volleyball, vanlife and overland friends   

just catching up after an amazing summer.

So much for my commitment to being better about updating the blog.  Apologies to those of you who still check in from time to time! =/ It's not that I don't intend to...just that I thought about it for the first time in months and just realized that July was our last post.  Yikes!

Maybe it's because we've been sitting in one place so much more that it doesn't occur to me to post, maybe the ease of instagram is simply too strong to get me to wade all the way into the blog and the writing and editing photos that goes along with it... or maybe we've just been busy.

Hard to say, and probably all of the above...but here's an quick update on our last few months.Simply put, we spent most of our summer in Vancouver, BC as expected and most of those days on the beach playing volleyball.  We simply can't get enough and find ourselves playing at least 5 days a week as long as the weather holds.

The memories from last summer spent north of the border were simply too good to pass up a repeat season, though this year we found ourselves sitting in vancouver more than using it as a homebase to jump off and explore the rest of BC and Alberta like we did last year.

I guess the reason here was two-fold... First being that we explored much of the provinces last year so it took off the urgency. Second, several of our friend group in BC quit their jobs, which meant they were around and available to play!  Unlike last year (where we felt like we were in the way while in town, which prompted us to explore during the work-week), this year seemed like an endless array of fun events that would barely allow us to leave town for fear of missing something.

While volleyball still seemed to be the focus, it now was just one of the exciting events each day as our schedules filled up with backyard bbqs, wine tastings, gin tastings, poker parties, game nights, hikes and paddles.  So-much-fun and we might just be the most active/healthy we've been in years!

It was odd (yet very welcome) the sudden rush of unemployed friends this summer... Chalk it up to most of them working in a way-too-stressful environment (or maybe to our very bad influence), but it made for an incredibly fun summer.  Now we just have to get busy convincing all of them to make it a more permanent move!!  ;)

I can't speak to how many more summers we might head north and spend exactly this way... but I can honestly say that living such a simple lifestyle in our van, close to such a great group of people and literally a block from one of the best beaches in the world and activities we cant get enough of...it hasn't even begun to lose its luster! We did still manage to get some exploring in this summer... a couple of trips to the beach and to wine country, some time in whistler, all mostly prompted by a few #vanlife and #overland events that got us out of town for a chance to hang out with our rapidly growing "extended" tribe of people living/traveling in their vehicles.

The first was the NW Overland Rally in central washington...very fun and an interesting contrast to the much larger Overland Expo in arizona.  This one certainly had less to see in the way of vehicles and also had far less commercial vendors which made it easier to find, meet and chat with others.  This time we also met up with a few online friends we've chatted with for years but never actually met in person.  Hard to imagine having much more in common than with these two sets of travelers, and I'm pretty sure we just made lifelong friends.

Also worth noting that they probably both do a better job of updating their blogs...so feel free to check out our pals and track their adventures and journeys at follow the wind and desk to glory.  Both of these summer overland events were a blast and I'm certain we'll revisit both again next year.

The next was a true vanlife gathering, hosted by the uber-fun aussies at @vanlifediaries and the uber-sponsored @wheresmyofficenow.  Far different crowd and set of personalities, but no less fun or inspirational.  The overland events seem to be more based around gear and custom built rigs that can take you literally around the world, but require far more money and planning.  The vanlife events are a collection of people looking to simplify, live more simply and "escape" the direction things seem to be going in society.  We obviiously find ourselves with a foot easily planted in both of these communities!

As you can imagine, there were many, many VWs at this event, and we couldnt help but find ourselves missing our split window bus (though not so much when climbing into the van at the end of each day).  It's always fun to see the other vehicles at these events, share ideas and talk with others that seem to understand what its like to live nomadically.

It's also fantastic to see both of these "movements" growing so rapidly.  I remember when we were looking for someone to tell us it was okay to quit our jobs move into a van/drive south of the border we struggled to even find one example that could make us feel less strange... but now we pull up to an event with literally 100s of people living this lifestyle.  How fantastic for those out there looking for that "nudge" or struggling to make the leap and hoping to find someone to tell them its okay. Hint: It's okay...do it...NOW!! ;)

This event also just happened to be held on the olympic peninsula, at Neah Bay... an are we've been looking to explore in more depth for years.  Back in the day we raced into the depth of the olympic national forest for a few long weekends of backpacking...but never really had the extra days to explore.  Was that ever a mistake!

We spent a few days before and after the gathering exploring the rugged coast, wandering the beaches and generally taken aback by the views and vistas.  Such a lovely part of the world and we will most certainly be spending more time here in coming years! 

As it turns out, we also keep getting a LOT of encouragement (and pressure) at these events to build out adventure vans for others and seem to have been convinced by both that pressure and by some good friends and fellow entrepreneurs in Portland to give it a go.

We still suck at planning, but unless something comes along to change our minds in hurry, it looks like we'll be building a few 4x4 sprintervans into custom adventure/overland vehicles this spring!  I promise to get another blogpost out with more details about that soon...but for now watch @ZENVANZ for exciting details to come!!