Fresh from multiple dips in the waters of Lake Slocan, we were now spread out on the sidewalk like we owned it. Sitting on camp chairs and enjoying some beers, we were in no rush to head back to camp for dinner. “Miss BAVy”, our converted Sprinter van and home for the summer, rested patiently next to the curb as we took in this perfect moment. All seemed right in the world.
“There it is!’ exclaimed Emma as she pointed at the tell-tale provincial campground sign. Whew! As long as it wasn’t full, we knew we had a place to park and a pit toilet to count on. Hours later we were enjoying our perfect moment and contemplating how to become expats living in New Denver full time. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening and yet it was all unplanned. We’d never even heard of this area known as the West Kootenay region until our plans changed and we drove through it.
Where’s our destination for today? Where are we sleeping tonight? Is there a place we can camp? Is there a place we can shower? Is there a place to get water? food? diesel?
These are the questions we faced every day. While a trip like this brings many questions, it also brings new discoveries. You never know what is around the next bend until you get there, and that’s the adventure of it. The anticipation we felt exploring new areas and wondering what lay ahead was a large part of the fun we experienced on such a free-flowing trip.
Laurie and I are not exactly the quintessential poster couple of #vanlife. We exited our twenties back in the late 1990s, but we’ve never wanted our age to define our actions.
While a busy career kept us from wandering around for months on end in a van, we now had the chance to take time off and explore. It took some forethought and almost a year of building out a Sprinter van, but by late Spring we were ready to go.
We hit the road in June. We traveled to Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, and back to Utah. Where ever we found a crowd, we left it to them. We now had the luxury of time, as well as a home on wheels, and where we found our interests piqued, we stayed. We always love Bend, so we stayed there for five days, Squamish for four days to climb, Fernie for five days because it’s awesome, and finally we spent five days hanging around Bozeman and Big Sky.
The highlights of the trip were the little moments we couldn’t plan for, and it’s these moments that draw us back to planning our next trip (in fact, we were so used to being on the road that we took off for Maple Canyon to rock climb just two days after getting home). Maybe, one day we’ll see you out there on the road as we all get out there and “explore more.”