I’m sure you have a perfect place in mind when planning a relaxing getaway. A place where you can recharge your batteries and just be. A place that feels safe and warm and is surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Now imagine you could live there every day of your life!
I’ve had those thoughts for a long time and I was tired of trying to find this place and too sad to leave again after a few days once I found it. Which is why my partner and I decided to buy a 7-acre piece of land on a small island to build this magical place ourselves. A place we can call home, a lifestyle which allows us to be more self-sufficient and reconnect with nature and most importantly, allow us to do the things we enjoy most in live.
Just a bit of background info on me– I’ve worked in the Fitness Industry for almost two decades now and have been self-employed for about six years. I have no formal training in building things whatsoever. Luckily, both of us are ambitious enough (some call it crazy) to just go for it.
With a vision in mind and the willingness to try, hopefully my dream of hosting classes and retreats will become reality, soon.
But let’s not kid ourselves, building on an empty piece of land is no easy feat.
So where did we start ?
Over the past two years, we made slow but steady progress on our land while only being there part-time. We started with the basics- getting electricity (major step up from a generator!) and a pump for our well-water. We purchased a small RV which enables us to stay there (somewhat comfortably) to work on our projects, so far mainly utility sheds.
My priority was to build a cabin for ourselves.
But life had a different plan. Until then, I was only toying with the idea of having a gym space for classes and retreats further down the line. However, Covid made it impossible to work out of the island’s community gym which I had planned on using. Being self-employed, I have to make sure to keep my clients and my bank account happy. Long story short, we had to improvise. The idea was to build a covered outdoor platform to keep me dry while teaching when it’s raining. Easy enough.
Did I mention I live on the Canadian west coast? In case you don’t know, it rains pretty much from September until May.
And how do we chose what to do next?
The idea was to build a covered outdoor platform to keep me dry while teaching when it’s raining. Easy enough. Our gazebo-like structure with a tin roof would be a great solution in a warmer country without rain or wind. Watching the first heavy rain wash over our new construction demonstrated right away that keeping it open was not an option. Needless to say, we had to ‘upgrade’. Due to money and time restrictions, the most efficient and quick solution to enclosing the structure was tarps. So far, so good.
But – have you ever tried putting up a huge tarp (imagine the mainsail of a sailing boat) in the rain when it’s windy at night ?
I am still suffering some mild PTSD from the storm that ripped the tarp and even broke a part of our building structure that particular night.
After experiencing the forces of nature, I changed my priorities.
Enclosing the gym properly, getting some nice patio doors and windows is what will be my main focus in the New Year. Balancing my ability to work and quality of life will be a challenge for a while. But having a safe, dry place to teach out of and record videos will be a huge plus.
When it comes to starting something (and that applies to any project in life) – even the most logical order may not get you where you want to be. Having plans is absolutely necessary, but you have to be able to adapt.
When there’s a challenge, you need to prioritize what makes your life easier in order to move forward. Ultimately, the path will unfold right in front of you, trust me!
Speaking of making life easier, don’t even get me started on the internet situation…
Jessi Schlegel is a fitness trainer and educator. She draws from a versatile background with a degree in Sports Therapy from Germany and in-the-field business experience as co-owner of a gym in Vancouver (Canada). She currently works as a Personal Trainer, Group Class Instructor, Yoga Instructor, Holistic Nutritionist and Online Coach. With over 18 years of experience, she aims to pass on knowledge and share her passion and experiences with clients and trainers around theworld.