Back in Canada

It has been one month since we arrived in Canada- back on land after more than five years of continuous cruising aboard the legendary Fata Morgana, a 38-foot Leopard catamaran built in South Africa.

It feels like we just stepped out of a dream. A blue dream, filled with so many beautiful places and people. Now all this is just a memory.

Fata Morgana

Flying from New Zealand to Vancouver meant that of everything we own we could only bring three suitcases 21 kg each. They were full mostly with souvenirs and seashells: a poncho from Peru, a blanket from Bolivia, a Megalodon tooth from New Caledonia, black pearls from French Polynesia and a jar of Manuka honey from New Zealand.

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To get plugged back into the system proved to be surprisingly easy and quick, especially when you know what to do and how to do it. Unplugging was much harder…

This past month has been a roller coaster ride. We had to look for a car, get our drivers licenses, car insurance and medical cards sorted, find a rental house after looking at up to 6 homes for rent per day in three different cities, find used furniture for the house piece by piece and bring it one by one with the car or a rental trailer and take it all (heavy couches, beds, tables, etc.) upstairs, find a school for Maya in our new neighborhood and get her started, find a job for Ivo and go through all the application and training procedures, and Ivo even had time to do a car trip from Vancouver to Montreal and back (a total of 10, 000 kilometers) to pick up our son Vik, who came to live with us in beautiful British Columbia!

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So you have to forgive me for not being able to post here or create a new video in May. Oh, and we got internet in our new home about a week ago. So i am back on the job- new updates and videos are coming up!

We miss the freedom and adventure of the boat life- it feels strange to be stuck in the same place surrounded by buildings, everybody around us busy with silly things. But this doesn’t mean that nothing exciting is happening. We actually enjoy so many things in our new life which we were badly missing on the boat. We were laughing like little kids the first time we entered a grocery store filled with Canadian goods we haven’t seen for over five years. Like pop-tarts and Reese’s peanut butter cups and President’s Choice chocolate chip cookies. We were pointing at things and laughing and people thought there is a funny little animal running on the shelf behind the cookies!

We can now take long hot water showers three times a day if we want to, and we can now wash our clothes in less than an hour, without getting our hands wet. We are now convinced that the toilet is humanity’s greatest invention. But you can only appreciate this after living on a boat.

Maya in our new home

I planted a small garden with vegetables and herbs in the backyard. I took my time digging my fingers in the earth- a forgotten feeling I enjoy so much.

But our greatest joy is having our son Vik back with us. Just this makes it all worth it.

Our return to Land has been a strange and new experience for Maya, who grew up on a boat. She was immediately admitted in the local high school, with no exams or evaluations needed- another great thing about Canada’s school system. All you need is a Canadian Citizenship.

– How old is she?
– 14.
– So she is grade 9. She can start tomorrow.

Thus, Maya begun school on a Friday, a month before the end of the school year. She didn’t have a backpack for school this first day, so she took a small knitted bag we got in Peru, and the teacher gave her a few sheets of paper to write on. She was worried and anxious and excited and happy at the same time. High school for the first time, new friends- so many kids her age and most of them so strange! Her first impression of the kids in the school is that many are bored with life, uninterested in anything, plugged in their phones and gossiping about incredibly stupid things like fake eyelashes and acrylic nails! Vaping is apparently a big trend. Maya came back from school and told me:

– Mom, you know what I learned in school today?
– What did you learn?- I was excited to find out. Maybe something in English class about writing essays, or in Math class on Geometry.
– If a girl talks to you and calls you “Honey” or “Sweety” it means she actually hates you. If she calls you “Bitch” it means she really likes you…

What’s up, bitch!

Pretty soon Maya found one good friend and that’s all she needs right now.

Maya and Ashlee

As it turned out Maya is one of the best students in her class. The most shocking was the feared encounter with her old nemesis- Mathematics. Maya is among the five best math students in her class, passing the final exam with 84% , thus heading to grade 10 next September (a year ahead)!

She also joined the Canadian Army Cadets. Actually she joined the cadets before she started school. This was a dream-come-true for Maya, who wanted to be a Canadian Cadet since she was 8, but the minimum age to join is 12. So first thing first, as soon as we found our new house- we looked for the nearest Cadet corps.

Maya at the RCA and of year parade.

What are the Canadian Royal Army Cadets? It sounds too military, too scary, but in fact it’s most adventurous thing, where kids learn first and most of all something many kids of today lack- respect and discipline, military style. Here is why Maya’s dream was to join the Cadets and why she, who loves challenges and the outdoors will have an amazing time at the Cadets, in the company of like-minded individuals of her age:

“The Royal Canadian Army Cadets appeal to teenagers craving exciting outdoor activities where their personal limits as individuals and team-members will be tested. The hardcore outdoor-oriented will love the challenge!

Army cadets develop abilities in the use of map and compass, GPS technology, orienteering, first-aid, camping and survival skills, canoeing, abseiling, trekking, mountain biking, etc. As they get more experienced, some will be selected for parachuting, white-water rafting and glacier climbing. They will also learn to become outdoor leaders.

Army Cadets get involved in ceremonial military events and citizenship activities that allow them to connect to their Canadian heritage. They develop a great sense of pride and discipline through their involvement in a hierarchical system that allows them to hone their leadership skills as they grow older and they learn to care for younger cadets.

In addition to their specialty training, Army Cadets may become involved in other exciting activities like competitive Olympic-style marksmanship and biathlon, sports competitions, music training and competitions, cultural outings, volunteer community support, etc.

Canada represents the best playground for teenagers interested in the outdoors. We are the organization of choice for teens and adults interested in getting out of the classroom to explore the planet the way it should be.

Every year, some of our top cadets get a chance to participate in high-level expeditions around the globe. Our destinations in the past few years included Morocco, Australia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Italy, Mont-Blanc, the France/Spain Pyrenees, New Zealand, the Canadian Rockies, the Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Whatever the destination, cadets will find the ultimate challenge awaiting them!” (Royal Canadian Army Cadets)

Joining the Royal Canadian Army Cadets and all of the many 2, 3 and 4-day expeditions and organized sports and outdoor activities and survival courses throughout the year are all-inclusive and totally free. In the summer, the cadets can go on a two-week camping trip in the mountains, not only for free, but they will get paid around $60 per week! The best cadets are chosen each year for inter-provincial or international exchange trips. Maya can’t wait!

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Another exciting news is that Ivo has just been hired as a long-distance truck driver! He will be driving one of those big Freightliners with 52-foot trailer all over Canada and USA, and his family members are welcome to join any time! It’s different way of travelling, less tropical, I agree, but there are sequoia forests, volcanoes, caves and canyons to be explored in the vast American continent. A couple of exciting destinations we are now looking forward to is the ice roads of Yukon and Alaska. In early spring (March and April, we just missed it this year), before the ice starts melting, Ivo might get a load for the Canadian far North or Alaska. When this happens, I will join him with all my video and photo equipment. Not sure if the kids will want to come…

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In the meantime, I will be working from home on my writing and travel videos, helping Maya with school and Vik with college, as well as working on a couple of new photo and film projects. I have also organized an initiative to collect clothing and household and send them to friends in Vanuatu, and hopefully Tonga and Fiji in the near future, with the support of our Patrons. More details will be posted on our The Life Nomadik Patreon Page

And whenever possible, the kids and I will be joining Ivo with the truck across Canada and USA. (Thinking of names for the truck right now; “The Beast” is one option, based on Taika Waititi’s film What We Do In The Shadows, or “Tessy” -not exactly Tesla but pretty close…)

Stay tuned for exciting updates from the Nomadik Family in Canada, on wheels- BIG WHEELS!

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