The Move: Two die-hard digital nomads finally settle at a former parsonage in Nova Scotia

The Move: Two die-hard digital nomads finally settle at a former parsonage in Nova Scotia

The consumers: Dalene Heck, who’s 47, and her husband, Pete, who’s 46. They co-own a digital advertising and marketing firm.
The price range: $400,000
The backstory: Dalene and Pete have been digital nomads lengthy earlier than it was cool. Back in 2007, the couple have been dwelling in a 2,100-square-foot indifferent home in Okotoks, Alberta. Every day, they commuted an hour every approach to Calgary to work company jobs they didn’t love—Dalene in supply-chain administration and Pete in accounting. Then, inside a few brief months, two of their shut relations died and so they discovered they wouldn’t have the ability to conceive a baby with out substantial medical intervention. Dalene and Pete had at all times talked about taking an prolonged journey, however life stored getting in the best way. “At that time, we’d run out of causes to not journey,” Dalene says. They determined to give up their jobs, promote their home and see the world, initially planning to return to Alberta inside a yr. They have been gone for almost eight.
The couple travelled to 60 international locations throughout their lengthy sojourn. Along the best way, they began a distant content material and social media advertising and marketing enterprise, utilizing any income to fund their life-style, and house-sitting to save lots of on bills. In November of 2016, the couple was stopped in Seattle when Dalene fell sick and was admitted to a native ER. Doctors quickly found that her blood platelet depend was dangerously low; she was identified with leukemia quickly after. The couple determined it will be greatest to trip out Dalene’s therapy and restoration in the consolation of residence, in order that they bought a two-bedroom townhouse in Lethbridge in May of 2017.
By the summer time of 2020, Dalene’s leukemia was in remission and the couple have been house-sitting as soon as once more, this time for a month in Canmore. They did loads of soul-searching in the mountains, mulling over their subsequent huge transfer. In the long run, settling overseas didn’t really feel like a viable possibility, however they didn’t really feel utterly at residence in Lethbridge both—partly as a result of, in response to Dalene, the summer time warmth is insufferable. Their minds stored wandering again to their dozen-plus visits to Nova Scotia, 4 of which passed off throughout their remote-work years. “My grandfather was from Newfoundland, so I’m drawn to the ocean,” Pete says. The coast would even be a lot cooler than Lethbridge.

Dalene and Pete waited out the worst of COVID earlier than hitting the highway once more. They offloaded their townhouse (for $250,000) in May 2022, and that summer time, they have been on the transfer. Pete and Dalene’s brother-in-law drove a U-Haul filled with the couple’s belongings to Truro, Nova Scotia, the place they’d rented a storage unit. The Hecks then rented Dalene’s aunt and uncle’s empty residence in Edmonton. A month later, they began their meandering, cross-country trek to Nova Scotia, with stopovers in Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Ottawa and Quebec City. They’d been perusing Nova Scotia listings for a whereas, however after years of roaming, Dalene and Pete have been fairly snug leaving residence with out having one other locked down. “We simply trusted that issues would work out,” Dalene says. “They at all times have.”
The hunt: Dalene and Pete organized for a long-term cottage rental in Shortts Lake, Nova Scotia—the headquarters for his or her province-wide residence search. At that time, the post-pandemic housing market was red-hot. Hurricane Fiona additional difficult the Hecks’ search when she arrived that fall. They shortly nixed the thought of proudly owning beachside property, as an alternative prioritizing properties that have been near, however indirectly on, the coast. The Annapolis Valley, with its considerable produce and average temperatures, topped the Hecks’ checklist. Their property standards? Three bedrooms, a protected ocean or lake view and proximity to the Halifax airport. (They deliberate on flying regularly.)

In early November, the Hecks noticed a itemizing for a four-bedroom century residence in the former fishing port of Margaretsville. The residence was a former parsonage, constructed in 1913, and listed for the very cheap 2022 worth of $363,000. It was initially owned by the city’s United Baptist church, which bought it in the ’80s. Its unique carved-wood staircase and stained-glass home windows remained. Other enticing sells included a lounge (full with electrical hearth), a barn (for storage), greater than half an acre of land and gorgeous (distant) views of the Bay of Fundy. “The residence charmed our socks off,” Dalene says.
The residence additionally had a few less-than-charming options. Its two loos have been aspect by aspect, linked by a door. The kitchen, whereas newly renovated, lacked home equipment. The property was additionally bothered with a “moist basement,” a frequent incidence in Nova Scotia however information to the Hecks. “Water tends to leak into each previous home round right here,” Pete says. Fortunately, none of these points have been deal-breakers. The day after their viewing, the Hecks submitted a suggestion of $340,000, a low-ball determine as a result of lack of home equipment. The proprietor, a landlord dwelling in Ontario, countered with $357,000—the sale conditional on a residence inspection. They closed weeks earlier than Christmas. “We weren’t useful, and we’d simply purchased a hundred-year-old residence,” Pete says, “however we may see ourselves right here for a very long time.”

The Hecks took possession of the parsonage final January, however stayed in Shortts Lake till their rental settlement was up in mid-March. That month, they retrieved their belongings from their storage unit in Truro. They have been too drained to hold their mattress upstairs on transferring day, in order that they quickly arrange their mattress in the lounge—and shortly realized that, due to minimal insulation, they might really feel the total results of a storm that had settled over the realm. “It was -40 exterior and 9 levels on the principle ground,” Dalene remembers. “We slept with toques on, plus each blanket we owned, however we have been nonetheless so excited.”
In the months since, the Hecks have busied themselves with repairs. An previous, leaky chimney is now sealed, and so they’ve put in a generator to maintain their sump pump working—and their basement dry—if the facility cuts out throughout a storm. Most importantly, with winter coming, they’re planning to put in a warmth pump and insulate the cellar and attic, the place Pete not too long ago found a guide of hymns lodged in the wall.

In distinction to their new residence, Margaretsville’s few hundred residents have prolonged a heat welcome to the come-from-aways. One lady, a former volunteer with the United Baptist church, was already effectively acquainted with the Hecks’ home, and the Hecks not too long ago gave her a tour so she may see the renovations. (“She was answerable for altering the wallpaper—many occasions—in our bed room, to get it prepared for brand spanking new pastors,” Dalene says.) A area people corridor fundraises with pancake breakfasts and ice cream gross sales; Dalene and Pete have already volunteered for a few shifts.

Surprisingly, Dalene and Pete haven’t felt any wanderlust since their transfer. “We’re getting older,” Pete says, “we don’t wish to strap on backpacks and be gone for months at a time.” These days, they spend most of their free time tooling round Nova Scotia, not too long ago to Yarmouth (for its astronomy-themed Starlight Festival) and Digby (to take pleasure in Scallop Days, a celebration of Pete’s favorite meals). Since the pandemic, they’ve scratched any journey itches by creating their very own card recreation referred to as “Trip Chaser,” the objective of which is to purchase, barter and gamble one’s approach to varied locations. Plenty of the couple’s greatest journey reminiscences are baked into the sport. system/realestateeconomy/moving-to-margaretsville/

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