Our New Life

We’re about as ready as we’ll ever be for the next big change in our life – a move across the country to Montreal… today.

If you feel that this has come on quite suddenly, you’d be right. Kevin and I made the decision about 1.5 months ago and it’s been a whirlwind of craziness ever since. But the thought of changing our lives for the better and doing something drastic; like selling our vehicles, the majority of our things and relocating, has been on both of our minds for the better part 2012.

The time I spent in India earlier this year gave me the opportunity to  figure out where I was in life, what I wanted, and what was important to me. I returned home with a clear picture of what I needed out of life and what I had at the moment just wasn’t it! Although there was a lot I wanted to improve, it was clear that the first order of business had to be for me to leave my job. Instead of getting hung up on the details as I usually do, I just set the intention that an opportunity would present itself and things would just workout.

During my first day back at the office from my travels and, as luck would have it, up popped that opportunity! I was asked to stay on for 5 months while they looked for my replacement which gave us time to save money and come up with a plan. We felt good about my job transition and although I was fearful of the next chapter, deep down I knew it was the right decision.

Just as the opportunity to leave my job magically fell into place, so has everything else. Two weeks before my last day of work on August 31, Kevin and I decided to move across the country to Montreal. New adventures, a smaller home, a brand new place to explore… it fit. We booked a trip to search for a place to rent, explore the city we would soon call home, and introduce ourselves to new people. Oh right, and eat good food!

Kevin and I in front of our vacant lot in 2009

This change is one of the biggest I’ve ever made for myself. It’s been filled with tears, doubt, and a whole lot of excitement, too. We love it in Airdrie. We’ve grown a stable and loving life here, have great neighbors and fabulous memories. We built our home with every intention of growing old here together and now; just 2 years later, we’re renting it out to someone and moving 3,000 kilometers away to a city we’ve only been to once, in a rental home 50% smaller than our current one, and so far away from family that we have no one to depend on but ourselves.

You’d think with all of the crazy things I’ve gotten up to this year that I’d be good with change but you’d be dead wrong, I’ve never been good with it. I hate feeling like I have no control over things, always second guess myself when I’ve made big decisions, and continuously doubt that I deserve to be happy when something good happens in my life. I keep reminding myself that it’s okay to be scared, but that it’s not okay to stop living life because of my fears.

I’ve realized that my life has to be about trying new things, collecting accomplishments, exploring the world, and embarking on grand adventures. Really, I don’t know what could be grander than going to India, quitting my job, and moving across the country all in the same year. I think I’ve hit my maximum allowable change limit, time to take it easy after this.

The movers are picking up our things this morning, we’ll head to my parents house where we’ll stay until Sunday, then hop on a plane with the dogs to Quebec – the place we will call home from here on in. It’s going to be a crazy couple of weeks!

I’ve asked a bunch of my favorite blogging ladies to share some fantastic gluten-free recipes with you while Kevin and I embark on this next chapter of our lives. I’ll be posting updates along the way and look forward to getting into my new (very small) kitchen to whip up all of the recipe ideas I’ll surely gather over the next 2-3 weeks.

As the French say, au revoir!

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  1. Wow. This is quite a change! Congratulations on coming to such a decision. What is it that made you choose Montreal? Best of luck to you in your move!

    • Thanks, Michele. We chose Montreal for many reasons – it’s a larger city than Calgary so there will be more opportunities to connect with potential clients and partners for my business, Kevin’s work, it’s close to places we’ve always wanted to visit, learning a new language, experiencing a whole new side to Canada… Visiting Montreal earlier this month and feeling the energy of the city sealed the deal for us, it just felt right. As hard as this change has been, I know it was the right choice.

  2. Welcome Leanne! You will never find a friendlier bunch than us french Canadians! How exciting!

  3. Yippeeeee the cat is finally out of the bag! Beautiful post Leanne. “I keep reminding myself that it’s okay to be scared, but that it’s not okay to stop living life because of my fears.” <– this bit gave me shivers!! Good luck with the week that lies ahead. I hope everything goes smoothly with the move and settling into your new place. Like I said before, I KNOW you can do this. Your Montreal adventure is going to create so many memories that I'm sure you'll look back on later thinking "Wow, I'm SO glad we did that!" I've gotta agree with you though… after the move, maybe it's time to scale it back on life changes for a bit, hey? ;)

  4. Leanne that is quite the surprise!!!! Congrats! You and Kevin will love Montreal!

  5. Hi, I follow your blog for quite some time but never commented before. I just wanted to tell you that I can feel all your fears and doubts. Back in 2004 we came to Montreal from Bulgaria and it was a big step for me and my husband. For us it was even more difficult because of the two new languages we had to learn, the different culture to explore and get used to… It was difficult ( it still is sometimes ) but if we have to choose again we’ll do the exact same thing. Montreal is a very nice city with friendly people and tons of possibilities. You will easily fall in love with the life here! Which area of the city did choose to live in? I know that we are new here too, but if you have any questions or need some information we’ll be very happy to help!

  6. Yippe! Now you’ll be closer to me! I live in Toronto!!! Every morning your blog is the very first one I read….I LOVE IT!!! I have tried so many of your recipes, unlike other blogs where I just stare at the recipe and think “I’ll make that one day.” Don’t know the exact reason why I love yours so much!!!

  7. I am so psyched for you guys! I grew up in Vermont, so I went to Montreal a lot growing up! It’s a great city!

  8. Awesome! Now you’re closer to me! I live in Ottawa!
    Make SURE that you visit Quebec City (as you will be much closer now!!)

    Choose with no regret!

    You’re a very inspirational woman, Leanne…following your heart seems common sense…but more often than not it is it very hard to do. Good on you ;) <3

  9. I hope you will like Québec!!
    I am a french canadian from Sherbrooke a city very close to montreal (1h30 car)
    Montreal is really an exciting city filled with amazing places to discover. If ever you come here in Sherbrooke I would love to invite you to the raw food restaurant I work; ”The singing goat café”. I am so excited to see you are moving in montreal I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while, and this is really an amazing change! You are right about saying that it’s NOT okay to stop living because of our fears. It’s a good thing for us to be reminded that fears can in fact block us completely from living.

  10. Congrats on this big decision and move! When Scott and I had been dating a whopping 4-5 mos, we picked up our belongings and relocated from Chicago to a tiny beach town in North Carolina. We knew no one, we had no one to rely on, we barely even knew each other! But we just picked up and moved and began our life and since then, moved to many other states and places, each time knowing no one but finding ourselves closer to where we were ‘supposed to be’ and learning about ourselves in the process and I know this is the beginning of something fabulous for you and Kevin.

    Boy, that trip to India started the cascade to so much…they say that India changes people and their lives. Wow, truer words were never spoken in your case!

  11. That’s amazing! Congrats on your new venture! I’ve visited Montreal on vacation and fell in love, such a beautiful and creative city with a small town feel.

  12. Wow! I can’t imagine how exciting this is for you and Kevin (and your pups)! And I’m glad you finally let us in on the secret :) I think we’ve all been waiting to hear the news! You are very inspiring, Leanne. I hope you know that. The life changes you have been making this year have really inspired me in many different ways.. and for that I thank you! Although we’ve never met in person, I totally feel like you’re a real friend! Keep us updated throughout your journey across Canada, and if you ever just need to vent, talk, whatever, you’ve got my e-mail! Have a safe trip :)

  13. Thats awesome!! I am sure you will like it! My husband and i moved to quebec a few years ago for his job…but we live in the northern part..(no english here) It takes a bit of getting used too being so far from family, but it gets easier….other then seeing the amount of tax we pay lol. Montreal is beautiful and so big…i think you will love it! Good luck on your move…i wish you guys all the best in this new journey of your lives!

  14. I know exactly how you feel! I grew up and lived in toronto all of my life and decided about 2 years ago to pick up and move to the UK. no family here, no friends, absolutely nothing (not even a flat to live in nor a job to pay the bills when I arrived!) things will fall into place; you’ll make friends, you’ll love your surroundings and everything will be ok :) good luck!

  15. Wow, I totally did not see that one coming! That is awesome!! It’s funny that you’re moving east because my uncle also lives in Airdrie (originally from Hamilton) and I think him and his family are also moving this year – but Hamilton area of Ontario :P

    It’s going to be an adventure, but you’ll make it work ;) I think I have a limited capacity for change, too. Yours seems to be a bit more tolerable than mine – definitely something I need to work on. Good luck with your stuff making it to Montreal; and you Kevin, and the doggies having a safe flight!!

  16. Bon Chance to you both and safe travels.

    I love that you are striking out and on faith have made the move (or are going to make the move :)!

    I cannot wait to read about the adventures of setting everything up and how life shapes up for you in Montreal (a city I have longed to visit as it just seems so beautiful).

  17. Wow! It’s so great that you’re moving to Montreal!! Will you be practising or seeing clients???

    • Thanks Lea! I will be practicing online with my current practice and may perhaps look at other opportunities down the road.

  18. Ahhmmmm….RIGHT ON!? Congrats and high five!

    My family and I also decided this year to move from Texas to Oregon! Just like you! This is our midlife crisis! We knew that either we start doing things we really want to do and love NOW, or we would keep postponing them forever.

    We’ve been living in Portland for 2 months and LOVING it!
    Living modestly, but absolutely loving life!

    It’s also been the hardest and the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.

    All the best Leanne. Don’t miss out on anything! :-)

  19. Just a little piece of advice, only in case it fits you: Get enough sleep these next couple of weeks!! :-)) I also had to face quite a few of my fears, and it did not help when I was overly tired.

    Anyway, I’m 100% sure you guys are going to figure it out!

    • Good advice, I have NOT been getting enough sleep, that’s for sure. Maybe 4 hours a day? Not good. Looking forward to spending some time at my parents to just hang out for a bit. Great to hear from others that have made this type of move – it’s not scary, people do it ALL the time!

      • For us it was a little harder, having a 2-year old in tow! :-)

        Although it was SO scary, it was scarier not to do it! Yoohoo, it’s going to be amazing! :)

  20. Very exciting, congrats Leanne!! I understand the feelings and love the line about not living life because of your fears. I recently sold/packed up my apartment in Calgary and moved out to Toronto for a change, exhilarating and nerve wracking! Best of luck with everything!!

    • Wow, I didn’t know you moved to Toronto, what are you doing out there? That’s so exciting!

      • I came out here to live with my boyfriend (and his roommate!) after being laid off from my job in Calgary a month ago. He is here for school and we have been long distance for 2 years, so I decided why the heck not now? I had some moments of anxiety and I am winging it right now, but so far so good! Excited for you!! :))

  21. How exciting! I’m very happy for you! I’m at a point in my life where I have to move soon (25 and still living with my dad… yep..) and I’m considering moving from my small scandinavian town to either London (uk), Vancouver or Montreal. Hopefully I will have your courage soon to actually get on that plane ;) Can’t wait to see how life is in Montreal, if it looks good maybe I’ll see you in one of its streets someday (or perhaps more likely in one of its restaurants haha). Anyway, if it feels good in your gut I’m glad you’re not letting fear stop you. “Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.” Good luck to the two of you!

    • AH! Dude. Sorry I haven’t reached out to you, moving across the country is hectic (as you know). Mad props for doing this. I feel like a crazy person right now. A trip to see you is most definitely in my future.

  22. isn’t india crazy in that way?… i feel like the energy there was so powerful. it fills you up with so much good and just overflows into your journeys to come! looks like it really gave you that spark of direction and clarity, too. congrats!

    • I couldn’t have said it any better. That’s exactly how I felt when I came home!

  23. Wow! Best of luck to you and Kevin and the pups! I hope everything goes smoothly. My boyfriend and I are at a similar point in our lives and we just took a trip to Chicago to scope out the neighborhoods and look for a place to live. We currently live in the DC area, so it would be a pretty big move for us. I can’t imagine doing it in less than 2 months! I think your post has given me the little boost of confidence that I need, though, to keep me moving in that direction. I’m excited for you and the beginning of your new adventure! :)

  24. Montreal! That’s excellent, Leanne! Congrats on overcoming fears and opening a new, exciting life chapter. You will be rewarded: so much great food and art and culture, new friends and work await you. I totally dig the European feel and French vibe. Many fond memories of visiting Montreal on road trips from the time I lived in Boston.

  25. I’m so happy for you guys!! Safe travels and enjoy the journey.

    On that note, I think I need to plan a trip to India. :)

  26. Wow! Congratulations for you and Kevin. Montreal is an amazing city and I’m sure you’re going to love it because you’re following your heart.

    Safe travels!

  27. thats one big move! but i am happy you are jumping into it with such positivity. all the very best and hope everything goes smooth. Your doggies are super adorable. cute faces cuter expressions!

  28. You are truly an inspirtation! Follow your heart!
    Enjoy, be well and I will be in touch soon to finish up!

    • Sounds great, Claire. I hope everything’s going well with you and the family :)

  29. Congrats to you and Kevin, Leanne! What an exciting adventure this move will be. I wish you luck in the moving process (the least-fun part of it all, eh?). Montreal should be excited to have you! :)

    • Thanks Amber! The movers are still here packing up everything… I just can’t wait until all of our things are in the truck and ready to leave. Once it’s gone, I imagine just feeling… stress-free. Ah!

      I checked out your engagement photos this morning, so beautiful! I loved the ones with you and Mark at night… they were so romantic!

  30. Congrats Leanne! I’m very happy (and very jealous) that you are conquering your fears and living your dreams. I wish I had your strength! Best wishes :-)

  31. Yay! So glad you can finally share it with everyone. All of those posts you did about Montreal, I wanted to just comment about how lucky you were to soon be living there! I know I have already told you multiple times, but I am insanely happy for you guys and I know this is the perfect next step for you both. What a wonderful fun new journey that lies ahead and if anyone can handle it with grace, it is you my dear. I cannot wait to hear more about the big move and to see all the change that happens for you because of it. Lots of love from the east coast, maybe I will have to make it a point to get up to Montreal before we relocate to the West Coast :) Safe travels to you guys! xoxo

  32. Leanne, I am so excited for you! What a brave thing to do. What made you guys want to move to Montreal? I’d love to know more about that aspect of your life changes. More opportunities in Montreal? Cheaper living?

    Thanks for sharing, I really love your recipes, but even more, I love all the personal stuff you share. Makes me like you even more! Happy next couple of weeks w/ the big transition. You’re awesome.

  33. Congratulations – and good luck on your move! Montreal is an amazing city. It sounds like you’ve found a fine balance between taking control of your life and trusting that everything will work out as it’s supposed to. Yay for change and taking risks!

  34. Leanne – how exciting! I can’t wait to hear more about your new life! Hope the move goes smoothly for you, Kevin and the pups! Congratulations and thanks for including all of us readers on journey!

  35. Hi Leanne,
    I am so excited for you! I have been enjoying following your blog for some time now and love,love,love your receipes!! I livein Montreal (west island, you will learn where that is ;) ) and would really be interested in working with you. I have been gf going on 3 years now, however, I dont feel healthy. My biggest problem is committing myself and feel a coach would be really helpful and beneficial. I have worked with a npd, she actually helped me so much, diagnosed me and set me on the path to gf living. You are obviously super busy, so you can take your time getting back to me.
    All the best and bienvenue!

  36. I am sure it will be great in between all the challenges. I remember how it was for me to quit job and move to US and now I feel so happy that it happened that way :)

  37. Moved to Montreal, planning to be there for one year. Stayed for six. They were great years. Glad I did it (glad I left but that’s another story and altogether personal – nothing about the place!) It’s always great to shake things up once in a while – since then I’ve moved to three different places and it always brings some fear to the surface. Look forward to rediscovering Montreal through your eyes!

  38. Wow — huge news! When my husband, son, and I moved to Germany, it was the first time I had EVER been away from my friends and family in Oregon. It was hard at first, but the three if us (me, my hubs, and my boy) have grown so much closer as a family unit… It’s been wonderful. Also, “leaving the nest” allowed me to expand nd grow in ways I had never thought possible. Im sure you’ll feel the same after you get over the initial “shock!” Best of luck to you, Leanne, as you embark on this adventure!

  39. As the French say, “Bravo !” You’re my hero. I really admire what you do with Kevin. India has revealed your courage and spiritual strength. And I’m pretty sure that tanks to your strenght of character you will soon go through other adventures ! Leanne, you don’t know yet where stop your limits ! I send you all my support and friendly thoughts. And kisses to you, Kevin and your sweet dogs.

  40. So happy that you are moving to my hometown!!!! That is so unbelievably cool. I just can’t wait to get together with you. I really think you will like it here. Granted, it’ll be a very different pace, but you’ll find MANY added benefits to living in such a big city, starting with food selection! I really don’t think that you’ll have any problems finding foods that fit your dietary needs and preferences around here… ;)

    And hey, as an added bonus, you’ll probably get to learn a new language. Talk about fun!

    Can’t wait to hear / read all about the move! And like I said, if you need any help from a “local”, you know where to find me!

    Oh, and one more thing… Welcome to Quebec, Leanne and Kevin! :)

  41. How lovingly written and inspirational! All the VERY BEST on your move and brightest blessings for all the wonderful challenges ahead!!

  42. Wow, what a lot of change but excellent changes. I totally understand how scary this can all be. I have had some changes also in the last year and a half. I was presented with more work changes recently and then offered something new again today! In the meantime, I have my own changed slated and planned for next year. Good luck in Montreal. I think you will love it there.

  43. Good luck!!! So Scotland to Montreal? What a move! We have our place on the market, we live in Oregon USA and are trying to move to Hawaii. But we aren’t going till we sell. All our 20 something kids and family are here so it is very frightening! But you are right! Fear must not stand in the way of our dreams. I’m tickled to see someone else doing something crazy! I’ll be staying in touch.

    • How cool would it be if I lived in Scotland? Ha! Awesome. I actually live outside of Calgary in Alberta (Canada). Not as far and drastic of a change across the country versus across the pond. Not sure I’m ready for that just yet! Good luck with your adventure. It is comforting to know there are a bunch of others that do this very same thing.

      • Oh wow, you’re actually moving to Montreal. I’m just catching up with your blog posts now. It is scary isn’t it but so exciting too. I do actually live in Scotland so this made me laugh as my husband was just in Montreal with work last week and he fell in love with the place and said ‘what are we doing here with this cold freezing climate, you’d love it over there with all your health stuff’ He said it was really chilled out too, a lovely feel to the place. Travelling can really do that to you can’t it? I was the same when I came back from Africa, when you get the travel bug it’s so hard just to settle somewhere. Thankfully my husband and I are both explorers and it’s nice knowing you can just pack up and go. Wow, so inspiring! I wish you all the best with your travels and settling in.

  44. Leanne, good luck on the move. I wish you the very best. The first 12 years of our marriage, we moved 10 times because my husband was in the military. I learned a few things: fitting into a new environment is not always easy. Sometimes the environment just doesn’t fit. Moving again, maybe just a mile or two might bring you to another neighborhood that is more open to new neighbors. No matter where you find yourself, you can find what you need, but sometimes it takes awhile. Sound like I’m giving conflicting advice? It’s not really. Sometimes finding what you need means moving that mile. I can say that in the many moves I’ve made over my 64 years, some were delightful beyond measure while others were to be tolerated until we could move. You always can find your way. Sometimes just knowing that you don’t have to live somewhere forever makes even a less than comfortable place tolerable. And with that one’s comfort increases. You go girl!

    • Thanks for the advice, Sue! 10 times in 12 years, wow… I bet you have stories!

  45. Big one! Good for you guys. Moving is a major thing. The best advice someone gave to me was : Invest invest invest invest in meeting people, volunteer, do courses, workout groups etc. And..enjoy and be proud of yourself;-)

    • Thanks Ingrid! We already have a bunch of courses lined up :)

  46. Wow! Best of luck, Leanne! I went to Montreal for school and I miss it a lot! I can tell from your last few Montreal posts that you’ve already started to fall in love with the city :) It’s going to be great!

    • Thanks a bunch, Vincci! Yes, I did fall in love with the city pretty darn quickly! It’s hard not to :)

  47. Welcome to Québec!
    It’s such a nice place to live, isn’t it?
    Part of me is dying to live in Montreal, but my lovely boyfriend won’t follow me. So I’m sticking in the Gatineau/Ottawa area. Speaking of, if you happen to drop in Ottawa, you have to try The Table. A very cosy, lovely vegan restaurant located on Wellington. They have a good selection of gluten-free plates too! So yup…

    • Yum, thanks for the recommendation, Anne! Vegan restaurants are few and far between in Alberta. My plan – visit every single one!!

  48. Chiming in late here but I think it’s so totally awesome that you made this decision. My husband and I toyed with the idea of moving cross-country once, but I guess we are too comfortable to leave the home we love and our families. Ahh, a girl can dream! I can’t wait to see what you cook up (both in and out of the kitchen) over on the east coast :)

    • Thanks Cara! We were comfortable at home in Alberta, too. The first day here in Montreal has been different, but different good. Can’t wait to get settled. A girl CAN dream and hey, it’s never too late.

  49. Ahhh Leanne! Awesome post! I know first hand how scary it can get to make a big move, and sometimes it is better if you don;t know what might be coming and all the things you have to deal with. I know you guys will have a great time and it won;t be difficult to acclimate to the new surroundings! What an awesome decision. I moved to the US from Switzerland, leaving family and friends behind, to be with my fiancee at the time, it was a bit more difficult since I had no one that was in the same boat, (and sadly a not very understanding partner), at least you guys have each other! I am sooo exited for you and can;t wait to hear about your next steps :)

    • Thank you, Simone! Sounds like you had one crazy adventure, too. Are you still in the US?

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