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Home is not a place

One step at a time.


It's easy to get ahead of myself when there is so much to get done. Over and over again, I forget to simply focus on the task at hand. The times I remember to, the rewards are great, and the difference in productivity is instantly evident.


It's been a great first 50 days of being homeless. We are happy that we have the time to cut down our belongings just a bit more and to minimize our load. There are a few stories of giving that we've been on the receiving side of well worth sharing, but first, I'd like to just take a second to thank everyone that, one way or another, have taken part in the giving experiment.



This has been an exciting yet challenging couple of months for us. We have accomplished a year worth of tasks in five months, and we'd like to give a shout-out to Kathleen Schrader for all the help she has offered our family. She's had a beautiful influence in our children's lives, especially our girls. As a family with 5 children, it's been tough for us at times to keep up with the pace that life currently demands. From financial obligations to merely being present, we have occasionally struggled to keep all wolves at bay.


Focus can only be spread so thin.


Kathleen brought back the community we needed in our family once my "brother" Dwayne moved away from living in our home for 5 months during the first COVID lockdown. With Kathleen's help, we have survived and thrived as a family with a newborn. We managed to pack up a home, wind down a business, and move into a camper, all relatively stress-free. So, Kathleen, thank you. You have made a beautiful impression on this family and this project as a whole.



Throughout the year, we have seen friendships flower and fade. It's no secret that many think this move is crazy. While some worry for our safety, others don't understand our intentions. While we would love to see all our friendships and relationships in bloom simultaneously, we realize that it isn't realistic.

As with all flowers, we accept the seasonality of certain relationships and trust that there will be a time in the future for them to flower again. I think the reality of this project has made some people uncomfortable, and we want to acknowledge that. We want to say we understand, and we certainly don't want to force our dreams and ambitions of this lifestyle experiment on anyone.


On the flip side, here's some cool stuff that has happened to us so far as a result of experimenting with giving up our home and regular conditions to live outside of our comfort zone...


1. Patti's house.


Patti is a beautiful woman that lost her husband to some severe health complications 5 years ago. More recently, only a few short months ago, she also lost her brother living with her to cancer. When it was time for us to move out of our home so I could start the renovations for our landlord, Patti offered us the comfort of her home. We had a safe and comfortable landing pad to start this new chapter of our lives from. She moved in with her daughter Kathleen, and her partner, kicking off our journey with a stunning example of generosity and hospitality. Thank you Patti. I still plan on writing a whole blog post of its own about this experience, but I feel like I need to catch the readers up on our whereabouts and happenings of the last few weeks! During our stay at Patti's, with the help of our fantastic community, we were able to organize a yard work blitz at her place as a thank you. It was SO cool to see everyone pull together and witness just how quickly work can happen with many helping hands. About 7 families showed up, picked a task each and we were even able to plant a garden!

2. Braden and Nina


This beautiful couple has four children that jive exceptionally well with our five. When it was time for us to depart from Patti's, this family adopted Christina and our kids into their bubble while I kept working and sleeping in our old home to get it done in good time. Their generosity and support for what we are doing are mind-blowing. Our children consider their children as cousins, and we consider them our siblings. It's incredible to see what can happen when love is put ahead of fear. Our sense of community and belonging is brought to life and refreshed by relationships like these.


3. Offers of help falling through.


Yea! Even these lows can become highlights!


We had two very generous offers from 2 more people to provide our family with accommodation. As it turned out, both offers fell through the day before we were set to move in. The offers were genuine and generous, but we could not hang our hats there for reasons out of our hosts' control. Bad thing/good thing, who's to say? For a couple of nights, we slept in our vacant old house that I was painting and waited it out to see what was going to happen. Having just repainted the walls, I was "a bit" edgy. We had a few tenting options in yards but prayed for our dream situation to become a reality: camping in a trailer close enough to Rossland to finish the jobs I am currently working on.





Then, the same wonderful friend that offered us the place to stay that fell through, offered us a camper to borrow. We were SO excited. However, we decided to sleep on it as something about it just didn't feel right. The reason camping was so appealing, especially to Christina, is that breaking things or spilling juice on a carpet, or putting dings in the drywall somewhere wouldn't be an option. We needed a stress-free location. Since this friend had plans to sell the camper in the near future, we knew that the stress-free factor wouldn't be part of the scenario, so we passed on the kind offer.

4. Clarke Family Trailer

As it happens, some good friends of ours also have 5 children and have gone through the experience of constant breakage, pukage, and diarrheage that comes along with heavy toddlerage. Out of nowhere, they offered us the use of their beautifully well-used trailer until our departure. (Check out the picture, this ride is a beaut!) This was nothing short of our dream situation. A huge thank you to them and their support. Camper living has been so calm, and the kids have loads to get up to, outdoors and stress-free. We've enjoyed many fires and fireside meals together as a family.


We take one step at a time, not knowing what is next, yet we are sure of our destination. We are living on the expectation of miracles: so far, so good. Thank you to everyone reading. We will keep you all posted on how we land up getting down to Guatemala. Coastal Airlines did in fact engage in a conversation with us but could not provide us with any help. With our list of to-dos getting shorter and shorter, we are finding the time to say our goodbyes. We are enjoying the beauty of community and beginning to understand more than ever that home does not have to be a place.





Owen Dargatz is a father of 5 and husband of 1. He has recently discovered how much he loves to share his brain's thoughts with the world. Having grown up with three sisters in Peru, he has a unique perspective on family life, culture, and the importance of sharing with those with less.





GALLERY FROM THE LAST FEW WEEKS OF FINISHING UP PROJECTS AND CAMPING



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The experiment in a nut shell:

This experiment is our effort to flee the ruthless bombardment of inescapable media that aims to create a want for things not needed. Downsizing is our effort to live big. To unplug from those products that promised fulfillment but, in actuality, drain us once we've worked so hard to achieve them. 

 

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