Return to Portland
It's time to get to work on the vanWe got in a select few days of volleyball when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds...but it was clear that the weather had shifted, and we're still not exactly happy about it.
As we did the tough job of admitting to ourselves that our summer was coming to an end we started focusing on soaking up every second we could get with our vanfam, and prepping for our return to portland.
It was an odd experience leaving…the last few days were pretty tough on us and the entire drive back was pretty sombre. We are excited to see our friends/fam in portland and to begin outfitting the van for the next exciting adventure- but we were genuinely sad to pull away and leave vancouver. Sad to remove ourselves from the people and lifestyle we've so quickly grown accustomed to over the last few months.
It's almost impossible to imagine creating a better summer than the one we just experienced. The vanlife was in full effect and allowed us to live a block from the beach, our volleyball fix got fulfilled (and then some), and we got so much time in with our lovely group of friends north of the border both in town and in the wilderness. So good. So good.
We finally grabbed our last hugs and headed for the border. In the last 4years (since we quit our jobs and became mostly nomadic) I cant recall actually being sad to leave any place. Sure, we knew we would miss a place or want to return. Mexico and its beaches always call to us from afar (especially this time of year as I lie here in the van typing and listening to the wind and rain pelting the van in the middle of the night), many places hold a special place in our heart…but this time it actually hurt to leave.
I guess thats a good indicator for us of how important these people and this place is in our lives and how important it is that we continue to find ways to spend ample time in BC in the coming years. But for now... the van is in need of some love and its time to get started on this build. It's been a great home for us the last few months, but is really little more than a steel tent at this point. A mostly hollow shell with a bed and some bins inside, and Im excited to turn it into something we can also be proud to live in, and to show off to others.
Portland did help ease the pain by welcoming us back with open arms. We've had several fun events with friends and it's great to reconnect. A quick wine tasting trip to the valley, a trip to the coast and to the mountain…even a trip back to eugene for some tailgating and football. We’ve been making the rounds and enjoying fall in Portland (despite the weather), but by far most of our time has been in the shop.
I've spent long hours/days in the shop almost every day trying to prep the van for our upcoming winter road trip. We decided a few weeks back to pull the trigger on the mountain collective pass, which gets us access to 14 different resorts this winter. An odd move for sun loving beach folk…but it sounds like an exciting change of pace for us and gives us reason for an epic road trip. We’re stoked…but the problem is that our temporary setup in the van has been eroding over the last month or so and we simply aren't yet prepped for full time life on the road and boondocking/stealth camping. We’ve been making it work, and could certainly survive if forced to by a disaster, a zombie apocalypse (or trump winning the election which would clearly force us back to BC for good)… but the van is far from the beautiful zen-like space we dream it to be and is short some very essential ingredients for true van dwelling in comfort. The cooler needs to be replaced with a fridge which means solar and a battery bank, our cabinets need to be replaced with something more solid and actually attached to the vehicle so we aren't stressed each time we tap the brakes, and given the nature of our trip…we are desperately in need of insulation and HEAT (especially if i want my sun-loving goddess of a wife to make the trip with me).
The problem has been…that we are also realizing that we simply don't have the hours/days we need to finish before our trip begins. We knew things would be tight if we stayed in vancouver to close out summer, but we also weren't willing to give up any days on the beach or camping/backpacking…
So I tried to use my newfound knowledge that I in fact don't have to do everything myself and agreed to simply give up some portions of the project. To hire people who have the skills rather than teaching myself and learning as I go. The plan was that I would focus on the prototyping and design and give away or hire out some portions of the project that I enjoy less (much as Ive been trying to do professionally with zenbox).
The problem is that several of the people we had lined up for those things have disappeared since our return. In fact…pretty much every one of them has gotten swamped with other work and backed out, has delayed the work until at least spring (after our trip), or has bogued out completely…which means not only do I need to do those portions myself…but also have copious amounts of research to do in order to figure out how to do them. Argh.
We’re better now. After a week in the middle of the month of some anxiety and stress around the project we reentered our goals/expectations a bit and are back on track with a more realistic viewpoint and better outlook. This whole project and lifestyle is, after all…intended specifically to be stress free and to enjoy.
That's the point actually. As a kind, and very wise friend pointed out on one of my more stressed out instagram posts, “getting anxious about it is like stressing over the hanging of a hammock”. Touche.