Back in England my life was full of Things but no Substance. Living on a shoestring here in Canada has been like slowly waking up from a long sleep.

I know this is due in part to the fog of pregnancy and early motherhood that’s engulfed me for the past six years. As a stay-at-home mum to three, bringing them up (teaching, explaining, disciplining, refereeing, etc.) and maintaining the home became my raison d’ être, and though satisfying, didn’t give me much opportunity to indulge my creative spirit in a manner of my choosing. It didn’t matter how many arts and crafts we did, or nature walks we took – somehow it wasn’t pushing my buttons. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, it just felt like something was missing. But when necessity dictates you knuckle down and that part of you becomes dormant until something comes along to awaken it… moving to a different continent.

We may not have the car/cable/phone/cottage (more on those later) but we have gained so much. It’s intangible – not something that you can point to or classify, but the feeling of potential, adventure, hope, fierce love for one another and pioneer pride is so much more satisfying and something we can carry within us wherever we go.

Emigrating has given me the chance to re-invent myself – junking what I didn’t like and working to develop those characteristics I value as a part of my identity. I’ve become stronger and more self-aware, grown in confidence, tolerance and understanding, and the move to Canada has been the catalyst for this personal development.