Crinstam Camp


How we got here.

We have been together for 19 years. When we first got together, I (Tom) was involved in flipping real estate. I would buy an old run down house, move into it and renovate it while living there for up to two years, when I would sell it and buy another one to repeat it all over again.

After Nicole and I first joined forces, we did a few more, including a tri-plex until we could buy a 40 acre farm where we were supposed to retire and turn it into an off-grid, self-sufficient hobby farm. Unfortunately, a few years after we got it, I was diagnosed with stage 3, untreatable cancer (according to my oncolgist). Travelling to the cancer hospital 4 hours away, hotel stays and other related costs caused us to fall behind in our bills and before being forced into a foreclosure situation, we sold it. I eventually beat the cancer, but lost the farm over it.

For the next decade, we rented a succession of places until we ended up living in Kitchener, Ontario in a co-op building. While there, I would often do outreach to people who were living rough. When someone would take shelter in our lobby, which was quite large, I'd bring them sandwhiches or coffee and talk with them to hear their stories. Unfortunately, the rest of the building co-op membership didn't feel the same as I do and they voted to spend over 30k to shrink the lobby and make it inaccessible to homeless people even though they posed no danger to anyone. We immedately gave our notice to leave. Unfortunately, there were no toher places we could afford in Kitchener at the time, so we ended up moving into our cargo van that we had been converting into an RV. It wasn't finished, but it was better than staying living with and associating with people who would turn their backs on people in need. We lived in the van on the streets of Kitchener until the end of Decemeber when it became too cold to do so.

We moved four hours north into a slum in North Bay. While there, I discovered the building superintendent was a racist nazi who had an Indigenous woman living in his apartment that he used and abused for sex. He used the threat that if she left or told anyone, that he would keep all her stuff and burn it. As she had nowhere else to turn, she could only stay and be abused. One day I had a conversation with him about it, in front of a security camera. Part way through the conversation, he assualted me rather vigorously. When the police showed up, although I refused to press charges against him he was held over the weekend for assualt. The woman, whom I've never met, before or after, used the opportunity to pack her stuff and leave. The building owner refused to do anything about his superintendent assaulting one of his tenants, so we moved again.

An hour south in South River, we found a one bedroom house for rent that had a large yard and driveway. We made an agreement with the landlord to allow us to park an old Bluebird bus in the driveway while we turned it into a tiny home on wheels with the intent of finding property afterward to start living off-grid. Before we were finished the bus, the landlord sold the property to a renovicter from southern Ontario. She harrassed us to get us to move out so she could turn the small house into three smaller apartments. Part of her harrassment was to steal our bus and have it crushed, despite having no legal backing to do so. She did it with the co-operation of the police, making false claims, that we proved were false, but the police still sat back and did nothng to stop her.

We found a property in Northern Ontario, about an hour away from where we are now, to lease 75 acres where we could live off-grid. We came up before to look at the property and made a deal to buy an RV that was supposed to be delivered the day we moved here. When we got here with nothing but a Uhaul truck with the last of our possessions and a city car, the RV didn't show up and the guy ghosted us. That left us on a empty property in the country, without even a tent. I found a trailer a few hours away that the seller was willing to take payments on and deliver the next day for us. It wasn't set up for living in during the winter, but we installed a wood stove and started slowly converting it. Despite our lease stating the property having year-round road access, it didn't and we ended up getting trapped on the property with no way to get out for supplies or get them brought in.

Fortunately, we found another piece of land to make a deal for and the owner even helped us move our trailer to it. That was two years ago. We now have a long-term lease for the property with permission to camp here until we find a property to buy.

When we got here, all we had was the one travel trailer with a wood stove in it and our city car that was well beyond it's last life.

We've been slowly building up the equipment and materials we need to live off-grid. Soon we will start on building a tiny home to replace the trailer as our main home. It's being built to be moved by a flatbed trailer with a wide load permit once we find our permanent home. We are also doing many other projects, all temporary or portable, so that when we move, we can leave the property with no permanent damage.



Deep background stuff - personal - MANY triggers for lots of different stuff - Read at your own risk - coming soon

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