The first question almost always asked of a person who lives in Yukon is, “How did you get all the way up there?” This question is asked with a shocked expression on their face as they try to picture a map of Canada, knowing Yukon is north, but trying to pinpoint exactly how far north. I don’t mind the expressed curiosity, as I never seem to tire of telling my story of how I got to Yukon, even 16 years later. It is my story and it is one of adventure, dreams and love. It continues to inspire me and shape the direction of my life.
It goes something like this. An 18-year-old girl buys a one-way plane ticket north and finds herself on a small homestead living in a tipi, soaking in a natural warm springs pool, while learning how to organic farm and butcher wild meat. During this time she also falls in love with herself, her life partner and nature — all in one boat trip, where she is stranded on a sandy beach on a big windy lake.
This certainly is the speedy version of my story, but it practically sums it up. It’s from my experience, though it is not only my story, of how I got to Yukon that fascinates people, but also my present life situation that people meeting me for the first time are intrigued with.
Just like many of you, I am extremely blessed to have two beautiful children, who are five and 10 years old. I spend much of my time with these lovely souls as, instead of attending school, they hang out at home unschooling with me on our 15 acres, 25 minutes south of Whitehorse, the place we call “town.” As in, “Get ready to go kids, we have a town day today.”
My partner also only has occasional town days, because he works from home either fiddling in his shop with the latest innovation he has been contracted to develop, or working on building the new house we hope to live in one day. So, no one is waking up with an alarm, no one is catching a school bus and no one has a set plan for exactly what we are going to do this day or the next. Does this sound scary to you?
Well, sometimes it feels a little shaky for me and then I remember that unschooling is an act of faith for me. It is a place to put my meditation practice and philosophical beliefs to the test and take one moment at a time as I give my kids the space, attention and resources to grow into themselves. Unschooling mirrors my relationship with my organic vegetable garden, lifelong intimate partnership and evolution of my own personal and professional development. I don’t know really know how any of it will work out, but I am committed to sticking around and seeing what happens.
Sometimes it feels like a big unknown in terms of my own identity. After I quit my job a couple of years ago to dedicate my time to the unschooling process with my kids I started using homemaker as my professional term, which has thrilled me. Since I view a home as somewhere people want to be I feel privileged that I get to create somewhere that the people I love want to be.
The truth, though, is that the idea that I can sum up my life with the words “unschooling,” “my kids” and “being a homemaker” feels like an inadequate description for what I do. My daily life feels more like a place in which our family is redefining how to live authentically. This authenticity shows up in many ways from career choices to activism and spiritual practice to quality family time and healthy living. Eating, exercise, building a house, learning, making a living all blend into a seamlessness that spreads throughout our days into weeks and months and eventually another year has past.
The more I allow all the elements of our life to blend — and slowly let my ego fade away from the need to be certain that everything has to be right and okay — the more I see my kids thrive as they find themselves and their interests. And the more I see myself thrive as I find myself and my own interests, I am able to see the exceptional beauty of the world we live in.
Have you ever thought of moving to a remote place with your family? Have you considered unschooling?