It feels like we have lived 5 years since our last post… which was just over 2 months ago… and for some, 2 months may not seem like a long time, but for us we have literally been ALL OVER the place! After finally being able to cross the border back into the Schengen countries again, we left Croatia after 3 long, adventure-packed months, and excitedly ventured off to explore the canals of Venice (WOW)!:
Followed by celebrating Halloween in our friend’s ancient Bavarian castle (WOW)!:
Followed by a few days in Munich, after which we packed up our van, parked her in our friend’s barn and flew back to America! Here we attempted to reorganize our lives and made the time to visit with nearly all of our friends and family before hitting the open road, yet again, in pursuit of a NEW ADVENTURE. Be sure to watch the cute video below of our new “Adventure Mobile”!:
7 days and over 3,000 miles later, we had followed our hearts all the way back to California:
But why did we come back? Why did we leave all of the magic and wonder, all of the freedom and space of VanLife behind for the city!? Because maybe, just maybe, there’s a way to have it all…
This past year of VanLife Europe, which we were eased into by 10 months of VanLife America the year before, was absolutely wonderful in so many ways, but nothing, NOTHING could have prepared us for how equally challenging it was.
The biggest thing for us “Western Worlders” was learning the art of letting go. No schedules, no obligations, no structure, no wifi. I seemed to struggle with this a bit more than Drew (being that I am/was a pretty classic Type-A), but with time and practice we both were able to surrender control and expand into our present moments. Living for the now. Needing less and BEING more.
VanLife changed us in ways we had always hoped for and others we never could have imagined. It also helped us grow together as newlyweds at an insane rate! So, if we loved it so freaking much, why on earth would we return to the shores of the “real world”?
1. Because GOALS: Goals!? YES. VanLife Europe was just ONE of the MANY goals we have in life, but now it’s time for us to focus on those that require us to be a bit more connected than we have been living-off-the-grid. While we’ve absolutely loved the wild gridlessness, the time has come for us to return… for a time at least.
Speaking of goals, Drew and his friend Antonio, are currently in the midst of creating an annual event, OutFound Series: an exclusive adventure sports and outdoor innovation festival in Hood River, Oregon! Sounds awesome right!? Well, in order to make all this awesomeness a reality, he needed to set up shop with some fast, reliable wifi in a workable timezone + stability and the ability to have face-to-face interactions with those involved in the event. Stay tuned for more on that!
As for me, I’m working on teaching more yoga (there were NO yoga studios in Europe), publishing another book (this time it will be about our adventures!), creating art (more specifically, jewelry using sand + sea shells + rocks collected on our travels) and developing Mr and Mrs Adventure into a more community oriented experience (so we can start to share some of YOUR stories too)! We had a lot of time to think while spending so much time in peace this past year, so we are excited to finally be able to take action on some of those burning thoughts that have been stored up in our minds. Lots of exciting things to look forward to!
2. STABILITY: After 10 months of traveling across Europe, we began to miss the feelings of familiarity and ease. It’s amazing what knowing where you’ll sleep at night, that you’ll have a hot shower if you wish and that the people around you speak your same language, can do for your peace of mind. Polaroid below of Drew taking a shower by the sea in 48 degree weather… yes I did this too! It was the only accessible, working shower that we could find in Croatia in October; all the campgrounds had closed because it was no longer tourist season!
3. PRODUCTIVITY: Working on the road isn’t always as glamorous as Instagram makes it seem, just read the article I wrote for Invibed, Confessions of a Digital Nomad. All of that + the fact that Drew and I are both extremely easily distracted by nature, blue skies and new, curious surroundings, it was incredibly difficult getting ourselves to do anything but ADVENTURE!
Also, seemingly simple everyday tasks were known to take ALL DAY. For instance, laundry. Washers were hard to come by and dryers virtually non-existent. You gotta watch our video below for an inside look into how it was really done!:
All of this, and more, added to why ADVENTURING is what we prioritized… it was the only thing we could count on! Well that + each other:
4. CONNECTIONS: Again, we loved the off-the-gridness, but after a while we started to miss some peeps. We found a lot of support and love in each other, but different people play different roles in your life and it grew more and more important for us to be able to talk with (we had no cell service the entire year) and spend time with the ones we love.
After less than a month of #LifeAfterVan we have become aware of how much it has truly changed us. We miss it, mostly the freedom and simplicity + the amount of nature we were able to breathe in on a daily basis, but being back in LA is good too. The mountains are near and the sea is even nearer. We understand that there is a season for everything in life. For this season we are in LA, spreading gratitude for all the goodness we have and will continue to manifest in this life, and practicing needing less in a world that has so much.
Parting GOAL: To return to our European van home for another 3-month VanLife stint this summer (and possibly every year after that)! We are planning to explore Cornwall, the South of France, Spain and Portugal. OMG… we can’t wait! But until then, we are being happy right where we are, manifesting all the dreams we thought up in our tiny house on wheels.