Last Monday, I found myself at the front of a convoy of vehicles travelling to Squamish. I was driving my friends’ truck filled with furniture, a few boxes, and my bedding and linens. She and her daughter (my “niece”) were behind me, driving my car filled with kitchen supplies and my clothes. My dad was at the back, driving his truck filled with more furniture. We were all heading up the same highway, en route to catch the same ferry that would take us to the same place: my new home.
It was the first day of spring, and the weather truly was on our side. With a week of solid rain behind us and another full week of it ahead, we were gifted a 24-hour pass to clear(ish) skies. The drive up to the ferry terminal was easy, with no traffic or construction or other bumps in the road. Our sail over was smooth; the waters calm. All three vehicles arrived at my place within seconds of one another. And not even 45 minutes after parking, every last item was unloaded from them.
When we were done, my dad turned around and made his way back home, while my friend brought in a bag of “sleepover stuff,” as I called it when I was my niece’s age. With the rain still holding off, we decided to lock up the mess and go explore outside. We drove up to Whistler, where there was still snow on the trails. It was compact and felt more like ice beneath our feet, serving as a reminder that winter had only retreated one day before. The sun desperately tried to come out from behind the clouds. It was warm. We played every song my niece requested on the drive back, and sang our hearts out.
That night, we emptied the contents of all my boxes and put almost everything away. My niece then cut holes out of one and turned it into a house for her stuffed animals to live in. We ate pizza on the floor, played cards, painted nails, and laughed at things only girls can laugh at. And in the place where a couch should be, we setup my tent and they camped on my living room floor. We woke up to discover the rain had started sometime overnight. After filling our bellies with a delicious breakfast at The Crabapple Cafe, the girls returned home. It was the perfect beginning to my story here.
It’s only been a week but I have already started to get comfortable in my new home. I’ve moved furniture to places that felt more like where it should be, and done the same with certain appliances and dishes in my kitchen. I’ve bought groceries, done some batch cooking and eaten healthier than I have all month. I’ve explored some of the trails around my building, gone back to some of my old faves, and started a bucket list of places to check out this year. And I’m learning the sounds of the area, including which hours the trains go by (which seems to be more frequently on weekends than weekdays).
I’m comfortable here, but my home is still a work in progress. I didn’t bring a few key pieces of furniture with me (couch, coffee table, desk). Without those in place, I don’t want to hang anything on the walls yet. There’s a lot of white and black and stainless steel. My friends and I have been jokingly calling it “50 Shades of Squamish,” but not for the imagery that might otherwise come to mind. It’s a beautiful space, but it’s missing those key pieces and the colour that makes a house a home.
When I first announced this move, I got a number of requests to share pictures of my new home after I settled in. For a minute, I considered it. I shared some pictures after I decluttered in 2014, and I can understand how seeing someone’s progress can be inspiring. But if you read the post about why I sometimes hate calling myself a minimalist, you know I’m now acutely aware of my privilege. Couple that with all the lessons I learned from the shopping ban, and I’m also committed to never selling you a picture perfect lifestyle (and especially not naming products).
I will fully admit that I have struggled to find compassion for the interior design industry, since doing the shopping ban. I hate that we are constantly being marketed to and sold on the idea that our homes must look a certain way. Personally, I have had it all. I bought all brand new, matching furniture and decor when I was 23. But I later realized I had done that for all the wrong reasons, thinking it would somehow make it seem like I had achieved a certain level of success (or reached adulthood). I had not. All I had done was purchase brand new, matching furniture and decor.
Since doing the shopping ban, I have learned it’s fine to want your home to be comfortable and to feel like “you”. But it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks when they see it. It doesn’t matter what my home looks like or what your home looks like. It doesn’t matter what “decorating style” we are, what colours we are most drawn to or where we bought everything. And it certainly doesn’t matter if it all matches. All that matters is that we use it. Because at the end of the day, your home doesn’t need to be ready to have its picture taken. Its sole purpose is to provide shelter.
So, I’m not going to share pictures of my new home. If you want to see what my life in Squamish looks like, I’ll continue to share pictures of the outdoors on Instagram. And if you’re really curious, you can go back to my old post and just imagine the same furniture against different white walls. But here is what I will share: stories about what happens in this home. The friends who come to visit. The things we do. The memories we make. And the adventures we go on, when we walk out and lock the door behind us. That is what life is all about.