Living in a van with no AC while driving through places named ‘Death Valley’ is no joke.
We didn’t so much drive across Canada as become possessed with our mission: Disney or Bust. Our initial planned route through the backwoods and small towns of ‘Murica was stymied by ICBC’s archaic and medieval insurance restrictions, so we made a beeline for the hills.
While we waited for Stormie to ship across the ocean we spent time at our family cottage in the Laurentians of Quebec.
We spent more time in France than any of the other countries combined. That may not be a statistical certainty, but it sure seems probable.
Amsterdam. The city was magical and hazy and beautiful and flawed and it smelled delicious.
Revered by our countrymen and reviled by most everyone outside of Canada, there is nothing quite as polarizing as the Caesar.
The cuteness of the Welsh ponies in Wales was so overwhelming that I remember nothing else of our short time in the country.
England gave us a welcome fit for the Queen. As it were, it was also the Queen’s birthday, so it seems the welcome was not entirely for us and was, in fact, actually for the Queen.
My interview with Tiny House, Tiny Footprint was published this week and we are stoked!!
Reporting my observations of our time in each country is a daunting task, especially given my irrational fear of an inevitable and slow decent into dementia. Summing up said observations in a single blog post is absurd and maddening. In every day there exists innumerable occasions where we are privy to the minutiae of our … More Germany (and other things)
Our trip through the Czech Republic ended up being significantly shorter than my wholly unrealistic initial estimate of a three-week tour filled with folklore and medieval squares.
The number of countries that Robbie has had to drag me out of, kicking and screaming (and pouting), has increased by one. Generally, I am pretty excited to move down the road and see what the next country has to offer in terms of culture (food), camping (food), and history (wine) but, when a country … More Austria (but upon review, mostly Vienna)
There appears to be at a very minimum seven different way to say ‘hello’ in Hungary, depending on the time of day and your relationship with the other speaker.
The little country that could. It is green. It is friendly. Its street food includes ‘burek’, which is basically a version of a croissant stuffed with cheese curds and fried. Slovenia, I love you.
After being lulled into a resting, dream-like state of existence in Provence, we realized just how much of the continent we’d not yet seen and mildly panicked. We have since made a minor push to get to eastern Europe, which meant that our time in Italy was cut much shorter than we would have liked. Truly, … More ciao ciao!
Spending much more time eating that blogging these days, so here are some Coles Notes.
Sometimes our version of perfect isn’t a deserted beach or unmarked road. Days like this, here in Tarifa, Spain, are how we re-charge our social batteries. We have met some amazing characters on the road, and I love learning about the motivations behind their decision to travel. There are people of all ages and … More #adventuremobile
We have left Portugal, which was as difficult a sentence to type as it is to believe. But, as it were, we are addicted to the open road, and there is still a lot of continent to explore.
I can’t say that coming to Europe during the shoulder season was entirely a conscious decision. Rather, after two years of saving and planning we sensed within ourselves a need to actually just go, before we continued saving for eternity and eventually settled on something more ‘responsible’ and ‘adult’ to do with our travel fund. … More off-season
Whereas France felt like home because we were so comfortable in a life not entirely dissimilar to our lives in Squamish, what I love about Portugal is that we are so far removed from that comfort and yet it still feels like home. The language is alarmingly unfamiliar, save for the few simple phrases we’ve … More portugal.
We sort of bombed through northwest Spain in our push for the south of Portgual. We wanted to stay, but knew we had to go. We could have spent six months exploring this coastline. Imagine, that it would be difficult to see an entire continent in under a year.
We spent three weeks in France and only 15 euros on camping. Finding wild camping spots is a tricky business, less about finding places that you are ‘allowed’ to camp, and more about finding places that you aren’t ‘not allowed’.
After leaving Brittany we headed inland to escape the winter vacation crowds. All of the little roads snaking into wine country were positively dreamy-dotted with ruins of castles and charming towns consisting of little more than a boulangerie.
It may be the wine and croissants clouding my judgement, but Brittany stole my heart.
We are eating our way through France and I am going to level with you: it all leaves very little time for blogging.
England, abridged: We will be returning in a few months for an extended stay in her Majesty’s Kingdom, and our initial stay was so short that literally everyone we met thought we were very cool. We head south riding the wave of much back-patting and a lot of cheers-ing, with plans of our eventual return-where … More brilliant
We have surrendered stewardship of our most prized possession to the open seas. After careful consideration of the threats that include (but are not limited to) rogue waves, pirates, giant squid, and hungover longshoreman, we acknowledge that shipping our vehicle overseas seems, on paper, the act of a madman. When we made the decision over … More ship, don’t shop.
Stoked that Vanlife Diaries published my little blurb about our version of van life. Want the Coles Notes of our trip, family, and values? Have a read: The Long and Winding Road
We are close (closer). It was apparent early on that a lot of lifestyle shifts would be necessary in order to bankroll this kind of a trip, and our friends at Drive Nacho Drive helped set the wheels in motion for us. This paragraph from them rings as true today as it did almost two years … More cashing in & checking out (not the definitive how-to)
While there are varying visa restrictions throughout the continent for long and short-term stays, the majority of movement throughout the EU’s internal borders is protected by the Schengen Visa, a rule that governs 26 countries in Europe. The Schengen Area is a delightful (sarcasm) little area that consists of all the EU countries excluding Ireland … More Part I: how the Schengen Zone made me her bitch.
The end of November marked one year of van ownership. I so clearly remember the moment we stepped out of the insurance office, transformed into the trepidatious new owners of a 40-year-old vehicle upon which rested my expectations of unfiltered joy and adventure. The weight of that first step-the foundation upon which we were building … More the van-a TSN turning point
I learned a few things on our trip to Tofino last week. The first is to never ignore the inkling that there is something stupendous just around the bend. Secondly, I am most likely never going t,o become a Roxy girl.
We are super stoked that Storm was chosen-out of what I can only imagine to be millions of submissions-as one of Outside Magazine’s 24 Favourite Camper Vans. Check out the full list here: #outsidemobilewinners!! Some pretty rad setups in here, and we are happy to be included. Thanks, Outside !!
Last month we journeyed down to Seattle to partake in some good old-fashioned ball-gaming with the Seattle Mariners. Note: after two years of playing softball (on an award-winning team, to boot), it was on this trip that I discovered that ‘rover’ is not an actual position in baseball. While we busted some serious moves on … More Give me the Loop, give me the Loop.
My knowledge of the Incan civilizations prior to our trip was next to non-existent. While I would generally encourage even a working knowledge of local history when travelling, I can’t say that I really did that much research other than trying to ensure that I wouldn’t insult locals or do something culturally insensitive. The one … More Peru. Coles Notes.
Save for the moment I thought I was to meet my untimely demise at the horns of a feral bull and was shot in the head by a slingshot wielding seven-year-old in the highlands, my trip to Peru with my mother went off with surprisingly few hitches. The trip really didn’t stand a chance to … More Don’t bother loading up the Llama, Alpaca light.
OK, yes, this is a blog intended to allow our family and friends to join us as we prepare to take our family on the road, travel long-term, and, basically, live in a van down by the river. Though in the future we will be sharing with our loyal followers the splendour, simplicity, and stress of life … More A Day in the Life-Abridged
I love this photo of our little family in our big van. There is something resolutely unnerving about sharing such a plan with the masses. This blog doesn’t necessarily count, as with my obsessive tracking of stats I am able to surmise that even if every single one of you think we are insane or … More Immortalized in Print
My knowledge of this local phenom prior to this little excursion was nil. Thanks to Google, it is now a solid slim to none. Apparently, it is the third largest Douglas Fir in BC (read: really big, really old, really magnificent tree). Goal for 2014: be less of a tourist in my own town. My … More The Elusive Elaho Giant
Camping Hacks A few of these have the potential to revolutionize van life. . . specifically, #9 & #33. The fact that they are food related is of no surprise to me.
I was served up some heaping portions of perspective this week. Our hometown of Squamish, BC is many things: a place that celebrates the only true measure of man’s worth (lumberjack competitions), host to a great excuse to call in the grandparents for three days of non-parenting (music festivals), and home to a plethora of … More Squampton
Working on the road=something I really need to work on. Some fairly important logistics (nourishment, occasional paid camping) will be relying pretty heavily on our ability to maintain some semblance of a career while on the road.
Morning coffee and route-planning: just another darling routine that I quickly grew to love. Any obstacle on the road can be overcome with the aid of a two-and-a-half-year-old’s enthusiasm. Also, coffee.
Camp Life. It’s not glamourous, despite the images you may have conjured of our shower-less family in matching onesies living in a van, but it’s good for the soul. Because of the mind-blowing capabilities of our 4wd home-on-wheels, we spent only four nights camped and set-up in State Parks. When we did it legit, this … More Glamour.
The VW community is a remarkable thing. When was the last time you shared a knowing smile and a tip of the hat with your fellow Mazda 3 or Honda Civic owner? This kinship and camaraderie is a prestigious honour reserved solely for owners of VW vans or buses. Admittedly, for me it is less … More Peace, Love and Volkswagens
Though I had to make a concerted effort to take photos not somehow including the van . . . it did, on occasion, happen.
Food occupies a near-constant space in my conscious thoughts. I actually wake up every morning already thinking about what we can have for dinner. Truth. As such, I feel it necessary to give credence to Local Ocean Seafood (http://www.localocean.net/) in Newport, Oregon. Upon recommendation from my dear and wise father, who is also a lover … More Newport, Oregon
A Syncro in the sand: a rare bird, and one most definitely not in its natural habitat. This is Longbeach, proudly proclaiming itself as the longest beach in the world. I am dubious, and will fact check when I am in the vicinity of wi-fi. Sidenote, I have become, annoyingly so, one of those people who wonders … More Quicksand