Our first day on the road was full of thousands of emotions. At night time, we couldn’t wait to sleep. We took an exit on the highway, drove down the street and almost instantly
found a small dirt road to pull off and rest our heads. Five months later we have slept everywhere from beside hot springs and the ocean, in the forest, Walmart parking lots, to residential streets. Surprisingly, sleeping anywhere and everywhere has been one of the easiest transitions for us. With only paying for three nights in over
five months, we quickly learned we can fall asleep just about anywhere. That is something very important with this lifestyle. While, obviously, we prefer the nights where we wake up with an amazing view in reality that isn’t always the way it happens.
After an intense love affair with Colorado (for anyone who hasn’t gone, go and allow yourself at least double the time you intend to stay there, it is AMAZING), Myles and I headed north toward Wyoming. We were told by quite a few people that Wyoming was home to some of the most beautiful and ever changing scenery. After crossing the border and instantly finding some hot springs, a new found favourite activity of ours, we were very happy to be there.
After driving through Wyoming we stumbled upon this lonely Syncro wasting away. Our undying love for these vans got the better of us and less than twenty four hours later we found ourselves with the keys in our hands and a forty-eight hour permit to leave the country.
Scroll through your Netflix and you will quickly be able to find dozens of documentaries on food and what it’s doing to our bodies. From GMOs, becoming vegan, juicing, and high sugar consumption, there are plenty of people out there that have found that changing a little bit can make a huge difference. I am the first to admit I have lived (and still live) by them all. I’ve cut the sugar, stopped eating animals, have owned a juicer (really expensive – I would way rather eat my fruits and veggies) and really try to stick to non-steroid induced foods (ha-in our society!).
“You look healthy and happy.” You’ve heard those two coinciding, but I thought once you became healthy, you became happy. I never realized that once you became happy, truly happy, your health will sky rocket. I have heard of stress playing a big part in your life and even though I felt stress, I always convinced myself that other people had it worse.
Convinced my “stresses” didn’t matter, I was addicted to telling myself the amount of my stress was ridiculous. Since leaving for a life on the road I haven’t tried to be happy. I haven’t actively thought to myself about how unhappy I am and how I need to be happier and have more fun. Sure, I have become a far more healthy person but I haven’t actively thought “you need to eat this way or you will get fat” like so many diets tell you to. I have never seen a documentary about freedom causing your health to increase, so that couldn’t be whats happening.
As you may know, shortly before leaving I injured my leg – over and over again. After an initial knee injury left me almost immobile, I injured my ankle. Yep, same leg. I couldn’t kneel or squat and lost a lot of muscle in my leg and gained quite a bit of weight. I wasn’t healthy. You wouldn’t believe it but when telling people about my injury, I had a few people quickly respond with, “Oh no, how are you going to work?” That was probably my rock bottom, my hate all with society, my burning desire to make a change – a big change.
After two and a half months on this trip I can now not only walk, I can hike. I can not only squat (still struggle a bit) but I can kneel on my paddle board. I can sit with my legs crossed again, I can even straighten my leg fully. This may seem common, after all I am only twenty-four, but let me tell you only eight short weeks ago I could not do any of this.
What have I done differently you ask? Well, that is a matter of opinion. It may just be time naturally healing (doubtful as my injury occurred late February, a sudden drastic improvement four months later seems unlikely) but in my opinion I no longer obsess with getting better. No longer do I spend every waking moment petrified that my knee isn’t getting better and if it doesn’t get better quick, good-bye future. If you ask Myles, it is that I have a reason to get better. I want to hike the mountains, I want to go paddle boarding. It is a much better motivation than getting better so I can go back to a job.
Not convinced yet? Well, hear this one. Before I left I was diagnosed with having gall stones. The attacks are unlike any pain you have ever felt. My mom, a woman who has given birth three times, compares the pain to that of labor. I honestly wasn’t surprised by this as everyone in my family has had issues with their gall bladder and has gotten theirs removed.
In a span of three months I had about ten attacks. Curling over with the most crippling pain I have ever felt and absolutely nothing I do helping even a little. Some landing me in the hospital with IV drips and promises of upcoming surgery to remove this little nuisance. I am proud, and incredibly surprised, to report that I haven’t gotten an attack since the second week of being gone. I am now having to tell my doctor to cancel the surgery. Turns out I didn’t need a knife to solve this problem.
Last one (sorry boys, this one might be a little too much for you), about a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Basically, I stopped getting my period every month; my hormones were going more than normal. I was being told that it will more than likely be incredibly difficult for me to conceive (well, actually I was at a horrible walk-in that rather than sugar coating it, directly said that I will not be having children).
I was distraught so I went to gynecologists who sent me for blood work and told me that the goal was for me to get my periods back. Well this is only a start but in the almost three months I have been gone I have successfully gotten mine twice. Believe what you may but yet another victory for me (I am probably one of very few women who would get excited about this).
Writing them all here, I am actually shocked to see in black and white how unhealthy I was. At the time I never realized how bad I really was. It wasn’t until a couple of nights ago when talking to Myles that I realized how much healthier I have become. You can decide for yourself, it may truly be all coincidental, but whatever it is I’ll take it! Happy makes you healthy… huh, well that’s good to learn!
Let us know what you think and how you stay healthy!
“The difference between dreams and reality is action.”
That’s what they say at least. If you ask us we would say it’s work. A lot of work. And tears, and doubt, and fear and regret. But also a lot of excitement; A lot of learning and a lot of fun. Selling all of our stuff has proven both liberating and at times, painfully difficult.
Something we once spent months saving up for was selling for a mere $50, it was heartbreaking. But everything has now turned in to “That’s another tank of gas that can get us another 450 km.” Almost to a fault we found ourselves scrimping for everything. Milk has become a luxury item. Selling has become addictive – this dream will become reality.
Our motivation for this lifestyle is in part due to experiences we have faced in the last couple of months. We decided that we wanted to live, really live. So we decided to complete an obstacle course style race called Tough Mudder. In our training I ended up hurting my knee, tearing my meniscus and leaving me useless to my previous physical job. Not even a week following my injury, Myles got into a car accident that left him with a ton of soft tissue damage and a severe concussion (his fifth one).
This left us, once incredibly outdoorsy people, in the house on the couch and intolerant to light and sound. This quickly turned us both to dark thoughts and on a lonely road to depression. One sunny Saturday we were sitting on the couch, my knee raised with no lights on and our curtains covered and our TV so low it was almost inaudible and we saw our dogs sitting with their heads under our curtains just looking outside.
When we realized how much this was effecting our dogs, how much it was effecting us.
We vowed to take our life back.
After talking about our dreams we bought a hammock so we could lie outside, some dark glasses so Myles could handle the sun and a chuck it for our dogs to run through our yard. We went to physio, the gym and everything else we could think of to regain our strength.
This was it, this was our chance.
We were liberated. We can be anything. All that was left was to decide who we wanted to be. After dozens of long conversations and staying up all night dreaming together we decided that our dream world was one spent traveling and spending our days together, happy and stress free. We wanted to discover ourselves and explore our own backyard.
If we are going to do this, we are all in.
We want to experience all this lifestyle has to offer. With little money in savings we will need to work along the way, berry picking, selling crafts, house sitting, farm work, anything that will help us to keep going. But there is one thing we have agreed on: we vow to use nothing more than paper maps and word of mouth from those we meet to keep us going.
For us, the journey is about getting lost, staying in the forest, trading for goods as much as possible, learning to live off the land. Everything is going to be new, the food we eat, the way we think, the places we sleep. For some, this may be scary, but coming from a state of pure vegetation and not having a reason to get up, it is a more than welcomed adventure.
What would you do if you won the lottery? What would your life look like if money wasn’t a concern? These are things we all day dream about and ask ourselves. Would you buy a mansion? Buy a nice car? Quit your job? Our answer, travel! We have both traveled a bit, but with 3 dogs a jeep payment and careers we were horrified with the realization that our dreams of travel would have to be fulfilled with a mere 2 weeks a year that our vacation time allowed along with the odd long weekend.
That is not enough time to submerge yourself in a new culture, to get lost and see it all, to both relax and see all of the sights. So going on a vacation that we can bring our dogs on and go at our own pace seemed like the best way to spend our life. So, we are taking the leap! Committing to do what in our minds seems so natural, yet in our circle is unheard of. “You’re crazy”, “that’s not how life works”, “you need to work and buy a house”, we had a steady flow of doubt and loving ’bouts of reality’ from family and friends. Understandable, after all this concept of off-grid living wasn’t common amongst our loved ones and we were the first of our friends and family to really question the “get a career, get married, buy a house and have kids” lifestyle. What we have been told our whole lives, since elementary school.
We were told we are trying to be hippies in a world that can no longer handle them, it isn’t safe, it’s too expensive, there are too many laws against them. None of this was going to stop us. We have completely romanticized the idea of selling everything that doesn’t fit into our 32 year old van and hoping it will hold up long enough to take us up mountains and through forests to find the great wonders lying in our own backyard. (Although saying it, or rather writing it, does sound kind of crazy!) Luckily for us, we have a whole Instagram world that’s saying this is an actual possibility, and with that we pray they are right.