Between our month-long house sit in Rollinsville, Colorado and the next, three-month one in San Diego, California, Mark and I faced a gap of two weeks. Initially, we were on the look-out for a short pet sit, but pretty soon, we realized this would be the perfect opportunity to really test the van life. Longer than one weekend, and for fun, instead of as a means of transportation to get from point A to B. It was an attractive plan for many reasons, including these four: we have always wanted to visit some of Utah’s incredible National Parks, they happened to be en route, we could use a break from our computers (when not?), and, coincidentally, our business partner appeared to have a scheduled vacation within the exact dates we’d be on the road. Now, if that wasn’t the ideal time to relax The Wirie work a bit ourselves!
A window to Delicate Arch
Arches National Park
Not much planning and anticipation went into this camping trip. I checked the map, saw Canyonlands, thought “I guess we stop there,” then noticed a green spot called “Arches” along the way and yelled: “Oh yeah, that’s the famous one in Utah, not Canyonlands. We have to go there!” Now, I don’t know whether you have ever looked at Southern Utah on a map… it is one national park after the next! How exciting! All we had to do was pick and choose, be happy about not doing it all, and not feel rushed! Oh, did I mention that the two biggies, Bryce Canyon and Zion are here as well?
Our selection of Utah National Parks
The past weeks I have been insinuating a new development in our lives. It is time to reveal what we have been up to! Let me introduce our newest “family member”, Zesty. He is a 2005 Sprinter Airstream Westfalia camper, endearingly called a Westy. Ingeniously built in Germany and known as a Westfalia James Cook in Europe, only 250 of these campers were imported into the US. Airstream did those honors and “Americanized” them by adding an air conditioner and a generator, and swapping the cassette toilet for one with a holding tank. The Mercedes engine was re-branded as a Dodge for the American market. Confusing? The main thing is that Mark and I now own one of these unique, compact and decked-out camper vans! Indirectly, this plan has been brewing for a couple of years.
Second night, in Oklahoma
“I think our next adventure should be in a camper again.” I share with Mark something that has been on my mind for a while. It is March 2015 and we are anchored in beautiful Huahine, French Polynesia. Continue reading
I have decided to post photos of past travels in general and our eight year sailing adventure on SV Irie in particular for Wordless Wednesdays. Also, I can’t manage “completely wordless”, but I’ll try my best at “almost wordless”. 🙂
With thousands of photos haphazardly archived over the years, I can’t easily pick what to post, so I use the weekly prompt of the Daily Post to inspire my Wordless Wednesdays. This week’s Daily Post photography theme is “ambiance“.
I relate ambiance with a feeling of contentment and joy. Many times a wonderful ambiance is created when hanging out with friends, something we finally get to do more often these days. The first thing that came to my mind when discovering this week’s photo theme was a campfire. The crackling sound, the woodsy smell, the intense warmth, the constantly changing shape of the flames all create an ambiance I can wallow in for hours.
Check out Terri’s post about this topic on Second Wind Leisure Perspectives. You might recognize some of the characters… 🙂
What does ambiance mean to you?
“Thank you for calling The Wirie. The customer support department is on a short vacation right now. We will resume our timely and personal support service again on Wednesday, September 14th. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you and thank you for your patience. Have a nice day.” I hear Mark change the message on the answering machine of our Wirie business. Then, he creates an automatic email reply for customers who contact us via the ticket system: ”The Wirie Customer Support team is on a short break right now. Please, allow us to get back to you after Tuesday, September 14th. Thank you for your understanding and your patience. Have a nice day.” It is the very first time we “close down” this part of the business, and these are the last preparations we make before our long anticipated trip, three years in the making. It is finally happening, after keeping a close eye on the weather predictions and postponing our departure a few days… Continue reading
Our plan did come with some serious considerations, but we took the risk anyway. It is not our fault that most weekends in August had contained rain! Who likes camping in the rain? And, we really wanted to visit Vermont again while in this area. One weekend had not been enough. So, all we could do was go on a two-night camping trip during the week. The weather predictions were perfect. The campground we had set our minds upon had most of their eight spots available, so no reservation and extra cost was required. Maybe we would be lucky with a quiet few days in regards to our Wirie business?
While the voice in my head was being positive (or naive), my gut knew better. We cannot and should not leave “the office” on weekdays. It does not bode well; sh*t happens. We know this from experience. Especially when it is the most inconvenient. When you run your own business, you do not get a break. Ever. We ignored my gut, ready for a couple of days away (You never know!), planning to be online and deal with customers and issues intermittently, whenever possible. That is the beauty of being able to work remotely, right? Anyway… As often, my gut was right, and Mark ended up spending many hours behind his computer and on his phone at the picnic table of our campsite or bent over on multiple patches of grass in the shade of Burlington’s parks. But, let’s focus on the stuff I should – and usually do – blog about!
Driving north in Vermont
One of the many ponds and lakes in the state
Jenny gets comfortable – she is such an easy dog to travel with
Hills and wildflowers
And cute farm houses
Grain silo at a farm
Most farms have one or more silos
Farms and grain silos everywhere!
One of the greatest perks about house and pet sitting in different states (or countries) is that you can explore new areas at will. If you decide to take on longer term sits, like us, these explorations can be done in-depth with destinations galore for weekends away. Mark and I only have about one month left of our 4.5-month house sit in Heath, MA and I feel that we are running out of time for my “to visit” list. Of course, this list is so extensive that it is humanly impossible to actually do it all, unless we could devote ourselves to our roaming ways every single day of the week, which we can’t, because of our business.
Town Hall in Great Barrington
I had a few “to do” things planned for our weekend in SW Massachusetts: climbing two mountains, Mt. Everett (partly) and Monument Mountain (wholly), strolling around two historical towns, Stockbridge and Great Barrington, hiking to three sets of waterfalls, Bash Bish Falls, Bear Rock and the cascades of Race Brook, visiting Guilder Pond and driving back from Great Barrington to Lee on a scenic road, before heading home on Sunday. Oh, and as a back-up or if we had extra time, I had more waterfall destinations up my sleeve.
View over the Berkshires
I can’t quite remember the last time Mark and I went camping for pleasure, as in when we really wanted to go camping. My recollections go back ten years ago or so, when our dogs, the Grand Canyon and loads of insect bites were part of the experience. I mention the “for pleasure” part, because the previous time we seriously camped was for two months in 2007, when a tent and a car were all we owned, so camping was our lifestyle. It wasn’t necessarily our preferred way to live, but the cheapest option in between other adventures. We had just moved out of our truck camper and were in the process of searching and eventually buying our sailboat.
Trying to set up the tent at home – check. All parts are present.
The tent we had for ages was finally traded for some local handicrafts in the San Blas Islands, Panama, a few years ago and a new tent recently became ours through a promotion online. It was time to test it out in earnest. Continue reading
Day 7 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad
Nomads can get around in as many different ways as there are kinds of transportation. You can travel as fast as a plane or as slow as your own walking pace. My favorite way of getting around depends on the situation and the location, and I usually end up picking the most practical (and affordable) choice available.
Arriving in Tahiti by plane from New Zealand
Day 3 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad
As a full-time wanderer having traveled many different ways, I cannot rave enough about the functionality of a camper. In the States, they call them RVs (Recreational Vehicles) and they come in different sizes, ages and styles. Of all possible ways to see the world, doing it by camper is my favorite. While people of all age categories are bound to enjoy a vacation or a lifestyle in an RV, I think that adventurous retirees especially benefit from exploring the country or the continent by camper for its ease of living and moving. As a matter of fact, many senior citizens of Canada and the US sell (or rent) their house and get rid of most of their belongings to move into an RV (sometimes part-time during the winter months) and head south. They travel with the seasons, visit their preferred campgrounds, cities, national parks, beaches and other places and include family gatherings along the way. I would (and hopefully will) do the same! Continue reading