9 episodes

A podcast that shares stories about community and connection to inspire more of us to have more "us" in our lives.

Life Without Us Valery Navarrete

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

A podcast that shares stories about community and connection to inspire more of us to have more "us" in our lives.

    Moving Through Life Without Us

    Moving Through Life Without Us

    Inspired by the stories of the Life Without Us podcast’s season one guests, host Valery mics up with a surprise special guest to reflect on what we loved, learned, and are looking forward to as we wrap up the show’s inaugural season.  


    Episode available at lifewithoutuspod.com 


     In this episode:


    * Which stories of community and connection inspired the most reflection


    * Which guests most nudged us towards change . . . and what might that change look like?


    * Moments of discomfort on what it means to show up well in community 


    * Bringing back the classic unplanned phone call to stay connected


    * Boundaries: why we need them and how to manage them


    * What’s next for the Life Without Us podcast.


    Join our email list, send us questions, and provide guest / co-host / topic suggestions at lifewithoutuspod.com and @lifewithoutuspod


    Find Other Episode References:


    Prentis Hemphill’s Quote on Boundaries

    • 40 min
    Hima Batavia on the Friendship Renaissance

    Hima Batavia on the Friendship Renaissance

    “I think part of the heartbreak is that we actually think friendships are going to last forever . . . You just think: why wouldn’t we be in each other’s lives forever?” — Hima Batavia


    Episode available at lifewithoutuspod.com 


    Hima Batavia is a writer, artist, and cultural designer based in T’karonto. Her practice focuses on rewriting and weaving narratives for our collective liberation, and exploring aesthetics of care and well-being, across conceptions of time / space through collaborative processes and performance-based works.


    Inspired by an edition of Hima’s weekly newsletter called “the friendship renaissance is here (Which gives me all the hope),” host Valery and Hima mic’d up for this double episode unpacking the role of friendship in our lives, and in our concepts of community. Why double? Our convo was just too good to stop sooner!


     In this episode:


    * Friendship in the age of COVID-19 


    * Yes, healthy conflict in friendship is possible (and conflict avoidance is not it)


    * The profound pain of friendship breakups (and what a healthy one might look like)


    * Are your friends your community? Can you have a community without friendship?


    * Normalizing not having friends (meeting your needs for connection and intimacy > having a long list of ‘friends’)


    * How to friend with the neurodivergent


    * How might we build better friendship infrastructure?


    * Friendship and relationship hierarchies


    * Friendship futures. 


    Join our email list, send us questions, and provide guest / co-host / topic suggestions at lifewithoutuspod.com and @lifewithoutuspod


    Find Hima: 


    Instagram (@hima_batavia)
    himabatavia.com 
    afternoon dreams Newsletter (himabatavia.substack.com)
    the friendship renaissance 


    Find Other Episode References:


    Big Friendship 


    Call Your Girlfriend 


    Friendship in the Age of Loneliness  

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Natalie Bay on The Magic Ingredient of Food

    Natalie Bay on The Magic Ingredient of Food

    “Food creates a distraction . . . When you’re just talking to somebody one-on-one it’s hard sometimes to get out your ideas and open up your heart; but, when you’re distracted by the flavours and you’re excited and it’s drawing in memories, suddenly it’s just a lot easier to have the conversation flowing.” — Natalie Bay


    Episode available at lifewithoutuspod.com 


    Like many others, Natalie Bay hit video call fatigue early on in the pandemic. Despite living alone and missing seeing people, she found the online version of pre-pandemic hangouts left her feeling less connected than ever. Then one day she texted some friends in a group chat about her ‘boring’ plans to make macaroni and cheese with the leftovers in her fridge and suddenly found herself hosting her first online cooking class.


    Join host Valery as she drops into a ‘Cooking with Nat’ class and hears from community members one year after they first started gathering on Monday nights to (virtually) cook and eat together. 


     In this episode:


    * The high failure rate of pandemic online hangouts 


    * How a macaroni and cheese craving launched an online cooking class


    * Highlights from over a year of collaborative cooking and eating 


    * Why food, and particularly preparing food together, is such a magic ingredient to creating connection and community 


    * Whether to turn your community building event into a side hustle


    * Why communities thrive on consistency.


    Join our email list, send us questions, and provide guest / co-host / topic suggestions at lifewithoutuspod.com and @lifewithoutuspod

    Find Natalie: Instagram

    • 34 min
    Craig Ruttan on Housing Solutions

    Craig Ruttan on Housing Solutions

    “The box is generally a two or three story single family home and that’s about it. I think knowing that we need to get a lot more creative about how we’re living means that we need to raise that bar and enable more of that creativity. Because cities should be a little messy. ” — Craig Ruttan

    Episode available at lifewithoutuspod.com 

    Craig Ruttan bought his first home this year giving him a front row seat to the urban housing issues he was already familiar with as a public policy leader and community enthusiast.

    At the outset of their search, he, his fiancé Alex, two other couples, and an individual set out to buy a four-unit home in downtown Toronto for their new cohousing community. At the end of it, Craig, Alex, and their friends, Mike and Heather, moved into a two-unit home with ambitions to expand through laneway house construction in the future.  

    Host Valery connected with Craig three weeks post move-in to talk about the joy of starting to realize his and his co-owners’ vision for living in community and the choices that need to be made to replace profit with people as the focus of Toronto’s housing policy. 

    In this episode:

    * House hunting as a group


    * Evolving private rituals and traditions into shared community experiences 


    * Queer concepts of community 


    * Intergenerational wealth, white privilege, and Toronto’s homogenization by housing policy problem


    * Housing access through “densification” “as-of-right zoning bylaws,” “strata ownership,” “shared equity models” and other creative policy solutions


    * Future hopes for a community and a city


    Join our email list, send us questions, and provide guest / co-host / topic suggestions at lifewithoutuspod.com and @lifewithoutuspod

    Find Craig: Twitter


    Find Other Episode References:
    Black North Initiative and Habitat for Humanity GTA Toronto Star editorial on Anti-Black Racism and Housing 
    Toronto’s Laneway Suites Program
    Toronto’s As-of-right Garden Suites Proposal
    Types of Strata Ownership
    Options for Homes

    • 34 min
    Louise Bardswich on Independence Through Community

    Louise Bardswich on Independence Through Community

    “Taking control a little earlier and figuring out who you want to live with, what the rules are going to be, and how you’re going to deal with things I think is just sensible planning. And maybe with the pandemic people will be thinking a bit more in terms of, ‘oh look what can happen down the road.’” — Louise Bardswich
    Episode available at lifewithoutuspod.com 
    Louise Bardswich is one of the four headline making (and legislation inspiring) Golden Girls of Port Perry and a sought after expert on how to re-imagine what aging in place can look like. 
    Louise and host Valery Navarrete connected in February to talk about how her community has fared in the last year of the pandemic, and how choosing to live together before any of them “needed to” set them up for greater independence over the long-term than any were likely to have experienced otherwise.
    In this episode:
    * The math you need to know if you plan to live a long and independent life 
    * How to design a shared home for accessibility and life stage changes
    * The need for control: why living in community with a smaller group of people and rules you choose might suit you better than the alternatives in your senior years
    * The renewed interest in the Golden Girls of Port Perry’s model and urgent need for more options following the crisis seniors in Canada have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Join our email list, send us questions, and provide guest / co-host / topic suggestions at lifewithoutuspod.com and @lifewithoutuspod
    Find Louise and the Golden Girls of Port Perry coverage in
    goldengirlsportperry.ca
    The Ottawa Citizen
    The Agenda on TVO 
    Find other episode references
    They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson

    • 23 min
    Karim Rizkallah on Listeners' Questions

    Karim Rizkallah on Listeners' Questions

    “You gotta be honest about your hard lines; but, also be as generous as possible, because when you live in a collective the goal can’t be getting your way and convincing everyone else you need to get your way. The goal ought to be finding something for the collective that is as good and as safe for everyone as possible.” — Karim Rizkallah
    Episode available at lifewithoutuspod.com 
    Karim Rizkallah has a 21 year relationship with living in community and shares his most recent milestone in that journey with Life Without Us host, Valery Navarrete. Together with four others they founded the Clarens Commons cohouse in Toronto. 
    On today’s episode, Karim joins Valery as a podcast key contributor to answer listeners’ questions about living in and nourishing community. We hope this will become a regular feature on the show. We just need more questions from y’all. So, please send us more questions. Cool? 
    In this episode:

    * Has the word “community” been hijacked?

    * Is it useful to distinguish between so-called “big community” and the more organic, member-driven communities that many of us try to foster in our day-to-day lives?

    * What do we mean by “living in community?”

    * How do you determine fit for your community?

    * What makes a space ideal for cohousing or other big community project?
    Join our email list, send us questions, and provide guest / co-host / topic suggestions at lifewithoutuspod.com and @lifewithoutuspod
    To learn more about Karim and Clarens Commons check out these pieces from The Toronto Star, CBC Tapestry, and VICE.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

F. Sayani ,

Warm tones, great conversations

I have been enjoying these conversations particularly as they relate to pandemic times. Valery, as host, has a great balance of questions and deep listening. There is a warmth in the production that gives it a conversational feel. A great pleasure on long walks.

AnnaKemp ,

Smart, timely, and thought provoking

I live in a housing co-op in BC and, especially through this pandemic, have been really thinking a lot about community, how to nurture it, how amazing it feels when you realize you and your neighbours have built one. ;) I just listened to episode 1, loved it and am looking forward to listening to the rest. Great podcast!

MeegsWarbs ,

Timely, lively, & worth sharing

Val’s a brilliant thinker, sharer, & doer in the world. No surprise this podcast embodies all she stands for & will spark important convos for months to come. Can’t wait to hear all the eps as they roll out!