From Full time travel to life without movement: The Rise of DIY

Sorry for the hiatus, Sailors! During this time of uncertainty and stagnancy we couldn’t keep still for long! After being stuck inside for 14 days, we started exploring new avenues of life when we could leave Larissa’s mom’s basement again. Thinking of relevant, genuine content for a travel blog during COVID-19 has been a bit of a challenge. Sharing our struggles to achieve solidarity at first was fitting but now the demand for uplifting or lighthearted content is what we’re feeling. Overall, we wanted to share with you what we’ve been doing during this indefinite absence of travelling and how it’s made us feel.

Without jobs, travel, sports, or anything else, many people have a lot of time to spare which leads folks deeper into Do-It-Yourself territory. DIY has become more popular over the last 50 years. The term “DIY” started in the 1960s with the growing disdain towards mass production. It gained popularity in the 70s with the invention of VHS. Handy people would share How-To instructional videos on a range of topics. After WWII, handcrafted and artisan products took a dive at the hands of new economic growth and the creation of plastic. For people who had only known self-labour, having someone or something else do the work was an inconceivable luxury. Of course, upper classes had always taken the opportunity to commission work and avoid manual labour, but with the rise of technology the average middle class family was being given similar opportunities.

However, even as mass production continued to increase over decades, people retained the Napoleon era mantra “if you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” No one understands an individual’s vision better than that individual. Furthermore, realizing that vision brings a sense of satisfaction innate to the human spirit. Corporations also continued to cut corners, lowering the quality and durability of products and services. Undoubtedly, there are good people in the production and service sectors, but there are also folks who remain disingenuous. DIY was born as a small protest against shoddy work, overpriced products, and negligent services. It not only extends to home and backyard projects, but to finances, business, sales and beyond.

So, how is this relevant to us and to travelling?

DIY is honestly one of the best ways to connect people to their environments and to each other. It gives us knowledge of how to provide and build for ourselves, linking humanity in a deeper sense. Travel accomplishes a similar goal: connectivity. Without the opportunity to travel, we are striving to find new connections and ways to interact with our environment that could better broaden our understanding and appreciation for nature and her inhabitants.

SO that means we rolled up our sleeves, visited our local hardware stores, reclaimed some discarded materials, and went to work!

We did a number of different projects. The first project’s objective was to create a space for us to stay healthy and mentally well. We scrounged everything we could from the furthest corners of storage closets and FB Marketplace before every exercise store was wiped from top to bottom. Since we weren’t allowed to leave AND there were no facilities open anyways, this little garage gym helped us through quarantine more than we imagined. Members of my family ended up using it, too!

The next project is arguably the most important: backyard garden. Growing and harvesting your own food is not only satisfying, but also great for the environment! According to the CABA, you can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 68lbs if you grow 20% of what you eat! It’s fair trade, more fresh/better tasting, and you can control what chemicals and nutrients go into your soil. With potential winter food shortages up ahead it’s also not a bad idea to can and save homegrown items. Since we didn’t have a lot of disposable income and the ground here is rocky, we thought pallet flower boxes would be the best option. You can find pallets for free at basically any industrial business (just let them know you’re coming/ask)! All you need to build the items below is a hammer, crow bar, nails, and a jigsaw. We also managed to find some free plywood that we used for the ends of the boxes – but that’s not necessary and there are many resources online for different styles of boxes. The nails can be reused from the pallets if you’re careful!

A backyard garden can be better accented by a better backyard living space. A nice patio and gazebo was the goal in this case (or, more-so, Larissa’s mom’s vision)! It’s still a work in progress, but we will be sure to post an update. Removing sod and laying bricks is easier than you’d expect – watching any instructional video will give you everything you need. However, building a gazebo is something that requires a bit more practice, tools, and a some good help. Luckily, we had some experienced handy people that can be seen in the photo on the right (a good, fluffy helping boi indeed).

On top of that, Hannah got to painting a few houses for her family! Isn’t she cute?

We don’t have more pictures because the homeowners didn’t want their properties featured. BUT we can assure you that it’s a skill anyone can learn with a bit of patience!

So, where does that leave us now?

Well, it leaves us with jobs here in Canada, a start date for Hannah’s school, massive uncertainty about a potential second wave of COVID-19, and a lot of longing for travel.

We know this isn’t our usual content but we wanted to post an update of what we had been doing the past month. With progress around the world, we hope that travel will be possible (and SAFE) soon so our future content will be guides to places we love!

We want to hear about your DIY stories as well, Sailors! If you have photos and DIY experiences to share, leave them in the comments below! We always love hearing from you 💜

Stay strong, Sailors, we are in this together 💪

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