From a death in the family to the combination of two families, the last couple weeks have been a crazy juxtaposition. Our life allows us to shape it in any way we want. Don’t want to be in rain for the winter? Lets go south. Want to go to South America? Done. But yet there are still things you cannot control. My grandma was sick for a while and even though I was given time to say my goodbyes it was hard to hear the news.
Thank you for the memories Grandma
But there are things that we are in control of. On December 9 on the beach in Monterey California, with our dogs running around us and the waves crashing around us, I asked Samara to spend the rest of her life with me. We have created a truly magical life together and I cannot imagine spending it with anyone else. I am head over heals in love and am lucky to have such an unbelievable woman in my life. Unlike our life, I tried to plan the perfect time and make it perfect but the beach with our van and our dogs running around just felt right.
In our modern world, it is the number one sought after thing. It holds an enormous and undeniable value to the human race. Some people refer to it as the thing that makes the world go round. And yet, it is somehow so taboo to talk about. We all strive every single day for it. It is constantly on our mind. It is all we talk about and, yet, it is something we tip toe around.
This ugly five letter word has been the cause of wars and rebellions, families coming together and breaking apart, lives being born and deaths occurring.
But what is money really?
Sure, we can manipulate it to hold a physical form of paper or metal, but otherwise isn’t it really just a virtual number? We let it constantly move up and down in our world and give us a value of our worth.
Our previous life seems father away than ever. And yet, we are still learning how to live our new one. It has been five months since setting out on the open road and we can honestly say that it hasn’t at all been what we expected. We tried not to have any expectations, but you can’t really get away from them all together, can you? Literally every aspect has changed in our life down to how we brush our teeth and the kind of coffee we drink in the morning. Having what is quite possibly the worlds smallest fridge has even made the way we buy food change. While we are still learning the best ways to do things, we are happy to say that for the most part, we are loving it. Don’t get me wrong, five of us in a van poses a challenge, but we have learned that this challenge is only really present when we are in cities.
Vanlife: A messy, claustrophobic and absolutely wonderful way of life.
After spending almost a week playing in the cool white sand of the ever-moody Pacific North West our spirits were lifted and our colds were persistent. Myles and I can’t seem to get enough of the beach. Salt or fresh water, 40 degrees or 10, you can always find us at the beach playing like children in the sand. In our Vancouver beaches, we have the protection of Vancouver Island that breaks our waves and makes it so that our coastlines have much more swimmable beaches with less fierce waves.
The sheer force of the ocean here was probably the only thing keeping us out of the water. Well, that and all of the signs saying “people have died here, stay out of the water”. Still, our days were spent with bare feet chasing the tide as it went out and then turning around to run away from the crashing wave coming towards us. With sandy feet and salty hair, we decided that it was probably time to be better adults and take care of our nagging coughs. Without any intention to leave the beach-side, we thought the responsible thing to do would be to at least go to where its warm out; give our bodies a fighting chance. So, we packed our pups begrudgingly back into the van and headed South.
Everyone knows that common American Dream of driving to an airport, looking at the screen that says all the different flights going out and blindly choosing one. Movies have been made about running into the unknown with no responsibilities and disappearing. However, I believe that only a very few amount of people could actually get to the boarding time, let alone actually purchasing the ticket without panicking.
“I have no luggage, no plans, no hotel, what is my boss going to say – and my husband, I haven’t done any research, I don’t even speak the language.”
I believe this common fantasy is more like a not very well thought out fairy tale for most. However, I can confidently say that it is close to what #vanlife is like, for us anyway. It could be because we are still new to vanlife, having only been at it for just over a month now, or it could be that this is how most people feel about it. But I hardly ever know what town I will sleep in that night when I wake up in the morning. It may be our disorganization and excited (and arguably not very well thought out) planning but there has been more than a handful of times where I will be up getting lost in the mountains somewhere and will look at Myles and say “what city are we in right now again?” One amazing evening talking to some new friends over a fire we received advice to head towards the Rockies. That is all it took for Myles and I to jump on a late night ferry off the island and speed (ha!) to go see this beautiful unknown land. Clearly we are not the most patient of people as the Rockies have been standing for quite some time and will remain for much longer. We just wanted to go, and for us that’s enough of a motivation as any.
I’m sure we will have to eventually become more organized. We will have to stop zig-zagging our way across for this trip, but for now we are testing the boundaries of freedom this lifestyle offers. And so far we haven’t found many boundaries. We are now eating right, having learned that this is the most important thing because in an area as tight as ours. There’s little room for the hangry green monsters that sometimes come out. With only food, gas and dog food as expenses Myles and I feel free to do whatever we want. This lifestyle does not have bells and whistles. You have to for one be pretty comfortable with yourself as changing in public will become a common occurrence. Brushing your teeth at the beach is a thing; going into McDonald’s to refill your water bottles when you’re driving through cities will become a norm.
Pro tip: Myles and I bought gym passes to a anytime fitness – a gym that’s open anytime of day and located all over North America. This means we can use their showers, refill our water, go to the bathroom, steal some WiFi etc all along the way without having to pay each time.
But if you can handle all that prepare for an unbelievable amount of freedom. I truly didn’t know this level of freedom existed. The way I think has changed, the options I have in life seemed to have opened up tremendously, our relationship with each other and with ourselves has gotten so much stronger – and we are less than two month in!