing with it a huge sigh of relief.

What's Next for this Life? - Garden PhotoWhat’s Next for this Life?

Now, the real fun begins. It’s springtime, and we have a lot of projects ahead of us on this property (check out Planning the Homestead for more on that subject). At times it’s going to seem like progress is slow going, or even non-existent. But we want to be careful with our finances, and only spend as our resources allow for. This year, our homestead journey will entail cutting a garden, growing food to feed our family and learning to preserve that food for the winter.

Be sure to check out Our Story to learn more about us, our family, and our goals for a little homestead in a small town. Feel free to drop us a comment below, we would love to get to know you and hear what you think about our plans.


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