In the early 1980s, Terry Faubert was a single mother struggling to get by in Victoria. Rising rent costs meant she and her young son moved often.
“By the time my son was four years old we’d lived in four different cities,” she said.
Faubert longed to provide him with a stable family home and community like she'd had growing up in Toronto. She also wished her son’s childhood would be spent surrounded by nature, and that she could find a partner who shared her dreams.
When a friend suggested she would be more likely to meet someone who loved rural living already residing in such a place, Faubert decided to move to one.
Arriving in Lund in 1984 with little money and few connections, her memoir tells the story of how she managed to purchase land and build a house with no prior knowledge or skills related to the task.
“It was a really incredible adventure,” she said. “When I look back on it, it just seems impossible. I think ‘how did I ever do that?’”
Under the title of her book, The Way Home, is the subheading: How a Naive Single Mom Built her House in the Forest.
“I put naive in the title for a bit of humour, because there is some humour in the text and I wanted to indicate that,” said Faubert. “But if I didn’t have that kind of naiveté when I moved here I never would have attempted it.”
Although building the house was definitely the bigger undertaking, writing the story of it also proved to be an arduous process, she added.
Faubert credits Sandra Tonn’s memoir writing class at Powell River Public Library for helping her get the project started. A group of like-minded writers she met through the class provided notes and encouragement.
“The more you write about something the more memories come up that you didn’t realize you had,” she said.
Once the manuscript was ready she found beta readers, people who did not know her personally, to provide unbiased feedback. “I ended up getting two local people and two readers from overseas,” she added. “That was very helpful and that’s why the book has maps.”
Faubert sold the house she built in 2001 and moved to Powell River, but it remains a big part of her identity, she said.
“When you put that much work and effort into something, it becomes a part of you and such a part of your life,” she added.
Looking back Faubert said the whole experience seemed a bit charmed. Although it didn’t feel like it at the time, things always fell into place.
“Wherever we go in life and whatever we do there are always options,” she added. “If a door seems to close it doesn’t mean that you give up. There’s always a way you can find to get there if you’re determined.”
A book launch will take place at 7 pm on Wednesday, July 31, at Northside Community Recreation Centre in Lund. An author reading and presentation will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, August 24, at Powell River Public Library.
Faubert’s book is available online at amazon.ca and at Coles locally.