Choosing Van Life

Bear, Kashi, and I have been traveling the country full time for about three months now. Our journey to get here was not easy, but the puzzle pieces kept falling into place making it possible for us. We try to spend as much time as we can exploring, but we weren’t always the adventurous family.

At 24 years old I purchased my first home. At the time, I only had Bear. Now that we had a whole house, I decided to bring in a friend for Bear to play or cuddle with while I was working. Kashi joined our family later in the year. Kashi and Bear were both adopted, and I’m a firm believer that when you bring a dog into your life – whether it’s through adoption or breeding, it’s a life time commitment. I’ve never understood how someone could let go of a family member. I would lay down my life for my dogs, how could I possibly just hand them over? Anyways, it was that thought process that pushed me towards a nomadic lifestyle.

You see, I’ve always had a wandering heart. I tried to settle down and live the “American Dream” (minus the husband) for years and I never felt satisfied. It was only when I was traveling that I felt at peace and where I belonged. And so for years I would go back packing through Europe, or Southeast Asia for weeks at a time, trying to get my fix of traveling but it was never enough. Luckily, I have amazing parents who would take care of the pups while I was away. And I was always so happy to come back to them, but my heart felt split in two. I so badly wanted to take off, with nothing but a backpack and see the whole world. And to be honest, I still do. But as I said before, Kashi and Bear are a lifetime commitment that I willingly chose so that lifestyle was simply not an option for me.

This is why I caution all new dog owners – please evaluate your lifestyle, your dreams and goals. Sometimes, the most selfless thing you can do is not get a dog at this point in your life. If you feel the itch for a dog, but might not be ready for a lifetime commitment, I urge you to consider fostering instead.

Since backpacking full time was not a viable option, I started to explore elsewhere. And that’s when I received a life-changing text message from a friend. She sent me of a picture of a girl standing inside a van that was going to be made into her new home on wheels. Although I didn’t know it immediately, I had found my answer. I can actually have my cake and eat it too! The USA has so much to offer – why do I need to backpack the world to find beauty in my own “backyard”?! And so my van became my massive backpack that allows me to carry Kashi and Bear around in. This lifestyle definitely has it’s challenges but I get so emotional when I get to massive waterfalls, tops of mountain peaks, the edges of cliffs, and the ocean beach with my two best friends standing next to me. And I think wow, my dogs are seeing more of this country than most people get to see. We really are living our very best life.

I’m not crying, you are.