Our journey to Trading Desks for Dirt began in the spring of 2015. We were living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Gaby was working as a project manager in the oil and gas industry. As many can attest, it was a tough time for the industry, and Gaby became another one of the many casualties of downsizing.
It was a terrifying time for us – I was pregnant with our third child, we were living in a very expensive city, and though we had a three month severance to help see us through, there seemed to be very little possibility of getting another position with thousands of others laid off as well. It was a time of soul searching. How did we want to proceed? How did we want to raise our family? Did we want to stress about debt, or find a happier way to live?
In the end, Gaby was one of the lucky ones. Through contacts he had made over the years in Calgary, he was able to secure a new project management position and we were safe for the time being. But the thought of another lay off was constantly looming over our heads.
Just before our youngest was born in the fall of 2015, we made the decision that we would move our family back to our small-town roots in South Eastern Manitoba. By choosing to live in a small town, we gained so many benefits – a large property for our kids to grow up on, getting to live close to my family, as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides (and there are lots, we come from very large families!), and less than half of the fixed expenses. That’s right – less than half!
So, we got to work. We fixed up our Calgary house and put it on the market early in the spring of 2016. To our surprise, it sold very quickly. We were headed to Manitoba for my Dad’s wedding in late May, and could now make the trip a joint house-finding venture as well. We found a house just two days before we needed to head back to Calgary and put in an offer (which was accepted!).
We officially moved in on July 15, 2016. What a whirlwind! To secure a mortgage, Gaby needed to continue working in Calgary, so for four long months, he lived with his parents and traveled back home to be with us on the weekends. He officially came home to stay on November 22, 2016, and we were ecstatic to have him back.
Through the winter, we began to make plans. Gaby was now unemployed, and we needed to decide how we wanted to raise and support our family going forward. We obviously still needed to find outside employment, but Gaby was at a crossroads in his career. So, he decided to trade in his desk, so to speak. We have some ideas of what that looks like, and are excited to bring them to fruition when the opportunity presents itself. For now, I have found a job to help meet the needs of our family, and am enjoying working again after five and a half years as a stay at home mom.
Our journey is to live a more minimalist lifestyle – to leave the confines of consumerism, to be content within our means, to live as debt free as possible (our only debt being our mortgage), and in doing so, letting go of the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. This will allow us to make more time with our children, teach them hands on skills and work ethic, and show them how to use their imaginations to problem solve. We want to be responsible with the land and resources we’ve been given, living sustainably and teaching others how to as well along the way.
For us, this life is not about money. It’s not about property. It’s not about how much or what you own. It’s about relationships, it’s about helping others, making friends, caring for what we’ve been given, and living joyfully, content in who we are and what we stand for.
We would be honored if you would take that journey with us.
Christine and Gaby