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Home Is Where You Park It

By now I’m used to being asked the same questions over and over again regarding my vanlife. Don’t you get cold? How do you shower? What do you do without wifi? The list goes on and on, but the one that I always have the hardest time answering is: Where do you park at night? In my head I want to respond ‘I park wherever I damn well please’, but of course I do not. Being asked this question makes me wonder many things about WHY I am being asked. Do they want to come visit me? Are they concerned for my safety? Do they want to learn in case one day they choose vanlife as well? Or, do people seriously think finding a place to park is difficult??

Where do you park at night?

 

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Home under the stars with a candle lantern, picnic table, and campfire. That’s what I call luxury.

Simply put the answer is ‘everywhere’, but this is not generally found to be an acceptable answer for the inquiring individual. I understand how finding places for park for a night could be a struggle in a metropolitan area, especially if you wish to enjoy your night. Here in Squamish, BC though it’s easy to drive 5 kilometers and feel worlds away from town. I’m not sure all van dwellers feel the same way, but for me a big part of why I live in a van is to be closer to nature. This desire to be in the wild leads me to spend my time living and travelling in less populated areas virtually negating all the issues a city-parking counterpart would face. There are many places I have parked for only a night, and may more I park at so frequently they have nicknames. When a spot gets a name such as Cut Block, Up Top, Riverside, and Fern it has become home and has proven itself as a great location.

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Home up the Squamish Valley usually means tarps and garbage collection.

 

I tend to keep the exact location of all the favourite spots close to the heart. While I try to always be as helpful as possible to other vanlifers I believe the best spots are those you find yourself. Summer can bet pretty busy here with people living in vans and it’s nice to know that some spots won’t likely be found by tourists.

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Cozy inside on a rainy day enjoy a ‘scenic’ location, not a good spot for a night.

 

With so many different locations available to call home for the night it can be a little overwhelming to make a decision at times, but I love the freedom and spontaneity. More important than where I park is WHY I park where I do. As a dog owner one of my first priorities is choosing a location where Frank can run freely while minimizing the risk of him bothering people or being run over. While it’s easy to get away with parking in residential neighbourhoods as long as you vary your location, it’s not a good choice with a dog. Residential areas are also lit which I do not like either. I enjoy really dark locations, especially those far from people, and no I am not scared of bears. If the sky is clear I will often choose locations to cater to photography and star gazing. If the moon if bright I will choose spots to catch it lighting up mountains, and when the moon is new I search for the darkest skies with neat silhouettes to watch the stars roll by. When I want to sleep in I choose a spot with shade all morning, and when I work early I park as close as possible. If I feel like having a campfire I have places with great views and virtually endless dry wood. Sometimes I don’t want to be bothered, so I go where my phone has no service and no one would find me. A heavy rain will almost always send me to the same location where I have my tarp system dialed, and a single day off will send me to another.

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Another regular night with Frank by the fire, and stars above.

 

It is true that when you live in a van home is where you park it, but not everywhere you park feels equally homelike. Regular locations will always feel more like home, while anywhere with passing traffic and lights will feel less homey. It’s always enjoyable to park in the yards of family, although I will never say yes to spending the night inside. Finding sweet new views and locations feels a lot like camping, and camping feels a lot like home after living in a tent for months. The most at home I will ever feel is nestled in a tight valley with a river running past. Shielded from the world outside I drift into my own until all that exists in the universe is my tiny home of roughly 4’’x7’’. I fall asleep breaking apart the different sounds in the rivers roar, and enjoy the clearest dreams.

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Exploring new roads, new lands, and new homes for the night. Always an adventure.

 

Being the type of person that craves the new I find great satisfaction in the hunt. I am always testing new places to park, and discovering what works and what doesn’t. I don’t have much inside space, but my back yard is endless.

Variety is the spice of life, and the key to vanliving success.

Squamish Adventure Style

"You don't need someone one to tell you about a cool place, or do research on the internet to find adventure. All you need to do is go out and explore, that's the point anyways."

I’ve always been the adventurous and curious type. As a young girl I was picking up any creature I could get my hands on and studying it for awhile. I collected Newts during mating season not quite understanding accidentally creating a bucket full of amphibian orgy. Growing into my teenage years my adventurous side was expressed through fashion. In retrospect this was often regrettable and I feel sorry for my parents at the time. Given my colorful nature my attire is certainly on the hippy side of things, but its at least extremely practical and durable.

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Backroads are always enjoyable on the eyes and are always changing

Now that I’ve grown into a very independent and resourceful giant kid I spend most of my time making adventures solo. Sometimes I enjoy climbing mountains, visiting new bouldering areas or hiking, but my favorite adventures are always my explore missions. Explore missions are what happens when I go into an area of wilderness and take any trail that catches my eye as I cruise by just to see what might be there. I follow my heart, up logging roads, through natural clearings, along rivers and through the bush. You don’t need someone one to tell you about a cool place, or do research on the internet to find adventure. All you need to do is go out and explore, that’s the point anyways. Don’t worry, adventure will find you. Stop when you see flagging or anything that looks like a trail, follow a riverbed or bushwhack up a hill to see if it leads to a view. Follow the light if it might lead to a great photo, or search for that perfect night sky or sunset silhouette. Go outside and make the unknown know, satisfy your curiosity and learn the hard way.

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Roadside glacier views

Sometimes you will find great views along the main road.

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I always love finding new views of this craggy peak

Other times you will find them up side branches, or across cut blocks.

Wild strawberry blossoms
Wild strawberry blossoms

Very often you will discover places to forage for delicious berries later on.

My favourite character in a grou of totem poles  I found
My favourite character in a group of totem poles I found

Occasionally you will find signs of a wilderness culture, a cabin in the woods, or savlageable items.

A nice cascade I discovered by bushwhacking up a stream I saw from the road
A nice cascade I discovered by bushwhacking up a stream I saw from the road

Wherever you go explore you are sure to see new sights, discover areas to explore more, and make memories. Whatever your adventure style make sure to do it safety. Leave a safety plan with someone that can follow through, be self rescue prepared and always trust your intuition.Remember to always pack out some extra trash leaving the wild more serene, and avoid trampling sensitive habitats such as wetlands and alpine terrain.

Adventure safe. Adventure with style.

 

The Circus is Coming.

Hans Jacks Baby TAPA
My new friend Hans who just moved to Squamish from Columbia via Quebec. He was given my name by a friend I made at the circus last year, and as it turns out we both represent Organic Climbing and get along great. Here he makes Jack’s Baby V5 look super easy, well for him it is.

Recently I decided to make the leap into summer and put my extra blanket into storage. As I did this I picked up my Organic Climbing Briefcase pad, which makes a perfect seat in dry weather, and my classic red metal toolbox. I was headed down to the beach to meet Ashley author of the blog Barefoot & Homeless so that the dogs could play while we did some ‘home improvements’.  For all the years I have known her, the van she calls home has been on the verge of collapse. Through all the ups and downs of vanlife she bop’s along with a smile on her face taking life as it comes with a unwavering faith in the goodness of karma. Perhaps my decision to ditch my winter warmth was inspired by her arrival. The rock is drying faster these days, and already fellow van dwellers have begun to arrive in Squamish.  My nighttime parking habits are changing in response to the lengthening days and warmer mornings.  Squamish has not only the regular four season, but also another two, wet and climbing. A feeling in the air tells me climbing season is nigh and that means….. The circus is coming.

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At home at The Chief about to enjoy some bouldering before the crowds arrive. I’m pretty happy about my van modification and cute crash pad family. After breaking my hand this will be my first time trying some easy bouldering, if that exists.

As Frank and Freedom, our trusty canine companions ran wild I dismantled the interior body panels on Kiki’s hatchback door. I decided to take Ashley’s lead and rig my door allowing me to open it from the inside. More importantly it would allow me when I wake up too warm open the hatch from bed letting a relatively cool breeze along with the sound of birds to come rushing in.  I had after all decided I wanted a blast of nature in bed every morning and I was going to make it happen.  What good is a dream if you don’t make it a reality anyways? I am after all currently in the business of making all my dreams come true; that’s how I came to live in a van to begin with.  As I worked on worked on the current dream I chatted with some guys parked next to me who teased I would break the whole door. I could tell they didn’t quite ‘get’ the need to undergo such modifications, and for a moment I doubted my ability to get the job done.  I analyzed the door latching mechanism then attached a piece of cordalette on a pivot point, thread it through the panel in the right combinations of directions and announced it was testing time. I closed the hatch, crawled into bed and gave the cord a pull. It opened! I jumped out stoked, and reminded again never to doubt myself. I reassembled the door satisfied the coming climbing season was going to be one dream come true more awesome.

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Hans throwing down on the classic traverse Baba Hari Daas V7 while Francois warms up on Superfly Slab V0. The afterwork crowd has been active before the circus arrives.

That night Megan, Ashley and I gathered at The Chief campground to greet the changing season. Our three vans in a row, we sat on the grassy knoll talking of climbing and adventures, laughing and throwing objects for the pups. Friends and travelling strangers joined us while people played on the slacklines, and organized gear at their vehicles. We met a super inspiring (at least to me) couple of buskers from Quebec who filled the lot with the sound of banjos. We shared with them our desert and learned about the world of train hopping. Another couple came to sit with us while Megan and I cooked. They were full of questions and fresh enthusiasm. They had travelled from Ontario and would soon head south to California to climb at all the destinations such as Yosemite, Bishop, and Joshua Tree. It was refreshing to be meeting climbers from afar again, and to be sharing in this great community.

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I’ve been exploring deeper down the backroads and enjoy starry nights alone. I’m stockpiling solitude and scouting new camp spots for the busy season.

As I laid down to sleep with Megan parked on one side of me and Ashley on the other I was almost giddy at the season to come. Soon these social nights would become a daily occurrence, except with even more people from even further away. There will be potluck dinners appearing out of thin air with friends made in the boulders earlier that day. Soon the circus will return to its full glory and my face will hurt from the enjoyment of it. I have already begun to prepare for another sleepless summer of climbing, friends, mountains and fun, but I have much more to do especially mentally. As much as I do enjoy making new friends, and the company of others I really, really need my alone time. This winter I spent a record amount of time alone or with a select few individuals and I have experienced a great growth in my happiness levels. So, for now I will savour my alone time, prepare for summer mountain escapes, and transition my diet for the seasons.

 

Protein yum with beans, tuna, green onion, cilantro and help seeds. Also lime, oil and salt.
Protein yum with beans, tuna, green onion, cilantro and help seeds. Also lime, oil and salt.

One of my favourite meals to eat this time of year and throughout the summer is this filling and protein packed salad. The base ingredients store well for backcountry and van use, and the final dish can be used for many meals. Try as mini lettuce wraps for lunch at the crag, or with rice in a burrito for dinner. I like to make enough to last 3 days, so that I can spent less time cooking and still eat clean while the circus is in town.

 The Recipe

Start by soaking your desire amount of beans for approx. 24 hours (this varies for bean type but can be found online easily). I like to use black beans and red kidney beans.

Cook beans being careful to take them off the heat before they become soft, and allow to cool.

Mix in canned tuna or other delicious meat product as desired

Add diced onions and cilantro to taste.

Squeeze and entire lime into the mix and get that pulp also.

Plenty of Olive Oil

Don’t forget the salt.

Mix and enjoy.

Other things I enjoy adding (but not necessarily at the same time) include: Braggs Soy seasoning, Avocado, Cucumber, and Hemp Seeds.

Why soak beans?

Soaking dried beans instead of using canned beans is not only better for you but also for mother earth. Dried beans require less energy to ship and process, require no added ingredients, and store almost indefinitely. The process of soaking and cooking you beans will bring you closer to your food, and help facilitate a simpler, more connected life. They can also be used to make impromptu maracas for fiestas, and who doesn’t love that?

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I finished writing this post while this photo was taking. Some nights I watch the stars go by and others I cook or write. The mountain here is one of my favourites to gaze at.

As I finish writing this I am parked deep in the backroads at 1am on a dark and clear night, alone under the stars. My camera is busy capturing a timelapse while I devour a $1 samosa from Bisla Sweets, as it is the cheapest place to get full on a climbers budget. I am looking forward to the circus more than ever, so if you plan to be part of it please say hello, and tell me about yourself. I’ll be the loud, boisterous one yelling ‘FRANK’ with all the advice from where to park, to sweet peaks and tasty treats.

 

May you be so lucky as to live in Squamish or find your way here one day.

Finding Home Deep in the Squamish Valley

 

Cascades along Raffuse Creek near Squamish, BC

While driving back into town after spending the day scouting a trailhead and shooting some long exposures of cascades I decided that it was time I headed back up the Squamish valley. I hadn’t visited since October, and was missing the quiet nights provided from being far from the busy minds of civilisation. You see, I’m really into dreaming, like as a hobby. This means I enjoy my nights best as far from people as possible so that their thoughts are less likely to interfere with my own energy fields. I have also found that the confluence of rivers have nice, clean energy. But that’s a topic for another post.

My camp the morning after initial preparations

Arriving by night to my camp nearly 30km past the end of pavement, and even further from phone service I skillfully nestled the 2wd minivan I call home into a level position amongst spindly trees of fir and hemlock. My side door, which I consider the front door to my home, was positioned in front of a large fire pit with trees perfectly positioned for my routine tarp set up. As a matter of fact I was quite proud with my choice of camp sites and off-roading skills; even wishing a just little bit that I had someone else to appreciate it, but alas I was alone as usual. It was dry at camp, but had been raining to the south and I know well enough to always expect rain in a sopped in valley. Being someone who adores always outdoing my own camp setups I quickly threw on my headlamp and got to work. I started with my tarp as per usual, first the two points that attach to the van, then to the trees which really were perfectly positioned. My tarp was well hung, but in a heavy rain would pool, and that wasn’t good enough for me.  It needed a peak pole so I scouted out a nice 12’’ dead fir and kicked it down. The bottom 6’’ section was used to peak my tarp providing myself ample headroom while the top section of the tree was dismantled for firewood. This quickly lead to me dismantling two more dead trees of a similar size and stacking them in piles organized by size in preparation for the next nights fire. It wasn’t enough wood for a fire, but it was enough to get a fire going and dry more wood if it rained.

Verdant rec site landscape

Satisfied with my camp preparations I engaged Frank in an hour of fetch before we cozied up in bed to enjoy reading ‘One Man’s Wilderness’ by candle lantern.  To live as close as I do with nature on a year round basis requires an active mind and body. One must observe the weather closely and be ready to jump into action. Preparation is essential for comfort and safety, and I wanted to guarantee a pleasant ‘day at home’ for Good Friday regardless of what the weather might bring. There were many more chores I wished to accomplish but it was time to enjoy the dark wilderness with only the rivers roar to influence my dreams.

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My most handsome adventure pal #squawesomefrank

It was the second night on my new bed foam, and I was as far away as one could dream. I down sized my bed from 6’’ of soft foam to 2’’ of higher density in order to help with hip pains and to simulate a more natural surface such as a bed of moss. Frank and I enjoyed a long morning of snoozing, cuddling, and the occasional pitter-patter of drizzle. Eventually noon rolled around and our chores could wait no longer.

Hammock Coffee = LOVE
Hammock Coffee = LOVE

Before anything else could happen in the day Frank and I needed to take a walk throughout the area to take note of firewood, bottles and garbage so we could plan our day during breakfast. It didn’t take us long to map out a foraging route and we were back to camp cleaning out the fire pit before breakfast. I removed a burnt camp chair, tent poles and duct tape choosing to pile the glass in what would be the hottest part of the fire that night.  While I waited for water from the river to boil I hung my new hammock, and before long I was enjoy some coffee in it. Reading ‘One Man’s Wilderness’ the night before made me crave hotcakes something fierce so I set out to create my own recipe. Being rather skilled at cooking myself I don’t use recipes or measure, instead just free styling everything. For those that prefer some guidance, here are some notes so that you too can enjoy delicious ‘Banana Apple Hotcakes’ in the wilderness or at home.  They were extremely delicious, naturally sweet, and protein rich.

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Most delicious Banana Apple Hotcakes, gluten free if you’re into that.
Recipe for one person: 1) Mash ripe banana and beat in 2 eggs 2) Mix in a dash of salt and ~3/4 cup buckwheat or other flour or until thick. 3) ‘Water down’ with apple sauce until pancake consistency. 4) Add vanilla, cinnamon or other goodness to taste. I added hemp hearts for more protein 5) Cook & Enjoy!
Free water here in the PNW
Free water here in the PNW

Over the next couple hours Frank and I wandered through the rec site and surrounding forests foraging and photographing. I found interesting moss, mushrooms and other subjects on which to focus my macro lens while we filled our bags with ‘treasure’. It took a couple trips but we found an ample amount of dry, cut firewood that had been left behind by several previous campers. I take great effort to always gather my wood by finding scraps left behind or harvesting dead and downed trees. The effort helps to reduce fire hazard levels and ensures live trees are left to make oxygen for all to enjoy. We also found a lightweight axe which I will clean up, a garbage bag full of empties which equals money, and a grocery bag full of garbage. There is still plenty more to be cleaned up, but every piece removed from the backcountry counts.

Some shots from my time ‘foraging’ 
select images for large view.
Frank in a hammock, need I say more
Frank in a hammock, need I say more

As we arrived home after our foraging mission the rain that had been mostly holding out let loose on us. For two hours it rained, the sound on the tarp threatened to send me for a nap but I barely managed to resist. Instead I kept Frank entertained with more fetch while I read, tidied, and slipped deep into daydreams of hot summer days climbing with sexy men.  I could have stayed under my tarp for many more hours, but the rain let up and I decided to try my hand at slacklining. The ground was uneven and rocky, so I choose the clearest path and set to work rigging the line. Unfortunately due to my broken hand I was not able to tighten the line enough it wouldn’t bottom out. Instead I put a bit of work into my chonga (a type of sit start for highlining) before deciding my environment and hand made for a sketchy situation. I didn’t mind though, the hammock was already hanging and I had at least tried. Once more the rain started up again, and we were back under the tarp for fetch and coffee. Frank and I don’t mind rain, we were having a great time and as the days light was drawing to a close so was the wetness.

The day ended exactly as I had hoped, with a dry night to enjoy a big fire to myself. Earlier in the day I had attempted to cut some kindling, but quickly learned that practising axemanship with a broken hand leads to blood. It didn’t matter though because as always I had gathered the right amounts of all the right sizes of wood in order to get my fire going flawlessly on the first try. Within an hour my little pile of twigs had turned into a mound of burning wood and my potato was happily baking away. Campfires are a great way to pass hours deep in though and add some variety to a one burner diet. My baked potato was mashed into a bowl of split pea soup along with a can of tuna creating a poor man’s chowder-esque dish which I thoroughly enjoyed fireside.

With a full belly my thoughts drifted back to the theme of the day, giving back. I wondered what our backcountry and recreation sites would look like if everyone who enjoyed days at the crag and bagging peaks pitched in the way I do. I imagined the example that could be set it all outdoor enthusiasts took time to undo the careless actions of others. Every piece of garbage that is picked up undoes a carless action. Within an hour a hundred careless actions can be undone and suddenly an impact is being made, by one single person! It’s so easy as ‘outdoorsy types’ to feel above those that litter, and to instead carry on conquering the challenge we have laid out for the day instead of slowing down to give back.  Living in a van I treat all wilderness as my own home, and so I clean up for my own satisfaction and for those that will come later. There will be more garbage, but I will continue to set aside time to give back and in doing so hopefully inspire others. Already my vanliving BFF has adopted this behavior putting all the money made from bottles into her chai fund. We all have ways we enjoy treating ourselves, and imagine how wonderful those treats are when they’re funded by good deeds.  So when people ask if I get bored all by myself in the van all the time the answer is no. When I’m not at the dog ranch, sending a project, or bagging a peak I’m probably taking it really easy and enjoying giving back. One of the greatest joys of a solo life is being able to enjoy it how I like; very often I choose to spend days like this instead of being ‘extreme’.

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Good Friday family chillin

Never pass up a moment to make a positive contribution, every action adds up.

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A very old Old Milwaukee, I wonder if they will still give me 10 cents for the return…

You DO make a difference.

11 Months.

It’s been 11 months. 11 months since I’ve published my thoughts, experiences or trip reports. 11 months I’ve been cruising along in life all the while I was laying out words, but not on paper. I was reliving wilderness trips, but only with myself to grow and learn. I was creating albums, but only in my mind. My memories and experiences have been shared with countless new friends, cemented in my mind and relived with old pals, but they have not been catalogued or published.  How did I let it slip so far out of my control? How did I allow one of my greatest passions to fall by the wayside?

It’s quite easy it seems.

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I unplugged.

That’s not to say I fully went off the grid, I just took a huge step back.  After the van that I was living in died I drifted among couches for a few weeks before settling into a tent in the forest. Nestled among the foliage I made home atop a driftwood platform that protected me from high water on the river. I enjoyed morning sun on my private sandy beach, ciders soaking in my own pool with submerged seating, and midnight skinny dipping during the hottest nights just steps from my door.  Only a few individuals knew of my whereabouts and most of them hardly spoke English. I found myself spending nights around the fire with Mexicans and Spaniards after walking too many kilometers every day. I walked everywhere, with my life in a backpack. We walked to town, to the chief, back to town, to the slacklines, to climb, to the river, up the river, and back down and all throughout the forest. I scampered over logs crossing the river like a puma, and chased bears away with Frank by my side. With no phone or wifi, no vehicle or electricity we lived in the forest for months.

Then I grew tired.

I grew tired of walking everywhere, and getting nowhere. I grew tired of constantly trying to outsmart the bear, and the mice. I grew tired of being alone for many, many hours at a time in the forest. And I grew tired of the uncertainty of continuing this lifestyle into autumn.

That’s when Kiki came into my life, a peppy little Mazda minivan to call home. I continued to live in the tent, but escaped to the mountains first chance I got. Frank and I first headed northbound scrambling Grouty Peak and Locomotive Mountain in the Coast Ranges, enjoyed countless lakes, and hiked many trails. We bouldered in Pemberton then headed south. We climbed Mt. Brunswick for sunrise, and summited the wrong peak on Rainbow Mountain. We spent evening after evening enjoying the circus that is The Chief campground. There were crazy potluck dinners with new friends from around the globe, slacklinging, acro yoga, music, chess and campfires in the cave. Bounties of free food would appear and all the ‘dirtbags’ would rejoice and share. Frank and I enjoyed a great summer of climbing, mountains, friends, and culture.  We watched meteors streak across the sky, and sent our hardest projects yet.

And the circus left town.

September came signalling the end of the climbing season in Squamish and as quickly as the circus arrived, it vanished.  Frank and I moved camp to be closer to our remaining forest friends, and to escape the rising river, but by then we were mostly living in the van. With each adventure we went on Kiki felt more and more like home. Custom curtains made for my old van in golden orange, and rainbow paisley were rigged to fit the new van. The old bed foam and supporting plywood were cut to fit in Kiki next to my crash pad and supported by repurposed wooden drawers. Frank and I settled into our new, very tiny, home just in time for an autumn adventure. We spent our free time experiencing the whole of the Squamish Valley, mostly in peace and quiet finding new places to park and views to enjoy.

Wet Coast with Super Dave

The entirety of November was spent exploring the Sunshine Coast and Northern Vancouver Island with my great friend affectionately known as ‘Super Dave’. Together in the tiniest of spaces we took Frank bouldering on basalt, and climbing routes on pristine Limestone, we went caving and hiking. We passed days lounging on the beach watching seals frolic, and nights watching the stars pass overhead. We had a great time exploring at leisure, and enjoying more climbing that one could hope for during a west coast November. That is until we ran out of money and returned to Squamish.

Winter  arrived.

At least in a relative sense it could be called winter. Not being a skier I enjoy a mild winter, and this year was one of the mildest. With December now upon us I focused on work, and photographing rivers in my free time. I became an expert tarp erector, and was joined by my wonderful friend Megan in vanlife. My vanlife skills continued to improve, with even the local newspaper (<– link to article) taking note. I hustled at work and work made itself suite my life even better. I am now so lucky to be able to with cooperation) write my own schedule working as much or a little as I want to be able to explore, and afford the lifestyle I enjoy.

Home up the valley
Home up the valley

A new year was upon us.

2015 has been nothing but a blessed whirlwind of joy. I spent a week exploring, hiking and bouldering in Ucluete. I made new friends and was offered their homes as my own in Ucluete and on Gabriola Island. I inspired strangers, saw my first cougar and grew stronger in my values, integrity and depth as an individual. I returned to Squamish and then back to the Island where I climbed Mt. Cokely, enjoyed a great misadventure for my 30th birthday, and soaked in the Comox Valley outdoors. I returned back to Squamish and then was off again for a week in Kelowna. On the way Frank and I made a quick winter summit of Needle Peak, then enjoyed the Okanagan heat while bouldering at scenic locations with beta courtesy a new friend Andy.  Each time we return to Squamish we explore new trails, enjoy nights by campfires under the stars and practice our slacklining. We cruise around town chilling with friends, and drinking way too much coffee. Actually, Frank doesn’t drink coffee, that’s all me.

And like that 11 months have passed.

Now Frank and I are only 1 day away from out next chunk of time off with no idea how we will spend it. I enjoy my job so much I could stay, but I won’t. We spend a lot more time on the dog ranch now that my computer has been given a home indoors. By being the best dog handler I could be I have found myself adopted by the family, and they have given me the ease of pursuing my passions of photography and writing yet again. It has been 11 months since my last post, and I’m sure you can see why. Without a home, without power, and without an extreme amount of discipline it’s pretty easy to let all the adventure, community, and spirit of living a simple life in nature carry you away. I may not be the best at sharing my experiences, but I am now among the best at living a life full of experiences.

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Living with the wind.

It can be a hard life in the van, full of uncertainty and loneliness at times, but a life outside is the right kind for me. I enjoy small spaces to myself and being a steward of a large yard. These lands of the Coast Salish I call my own, and protect them as such. I am just now, after more than a year in the wild, beginning find a balance where I can share a little more. I know this has hardly done any justice to the past 11 months so feel free to contact me, and I’ll do my best not to let it slip again.

 

Remember, life is for living. So get out there and enjoy!

(Note: After reading this I realize just how much was left out. From sponsorship and publication opportunities, to foraging and my first music festival experience (full on!). I missed an entire trip to the island and so much around Squamish. Most of all I missed all the lessons I have learned through my experiences and THAT is what I hope to share in the future. We can all help each other live simpler, more earth conscious, happier lives and I believe it’s my duty to you, my much appreciated reader, to do my part in inspire positive change.)