/ @thenomadbelle adventure + lifestyle + short-ish stories. /
ADVENTURE + LIFESTYLE + short-ish stories
Moving to and from Muskoka has always been an adventure. Between each Muskoka chapter lives experiences taking place all over the map. From The Great Redwood Forest in Northern California – with the largest and most beautiful trees!!! – To the sunrises and sunsets across the ocean meanwhile living months upon a Disney Cruise ship. The magic that is travel is simply undeniable once you see it, feel it, experience it for yourself. The magic that is Muskoka, is just as undeniable. That is why I am forever grateful to call Muskoka HOME.
MUSKOKA CHAPTER 001.
Growing up as a child climbing Muskoka’s trees, swimming and boating across Muskoka’s lakes, meeting friends with similar outdoor interests: bonfires, hearing the birds, making shapes out of clouds, climbing… everything, paying attention to the lines in the rocks and proceeding to nerd out by reading books about what minerals were in them and/or how old they were meanwhile simultaneously wondering how many other people grew up walking along there before you? Even as that child, it did not matter what my postal code was, I was counting down until summers in Muskoka. Canoeing at camp was home. Counting shooting starts during the August meteor showers was home.
It was my final summer as a teenager that I was offered to move up full-time. Never have I ever packed a suitcase so quickly. Muskoka Chapter 001. created a lot of days on Georgian Bay. Driving boats passed Beausoleil Island, cliff jumping *safely, I promise* during sunset, kayaking out just far enough to catch the sunrise, and laying on docks looking up to count passing satellites.
University called. College called. Travel called. I left Muskoka to answer each call. I had to know what they had to say. Meanwhile, many others my age were continuing on their paths laid out to them via school. My mind was still on Muskoka. Most would ask: Why move there? Many would scoff: I just don’t know how you can do that. Was my favourite question many would ask was: Is there even a mall there?
Time and time again spring came – although never soon enough. From the passender seat, I would catch my annual and very blurry and low-quality photo as I passed our beautiful Welcome to Muskoka sign.
For years of my life, including my late teens and twenties, I dedicated myself to observe – learning the area, learning the values, the routines, the culture, and just how I could equally enjoy and support such an incredible area. At some point though, the recession hit. And that we all know about.
Many businesses closed. It was a devastating time for businesses all over Muskoka and beyond. I had worked my way up from a starter/introductory position, to working in the corporate department. I was still so young… But I did it!! And then one day… without warning… my job was gone. In fact the entire company was gone. We were given no chance to go back. No chance to say goodbye to the business, nor one another. The company I had worked for, and poured my everything into, went into receivership. I was SO lost. Our entire team was so lost. As the youngest member of the management team, yes I’d dedicated years, but my seniors had dedicated decades upon decades of their lives to also simultaneously enjoy and supporting Muskoka.
I didn’t know exactly when I would be back. But I knew that I would. At this point in my life, The Mountains were calling me… and I answered. From that I got to live Mountains Chapter 001. (But that’s for a different blog post.)
MUSKOKA CHAPTER 002.
Back from the mountains -> Back to college for something new -> Back to Muskoka for my Muskoka Chapter 002.
This time I wanted to think bigger. At this point I had worked for two major companies: Disney and Fairmont. Both of which trained me in ways that taught me skills that are still so incredibly invaluable. The etiquette, the standards, the expectations for going the extra mile, the list goes on and on. It truly isn’t a secret why these companies are so successful; because it lies beneath how much they invest into their teams. But, those adventures are also for another blog post.
I definitely feared getting back into any of industries that would make me worry about whether or not they would be affected should there be another recession. However, I followed my gut feeling that my journey in that current industry was not yet over.
Much like my first Muskoka chapter, I started at the bottom, I worked my (may I say the word ass in my own blog?) I worked my ass off. But after years of hoping, it just did not end up being my everything, or even half of my everything, not for me. My daily routine got to the point where it felt like I was living a day-to-day life that someone else was supposed to be living. I felt like I was playing a role that someone else was supposed to be playing. I began to feel the effects of imposter syndrome, burn out, working too much, and both myself and those closest to me paid the price of me not prioritizing my own self-care.
Somewhere, somehow, that fire inside of me fizzled out. I got so frustrated with my mid-twenties self: Why isn’t this working?! I’d ask myself. I’m doing everything right!! I have a partner that loves me so much!! I live in a beautiful and safe log cabin in the woods!! My job is secure and pays my bills!! My second back-up job is working to save up to buy a home!! I’d yell inwards at myself that I should be celebrating because I got everything I wanted. The cherry on top? I lived full-time and year-round in Muskoka!!
At this point in this chapter, I’ll provide the context that I was now in my late 20s. I was not married. I still did not own my own home. I was simply working and working, and searching and searching for… Something.
Spoiler Alert! That perhaps we can only learn as we age, it turns out the “thing” I was “searching for” was no physical place, nor was it another person that could be found anywhere between the travels of California… British Columbia… The Maritimes… or even down in Florida… But rather, I was searching for ME.
And let me tell you, I didn’t have a choice but to go on that adventure. But it’s ended up being a damn beautiful one.
MUSKOKA CHAPTER 003.
Somewhere between the last chapter and this, I was off experiencing Mountains Chapter 002.
With that being mentioned, welcome to the final and current chapter.
My Mom. My Dad. My Nan. My Papa. My Sisters. My Brother-In-Law. My Niece/GodDaughter… They all live and love within Muskoka; they all have for quite some time now. This means, some serious dreams have come true, people.
Now let’s update where we are in the timeline. We are now in the year 2020. But. We are Pre-March 2020.
I received a text message from a number that wasn’t saved in my phone. It read: Are you currently looking for a job? I replied back with: Truthfully, No. But depending on who this is… Maybe?
Getting back in touch with me was the same person that offered me my very first full-time job in Muskoka back when I was a teenager. It was year-round, it was a mix of everything I had educated myself on within the past decade, it was salary, it had benefits, the fit was justttt right. My initial reply of: Truthfully, No. Turned into: Let’s talk dollars and cents.
Within months, Google Maps was routing me and my boxes back home again. Then within just weeks of that, it was March 2020. Boo.
By May 2020 we were closed. My new job. My new team. My certainty. My security was once again obsolete. I had two options at this point: 1) Crumble crumble crumble again – or – 2) Build something out of the downtime that I now had. The downtime that I had never had.
I can’t say for sure what day, or month, or season it was… But something inside of me opened up my laptop, and looked into my file archives. I dove back into all of the wayyyy too many business ideas I had come up with over the years. I then silently got to work. At first, reaching out for no one else’s opinion nor approval; none other than my own. This was something I had to allow myself to stay true to. I had to lone-focus on starting what I wanted to build.
Fast forward to today, Nomad Belles Media Co. supports many incredible clients; and those incredible clients also support me.
When I choose to look back and explore via short glimpses, I find I can make sense of a lot. Because for some, entrepreneur life is just meant to be.
Thank you so much for reading this first blog post of The Nomad Belle titled: The Many Muskoka Chapters.
I want to send a huge thank you outwardly to anyone and everyone that has ever supported/created many Muskoka moments and memories up until now.
Follow along for the next travel journal titled: Somewhere in Nova Scotia. Featuring the multiple times I explored my way out to Nova Scotia… Simply because my entire being said I had to.
Safe Travels xo
The Nomad Belle
/ @thenomadbelle adventure + lifestyle + short-ish stories. /
SOMEWHERE IN NOVA SCOTIA.
ADVENTURE + LIFESTYLE + short-ish stories.
The East Coast of Canada has always intrigued me. Mainly the question of: *Are there really adorable lighthouses stationed all along the side of my country? Or was that just in the movies?* Spoiler Alert: There are!
EAST COAST CHAPTER 001.
It was my final reading week of my final year of post-secondary education. So. Close. To. Successful. Completion. I was itching to study somewhere other than my local coffee shop, library, or dining room table. I wanted to be motivated by a change of scenery. I needed buildings and views that I had not seen yet – but – still allowed me to be productive. With The East Coast being next up on the list of places to travel within the country… The East Coast it was.
The choice to travel solo allowed me to focus on myself, my studies, and to hear my intuition tell me what my plans should be for post… post-secondary.
I studied while travelling.
I studied on a coach bus.
I studied in airports.
I studied in the back seat of a car.
I then took a break from studying to frolic around the base of my first ever lighthouse while being splashed by the ocean. Magical.
I studied in new coffee shops.
I studied in new libraries.
And I studied the final evening before exams in front of a wood burning fireplace. It was lovely and still productive.
This trip duration was less than one week.
This trip was just enough time to be refreshed and remotivated to finish out that last leg of school.
Thank you, Nova Scotia.
EAST COAST CHAPTER 002.
This chapter happened because everything within my being told me to get into the car and go. This chapter includes my first steps to getting back up after reaching my personal lowest point within my twenties. (Which I now know that, even though they all look different, everyone has their own personal lowest point of their twenties.)
Travel morning included a moving truck to empty my home. It was the end of a chapter, within a life storybook, whose time to be shelved had unfortunately but necessarily come.
Travel afternoon earned me my first ever speeding ticket. With one suitcase, one pup, and me, we started East.
Travel evening was spent beside a campfire, with the pup, while eating grocery store deli items.
Travel evening was really good.
For anyone that has travelled to the ocean, any ocean, they would surely agree that it is a healing place to be. It is a vast expanse of water that doesn’t judge if you need to add all of your salty tears to its own salt water inventory.
During the roadtrip, at different times, in different places, multiple different friends met up with me. Most notably would be the friend who let me be alone for as long as I needed to be, standing cliffside, as I delivered the built up sounds and salt (venting and tears) off the country’s edge. I choose to leave it all there. Highly recommend. I sometimes wonder if it would be healthy (or not) to go back there, to that exact spot, and celebrate the accomplishments since then. (May recommend; but will report back if or when I do return.)
Bedtime on the Bay of Fundy was one of my favourite travel experiences to date. In true nomad fashion, my friend and I did not make a concrete plan as to where we would set up camp; but we did have some criteria: We wanted a campsite that was monitored. We wanted to be around other people; but not to the point where it ruined the natural atmosphere. With this wishlist, and being open to moving further away from cities, 9/10 times you’ll find what you desire without booking ahead. Admittedly there are 1/10 times you can’t find this… but… I often cash those in for nice hotel rest nights with nice showers and no setup or cleanup.
When road tripping as an adult, you too find yourself getting bored sometimes. The classic feeling of “are we there yet?” can be present, but without knowing the answer. In addition to the above wishlist, we were committed to driving along The Bay of Fundy until we found a beach where the tide was low enough that the pup could run as far and fast as she wanted to, without needing to be held back by me who definitely cannot run as fast. We drove. We searched. And as the sun began to set, we found a small lighthouse where cars and tents were lined up along a sandbar. Success!
As a first-timer to The Bay of Fundy, it was confusing, because the distance between the tents and the ocean was multiple kilometres. For perspective, we were far enough away that we couldn’t even hear the waves crashing. We pulled in and went with it. We asked if dogs were allowed: Yes. We asked if there was space for us: Yes. We asked if the tide would come closer at some point and the attendant laughed AT us with a: Yes – Don’t you worry about that.
Low Tide allowed us to walk where the ocean had been not very long ago. We walked over pieces of wet seaweed laying sideways and flat on the ground, the most beautiful seashells, the smoothest stones, and all around us were so many other dogs running along the dried up ocean floor. It seemed they were all just as happy as one another to be out of their roadtripping cars and out stretching those legs. For my fellow dog lovers, it was beautiful.
Back up to the sandbar where all of the tents were, other travellers began lighting small bonfires. Small enough to keep the light pollution down so we could all still see the constellations and shooting stars – of course.
Over the passing hours, we laid down on blankets and listened to the ocean waves get closer and closer. We wanted to stay up until the tide fully came in, but after a long day of travel, we quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. We called it a night and into our tents to sleep we went.
Fast forward to about 3AM where we were awoken to multiple doggos barking for their lives from within their tents. What. Was. Going. On?! We opened our tent zipper door to take one single step out, ending up in the literal ocean. Wet. Sock. Feet. Right. Outside. The. Door. WOW. (It was at this moment we knew why the staff member checking us in laughed at us when we inquired about whether or not the tide would come closer.) We slid the ocean-sprayed tent backwards, changed socks, thanked the pup for alerting us that we were about to get gobbled up by the ocean, and went back to sleep until the morning where we could all laugh off such a wildly unique experience.
EAST COAST 003.
This chapter has yet to be written.
This chapter comes as soon as it is safe to travel again.
This chapter will include completing the stunning Cabot Trail circling Cape Breton Island.
Stay tuned! Because the content gathered from this one is going to be reallyyy good.
Thank you so much for reading this next blog post of The Nomad Belle titled: Somewhere in Nova Scotia.
This certainly was a heavier blog in spots. But a peek into another’s messy moment(s) will often share the lesson that you are not alone – even with your own unique mess(es).
Follow along for the next travel journal titled: Panorama, British Columbia. Featuring the time I lived ON A MOUNTAIN, above the clouds, and skipped mowing the lawn so the momma and her baby bears could come over to eat our fresh dandelions!
Safe Travels xo
The Nomad Belle
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