Best Laid Plans.

It’s an often repeated partial quote from a famous poem. I’m betting most people who use it have no idea of its origins or that it’s been adapted to suit modern english which lends to its applicability.

“The best laid plans of mice an’ men often go awry.” – Robert Burns

Translation: Even the most carefully prepared plans may go wrong.

We all know how much I love planning things… I’d rather have someone ram bamboo chutes up my fingernail beds. I have struggled for years to understand people’s need to have everything planned out to the millisecond in their day. The only people who thrive on that are military personnel and prisoners (and maybe Devon). I find the process both painful and completely unnecessary.

I’m quite random. I’m known for spouting off random tidbits of knowledge at any moment for no apparent reason known to mankind. I like random. Random keeps people on their toes.

Some people are fixated on needing to know absolutely everything at all times. It’s just in their DNA. I’m so very thankful that I do not have this affliction.

I have an aversion to instructions that the common man blindly follow without question. Why can’t we buck the system? Everybody has a schedule. We all have daily obligations; be it work, school or other. You’ve got to get your kids up for school, feed, clothe them, walk the dog, clean the litter box… did you remember to shower? Too late, time for dropping the tiny humans off at school. You have a huge meeting at work that you might be prepared for, if you brought the right flash stick with the powerpoint presentation on it. After work, it’s grabbing the kids, dropping them off to their after school programs then off to your hot yoga class. Damn, you forgot your yoga mat, you’ll have to borrow one from the instructor. Then it’s back across town to pick up the offspring, make dinner, bath time for the kidlets followed by bedtime… you might have an hour of “me” time to finally start reading that book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand for six months. You pick up the book, open it and… your eyes are far too heavy to read through… and you have to do a similar routine the next day. This sounds like my personal hell. We’re already stuck in a structured timetable weekly. The system is oppressive enough. Why then, would you do the same to yourself on vacation?

Road trips were invented as a means to get out and see the country. They came about during the late 1800s, early 1900s just as the birth of the automobile came to fruition. Think Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson. Ultimately, there shouldn’t really be a destination, it’s about the journey. Your goal should be to relax, see something you’ve never seen. We should guffaw schedules. Ball up blueprints and light a campfire with them, toast some marshmallows over crumpled up, outdated maps.

To quote Bob Ross, some of our best road trips came about due in part to “happy little accidents”. We didn’t mean to turn left off of the highway three miles back but what’s this cool little town we’ve stumbled upon? We were just helping a little old Navajo lady get back to her tiny town after church… didn’t mean for it to become a six hour detour through a huge chunk of South Eastern Arizona which culminated into a huge traffic jam because of the annual Navajo Winter Fair (true story, that was our first road trip). We would have never experienced some of the greatest gifts the road has given us if we had stayed the course and followed the plan.

Devon used to get lost in the minutia. She NEEDED to sit in front of her laptop for hours on end, staring at her calendar with several websites open. She needed to call tons of places and email reams more about availability and cost. She had to scribble down copious amounts of shorthand notes that only made sense to her. This brought her a mix of great joy and grief. Grief for the workload she had dumped on herself in preparation for her vacation and joy upon completion of all the planning. She could relax knowing that everything was taken care of. All we had left was to make it to her checkpoints on schedule. I would watch her get agitated if she didn’t drive as far as she had wanted to. She would get tense if these micro milestones weren’t met and only found relief when she was “ahead” or “on time”. If she could “make up time”, even better.

Then, something changed for her. Maybe it was my influence. Perhaps my random is contagious. Mayhaps my relaxed and easy going nature rubbed off on her. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very laid-back, just never in the planning or executing stages of road trips.

Now, she’s less structured about it all. If we make it to a certain state or city on the way, sweet. If not, that’s okay too because maybe we can find some cool little place to chill for the evening until we start fresh the following day.

As we prepare ourselves for this next adventure, our only goal is to enjoy ourselves.

We’re heading down to Mexico… you read that right, Devon & Jade are going to Mexico! This was a last minute, three weeks out, thrown together trip. We want to kick back by the pool, read a book or two, maybe grab some massages at the spa.

This trip came about through a series of back & forth texts between my father-in-law’s girlfriend and Devon. The only message I got during the whole “planning” stage was: “Pack your bikini, grab my sunblock, we’re going to Mexico… are our passports still valid?” *Editor’s note: I do not wear bikinis… please give your head a shake to rid your mind of that image.

Doesn’t really matter to me, the only thing I’m planning on is doing some exploring… and plenty of relaxing.

I’m thinking the best laid plans belong on the bottom of a fire pit, under some kindling.

Adios.

– Jade

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Happy You Year.

Well, we did it. We managed to completely fall flat on our faces with regard to writing, blogging and posting anything for one calendar year. That’s a super shitty new personal best.

I’m not one to walk away from projects… or anything for that matter. I’d like to tell you that after an exceptionally challenging 2016, 2017 was stellar in comparison. I’d like to tell you that… but I can’t. That’s not to say everything went to pot, far from it. Like all things, everything did not go according to plan.

We made massive changes near the end of 2016 which changed the trajectory of 2017 as a whole. We swept away a lot of dirt and not under the carpet, mind you, more akin to an archaeological dig. If 2016 was the year of change, then 2017 was the year of sweeping changes. We used the widest brush with which to paint the broadest of strokes. The white board was not only erased, it was then disassembled and repurposed altogether.

If you’re just joining us, a little background information to bring you up to speed. We moved from an apartment building (which was a pretty sweet setup with a sweet deal) to a hundred year old house (which was another hook up). Robodog finally had his first yard, albeit a modestly sized one. Devon finally had front, side & back yard space for planter boxes to grow everything and anything under the sun… and grow she did! They say that your first year in immature soil is your hardest as it gives you your weakest yield and your shortest season. Even though she was frustrated with the quality of dirt and quantity of crops, I was blown away with what she was able to grow. I have never had a garden so I looked strongly to her for guidance. I ended up pulling up root balls while weeding so I was quickly demoted to just watering (which was closely monitored as well). It’s safe to say I have nary a green thumb to be found. I did find the clearing, demo and building of higher planter boxes fun. We even managed to create a berry patch for Jacke, complete with strawberries too. If I never see another knotweed or morning glory again, I’ll be a happy clam. We also found living in an older character home not without its own set of challenges. We were able to do our own repairs, but the upkeep for a house that was aging faster than the maintenance could handle became insurmountable. The neighbourhood was charming. A complete 180 from our last one… people actually looked you in the eye and said good morning! Come to think of it, I never did see any garbage laying around. Jack & I only ran into one skunk and one raccoon in an entire year. And let’s not forget our ridiculously sweet neighbour, who made us feel like family from the get-go. Alas, all good things must come to and end and we found ourselves closing that chapter almost one year to the day. Some places/situations run its course, then it’s time to shuffle off.

Which brings us here. We humans must continue to grow, mature and evolve or we’ll plateau and burn out. It’s astounding to think of the number of people who do not recognize this in themselves and stay stagnant. We were not designed to stay stationary. Sure, certain things stay fixed but we are in constant need of movement, personal growth.

One major, now semi-permanent change is we no longer over-extend ourselves helping others. Yes, it’s rewarding… in a very selfish way. We do this to make ourselves feel better, better about our lives, our jobs, our “insert something needing improvement here”. But… what if we just did the things that make us feel better for ourselves? It’s good to be selfish. We have zero issues with being self sufficient… but self love, self care, self maintenance? Societal taboo.

None of this “New Year, New You” BS. No… This will be our You Year. The year we take care of ourselves… and each other. We’ve made it a priority to put our own needs in front of others. Will we still be helpful? Still donate time and money? Still volunteer? Undoubtedly. But we won’t suffer personal set backs so those around us can move forward.

Our ultimate goal has always been to travel full-time with our fur family in a big rolling turd, with the end result of buying a farm for all of our creatures to live out their golden years in complete bliss.

Life isn’t linear. So… why should our story be any different?

Some chapters are roughly outlined, shelved for a time, to be reviewed at a later date.

Let me be clear, our story isn’t spectacular or remarkable by any means… and our vision remains focused.

Sometimes mixing the order of these chapters improves the story, ten-fold. Like all great chefs will tell you, some recipes can’t be put down on paper.

So when Devon sent me an ad about a property listing in the valley with a note to “just message them, for shits and giggles”, there was no way we could know that this would start a ball rolling down a different hill in another direction. Generally, these types of things don’t go in our favour, but, we’ve also had buckets of luck tossed in our vicinity a handful of times in the past few years. A divine bone being thrown at us dogs, if you will.

The application for the listing seemed jokingly easy… and when we were told that the last people “didn’t pan out”… we thought aloud “did they fill this out in crayon??”

If you’re still following along then you know that we both have a huge affinity for all animals, big and small.

Who would have known that the key to approval would be a handful of pictures of horses?

Absolutely zero of our references were contacted. None. Nada. Zilch.

We used to worry about where to park our RV without getting dinged for huge parking bills in the city. Now, our biggest concern is what corner of our property will it look best on.

We still love traveling, road trips and vacations and that will be featured here as well. But there will also be sweeping changes on our blog as we start to share our new way of living.

Our life on a farm.

– Devon & Jade

New Year, New You.

Ten days into the new year and the cogs are already turning, getting the creative juices flowing and aligned with our renewed focus on all things travel.

For the majority of the past year you’ve seen a significant decline in our online prescence. Do not adjust your screens… this was intentional. We took a step back from writing and traveling and turned our energy toward ourselves, our friends and family.

We envision new adventures and challenges for 2016.

Some of these include:

  • Wyoming – Spending more time poking around.
  • Montana – Exploring the terrain in great detail.
  • Utah – We missed our favourite state in 2015.
  • California – We’re looking at seeing more remote locations.
  • Hawaii – This is a bucket list locale for us. Fingers crossed!

Some parks we’d really like to investigate:

  • Yosemite – Because.
  • Yellowstone – Bison, baby! (Ole Faithful too.)
  • Bryce Canyon – Slot canyons and all the reds!

Devon got herself a shiny new camera and I cannot wait for her to flex its muscles on some crazy, beautiful subject matter. It’s far too much camera for me and I’m not ashamed to admit that. She says my photography has vastly improved but I’m sticking with my trusty lil EOSm. I’m giving myself the challenge of understanding all of my settings and how to use them properly. Small victories in my near future!

image

We already have a fun trip in the planning stages for the end of February, beginning of March (for my birthday).

So, stayed tuned…

We’re baaaaaaaaaack!

– Jade

The seed was planted early on…

It’s back to school week!! I don’t even have children (thank god) and I am excited. A couple of my nieces are in kindergarten, one is in grade THREE and my nephew is in pre-school… where did the time go?

IMG_7017I’ve said many times I grew up a little differently than most kids. My parents divorced (for the better, they are now good friends) when I was about 5 and I moved with my mom to this tiny town and eventually moved to an even tinier place called Keats Island. I would take a small boat over to town to attend school, day in and day out. It made for random stories that I look back on fondly. I could even say I miss island life. Being from a coastal city, I remember our gym classes weren’t the “norm”… we would actually have to go outside and RUN 2km each class. We had this forest that wrapped around our school and we would run daily. We would go on snowboarding trips, beach days and even big treks to the big city (Vancouver) for a day of rock climbing.

In about grade 5 or 6 (I can’t remember I had the same teacher both years) we would have Greenpeace come in and talk to our class about the importance of the environment and my teacher would explain to us the meaning of respecting nature and all living things. Ms. Russell was her name. She knew I lived on an island and, more often than not, I would have some weird story about the commute to school. She would do roll call and right before we started class she would ask me about my ride in. Some days there was nothing to report, others, like in the fall or spring, I would tell the class stories of riding the tiny little 20 passenger ferry when pods of orcas would come right up to the windows and peer in the boat. I would talk about the dolphins that played in the wake or that one time the ferry caught on fire (under my mom’s and my seat) or when the ferry hit a “dead head” log sticking out of the water and I went flying the length of the boat, thinking I broke my wrist… see? Different/weird upbringing. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world now that I look back on it.

Trust your JourneyShe would be teaching us geography in class and asking us the capitals of countries and I would jump out of my seat to answer, eagerly waving my arm in the air. Normally I was a pretty quiet kid, but my obsession with traveling started in that class, in Ms. Russell’s class! I would dream of these far away places in other countries; the languages they would speak, the food I could try. I felt, even in Grade 5/6, I needed to see the world. I have only had ONE dream in my life that I hope to accomplish before my time is up and that is to travel to Nepal and set my eyes on Mt. Everest. I didn’t say climb it… I would like to just see it. 🙂

Ms. Russell took us on our first ever climbing experience to Cliffhanger Climbing in Vancouver. (I can’t believe I remember this far back!) I remember my instructor, a shorter girl with spiky hair who many, many years later both her and I learned we knew each other way back when. We became friends and played in a band together and toured North America. (Small world, eh?) Ms. Russell taught me to reach for the stars, to go forth and see the world and experience new things. The best education was to see the world and experience everything it could offer.

She told us of this place she used to kayak on vacation, it was called the “Bay of Fundy” in Nova Scotia. I’ve never been but you bet your ass that place has been on my list of places to see since I was 10 years old.

lookout at Canyonlands National Park
Lookout at Canyonlands National Park.

Ms. Russell, thank you for inspiring me to see and feel the world, to experience it on my own and with others. The best education you can give yourself is to immerse yourself in what you are truly passionate about. I am passionate about travel (we already knew this). I now get to travel the world, taking photos and collecting tattoos along the way!

I’m considering writing that book you always told me I should write. I hope you are well. 🙂

– Devon.