We are a married couple (Christian Morrison and Julie Gibb) who have been self-employed as graphic designers since 1990, as letterpress printers since 1994, partners in the Canadian Chefs’ Congress since 2008. Following a sabbatical in 2013 we decided to sell our home, our letterpress equipment, put the bulk of our belongings in storage and buy a 1990 Volkswagen Westfalia Vanagon with the idea of driving around North America and possibly Central America for a year. So, on May the 9th we literally rolled out of our studio on Pearson Avenue in our trusty (we hope) home on wheels. We have been and will be living amongst family while preparing to hit the road on June the 7th. Our first destination will be Newfoundland with a stopover (we hope) in the part of France closest to Canada.
Archives for May 2014
We spent our first night in the van, our test sleep, at Eigensinn Farm. We were at Eigensinn for the annual Wild Leek and Maple Syrup Festival on Sunday, May 25th. After a glorious day visiting with and talking with many friends we parked VanMorrison and Gibb by the pond. We lay there with all the curtains open able to see the starry night from every window while listening to the insects, birds and mosquitoes. Thank you Nobuyo and Michael. A perfect first in our new home on wheels.
We have already posted this on our Folksblogen Facebook page … this is a gift created by and given to us by our now former neighbour, Hanna Lang. She is a super special young person, creative, funnier than the average person to be sure and super clever. On top of it all she is a beauty. This is our dashboard mascot – we will treasure this gift and think of dear little Hanna every time we lay eyes on it. Thank you Hanna!! xo
Preparing to leave Toronto is more time consuming than we perhaps realized. Our to do lists grow and shrink simultaneously. While still in Toronto we were able to lay a linoleum floor and install a roof rack to hold the Thule box. Last week we drove to Amherstburg to work on the van (VanMorrison and Gibb). Christian cleaned it thoroughly on the inside – vacuuming the flocked ceiling and washing every surface. He installed a mud flap on the passenger side, fixed things that needed to be fixed. All the while I sewed new curtains and some upholstery for the cushions, a table cloth and napkins (always the designers), soft storage, etc. We washed and (ugghhh) shrunk the mattress/cushion covers (at least they are clean). We are obviously trying to make our new home on wheels as comfortable and homey as possible. Especially since we could be living out of it for about a year.
This week we are working on, among other things, this blog! Finally.
Food is one of the most important components of our travel experience. We are interested in discovering what is available on Canadian and American roadways and highways; where to stock up on good, healthy, local food. If you are following us and have tips we’d love to hear from you.
Our expectations are based on our experiences on highways in Italy with stops at Autogrill and on the island of Okinawa in Japan. At Autogrill you can expect the best cup of cappuccino in a ceramic cup for a euro, a selection of hot meals such as roasted chicken and potatoes, salad, pasta, pork chop and of course, a glass of wine, oil and vinegar on every table. Alternatively you can buy wedges of pecorino, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, dried pastas to picnic on or cook at home. In Okinawa every roadside stop includes a full market with fresh produce, fish, prepared foods all of the highest quality. They even have pull-offs on the highway to purchase homemade ice cream (kind of like an emergency stop). Our friend Nobuyo grew up in this environment, so accustomed to good, healthy, quality food everywhere. She has lived for a long time in Ontario and to this day never leaves home without rice balls and snacks for the two hour drive between her home and Toronto as she knows the likelihood of going hungry is high.
Now that we are essentially without a fixed address (well, we do have bedrooms at Tina and Mark’s house in Toronto and at Dad’s house in Amherstburg, ON!) we are questioning / interrogating the idea of home. We will be documenting / blogging about the trials and tribulations and successes of living in a home on wheels without the comforts and conventions of ‘a home’ such as we have come to depend on such as a bathroom with a toilet and shower, a kitchen with appliances that we use everyday, laundry, neighbours that are a constant, a garden, a driveway, cable television and space (under a roof).