Summer Travel

We did it! We finished immigration, I am now a dual citizen to Canada and USA….. and….. we are out of Portland for the summer!!!

Earlier in a post I told about how we purchased a short school bus that turned out to be a little out of our league. Sold that, kept looking with a more educated perspective, and found a very nice little bus that has it’s quirks but runs nicely for us. It took almost a year to get the leaks figured out and dealt with, but as far as we can tell, it is pretty water tight now. The inside got cut out, insulated with board, and built out for our little family of five. It is a tight space, but well laid out, and utilizes pretty much every square inch of usable space. This is the rig we are currently “living” out of while traveling through lower B.C. Canada for the summer before returning to Portland in the fall.

We also started our own vlog on YouTube! It’s called Simple Life Adventure. Surprising name I know, right?! My mom has a weekly vlog she does about their slow travel lifestyle, and we thought it would be fun to do the same for our simple adventure life. It started with some really random stuff, then documented a bit of our bus conversion, though I have to admit that once we set a dead line, it was hard to get the camera out while crunching long days prepping the bus and simultaneously moving out of our house. Once we started traveling though, we thought we would have PLENTY of time to take footage and edit. Yeah right!!!! When they say making regular videos for YouTube is a job, they really mean it! Especially with three kids.

One morning while we were at a rest stop between Sproat Lake and Tofino, (on Vancouver Island) one of my little sister’s was able to help guide me (via FB’s messaging app) through the WordPress program to get our site from a blog with a WordPress.com ending, to just .com. Easy I know, but it was intimidating for me! We all have our skills, and that is not one of mine! Anyhoo, now that this is a .com website, I see that I have to update everything on it. Bear with me as I go through and try to get caught up on all of it….. while staying on top of our YouTube channel….. while planning the next stage of our trip…. while keeping our kids happy, healthy and safe….. while maintaining my sanity!

Short but sweet post for all of you. And I just want to say Thank You for subscribing here, and thank you for checking out our videos and subscribing to them also…. cause I know you will!

We appreciate you all very much.

P.S. Seth is actually the one who does most of the vid editing. I love you dear!!!!

In the Works!

My stomach was roiling with satisfaction and uncertainty. Anticipation and finality.

After compiling the final immigration package for my US Naturalization, I got Seth to look over everything, then took a deep breath and signed where needed.

The package got sealed.

I handed it to Seth, and he put it in his bag to mail off on his way to work.

The final step to process. The beginning of the end.

We could have moved anywhere in the US during this whole immigration stuff, but we like it here in Portland, and we wanted to show stability in our paperwork, so have stayed safe and comfortable. Now after almost 6 years, immigration is almost over. We will not be able to use it as an excuse to stay in our comfortable ruts. There will be nothing holding us down, and so there is the very feasible and needed choice to do the drastic, do the scary, leave our comforts, step into the unknown.

But not quite yet! Whew!!!

I just got the appointment notice for biometrics, which will be in two weeks, and then will still have to have an interview and civics test.

It is all very exciting. It is a hovering reminder that time moves quickly and there is only so much of it. Use it wisely. How am I preparing my family? We will move soon. Will we be ready?

Still so many questions.

 

Hard Insurance Lesson with a Bus

Have you ever wanted to convert a school bus into an RV? Maybe live in it? making it a tiny home? Or maybe you just want to have a really super cool adventure vehicle?

We want that. All of the above.

Of course, there are some limits for each person’s (family’s) situation. It wouldn’t be very feasible for our family to live in one right now, as we do not have a nomadic income to support ourselves with… yet. So right now, we would settle on a bus being a frickin’ awesome adventure vehicle for exploring Oregon and the surrounding area!

So that’s what we did. We bought a bus with the intent of turning it into an adventure-mobile.

DSCN3000

But……

We bought a bus that was one size too big. Commercial size. No problem, right? Just pull all the seats out and get it registered as an RV, then get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Um…. yes….. except for two little details that pertain to us here in Oregon.

1) Oregon does not allow changing the registration of a vehicle to RV unless the conversion was done by a professional shop. We don’t have the money to go that route. Heck, who DOES?!!!!

2) We have never owned any type of vehicle in Oregon before. Insurance became an issue of sleepless nights proportion. Coverage for a heavy vehicle would be expensive for anybody, but no-one was willing to cover us without already having vehicle history in Oregon.

Wow. For some reason we did not see that coming, and we messed up big time! Openly admit it. Our bad.

Now what?!!! It would make a really big chicken coop. Or an awesome barn for some goats. But it’s in amazing tip-top condition! Too nice to put animals in!

So what did we do? We sold it.

Whew! What a relief! Glad to have that great big thing out of our driveway!

It was a pretty awesome thing to own though, even for such a short time and without being able to DO anything with it. We thought neighbors might not like it, but seems people came scrambling out of the woodwork to talk to us about it in a positive way! Even people we had never met before, stopped to smile and ask questions.

Now…. lets go find a smaller bus, and one that is already registered as an RV!

Go Team Crazy! Go!

Side note; We have discovered there are some states that will allow RV status to be granted to a vehicle with the intent to convert. PLEASE check the regulations in your state or province before purchasing a skoolie project!

Our New Home Art Studio

With young kids in the house, and no safely designated area to do art, we’ve defaulted to trying to cram out results during nap time or other opportunistic moments.

Not any more!!!!

We just took a room in our house, put a gate across the doorway, and instantly gained a safe place to leave projects half-done.

It has proved itself very useful already, as a place I can leave paintings to dry, clay sculptures to sit untouched until another free moment, and sewing projects can be left out without the worry of kids pulling on the sewing machine chords. Stay at home seamstress’ out there, you know what I’m talking about!

It has taken us almost two years to take the plunge and commit to turning this room into a studio. Why? We thought we needed the money that renting it out gave us. But…. when we figured out a way to not need that, a whole new freedom opened up! I can pursue my creative side every day, even if only a half hour at a time. It has also made filling my Etsy orders much easier and less stressful.

Why didn’t we do this sooner?!!!!

I encourage you to make your own studio at home. Take the plunge! Be it a corner of the living room, one end of the kitchen counter, or that old tool shed in the back yard. Make a space dedicated to you and your passion!

Go on, do it!

 

 

 

Something New

One year has gone by with no personal vehicles. It has been fun, and I know it will end soon, so I am looking for the next challenge.

Does anybody have an idea or two?

I’ve already done the blindfold thing, wearing a bandana over my eyes for three days. Now THAT was something to get used to! That was back in …. 2008-9? I have so much respect for the blind now. It was quite the eye opener.

The summer I postponed hiking the Appalachian Trail (2010), I challenged myself to take a scuba diving course, getting certified in both open water and dry-suit.

Right now, having just gotten through the holiday festive foods, I have cut out cane sugar. This is day three. Mostly over the headache now, but still craving sweets. Wouldn’t really count this as a challenge though, more as a detox.

Seth thinks I should get my motorcycle license. Great idea, but without having a motorbike or knowing anybody else with one, I don’t know how it could be feasible. Love the idea though!

Any other great ideas? Anybody?

 

Opposites

Most of my side of the family came down from Canada during the holidays, so we got the biggest family photo taken in years! My neighbour did the honour of clicking a bunch of shots, and my little sister Maret did the photo editing.

Back Row: Seth, Everette (Dad), Anders, Mitchell, Toveli, Gaelyn, Maret, Karen (Mom), Laars Front Row: Rauchelle (Me) with Trista on back. Elita and Marin in stroller
Back Row: Seth, Everette (Dad), Anders, Mitchell, Toveli, Gaelyn, Maret, Karen (Mom), Laars.
Front Row: Rauchelle (Me) with Trista on back. Elita and Marin in stroller.

As you can see, there is a REALLY BIG van behind us. That is the 15 passenger van my folks drive around from Canada to Mexico and back, as need and/or whim dictates. My mom has a really good blog about their adventures that you should check out if large family travel interests you.

The thing I think is a little funny about this photo (besides the goofy faces) is the stroller, which is our main mode of transporting, in comparison to the van. These are two totally different, opposite, yet equally awesome family lifestyles represented here. Seth and I have a stationary family, living in one place, raising our girls with alternative means of transportation. My parents have the family of movement (which I would love to mimic when the time is right), raising their kids in alternative locations. So far, my younger siblings have an almost equal grasp on Canadian, USA and Mexican cultures. They have participated in community activities in all three countries, and they can get by in more languages than me!

Keep doing the great adventurous things you do, Mom and Dad!

P.S. I’m still car-free.

30 Day Count Down

It has been 335 days since I took a ride in a personal motorized vehicle.

WHAT?!?!!!!

Yes, it’s true, and in another 30 days I will have hit the one year mark.

I’m sure there are a lot of other people out there who have gone for just as long or longer still, and I would love to hear their stories!

Here’s how my year has gone so far…..

December 13th, 2015; Four months pregnant, ran a couple errands with my dad’s truck before he headed north to Canada.

The rest of the winter was spent walking with the girls in the stroller, or riding my bike with them. Once spring hit, we did a lot more cycling, going farther and spending more time outside around the neighbourhood. We started clowning around a lot too, becoming a regular at one of Olive and Dingo’s weekly Story Times.

Off to get a whack of balloons.
Off to get a whack of balloons.

My dad flew through a couple times, but he has started taking transit from the airport. When my mom and little sister came up for end of my pregnancy to help out, us girls took the bus and train out to meet them. See? No cars needed.

Trista’s birth went perfectly well, and three weeks later we were back on the bike for short rides. Our first one was Peddalpalooza’s Monster Ride, which just happened to start three blocks from our house.

Through the summer I did have a hard time trying to get the girls out to have fun, but not overly exert myself, which is kind of hard to do when hauling 200 lbs of bike, kids and gear. But we did it!

Last month Seth took the Blondies (Marin and Elita) out to Maine to visit his relatives. During that time, I had multiple vehicle offers, both to borrow a spare, and hitch rides to far off places. But with only two months left to hit my one year goal, I painfully had to decline. Oh the places I could have gone with a vehicle in those two weeks!

Now there is only one month left.

For the most part these last 11 months have been easy. I started from a lifestyle that made it so. We do not own a vehicle, so there is never one easily at my disposal. For most people, a year car free would be a huge challenge. For some it would be logistically impossible. For me, I was already four months in before I decided to stretch it to a year. I guess with that said, it really isn’t that much of an accomplishment. Oh well, I’m still glad to be able to say I did it!

Now the question is, how shall I end the year? Shall it be with a car ride? Or just throw myself a little party and see how much longer life takes me without a vehicle?

Ideas? Suggestions? Comments? Anybody in a peanut gallery?