Moving made easier with a little help from my cohousing neighbours

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It takes a village to move Scott and Becky to Nova Scotia. 

Not really, but having a village has made the process of moving a whole lot easier and has added a lot of joy to our lives.

We talked about moving to Nova Scotia for years. When we moved to California, we decided that when we moved back to Canada, it would be to Nova Scotia. Ever since my first visit to Peggy’s Cove, the province has been calling me.

Last year, we came to Nova Scotia on vacation primarily to figure out where in Nova Scotia we were going to live. One of the things that I personally was most concerned about was leaving my friends in California. The first year or two in California was a challenge, because we really didn’t know a lot of people. Trying to find a home in a new place when you don’t know anyone is really hard. It takes a lot of effort to meet new people. It takes a lot of time to “find your tribe,” to develop a sense of belonging, to feel at home.

Fortunately, Scott had been following cohousing Canada and discovered that the Bridgewater Cohousing had made a big step forward. They rebranded as Treehouse Village Ecohousing and started taking equity members. They had a great way to try out the community to see if we were a fit – a small fee allowed us to join the community, and immediately we felt right at home.

At first we met Cate, Leon, and Dylan. They welcomed us to their home following a hurricane that knocked out power to a lot of Nova Scotia. Our AirBnB had no power and we had no way to make coffee or breakfast or anything. We certainly missed having our adventure van as a backup power source!

We really enjoyed their company and could visualize ourselves sharing coffee in the morning or a beverage after dinner.

Fast forward a month and we were all in. We joined equity and committed to this wonderful community – we were going to be building a village in Bridgewater Nova Scotia – at the heart of Nova Scotia’s South Shore.

We had planned on moving in June 2020, but then Covid hit. We decided to delay our move for a year. Then things got worse. I did not have a good feeling about where things were headed. On July 3rd – while hiking up Mount Umunhum – we decided that it was time for us to pack up and head back to Canada.

Our move was a logistical challenge. We kept wondering what phase we were in. Let’s see:

  1. List house in California.
  2. Pack house in California, into U-Haul U-Box shipping crates.
  3. Ship stuff to Bangor, Maine.
  4. Arrange to ship our electric car to Bangor, Maine.
  5. Reserve an AirBnB in Maine while we waited for our stuff to arrive.
  6. Drive our adventure van from California to Maine (7 days).
  7. Get COVID tests somewhere before we arrive in Maine (no more than 72 hours prior to arrival). We did this in Connecticut on our way through.
  8. Wait in Maine for our stuff to arrive.
  9. Pick up our car at an alpaca farm.
  10. Move all our stuff from the U-Box containers into a U-Haul truck, which also would tow a trailer with the car.
  11. Drive to the town at the border and sleep for the night.
  12. Get up and head to the border, first stopping at US export control to officially export our car and van.
  13. Go through Canadian customs importing our car and van, as well as all of our worldly possessions – which were catalogued while packing.
  14. Drive to our quarantine location in Nova Scotia.
  15. Wait 14 days.
  16. Drive to a Pods facility to unload our stuff from the U-Haul and load it into Pods for storage.
  17. Return the U-Haul and rent an AirBnB.
  18. Find a place to live before winter sets in.

All this while also working – good thing we can both work remotely. Thankfully, the week in Maine and two weeks in quarantine allowed us to catch up on at least some of the work we were missing while driving.

When we arrived in Nova Scotia, we were immediately welcomed by our new village – the members of Treehouse Village. We spent our quarantine in a lovely cottage on the shores of Lochaber Lake – where we could swim each day. This lovely location was the home of one of the members of our Treehouse family, Katherine. We had been working together over the last year on various Treehouse-related projects. It was such a delight to meet Katherine in person. Her cottage has been dubbed “the common house” – where guests can stay and there is a shared kitchen and various places to work – you can be alone with your thoughts or together sharing conversation or an evening beverage. It is a great space to be in quarantine and still have a sense of community. What a lovely welcome to Nova Scotia!

Then we headed to the Pods location where other members of our Treehouse family helped with unloading the U-Haul and loading up the Pod (thanks David and Emma). Finally out of isolation, we were able to enjoy some social time with other members of our Treehouse family. It was so fun seeing the kids for the first time and also having other random conversations. It confirmed that we had found our village. We felt at home.

Each time we meet a new member on Zoom and then in person we are reminded just how lovely it is to be part of a community. Everyone has been so welcoming. We enjoy serious conversations and share some laughs.

Treehouse Village has welcomed us to Nova Scotia. The physical houses aren’t built yet, but the community has a pretty solid foundation. We are so privileged and overjoyed to be here and to be welcomed to our new home in Nova Scotia.

Will you join us?

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