Daring to Jump!
How crazy times can call for crazy measures
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” —Corrie Ten Boom
So many have asked us what drove us to make the extreme decisions we did in the last 6 months. Hmm…how do you put into words so many thoughts & feelings, & piece together memories from events that happened over the course of a year...?!
I’ll do my best...
Last summer we knew things were getting worse in Canada & that we’d probably need to make a plan...
Should we go to the boonies & try to be self-sufficient?…or escape to another country where we could live more freely? We didn’t want to just keep waiting to see what the next thing to be taken away from us would be. The pressure was on...& time seemed to be running out...
We went off-grid for a week in August, canoeing & camping with family on beautiful Myrtle Lake in Wells Gray Park. On our way home, I checked my emails. Sure enough, I’d be losing my job as a nurse come October, for my choice of “non-compliance.” I’d been close to getting the jab back in January, when it was first offered...but with a little more digging about the possible long-term impacts, & realizing my risks were less than 0.3% to die of covid at my age, I decided against it. I completely respected everyone else’s right to choose, & felt we should all have that right, based on weighing the risks versus benefits, & making our own informed decision.
Back at work as an LPN, many of my coworkers & I were getting more & more stressed. We talked about it all the time. “Over my dead body will I ever get that thing!” one young woman said (as she had many questions about its long-term safety), but a few weeks later, with the pressure of losing her job increasing by the day, she did. I talked with & listened to several who were very upset & incredibly concerned, some in tears over it...& most felt that they’d been backed into a corner, left without a choice. What had started out as dozens of us saying we wouldn’t be coerced, ended up being just a few of us in the end. It was so hard to watch as friends who desperately wanted to keep their job were being practically forced & essentially now losing their right to bodily autonomy. How else would they pay their bills, feed their kids, & keep their homes?!
Going to work was becoming harder & harder, as I felt my heart racing & head spinning while there. I’d always enjoyed my job caring for the elderly & being around all my coworkers, but the increased stress & pressure was becoming almost unbearable.
Life as a whole felt somewhat suffocating. Telling our girls almost daily why we couldn’t do normal things anymore—like going to the pool, signing up for dance or skating (where we’d need to be there to watch them), going out to eat, or to a movie. We began to wonder if our friends & family would be losing their jobs soon too...& heard of many who were under the same pressures as me. We’d also been told that travel restrictions would take effect by the end of October, and that we’d be unable to leave the country soon.
Tom had been researching Mexico, & how many Canadians were going there in search of more freedom. He’d been in touch with a guy from New Zealand, now in Playa del Carmen, who’d told him how much freedom he & many others were enjoying there.
We had spent an amazing 7 weeks in Central America before having our girls, & had even been learning Spanish from Canada before & after that trip. Some via Skype lessons with instructors in Antigua, & also doing other lessons on the side. We’d slacked off in the last few years, but could still remember the basics.
One night in late September after an evening shift, I was lying in bed, desperate for answers. “God, I need a sign. If you want us to go to Mexico, show me!”
The next morning, after the usual mad-rush from 6:30-8:25, I hugged my older girls goodbye at their school, & then our youngest at her preschool. I had a few errands to run for the next couple hours, before getting her again. As I stood looking at supplements in the aisle of the local health food store, a kind woman working there (who I’d talked to briefly a few weeks before) approached me.
“How’s it going with your job...?” she asked, looking concerned.
“Not great...I just have a week left now,” I answered sadly.
We chatted about how things in our country were going...then she said, “What are you guys going to do..?”
I said I didn’t really know, besides probably making a few lifestyle changes to reflect our lower income.
Her eyes lit up, as she replied, “You know, I have friends who sold everything & are really happy in Mexico.”
I don’t even remember my reply. I paid & went to my car, where I pulled out my phone, pondering what had just happened. Opening Facebook, I saw a memory had popped up:
“9 years ago today: Packing up & leaving for Central America for our big adventure in just 6 days 😊”
It was so simple, but for me, it was earth-shaking. My head was spinning, but I was getting pretty excited.
When I arrived home, I went down to Tom’s office, looked him in the eyes, & told him, “WE NEED TO GO...to Mexico!” He looked at me in shock. I hadn’t been this convinced of anything so life-changing in ages. At this point he’d been somewhat frozen with fear...seeing what was coming in Canada, but unsure about taking his wife & young girls to a developing country, known for its drug cartels.
Finally he said, “You’re right...we do need to go.” He told me later he’d wanted this to be my decision too, & felt a weight had lifted for him right then.
My last shift came & went on October 5th. I came home at 11pm & grabbed my journal. What a mix of emotions...was this really happening..?? Would I ever work as a nurse again..?!
I prayed for direction & peace. Then I randomly flipped back in my journal...it opened to a page from over a year ago: “Tom & I are dreaming about how we want to take our girls around the world, starting in Latin America...” That’s right. We’d wanted to do this. We HAD to go, before we’d no longer even have the option to leave Canada.
Tom told his boss at the forestry company where he was working that he’d be going to Mexico for several months. But, even though he worked from home in accounting, their policies didn’t allow him to work from outside of Canada. We weren’t about to change our minds now. We were going.
The next few weeks were a blur of selling multiple items each day, purging & donating van-fulls of toys, clothes, books...selling our car, listing our house & selling it that week, organizing, packing, cleaning, & squeezing in a few visits. So many things came together at the last minute—like getting the girls’ passports & buying our tickets.
Tom’s parents came for the last week & were an enormous blessing, helping us pack & clean & load the moving van. Tom’s sister & her fiancé helped us too, & took lots of stuff to store for us. My parents generously offered to store our furniture & piles of boxes.
Through this whole crazy journey, Tom & I kept saying to each other, “Can this really be happening?!” “What if this doesn’t work out like we’re planning..?”But we kept going back to God for answers, & we both had peace. The more we heard was happening in our once-free country & in many others around the globe, the more convinced were.
“I Won’t Back Down” became one of our theme songs during that time. Things all felt pretty surreal—what a whirlwind of events! We almost had to pinch ourselves when we were actually flying from cold Vancouver...& landing a few hours later in hot & humid Cancún!
As we look back now, we’re so grateful we made those hard decisions. We laugh as we think about how crazy it all felt & still feels sometimes, that we’re actually doing this. One of the best parts is being able to give our girls such amazing & diverse experiences that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” —Anatole France