Who We Are

To know me, you must first know where I came from.

Dan 🇨🇦

I was born and raised in a log cabin on the outskirts of a small town in the Rocky Mountains of western Canada.

By small town, I mean it had a bar, hotel, gas station, post office and less than 30 residents. My family grew, raised and hunted most of our own food. My childhood was materially simplistic but experientially diverse. Being predominately homeschooled freed up our time to prioritise travel and education through experience.

Both the extensive collection of National Geographic Magazines my mom stored under my sisters bed, and the 1999-2000 new years broadcast spanning every timezone around the globe, catalyzed my lust for the world. But, it took many more frustrating years before it fully matured into a life defining decision.

Although we lived hundreds of miles from the ocean and boats, my Dad fostered the navigational skills and a confidence for adventure on land, that later translated well to the sea. At 16 I earned a scholarship to attend a private boarding school on the east coast of the United States, just north of Philadelphia. I finished high school there and attended a few college courses before choosing a degree and applying to a small architecture school a few miles north of Atlanta, where, as you may now know, I met Kika.

 

kika 🇭🇹

I was born in Port au Prince, Haiti, into a loving, hard working family who was blessed with opportunities not available to many in my country.
I attended school there and enjoyed a relatively peaceful childhood, taking many trips exploring my country, driving through mountains and spending most of my weekends at the beach. I must add that my love for the ocean had always been without measure.
From my house, there is a direct view down to the main commercial port, where my mom used to work. From time to time, I would look down from my brothers window, gazing at all the large container ships coming in and out from foreign ports around the world. It was easy to put my imagination into play, closing my eyes and seeing myself traveling to many different places in the world. My family would often joke about my prolific dreams or that I lived in the clouds, and that I needed to come back down to earth. Although I laughed along, I knew in my heart that someday traveling would become my life. 
When I turned 18, I moved to the United States to attend architecture school and met Dan shortly after. In the middle of my studies, Haiti was devastated by the massive earthquake that shook the country in 2010. It left a scar on my country and in my heart. I felt hopeless, far away and disconnected from my friends and family back home. It was then that I realized I did not want to waste my life sitting behind a desk. I had to do something more, not only for my country but for all those suffering. I needed to travel, see and learn all that I could about the world, so that I could one day use that acquired knowledge to help change the world for the better. 

Dan and I often joke about how different our childhoods were, yet they led us both to the same place in time. From there, our existence merged. One thing was certain, we both dreamt a bigger world existed than the one we grew up in and longed to see it for ourselves. 

With this binding ideal, we set our sights on achievement. By working backwards, we came up with a plan shortly before graduating. We founded an architectural design consulting firm, DADEM Studios, LLC, days after receiving our diplomas. That summer, we merged our past expertise in residential construction with the design background we achieved in school to tackle enough projects to fund the first 2 years of our endeavor. By the end of the summer, we had sold the majority of our materialistic ties to our past lives, purchased our boat, and moved out of Atlanta. With only a van full of our remaining clothes, tools and supplies, we drove from Atlanta to Fairhaven, Massachusetts on the north east coast of the United States and moved into our new home.   

 
DADEM Studios
 
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