Long before I became a nomad, I lived an immensely stable life in a quiet cul-de-sac in northwest Calgary. My mother stayed home with us while we were growing up (something I will be eternally thankful and proud of her for), and many of my early memories simply revolved around waiting with my sisters near the front window for my dad to come home from work, on his bike, always promptly at 4:30 pm. My mom would always have dinner waiting, it was always made from scratch, and life was pretty good.
I lived in the same house for 21 years, and then my youngest sister and I moved out together into an awesome little rental suite. Things were still stable; we only moved a mere seven blocks away from ‘home’, and the fact that my sister was my roommate lent a comforting sense of continuity to the whole experience. Marty and I later lived in that same rental suite together, until July 2004, when the first seeds of nomad-ism began to take root.
Earlier on, I had had the ‘brilliant’ idea to apply for grad school, and I eventually was accepted to study at Concordia University in Montreal. (And since people seem to look so crestfallen when I say ‘Concordia’ and not ‘McGill’, I’ll say here that I could have studied at McGill—I was accepted and everything—but the über-crappy and laughably unprofessional folding job of my acceptance letter turned me against it. For real. It looked more like the beginning of a paper airplane than a regular tri-fold letter. Just saying.) Anyway, come the end of June, Marty and I prepared for a trek to Alaska and readied our belongings for Montreal.
For me, a nomadic lifestyle didn’t unfold slowly and gently like a new spring blossom. No, once those first seeds of wandering had been planted, they raged like a weed inside me—large, stubborn, and resilient. Six weeks were spent exploring the rugged terrain of Alaska, then after a week to regroup in Calgary, we were off to Montreal. Montreal, alas, didn’t agree with either of us, so very quickly we hit the road back to Calgary and haphazardly arranged for me to study at the U of C instead. It was there, in our rush to find an apartment before I started school (um, in a day!), that the seeds of the nomadic lifestyle were to rage out of control, unchecked, for 2 full years…
Let me introduce now what I hope will become a regular segment in the ex-nomad blog: I’d like to call it You Can’t Make This Shit Up.
Yes, this is our old apartment. There were two main staircases in the building, and both of them were crammed underneath with crap like this.
And I wonder why I hit the ground running…