Home Sweet Home

Growing up and living in the same house for the first 21 years of my life, I have a pretty solid sense of roots. I know what Home feels like and I can’t wait for Marty and I to have our own place to call Home one day. (The four apartments we have rented together since I first moved out on my own have always felt temporary and transitional. Sure, we might call each other on the phone and mindlessly say “I’m at home now”, but we never say it with that all-important Capital ‘H’. Home is definitely in a different category than home.)

I’ve always dreamed big when it comes to Our Future Home. I am definitely not the type of person who wants to buy whatever small, suburban condo she can *maybe* afford just to get a foot into the housing market. Baby steps and ridiculous real estate prices aside, it just doesn’t feel worth it to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a place that doesn’t absolutely light me up with passion. In other words, I don’t want to assume an ultra-heavy mortgage load just to turn my key in the lock every night and go ‘meh’. Nope. That doesn’t do it for me. I want something like this:

The eternally cramp-inducing home of my crafty friend-- sleeping in our tent outside was the closest we've come so far to owning a home as gorgeous as this! ;)

I need something in our Home to function like the warm and life-affirming sun to the revolving acts of our everyday lives. It has to be celestial and dreamy– something that literally sustains us and lights up our passions!

This home (whose listing was captured in this blurry photograph through glass) occupied my daily fantasies for at least a solid year. Castle in the Forest? YES! (Who needs porn when you've got real estate listings?) *WANTS!!*

Equally blurry photo of the same house (same listing, same reflection in the glass!), viewed from the other side. *WANTS!!*

Marty and I have a pretty extensive list of features we are looking for in Our Future Home. Some of these—like right-on-the-waterfront property—are negotiable, twist my arm, but others—like some sort of land or yard—are not. (No high-rises or penthouse suites for us!) We often flip through these dreamy real estate magazines and cut out pictures of inspiring chalets, log cabins, strawbale homes, and quaint cottages, imagining what it would be like to own something like this. (Naturally, my fingers often point directly, without prompt, to whatever is the single most expensive property in the whole publication. It’s like I’m a compass needle and ludicrous real estate prices are the North Star. What gives?)

Breaking the 'must have earth' criterium for a sec to fantasize about living atop this restored fire hall. Studio space in the tower? *WANTS!!*

Every time we browse through the glossy pages of some local real estate magazine together, I feel a combination of surging inspiration (‘Yes! Yes! Yes!! This is what I want!!! This is Home!!’) and crushing disappointment (‘Who the hell can afford a $1.5 million dollar cottage on an island with no municipal services or amenities whatsoever?’) It can be difficult to navigate through these conflicting emotions at times.

E.g.: 1000 sq ft 'fixer upper' on a remote island with no garbage collection: $595,000. It's cute but not THAT cute.

One of my most recent real estate wet dreams: this gorgeous chalet in the little known town of Youbou, BC. It could be mine for a cool $1.2 million bucks! *STILL WANTS!!*

What I do know is this: it’s all about Home for me. It always has been about Home. I am a true blood Cancer, for heaven’s sake, with all the nurturing, homebody-ness, and hermit-like qualities it implies! The logical side of me sees the unlikeliness of securing even a half-million dollar mortgage for a dream cottage in the Gulf Islands, especially with our now doubly-self-employed income. (For the record: my logical side is a total downer and not fun to hang out with at all. But why are houses in the middle of nowhere priced at half a million dollars, anyway?) That said, the hopeful, optimistic, granola-loving and Universe-embracing side of me somehow feels like Home is more attainable than ever now. Sure, Marty and I don’t have the security blanket of guaranteed wages or extended health benefits anymore, but we also don’t have a ceiling that caps our earnings off at some predetermined point. We can technically earn anything now. (Not ‘nothing’, no: ‘anything’!!) Something inside of me feels certain that our new lifestyle—the one where we work our asses off for six months every year but then have the other half to unwind a little bit and retreat—will help us get to where we want to be: at Home!

Visiting Galiano Island was very inspiring and affirming for me. I saw all of the elements that appeal to me in a home-base and embody everything that the word ‘retreat’ implies. Land, trees, scenery, fireplaces, airy studio spaces, lots of windows. (I can’t wait to live in a place of our own that Marty would actually be inspired to paint!) I flipped through a Gulf Islands real estate magazine and clipped out pictures of homes for sale on Salt Spring Island. This time around, for whatever reason, my ‘Yes Yes Yes’ feelings overpowered my pessimistic ‘But…’ voice of soul sucking and dream crushing practicality. I’d like to keep it that way– Yes Yes Yes!!!– even in the face of one of the most expensive real estate markets in Canada, and I can’t wait to come ever closer to that special place that Marty and I can truly call Home. *WANTS!!!* :)