Packing my Car, Hitting the Open Road, and Saying Yes to Life: Landing in Northern Ontario

Northern OntarioNorthern OntarioLife is too short not live the way you want. After my wedding, I decided to move to northern Ontario for the time being to be with my husband. Just another adventure! I’ve lived in a handful of places, been to over 30 countries, backpacked my way around the world–why not add another experience to the list? Corey has been based in the north working as a commercial pilot for Thunder Airlines for two years. We figured it was high time we were both in the same city for longer than a few days at a time. For nearly two years, we commuted back and forth from wherever we were to be together. Whether it was me flying back from Australia or another continent during my around-the-world travels or him flying to the east coast when I went back to work, we both added miles to our log book. Distance makes the heart grow fonder which is so true, but we’re so much better together. Our wedding marked a good excuse for us to be based in the same city. After one of my best childhood friends passed away in May it was then when I realized just how short life is and that I should always follow my heart. I’m committed to saying ‘yes’ to life and taking as many leaps of faith as it takes to make my dreams come true.

Northern Ontario

Northern OntarioDue to the fact that I can work from anywhere, it made the most sense for me to go to him. I took a leave from my teaching position, packed up my car, and hit the wide open road for new opportunities and another adventure. It wasn’t long before I had a dream job teaching at a college lined up with plenty of time left in my schedule to do what I love–travel, blog, and yoga. Trusting that it would all work out paid off. One of the most freeing moments I’ve ever experienced was driving away with only the belongings I could fit in my car. It’s unbelievable how little we actually need. This journey is taking me to the unknown and I haven’t looked back. I’m learning that minimalistic living is so freeing. Northern Ontario

Northern OntarioLike any experience I’ve had, this will become another story. Living in the north is an authentic Canadian experience. As a Canadian, I’m trying to see as much of my native country as I can–from south to north, while still exploring abroad. One foot at home and one away is how I choose to live my life. A stint in the north is part of the true Canadian reality. Although it has already started snowing and winters are long, I have warm thoughts and a long bucket list of what I want to do with my time in the north. I’m embracing the reality that there is no bad weather, but only bad clothing choices. I’m stock piling my thermal and winter gear and getting ready for the temperatures to drop. It’s inevitable–I might as well be ready for it! With snow shoes in my trunk, I’m ready to experience the best northern Ontario can throw at me.Northern Ontario

Northern OntarioSince landing in Northern Ontario in September, I’ve sampled my way through Timmins’ fall markets, visited Sudbury’s big nickel, been flown as far as Peawanuck on the Hudson Bay, which is one of the few communities you can reach before northern Manitoba, but my favourite part of living in a new region is the opportunity to meet new people. The people I’ve met have hearts of gold and they each love to show me what their home has to offer. My group of friends is growing and I’m feeling more like I fit in rather than being a visitor. If I’m going to make this my temporary place of residence, I want to feel as part of the community as possible. I’m looking forward to what’s to come and checking off my winter bucket list in the north.Northern Ontario

A few items on my bucket list include:

Northern Ontario-snow showing
-cross country skiing
-down hill skiing
-ice fishing
-see the northern lights
-visit Cochrane

With fall in full swing, and winter around the corner, have you started thinking about your winter bucket list?



Northern Ontario

Jessica, Turquoise Compass

turquoise compass watermark

34 thoughts on “Packing my Car, Hitting the Open Road, and Saying Yes to Life: Landing in Northern Ontario

    • Yay for another Canadian. There is something to be said about trying traditional Canadian activities (even if they do happen during the winter season–my least favourite season). However, I’m learning to appreciate each season and to be present each day. What has been your favourite Canadian adventure?
      Jessica, Turquoise Compass

      • I’m not overly keen on winter myself. When everyone is gaga over fall colours I am bracing for the next act. 🙂
        We have had so many wonderful adventures in Canada. Doing the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island more than a decade ago was an accomplishment of a lifetime. We spent 15 years climbing in the Canadian Rockies so lots of special memories there too.

      • I’m with you in planning for winter (the worst) as soon as the fall colours begin. Both the Rockies and Vancouver Island are spectacular! I visited both during my North America west coast tour in 2009. Have you been to the east coast? That’s where I am from!

      • Jess I have relatives in Nova Scotia so have been there quite a few times. We just love it there for the beauty of the scenery and the wonderful people we have met.

  1. Pingback: 2015 Bucket List | Turquoise Compass

  2. Hi Jessica – moving to another place is exciting and I am happy you are settling in well. I absolutely agree with the thought that we actually need so little when we move to live to another place, or to travel.. or in general. I feel so relieved each time I throw out old stuff. I feel so free when I travel with a small backpack. I feel great having little amount of things at home. I rather prefer space.
    Lovely story and enjoy once you will dive into activities of your bucket list.
    – Ruta

    • Hi Ruta,
      Thank you so much for your comment. There is something freeing with ridding our life of things that aren’t serving us anymore. I get “high” from down sizing. It’s addictive! We really do need so little to enjoy a happy fulfilled life! In 2013-2014 I traveled to 22 countries with just a carry on and it was incredible!

      • Jess – down sizing is addictive – well said! 🙂 Exciting to hear that you traveled so much! I bet it was amazing. See you around.
        – Ruta

  3. What an adventure! I can’t wait to start skating on the rivers here, but unfortunately there’s a lot of -10 or -20 that needs to happen before that becomes a possibility. I can’t exactly say I’m excited for that part! :p

      • Blink of an eye?! The snow’s usually on the ground for five months in Manitoba, haha. Snowshoeing will be great though! 🙂

      • More that it will be here in a blink of an eye (and being hopeful that it will be gone in the same amount of time). Where I’m located, it started snowing a month ago…snow will be on the ground for 8 months up in northern Ontario. Snowshoeing will get me through the long winter to come. I can’t believe I’m doing this for a year! I’m thinking warm thoughts and praying it will pass in a blink. 👌🙏

      • Wow, 8 months!! That’s a lot to handle. I’m sure it will be a wonderful adventure, though! I’ve been in Elliot Lake during the winter and it’s fantastic for skiing and snowshoeing. The Canadian Shield is so peaceful and beautiful in the winter. 🙂

      • It is a lot to handle. I hope I make it through. The good news is that I only committed to just one year here (well 8 months in total). How ironic is that it is during the coldest months. I know that I will try to find as many adventures as I can with my time up here. I’m glad that you can see the best in our wonderful Canadian seasons as well (winter and all). Keep positive (and warm) my friend. What’s your next adventure?
        Jessica, Turquoise Compass

    • Thank you so much. My time in the north will challenge me, but teach me so many things I’m sure. Teaching yoga will definitely give me some teaching experience, while warming my heart and mind. Where did you live?
      Jessica, Turquoise Compass

    • I’m currently based about 12 hours north of Montreal in Northern Ontario and the farthest north I’ve traveled as of yet while up here is a remote community on the Husdson Bay. Check the map–the Hudson Bay is NORTH! It’s one of the few communities that is accessible before reaching northern Manitoba. I was north of Ontario’s polar bear national park! Yippee!

  4. Pingback: Northern Living Bucket List | Turquoise Compass

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