'The determination is there': Waterloo woman trading her way up from a teddy bear to an RV

A Waterloo woman is trading her way up from a teddy bear to, hopefully, an RV.

Kyra Woudsma started her trading project with a green little teddy bear her mom crocheted.

“An item that certainly has no monetary value,” Woudsma said.

Thanks to that teddy bear, she now has a bicycle.

She started her journey three weeks ago. Her first trade was the green teddy bear for an old typewriter.

Ken Davis was the original owner of the typewriter, he said he was originally going to sell it.

“I knew my fiancé would appreciate the teddy bear more than the typewriter or the few dollars I would make from the typewriter,” Davis said. “So it was a no-brainer really.”

Woudsma has since traded the typewriter for a vintage camera and then swapped the camera for a bicycle.

“Every trade I’ve had there’s been a moment of ‘holy cow this is actually working,'” she said. “I’m still in that moment of ‘is this actually going to work?’ And it keeps proving me wrong. And that’s half the fun.”

She said she was inspired by Kyle MacDonald, a Montreal man who bartered his way up from a red paper clip to a house through a series of trades in 2006.

A TikTok influencer, Demi Skipper, is also trading her way up from a hairpin to a house and documenting her journey.

Woudsma is also sharing her journey on Instagram and TikTok at @beyondthebeartrading.

A communications arts professor at the University of Waterloo said social media is key in making these kinds of trading projects successful.

“It’s very much picking up on an existing trend that we see on TikTok that’s gone viral and then trying to apply it to a local context,” Shana MacDonald, an associate professor of communications arts at the university said.

Woudsma thinks it could take up to a year before she reaches her final item, a mobile home. She is hoping to renovate the RV into a mobile art studio.

“I would love to bring the RV with me on journeys across Canada,” Woudsma said. “By no means am I slowing down in this, the determination is there.”