We are officially on Lithium battery power and it feels great! We are seeing longer battery life and much more consistent operation. If you want to know more about Lithium batteries and why we made the switch, check out Part 1 of our battery upgrade. But for those of you who have been asking about the details of our setup: read on!
One of the most limiting factors to us this year has been power. Multiple times a day we glance at the battery volt meter to monitor the voltage and make sure we have enough juice left to get us through the night until the sun comes out again or we run the van. Even with 120 AH (Amp-hours) of deep-cycle battery, we have still had to decide on several occasions if we want to charge our phones or run the fridge overnight.
We had heard good things about this spot, but were mostly setting off into the unknown. What we found was sheer, raw beauty.
We have been in Baja California, Mexico for several weeks and have totally fallen in love. The people are friendly, the weather is warm, the beaches are beautiful and raw, and the food is delicious. But as we have traveled here, we have found that one of the most interesting elements of traveling by van down the peninsula is the tribe that forms around you.
This post is just a quick update to say that we haven’t forgotten the blog and to give you a glimpse into what we are planning for next year.
We are ‘home’ right now. Meaning back in New Hampshire, back near our families and friends and driving the roads we grew up on. But home has become a different concept for us over the past year...
Living on the road we have encountered a wide range of people with varying degrees of familiarity with vanlife. You get the folks who have lived the life before. You get the folks that are currently living on the road be it in an RV, a Van, a pull behind trailer or out of the back of their Subaru. Then there is a third category of people. They are the ones that think you are crazy. They look at you wondering what your poor mother did to deserve this. With a level of disbelief, they ask questions to clear away some of the space between their reality and yours. How do you watch TV? How do you blow dry your hair? You don’t have air conditioning????? These amongst others are a daily occurrence. We are going to attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions below.
The road is an amazing place. ‘Home’ and ‘Family’ and ‘Friends’ have become much larger terms to us as we have traveled. Home is not defined by the space you live, but the people you live with and the generosity of others. Family and friends can be found anywhere that people love and care for each other and allow that love to be shared.
For so long we have been damming the river of time. Hoping to extract from it all the resources and energy we can. We have scheduled our time out months in advance, and packed every spare moment full of richness and intention, but also hurry and stress. When the river began to erode the banks we fortified them with the rocks and concrete of calendars and planners and structure and alarm clocks and early bedtimes so we could hit the ground running in the morning. Our lives were efficient and extremely full.
We are working to undam the river and let time take its course. We sacrifice some of the efficiency, but are allowing space for the river to find new tributaries and wildlife.
When we got K2, our Alaskan Malamute, we knew a little bit about what we were getting into. Some of our dearest friends had a Malamute fondly named Big Dog and we had been privy to some of her most shining moments. One Saturday morning we got a phone call asking if we could go rescue Big Dog "off their roof" as they were out of town. When we arrived to survey the scene, we found that Big Dog had in fact broken out of her solid wood fenced off area, busted out a partially open screen window and was happily looking down on us from two stories up on their entry way roof. Malamutes are well known for their tenacity, intelligence, strength and stubbornness. They are famous for being an endearing combination of independent and extremely lovable. They are also famous for being a solid twenty five percent pure wicked.
We woke up late this morning. Late by the standards of our old life. We would both have been several hours late to work and would probably have sheepishly reported the time to friends if we were asked what time we woke up. But here there is no reason not to get up late. There is a beauty in watching the morning encroach into our tiny vessel. By the time we struggled out of our wool blankets, sun was streaming through every window and the world was alive outside.
Spearfish, South Dakota. Even the name sounds too good to be true. Nestled on the northern tip of the South Dakota Black Hills, this little town has fulfilled all of our expectations for beauty, adventure, warmth, and hospitality, and just like that we have a front-runner on the “we could see ourselves living here” list.
The evening was breathtaking and we sat in rapt wonder watching the burning ball of the sun set over the low hills to the west. The Grasslands are a stirring combination of flat, broad expanses combined with rolling hills and a comforting breeze that moves the prairie grass like waves. This seems like the beginning and it bodes well.
Casey and I took on this project one evening about a month before we left and a few weeks before quitting our jobs. We were finding that the preparation for this adventure was getting the best of us. While we are looking forward to this with all our hearts, there have been countless times over the past months that we have found ourselves completely overwhelmed by the prospect of what we are doing and the myriad of to-dos that have filled the space between where we are now and where we want to be.
“Its not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Its an old and worn out phrase, but worn out usually means that there’s a lot of truth in it. I certainly have found it to ring true when it comes to mechanical work on the van. It’s all part of the journey, part of the adventure.
One weekend at the end of June, we took a leap. Our family was growing but it wasn’t a kid. It was a big white 1986 Westfalia van. After months of agonizing about this life or that one, we were stepping out and charting our path – seemingly all in an instant.