Monday, December 4, 2017

Genoa Bay 

Today we decided to go for a day hike and check out Genoa Bay. It’s only about 10km away but we haven’t gone in that direction yet. I think Michael was a little bit skeptical about walking rather than driving because from here it looks like a pretty steep hill we would have to climb over but I just figured we could always turn around if it was too much effort. Anyway, it turned out to be a really nice walk down a barely used road that followed the the water for the most part but detoured along the bottom of some amazing cliffs. We weren’t actually following the waters edge but we could see water for most of the trip. The few times that we couldn’t were filled with views of giant moss covered cedars and rocks. The entire trip was so relaxing and we ended up at this tiny bay that had a really nice seafood restaurant on the docks. I only went in to get coffees as Michael was stuck waiting outside with the dogs but the host was really helpful and suggested a few more trails nearby for another hike. On our way back On our way back we noticed all the floating houses along the way. They even had tiny frond yards and a sidewalk. I wonder what it would be like living in a floating house? We got back just as it was starting to get dark - perfect timing! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Naysayers

There are so many people who go through life just “following the rules” and can’t imagine a life other than what society has taught them. They don’t really think for themselves or seem to have any bit of imagination. They can’t relate to you at all when you tell them of your upcoming adventure. They actually panic on your behalf and they think you are crazy. They are the naysayers. They tell you what you are planning is too dangerous and come up with ridiculous examples of what could go wrong. They think you are ruining your life. Some of them actually calculate the dollar value you will be missing out on by taking this adventure. Here’s the funny thing, it doesn’t matter what kind of adventure you are talking about. Five years ago when I was planning an Appalachian thruhike I received comments like “you will be eaten by bears,” or “ you will lose your job,” or “your boyfriend will leave you.” My manager at work actually told me how much income I would be missing out on. When we went to Spain to hike the Camino de Santiago and travel a bit of Europe, I was asked “why would you want to leave Canada? There’s so much to explore here,” and “why are you wasting so much money on travelling?” Since those adventure I have sold my possessions and moved onto a short bus. Again, I was told “it won’t work out, don’t do it,” and “you are throwing away your future,” and “you are going to be homeless.” Right now I am in the midst of planning a Pacific Crest trail thruhike and even though most of my friends know that I have already successfully thruhiked the Appalachian Trail and drastically changed my lifestyle, I have still received a few negative comments. When I talk to others who have chosen a different path than what society expects I am saddened to hear all of the horrible things that have been said to them. It seems that most people are afraid to try anything new and go to lengths to dissuade anybody around them from trying anything even slightly different than what they are accustomed to. I have had an amazing past four years living out my dreams. I wish I had started following my intuition years ago, I would have raised my children so differently. I would have taught them to think for themselves. I would have taught them to do their own thing even if it didn’t look like you could make an income from it. My son wanted to be a rock star and sadly even though he is exceptionally talented I always told him he needed a back up plan. Had I been true to myself, I may have been more receptive to my kids unconventional ideas. I used to allow society to dictate what I thought normal was. For me, that was a terrible mistake! I have missed out on so much! If there is something you have always wanted to try or a goal you have wanted to achieve then go for it! Don’t let our culture or society tell you what you can or cannot do! Don’t let the naysayers ruin this for you! Live your dream! ..... and teach your kids to do the same!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Where to park for the night!

Someone always asks where we stay or how we find places to park for the night or how do we stay safe (which is really the same question). To be honest, we do follow our own little set of rules about where we park. We generally never park in the same place two nights in a row. People may notice we have parked somewhere but rarely will they complain unless we have overstayed our welcome. To avoid this we always park somewhere different every night. While we are travelling we try to get into a town before dark to scope out our options and then come back to our chosen spot as it’s getting dark. This way we can find the best spot as opposed to any old spot and by not arriving too soon we get less attention. If we have to stay in an area for an extended time we chose five or six spots and rotate spending each night at a different location. We easily stayed within a 3km range of where Michael was working last winter just by finding several good spots and changing it up every night. There have been a few occasions where we think we have found the perfect spot to stay but when we are setting up for the night or are out walking the dogs we realize that something just doesn’t seem right, in those rare cases we always move to another locations. We use our intuition. In general we prefer scenic places like overlooks, Parks, beachfronts, trailheads and sometimes dead end roads. It feels really good to have that million dollar view and not be paying a cent for the real estate! If we arrive at a new place too late at night or are unsure of where to stay we settle for Walmart, Cabella’s, tourist information places, Costco, Movie theatres or shopping malls. We aren’t really settling for these spots as there is nothing wrong with any of these places and often they have the advantage of having public washrooms. Even in a commercial parking lot we try to park so that the door of our bus opens up to grass rather than pavement. We prefer to have an amazing 360 view but there is nothing wrong with staying somewhere with amenities. We avoid staying at truck stops only because we know that trucks will be coming and going all night long, some running generators while they are there. Even a Walmart parking lot can be loud with night deliveries and RV’s with generators. We try to park out of the way and away from all the noise.

Monday, October 30, 2017


The other day on two completely different forums (one was a hiking group and the other was a skoolie group) almost identical questions were asked. The same day I read my friend’s blog about the changes they were making to their adventure (I will link his blog here because you will want to see what this guy has been up to). It make me think about all of the changes we have made in the past five years and realize that being able to adapt and sometimes even change your goals is not only okay but the right thing to do. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you imagined, sometimes (like my friend ET) you are wearing yourself out and need a break. I will admit that I have been feeling a little bit guilty for going ahead and planning a PCT hike when Michael has compromised on his goals so much so that we can be where we are now. I know he doesn’t regret it and I often hear him telling other people to slow down, smell the roses and think about your priorities try to align them with your lifestyle. I honestly thought that travelling around on our bus would take away my yearning for the trail but it hasn’t. There are similarities to this nomadic lifestyle and hiking but it isn’t quite the same and after hearing of how others have adapted their plans for the best I feel good about this. Because I am being torn in a few different directions right now I will be blogging about a few different subjects. I will continue to write about our adventures (our goal is to explore Vancouver Island while we are here) and I will add more content related to how to make bus life (or van life or RV living) work for you. I am also go by to be writing about my upcoming hike. I have started a journal over at but will still occasionally write about it here too. I realize that not everyone will be interested in everything. If there is something you would like me to write about please send me a message (just leave a comment below). I’m leaving you with ET’s adventure! His website is best seen on a desktop rather than a mobile. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bus Maintenance Checklist

ChecklistDate of CheckDate of CheckDate of CheckDate of CheckDate of CheckDate of CheckDate of Check
Power Steering Fluid Level       
Brake Fluid Level       
Transmission Fluid Level       
Motor Oil Level       
Radiator Coolant Level       
Windshield Washer Fluid Level       
Clean or Change Air Filter       
Condition of Serpentine Belt       
Condition of Tires and Tire Treads       
Tighten Lugnuts       
Tire Air Pressure       
All Exterior Lights headlights,brake lights, signals, marker lights       
Under Bus Inspection for Leaks      

Thursday, October 26, 2017

How to keep your bus on the road!

I have wanted to talk about bus maintenance for awhile now but because I’m not the one actually doing the maintenance I kept putting it off. This week a good friend of ours has had a lot of vehicle problems and it has reminded me of how important it is to find a potential problem before it happens. This advise can be applied to any vehicle you own but is especially important for the vehicle you live in. I know that in a worst case scenario there are always motels to stay in for a day or two while the bus gets fixed but who budgets for that! It’s easier for us to plan ahead and try to prevent problems. How do we do that you ask? We regularly inspect our bus and make lists. We check the air in our tires and the state of our treads. We look for signs of uneven wear (it’s a sign of front end problems). We check all of the fluids (oil,transmission,power steering, radiator and brake fluid) and do an oil change every 10000km. We check the serpentine belt for cracks, splits or wear. We look under the bus every once in awhile to make sure there are no leaks and that our brake lines aren’t rotting. We listen for new noises and/or new vibrations as these are a good sign of a coming problem. For instance, if you hear a clunking noise as you change gears from forward to reverse you likely have a universal joint that is worn and should soon be replaced. We clean our air filter every once in awhile to make sure everything is running smoothly and we are getting optimal gas mileage. You should clean your air filter even more regularly if you are in the desert or often drive on dusty backroads. We keep a list of things we want to fix or improve on the bus. These aren’t urgent jobs but things we know that we need to do sometime in the near future to prevent a potential problem. For example, recently Michael installed new rotors and brake pads before we had any brake problems. That reminds me, we carry all of the tools we might need to fix most problems that we might have. We also carry some spare parts. This has already come in handy when our serpentine belt started to split while we were heading to the east coast. We caught it before there was a problem and happened to have the spare belt to swap it out with at our convenience rather than on the side of the road. I will put a checklist together in an easy to read format and post it soon. When I asked Michael about maintenance one of the first thing he said was that if you haven’t bought a bus yet, be sure to choose a vehicle that you are familiar with (if you aren’t mechanically talented choose a common chassis that any mechanic anywhere will know how to fix and have access to it’s parts)as much as possible. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A little history and a big decision!

Four years ago I thruhiked the Appalachian Trail. It changed my life! It changed the way I think about things and what I prioritize. After hiking for almost seven months and living out of my backpack I came home to a house full of stuff I didn’t need or care about anymore. I went to a job I no longer loved just to keep paying for a lifestyle I didn’t even want. It was hard. What made it so much harder was that my partner didn’t hike with me, he didn’t get it. He was great about it and when I had the idea to get a bus and drastically change our lifestyle he jumped in with two feet. We downsized our belongings as he worked on building the furniture to turn a short bus into a home. We didn’t have everything all figured out but adapted along the way. When we moved into the bus we had jobs regular jobs. We liked the paycheques but didn’t like being tied down to one spot. We wanted to travel! We saved up until we thought we had enough and started travelling. When money got low we stopped and worked for a bit. We crossed the country this year! Now we are starting to think about what’s next. The year and a half we have spent on the bus has taught us both so much about what we really want and what we need compared to what we had before. We both still want to travel more and we both realize that when we switch back to a brick and mortar home it will be a tiny home, not that much bigger than what we are living in now. Michael has missed having a workshop. He misses building, making and creating things. I’m hoping that staying here in one place where he has access to a big shop and his choice of jobs that will make all of the difference. For me, I miss the Trail. When we started this adventure I thought that travelling around on a short bus would be the perfect compromise for both of us but it hasn’t changed the fact that I’d love to be hiking. I miss the simplicity of living out of a backpack and living outside. I thought that living on a bus would be comparable but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I love living on the bus! But I think I need to take some time away and get back on a trail. That is why I have decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail next year! It’s a big decision and there is so much to do in order to make it happen. But it all starts with a plan. I will be keeping a trail journal again and this is my first entry: