All posts tagged: simple living

A Tour of our Tiny House on Wheels

Living in a tiny house is somewhat of an art. Every space has to have a purpose. Every item within that space must be carefully scrutinized as to whether it is truly necessary. At less than 60 square feet, a good deal of thought went into the design and set up of our van in order to make it a live-able space for not one, but two people. The design is extremely customized to our own personal needs, which we have dialed in over time and are constantly improving and tweaking. Our bedroom is accessible by the sliding door on the side of the van or through a sliding door in the wooden divider that separates the front seats from the rest of the van. Our bed, made of two crash pads and a piece of foam, sits on a raised platform, which allows ample room for gear underneath. While limited head room is definitely the biggest downside of our van, the amount of time we spend in bed is fairly limited (and almost entirely spent laying down), so the amount of gear …

Converting our GMC Safari

As the van slowly puttered up the hill, I watched the needle on the temperature gauge steadily rise higher and higher. At the top of the hill the Pontiac collapsed on the side of the road in a state of utter exhaustion. We knew the routine by now. Adam opened the hood in an effort to cool the engine, we waited for the temperature to lower, and then we continued on our way. A mechanic had already broke the bad news to us – it wasn’t worth fixing. There was no telling how long it may hold on for – could be a week, a few months, or even a year. After 15 minutes Adam closed the hood and we pulled back out onto the highway. Our Pontiac Montana wasn’t your average minivan. It’s metal frame contained years of memories. It carried Adam and I across the country three times, survived numerous pot hole covered dirt roads, and somewhere along the way, it had evolved into ‘home’. But, as we drove down the highway headed for Jackson, Wyoming, we …

Random Act of Kindness & a Bowl of Corn Chowder

The rain had finally stopped and the sun was showing its face for the first time all day. Adam and I packed up our computers and walked to our van in the parking lot of the Jackson Whole Grocer, where we had been using Wi-Fi all day. As we hopped in the van and were about to turn the key in the ignition, there was a knock on the window. A young girl, probably about the same age as Adam and I, wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and a trucker hat stood outside. Adam opened the driver’s side door. “Hey, are you guys living in your van?” the girl questioned. The reality of van life is that you always have to be cautious about what you tell strangers, especially when you spend a fair number of nights parked and sleeping in random parking lots around town. Did she work at the Whole Grocer? Did she think we were going to sleep here tonight? Was she going to yell at us? As these thoughts ran through our …

Sacramento Blues

It’s not that uncommon for recent college graduates to spend a year or two traveling – a big adventure to get it all out of their system before settling into the monotony and responsibilities of everyday life. It’s a natural rite of passage – a well tread trail that many travel down. Up to this point, I had graduated from the University of Maine and lived out of a converted Pontiac Montana minivan with my boyfriend Adam, while traveling around the west, climbing and working seasonal jobs. It only seemed natural that I would eventually need to work a ‘real’ job and settle down. I scoured online job boards for full time openings and sent in applications whenever a position sounded remotely interesting. Most of the time I never heard back, so when I received a message in my voicemail inquiring about setting up an interview, I didn’t think twice before calling back. In October of 2013, I officially accepted a job offer with the Pacific Crest Trail Association and joined the other 480,000 people living …

Climbing The Nose on El Capitan

My connection with Yosemite National Park began long before I ever set foot within the state lines of California. I was captivated by the larger-than-life stories that descended from the steep granite walls and covered the pages of climbing magazines. The stories depicted timeless tales of adventure, discovery, and passion through the eyes of climbing legends. Yosemite Valley has long been considered the mecca of long, hard rock climbing, but there’s more to it than that. There’s an energy within the Valley. An energy that drives climbers to push hard and redefine the boundaries of what they thought possible. I could sense this energy from the other side of the country, and I felt both curious and compelled to experience it first-hand. Of all the routes scattered throughout the Valley, there was one route in particular Adam and I had our hearts set on – the Nose. The Nose runs directly up the center of El Capitan, a 3,000 foot formation once considered impossible to climb. In 1958, after being beat to the first ascent …