'It is going to be a blast': Calgary family plans cross-country road trip to celebrate Canada 150
Oil patch layoff spurs plan to explore during national anniversary celebrations
From a pink slip to a road trip, a Calgary family has found a silver lining in that city's economic downturn.
Like many thousands of Albertans before him, Jeff Cyre got the news that he had been laid off from his corporate oil and gas job in January. But it is what Cyre and his family decided to do next that sets them apart.
Instead of putting all of his energy into finding a new job right away, Cyre, along with his wife, Shelley, and their three children, decided to hit the road this summer.
The family will spend four months travelling from Calgary to Newfoundland in a five-metre trailer to celebrate the country's 150th birthday.
It's a decision Jeff Cyre says wasn't easy to make.
"It was scary at first but just doing a lot of networking and meeting and talking to people in the industry, it is picking up."
Cyre says he hopes to use the time on the road to reconnect with his young family.
"It's going to be a great time biking, fishing and just exploring all parts of Canada, both the national parks, the provincial parks, First Nations sites. It is going to be a blast."
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The family's home this summer will be a small camper that barely fits all five of them and their dog, Midas. But mom Shelley isn't worried about the cramped quarters.
"It actually has everything we need," she says.
Shelley is also sure her three kids will thrive on the road.
"There will be no electronics for four months. We will be outside, we will be playing, and most importantly, I am excited to show the kids Canada."
Despite missing two months of school, Shelley believes her children will learn more on the road than they would have in the classroom.
Jeff Cyre says the plan is for the family to be in Ottawa by Canada Day on July 1.
But that isn't what seven-year-old Riley is most looking forward to. The Grade 1 student is most excited about seeing the tall ships on the St. Lawrence River and "seeing the whales smack their tails in New Brunswick."
Riley's older sister Evan is so pumped to hit the road that she is building little campsites out of bark in her front yard. But the Grade 3 student admits it is an adventure that comes with some challenges.
"I was not looking forward to sleeping with my siblings but mom solved that problem and built a third bunk."
The eight-year-old admits that there are some unique benefits to this road trip as well.
"I am very much looking forward to missing some school," she says.
Stretched to the limits
As four-year-old Wyatt disappears inside the trailer, the rest of the family crowds around the tiny kitchen table in the mint green trailer they have nicknamed Kermit.
There is an understanding that four months in these cramped conditions could see the camper and their family stretched to the limits.
But Jeff Cyre is confident that his decision to embrace his job and take his family on a cross-Canada adventure, which kicks off May 11, will be more cathartic than claustrophobic.
"This is the best opportunity, this is the best time for us to do this."
You can follow the Cyre family's journey on their blog at www.CyreiouslyCanadian.com.