Our Travels from Texas to Florida

Our Travels from Texas to Florida

We finally left Austin after 3 and a half weeks. It was sad to go but we were ready for something new and we had plans to meet up with family in Florida. We decided to give ourselves a week to drive from Austin, TX to Jacksonville, FL and planned to make a few stops along the way. We know it wouldn’t be a ton of time to explore the south, but figures we could come back again later if we saw anything that caught our attention. Though the week didn’t go as originally planned (which seems to be a common theme in our travels), we made it to Jacksonville on time and saw some beautiful scenery along the way.

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Filmore's 1st Birthday

Filmore's 1st Birthday

Happy birthday Filmore!!!!

Just in case you don’t already know, Filmore is our van that we travel in full time. Exactly one year ago today, Filmore arrived at the dealership in Portland, OR and we took him home. He was a brand new empty cargo van and we couldn’t wait to transform him into our home on wheels.

The first trip we went on with Filmore was driving from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA for an anniversary weekend and to pick up the windows we later installed into the van. After a summer of building our home in Filmore and a mid-build trip to central Washington, Filmore was ready for his debut outing as our finished home on wheels.

Since then Filmore has been across the United States twice and has been on the road for about 8 months.

Buying Filmore and living our life on the road was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made and we are so excited to see where we go by this time next year.

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Changes to the Van: Fitness Cabinet

Changes to the Van: Fitness Cabinet

When we were in Austin, we ended up spending a lot of time at Zilker Park. We would park with the back of the van up next to an open field and we’d enjoy the cool breeze coming through the windows in the morning. We also ended up spending a lot of time in the Anytime Fitness parking lot in the afternoons when it was hot and we really didn’t want to be working out. So we had an idea. What if we made a few changes to the van and could put in an area to store weights?

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Our Travels: Austin

Our Travels: Austin

After our off the grid time in Carlsbad Caverns and Big Bend National Park, we drove to one of our favorite towns, Austin, TX. We’ve been to Austin twice before, once a few years ago for a summer vacation and once last fall on our way back from Portland after the rear end accident. And each time we immensely enjoyed being there but wished we had more time to see everything. So, this time around, we decided to spend a full three weeks in Austin (which ended up being more like 3.5 weeks).

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How We Take Care of Arrow in the Van

How We Take Care of Arrow in the Van

Arrow has been a part of our little family for almost 5 years now. We have had him through many different apartments, different towns and states, different jobs, and in the van.

Arrow is a rescue mini poodle mix and he is a snuggle king. He loves to snuggle in Ben’s arms at night and snuggle me in the morning and he would love to spend all the rest of the day snuggled up too. He loves wearing his little fleece coat when it’s cold outside and gets really excited to put it on; he even helps in the getting dressed process by holding up his paw to put in the armhole. Arrow loves to run and go for walks, but he also loves to swim and enjoys going out on the paddle boards with us. He will jump into the water from my board with his little life jacket on and swim between us until he gets tired. His favorite toy is a stuffed hedgehog that we’ve had to replace about 5 times now but he will also play with his stuffed penguin or the rubber rope toy.

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Our Travels: NM & Big Bend NP

Our Travels: NM & Big Bend NP

After leaving Tombstone, Arizona (where we left off in the last travels update blog post), we were in desperate need of a few things. One, we seriously needed a shower; we had figured out how to do a sink shower and wash our hair with only one gallon total of water but a full body shower was needed after a week on BLM land. Two, we needed water; we have been able to get our water use down even further going from using about 6 gallons a day to no using about 4, but we still needed to get more after a week. Three, we needed food; we had stocked up before going out onto BLM land but there’s only so much we can fit in our fridge.

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Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Blog! And to pat myself on the back a little, congrats to me for writing for a whole year! This past year has been one with probably the most amount of change I have ever had in one year. I went from living in an apartment in Portland, running an Etsy shop, and writing this blog about crafts, food, travel, etc to now living in our self converted van (currently in Austin, TX), working as a wellness coach online, and writing about the van, life on the road, and a chronicle of our adventures. But even with all of that change, many things have also stayed consistent, one of them being writing this blog.

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Go-To Meals in the Van

Go-To Meals in the Van

Cooking in the van has been a rollercoaster ride for us. In the fall, we were cooking on electric but were not connected up to the van’s alternator. That means that we were using a lot of energy to cook, but we weren’t getting enough into the van for all that cooking. So there were many days where we had cold meals, ate out, or just snacked all day instead of cooking. Since then, we have hooked the house batteries to the van’s alternator so we are charging significantly more and have had less of a problem with having enough power to cook. We have also switched to cooking on a propane cooktop for most of our meals (we still use the Instant Pot and blender though, so we aren’t completely off electric cooking).

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How We Find Overnight Parking

How We Find Overnight Parking

It seems that everyone we talk to about van life is curious about where we sleep at night. Either strangers want to know out of general curiosity, other van lifers want to trade tips, or family and friends are concerned about us. In our 4 months of van life, only once have we been asked to move for the night. And that was just a security guard at 8 pm who directed us to numerous other options, so no big deal. But along the way in the last 4 months, we have picked up a few tips, tricks, and general knowledge on the subject of overnight parking. I thought I’d share some of them here in case you were curious, concerned, or wanted some tips for yourself/a friend.

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Amazing Things We Never Expected of Van Life

Amazing Things We Never Expected of Van Life

A few weeks ago I wrote about the stresses that naturally come with van life and living on the road. Things like unknown noises, if we are in danger of getting in an accident, the safety of our belongings and the pup were all on that list. But what I didn’t speak about were the benefits and amazing, wonderful surprises we’ve encountered along the way in our short while living in the van. These are some, but not all, of the amazing things we’ve been able to experience because we chose to let go of our apartment life and live on the road in a van.

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