Cars, Boats & Planes with Two Siamese Cats

Well, that was an adventure. In two parts. First, I took a big drive in a little mini, transporting most of my belongings from Nelson to Victoria, British Columbia.

I drove it in one day: leaving early morning, stopping only 20 minutes total, and landing in a (rather uncomfortable) backpacker hostel by 9pm.

All my stuff’s inside!!
Palm Beach to Colorado to Nelson to Victoria

Though I had mostly feared city driving, it was the twisty-turvy mountain roads down steep inclines that nearly did me in — particularly amidst torrential downpours.

Hours in, I felt crazed, glazed and manic…but wow was just making the Vancouver ferry extra sweet. Exhaling and scanning the sea, I was filled with awe and gratitude that I’d soon be living along these shores.

Ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria

Once in Victoria, I parked the mini at my new place, signed the lease and spent the next day doing yoga downtown before flying back for a final week in Nelson.

Such a bittersweet last stretch! Saying tearful goodbyes, savouring last dinners on the lake, receiving heart-nourishing gifts + blessings…bidding farewell for now.

Homemade gift from dear friends
Love you guys!

At this point in the game, the cats and I were pretty much camping in the cabin. Given the disappearance of all that we own, they were highly suspicious — and for good reason. This week’s part 2 was not exactly smooth.

LingDao: suspicious and displeased

After a final Nelson yoga class and being gifted a beautiful mat, I collected the cats and made my way to the airport.

Since I was one person travelling with two pets, they had to make the journey in a hard crate in the back of both planes. Oh, and said planes were so tiny I was nearly in the cockpit. To say these details upset the girls would be putting it mildly.

The story is long but included:

  • Me carrying more than my bodyweight in stuff and cats
  • LingXu taking an unceremonious crap in our rental car en route
  • LingDao howling like a demon spawn The. Entire. Trek.
  • Downpours in the car and just before our flight, resulting in delays
  • Their crate being separated from me and placed next to crates full of barking dogs (which LingXu fears with all 9 lives and her entire being)
  • Me having to hold both cats in my arms during a rushed layover, so their crate could be examined by security (resulting in lots of drama plus fistfuls of fur)
  • Me then being selected randomly for a full security pat down and bag check, even as my name was being called over the airport intercom and plane number 2 (cats aboard) was prepping to leave without me
  • Me passing security (whew!) and getting escorted to the plane, which thank all that is good they held for me
  • A final, long-ish cab ride to our new home (cats despondent at this point)
  • So, so many instances of random kindness from strangers and grace from the Universe along the way, smoothing the edges of an otherwise jarring journey.

And know what? When we arrived, the Lings LOVED our new place!

I adore it too, of course, but them loving it = relief I want to bottle. I spent all yesterday making it home…but will save those pictures for next week ;).

Just hanging with the pilots mid-flight

Minimalism nitty-gritty

This was already a ramble but, in view of the move, I wanted to include a short note on simple living. To paraphrase from my response to a friend this week, when he asked about what my minimalist lifestyle looks like (and whether I use furniture):

I’ve moved homes (and countries) lots since my 20s — I think I’ve had 20 homes in the past 10 years. I rent small spaces that are unfurnished…and for the past couple years have been sleeping on a small foam mat from Walmart.

I have a very small desk (which fit in my mini with the legs off) that I’m attached to (a gift, and made from repurposed wood by an artisan). I’m leaving the very old, unliked chair I used with that (it’s my only chair and comes from our previous acupuncture clinic in Florida).

I have a large bookshelf that has heart-felt value but is too massive for my life, and I acquired it only in the last couple years (from a teacher). I’m passing it on to one of my other teachers from the same Chinese Medicine school; those two are mentors in my life and are closely connected to each other, so the shelf is staying in the family.

That’s all my furniture for a number of years, yet…I’ve found myself missing a “comfortable place to sit” and bought the secondhand couch and small kitchen table with chairs off the tenant in the place I’m moving to in Victoria. We’ll see how I do with such things…but I think the cats will appreciate them, if nothing else. I’m leaving the foam “bed” I sleep on currently…but am inheriting another for free from the new place’s previous tenant. I’ve considered buying a platform bed. Maybe. Feels like a commitment.

I guess that’s it! I have one spoon, one fork, one knife, a few glasses, two bowls, one small pot, one cast iron pan. I miss having a good blender and want to get a Sodastream.

I’ve let go of most books, but they and notebooks made up most of my recent mini load. Clothes are very minimal. I like feeling light and do regular edits, wherever I am. Also love the feeling of getting rid of things more than adding them to the pile.

Truthfully, my home is bigger now and has more furniture than before. Still, it remains super simple…and spacious. Stay tuned for pics.

Meanwhile, this week’s…

Dinnertime view, last night in Nelson

Recipes + Links

Minimalism, success and the curious writing habit of George R.R. Martin. The best-selling author of A Game of Thrones uses focus, consistency and patience to get ‘er done: “George ’WordStar’ Martin is selling more books than nearly anyone on the planet and his computer can’t even send an email. Think about that for a moment. So often we think that we need more to be successful. More outside funding for our startup. More software programs or productivity tools to handle our to-do list. More business contacts, a bigger network. More clothes or cars or credit cards. But maybe what we really need is less. Maybe what we really need are fewer distractions and more focus. Maybe what we really need are a few carefully chosen constraints that narrow our energy onto what really matters rather than compiling a bunch of resources that pull us away from what we actually need to do. It’s very possible that eliminating distractions, not accumulating resources, is the best way to maximize your potential. Constraints drive creativity. What is the minimum you need to succeed?”

Or just start with your inbox. Mine’s at zero by the close of each day (no pressure though). Related…

There is too much stuff. The human brain can’t contend with the vastness of online shopping: “Contemporary internet shopping conjures a perfect storm of choice anxiety. Research has consistently held that people who are presented with a few options make better, easier decisions than those presented with many.”

In the name of keeping it simple while feeling fancy, I’m planning this dish. (But with spaghetti squash pasta.)

See also. (But with olive oil + almond meal.)

And for what to eat in summer, head here. It features simple, Chinese Medicine tips for the season.

P.S., How many forks and spoons do you have? Ever tried getting rid of extra stuff? How’d it go? xo.

Life by design.

When you’re making changes, caring accountability makes a world of difference.

I offer two avenues for customized plans + coaching: The Foundation and The Deep Dive.

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With simplicity + ease.



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Dana Leigh Lyons

Dana Leigh Lyons

Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Writer, Dean, Medium Top Writer in Poetry, Health, Travel, LGBTQ.