After spending the summer wandering the wilderness of Alaska, Las Vegas was a shock to my system, and 10 days working at a trade show in Sin City left me exhausted, in need of a detox, and ready for some open roads.
Back in Vancouver we freed Terk the Truck Camper from long term parking prison and got the wheels rolling. We weren’t in a hurry to leave Canada, so we headed up to Squamish, one of my favorite places ever. When Ryan and I drove my van across Canada in 2016 I fell in love with the hippie, outdoor, flannel wearing, dirtbag town, and returning felt like I was coming home. We worked from Zyphyr Cafe, relaxed at A-FRAME Brewing, and camped at Walmart for as long as we could before we needed to move on.
During my last British Columbia road trip I spent 2 days on Vancouver Island, but didn’t visit Tofino, and I’ve been regretting it ever since. This year, we caught a ferry to VI and made our way across the island. As we rolled into Tofino, I knew it was well worth the wait. Much like Squamish, the vibes were spot on, but instead of dirtbag climbers it was full of chill surfers. We grabbed a campsite by the ocean for a few nights, enjoyed exploring town, and watched sunsets over the Pacific.
After a quick stop and a fun run around Victoria we boarded another ferry back to the mainland United States. We checked out Seattle and drove to Gig Harbor to spend a few days with great friends, boating, having strong drinks, and sharing good times!
We continued to ramble south and stopped to see my college roommate (and Appalachian Trail hiking buddy) and his wife in their tiny home in Portland, Oregon. We enjoyed some craft beers, delicious food, and a great campfire with friends chatting about living in tiny spaces.
During my first summer ramble around the United States in 2015 I fell in love with the Oregon Coast and couldn’t wait to get back. We tried to take our time driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, spotting whale spouts, watching sea lions in Newport, tasting craft beer in Yachats, experiencing the power of Thor’s Well, and seeing incredible sunsets.
We rolled into Crescent City and completed a long loop, finally back to the State of California where we’d first met 5 months prior. I woke up in the Home Depot parking lot on my 36th birthday and felt no remorse about being in my mid-30’s, homeless, with my only real measurements of success being how well defined my wrist watch tan line is and the number of different places I sleep each year.
We decided to celebrate my birthday by splurging on a paid campsite on the beach in Redwoods National Park. The next day we watched a herd of elk bugling in the meadow, drove the Avenue of the Giants, checked out the Drive-Thru Tree (Terk didn’t fit), and passed through Eureka, California, where I’d purchased my VW campervan Tantor back in 2014 and started this nomadic life.
We cut inland and had one last night camping alone. The next day we would return to Lisa’s car at our friend’s house and we had a decision to make, would we continue to travel together, or go our separate ways? I was stoked when over cold beers while watching the sunset on Clear Lake Lisa said that she wanted to continue this nomadic life with me and Terk!
We got her car out of storage and instead of trying to sell it fast in Sacramento we drove both vehicles to my brother’s place in Denver. Terk had been acting up on the throttle over past few weeks and I was finally able to figure out the problem. I drove to the auto parts store and in an hour had the faulty sensor changed out and we were ready to go!
Leaving California we passed Lake Tahoe on Highway 50, a route that I’ve wanted to drive for some time. It’s often called “The Loneliest Road In America” because of its lack of… umm… anything. From Carson City, Nevada to the junction with Interstate 70 in Central Utah there’s a whole lot of nothin’. One thing there is plenty of though is wild empty land and some incredibly serene natural hot springs. We leapfrogged across the states, stopping to camp and rejuvenate under the stars in these natural tubs.
We sped through Utah, which is absolutely my favorite state, but we had a flight to catch out of Denver. We rolled into town, parked the vehicles at my brother’s place, and flew to Charleston, South Carolina to run a trail race and spend a week with Lisa’s friends and family. Luckily, one of her friends loaned us a Chevy Astro van and we were able to camp a few nights in it, so although I was several states away from Terk, I still felt at home, sleeping in a van in a Walmart parking lot!
Back in Denver Lisa sold her car, we worked on fitting all of our possessions into the truck camper, hung out with friends, caught up on work, and my mom and step-dad drove out from Indiana to visit. Unfortunately, Old Man Winter also paid an early visit, which scared me into some wild ideas.
Instead of sticking around for the holidays and then retreating to Baja for the winter, we drove Terk to my family’s place in Northern Arizona, prepared the camper for winter hibernation, loaded 2 backpacks, and booked one way flights. In the middle of December we were airborne, passports in hand, finally going to a place I’d been dreaming about since first learning about this “Digital Nomad” lifestyle. A short 32 hours later we landed in Denpasar, the main city on the island of Bali, Indonesia, looking forward to a tropical winter at the beach!