May 16: Our last evening in Nova Scotia

I had always imagined spending our last night on the beach near home, on the Eastern Shore. The air here smells delicious. The sea breeze is so clean and fresh; every deep inhale reminds me of how lucky we are to call Nova Scotia home.

The day is packed full of last-minute errands, crossing off things on my list in anticipation of parking in Seaforth Cove and relaxing around the campfire. We get there just before the sun sets. Read More

In a way I’m glad we’ve had the craziest winter ever. I won’t miss it next year when I’m sun-soaked on a beach somewhere and everything here is covered in cold wet mud, snow, and ice. At least that’s what I’m telling myself ;)

So far… We’ve been injected with every type of vaccination imaginable and are still alive and well. Our portable 100w solar panel has arrived and looks promising, charging well in full shade. Stefan borrowed a friend’s garage bay last Saturday and was able to remove the truck’s bumper and install the heavy-duty bush bumper (with the help of 3 guys!) which will hold our spare tire with an interchangeable mount for a winch. Read More

Winters in Nova Scotia are usually mild and fresh; as quickly as the snow falls it melts. But this year has been consistently the coldest winter I remember since I moved here in 1994. It’s turned me into a hermit, preferring the coziness of my sunny home, bundled up in slippers and sweaters, over layering on long john’s and toques. Finally I had enough of popping Vitamin D3s in lieu of the real thing and ventured out to visit my friend, Ocean. Read More

For the first time ever this year we opted to fly instead of drive to visit family for Christmas. Amidst ice storms and dozens of cancelled or delayed flights, we somehow got lucky with only a short delay. I was so glad I packed my watercolour book and Derwent Inktense pencils to pass the time. In the airport lounge we were amused by two little kids, Olivia and Jack, as they goofed around. They moved way to quickly to sketch, so I drew Jack’s luggage horsy with his jacket propped over the handle instead. On the turbulent plane ride to Toronto, I was captivated by an elderly lady absorbed in her crosswords puzzles. Read More

I’m starting something new just for me, My Illustrated Life, a visual journal that will become full of all the inspiring/beautiful/creative/insightful/fun things that I want to remember. I hope to finish this first chapter by next spring, when I plan to start My Illustrated Journey, The Painted Road Project. Read More

Browsing through photos, I realized my hands feel so cold lately because my skin has barely seen the sun in weeks. It was a very short summer in Lawrencetown. My thoughts wander off to how it will feel to be warm more days than cold next year. Until then, I’ll enjoy the fresh salty air through the open doors and windows, bundled up in my hoody and slippers while I work. I refuse to put the heat on in September. This photo gives me warmth though, taken a few weeks ago looking west from the top of Lawrencetown point.

~ xo DS

I love my mom and dad so much. I spend 51 weeks of the year missing them. They live in Northern Ontario, while we live in Nova Scotia, about 1900 km apart. So when the idea sparked that they might be visiting this summer (instead of the usual Christmas get-together at my sister’s home in Wakefield, Quebec) the daydreamer in me went into overdrive. They had never been to Cape Breton, and I was set on somehow making the stars align so I could take them around the Cabot Trail in the camper we would be living in next year. Of course at that point we had yet to find the camper or the truck, despite a solid year of searching.

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One of the most exciting parts of planning such a huge road-trip is deciding where you will live. Stefan and I became happily obsessed with looking at all kinds of different possibilities. This part has literally taken years! Yet it never became boring. We searched high and low on Kijiji, Craigslist, eBay, auto trader, and even

Camper Choices_72dpi14%22

We toyed with the idea of converting a Mercedes-Benz Vario, a bus, a Sprinter like Jimmy Buffett’s (green, far right), buying a pricey Sportsmobile and reselling it upon our return (apparently they hold their value and only lose 5% per year), finding a hard-to-find VW 4×4 Syncro, or a truck camper.

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By the time April 2014 rolls around, it will have been just over 6 years. A year late, but then all good things take time.

Daina and Stefan, Wakefield 2008

On March 17, 2008 a TV show would premier across Canada that would inspire my husband, Stefan, and I to plan our lives towards making a wild dream come to fruition. Monday nights we would make sure we were home and settled by 8pm, when Departures would feed our senses with the most beautiful cinematography, enchanting music, culture, and comical antics. This travel series was about the journey, not the destination. And each episode was a true art/life experience, told through the eyes of 3 best friends: the ever-entertaining Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach as hosts, and award-winning cameraman, Andre Dupuis.

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Somehow we were both on the same page right from the beginning. We wanted to go on a road-trip.

Road at sunset, Blog_72dpi16%22

Some couples would be horrified at the idea of being contained in a tiny space with their mate for such a long time, but the thought never occurred to us. Maybe it’s because as soon as we hit the road, a few times each year to visit family in Quebec and Ontario, our bodies relax, minds de-stress, and a lightness of being transcends; a playful camaraderie in which we find ourselves chatting easily, sharing stories and thoughts and dreams, often rolling along in quietude, sometimes being entertained by CBC radio documentaries.

The “HOW” part would unfold as time passed. For now, we were just far too excited on dreaming about the “WHERE” and “IN WHAT” parts of our plans…

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