Why I Vacation.

Vacation is today’s big bad wolf.

That’s right. Millions of people are frightened of taking time off from work. Why? They dread the pile of work awaiting them when they return and no one else can do what they do at the office. This is, essentially, a ‘martyr’ complex, believing that they’re the only ones who can do their jobs.

This is my definition of insanity. There is a certain amount of ego in this thought process. The world does not stop revolving because you’re not at work. Yes, someone else does know how to do your job. That’s called cross-training. Of course they don’t do it “your way” but the job still gets done.

There are many companies with a “use it or lose it” policy in place when it comes to vacation time. Many would prefer you to take time off while others buckle when pushed to pay out that time. Your employers want you to take some personal time. It’s healthy.

Benefits of vacation:
– Better physical health
– More productivity
– Closer family relationships
– Newer perspectives
– Increased mental power
– Lower chance of burn out
– Improved mental health

Now that you know the science behind it, here’s my reasoning. Up until eight years ago I had never taken a vacation. I had also become stagnant. I gained weight, became complacent and was no longer satisfied by activities I once enjoyed. I had all the signs of depression and burn out. It was for these reasons that I finally took my first vacation. I was already in my thirties. I have only one regret… I wish I had taken a vacation sooner. It would have spared me a lot of mental anguish.

After the constant communication, collaboration & negotiation, finally the timing was perfect. Schedules were cleared and the stars aligned. That first vacation was the breath of fresh air my soul so desperately needed.

I’m not one for the details and I certainly don’t need to know everything. The planning part I can completely do without. But everything else is pure joy. Whether you’re flying or road tripping, the process gets smoother each time. We’re like a well oiled machine now. I enjoy watching the scenery change as we make our way to our destination.

Everything is fresh and new when you’re on vacation. Even the people are nicer. It just occurred to me that they’re nicer because maybe they’re on vacation too. The process of de stressing and recharging your battery is as simple as showing up. Maybe all you need is a good hike in a national park. Perhaps a massage is in order. Lounging poolside is the key for some individuals. Some people find searching for knick knacks in gift shops a thrill. I honestly don’t care what it is that you do, just so long as you do it.

In fact, you don’t even have to go anywhere to enjoy a vacation. I’m a big fan of the “Staycation”. It does the soul wonders to turn off all of your electronics, unplug and relax in the comfort of “Porta My Yarda”. It can be as easy as not having to answer to the alarm clock in the morning and waking up on your own, naturally. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to feel re-energized.

I don’t know why North Americans find excuses for why they shouldn’t go on vacation or why they don’t deserve one. The daily grind can really chew you up. Some european countries have a mandatory thirty days off. You’re not allowed to work for thirty consecutive days. We could learn a lot from their laid back lifestyle.

Why do we, as a society, feel the need to punish ourselves for all our hard work? Shouldn’t we reward ourselves with time off? Why do some of us feel undeserving while others overindulge?

I vacation because I owe it to myself to live a happy, stress free life. I owe it to myself to get out there and see new things. I like the adventure. Each trip is filled with spontaneity. We’re not meant to stay in one place. We’re drawn to new surroundings. I can’t imagine living my life any other way.

Life is meant to be experienced.

– Jade


RV or Tiny House

To RV or to Tiny House.

That’s my question right now, Jade and I have had these dreams for 4 years to get an RV and travel. We’ve worked hard at eliminating our debt and saving our money, downsizing our belongings and getting things in order to hit the open road and be free.

A month ago I saw an article online about tiny houses built on trailers and you can tow them… WTH! Amazing right! I fell in love instantly, I could have all the comforts of a house and tow it behind me and travel. I started following a couple blogs about tiny houses and a few couples who travel the USA in them. It’s do-able. It makes sense.

Now I am at a cross road, RV or Tiny house. Each has its pros vs cons. I’ve made the list, it’s currently on my HUGE whiteboard beside my desk in the office. RV pro/con and Tiny house Pro/con, I add to it every day. I text myself things for the list when I get home.

My question to you is, have you experienced either? Do you live and travel in an RV or a tiny house?? I would LOVE to hear from you and hear your experiences. I would LOVE to ask a million stupid questions if you are open to it.

Please get in contact with me at:  frugaltrekker@gmail.com I want to hear from people out there living it, living the dream they have. 🙂

We are getting down to the wire on what we want and making the necessary purchases. It’s a VERY exciting time in our lives and I can’t wait. I’m not one to jump into a big life decision quickly, I pro and con the hell out of it.


Road Woes…

I had left SLC heading south to warmer weather and to a few other places AND surprises. At about 9:30am I hit a gas station for a fill up and was texting a friend about how warm it was outside. She was telling me it was raining back home so of course, being the douche that I am, I FB some photos of the sunny weather I was having and tagged her in them.

The photo that had karma catch up with me
The photo that had karma catch up with me

Not even one hour later karma was out for me. Driving down the highway from SLC to Vegas I noticed my car shake in a weird fashion then all of a sudden, BOOM, my back passenger tire explodes!! All over the highway is tire “guts” from my car. The car swerves left then right, I’m on the e-brake trying to get it under control. I manage to get the car off the NOT AT ALL busy highway. I flick on my hazards and start looking in my wallet for my AAA card… not there… I’m looking in my glove box when I hear a honk behind me. It’s a flatbed tow truck! YAY! I’ve been saved!

1 yr old rescued shop dog :)
1 yr old rescued shop dog 🙂

This little old man with an oxygen tank strapped to his back gets out of the truck and wanders over to me. “Seems you need some help, ma’am.” Uh, duh! ☺ I explain I don’t know where I am and DO need the help. It turns out Kevin, old dude’s name, has a shop in the next town over so we get Smelly car up and on the flatbed and off we go. 10 minutes down the road, we hit the town and his gas station/shop.

My car is put up on a lift and his shop hand, a lovely dude named Bruce, gets working. Bruce was an older guy, probably my dad’s age; he had 2 rescue dogs that I played with until the damn POM (with no teeth) bit me. The best part of this story is I had ordered a new credit card before I left for my trip that I had originally planned with a friend and of course it didn’t come in time. I ended up calling my friend Rhonda and she helped me out. I have kickass friends, yo!!! I found out when I got home my new credit card arrived that Wednesday afternoon… go figure!

My car Smelly Jr jr (don't judge her name) getting new "shoes"
My car Smelly Jr jr (don’t judge her name) getting new “shoes”

Bruce and I exchanged road stories while he was fixing my car up. Sometimes you hear of women getting taken advantage of in these situations but Kevin and Bruce were AMAZING! Not only did they fix my car, they fixed a couple other potential issues for free, filled up my gas and when I asked what town I was in, gave me 2 free t-shirts saying where… BEAVER, UTAH!

So if you’re ever in Beaver Utah, stop by the Conoco and say hi to Kevin and Bruce, tell them Devon, the tattooed Canadian, sent you.

And also… NEVER EVER tease your friends about the weather and your travels or you’ll end up with karma hitting you back, sorry Ashley.

– Devon

Salt Lake city and the mighty mighty Bison

The vegan buffalo sandwich!
The vegan buffalo sandwich!
Yes, I drove to Salt Lake city for a sandwich, don’t judge me. It wasn’t the only reason, I LOVE SLC. The town, the people, even the religion going on in the city. 🙂 I still didn’t really have a destination for my trip so I decided to spend a few days around the SLC area and go camping up at Antelope Island. It was so peaceful.

I got in around 2pm, got my sandwich(es) and made camp. I set off to explore the island some more and was met by these two very lovely students from BYU. We talked roadtrips. I told them the best places to see the bison on the island and soon we parted ways.

I took off to the other side of the island to catch the sunset. Having been to the island once before, I had a good idea where I was heading. I was told by the park ranger earlier that evening that only four other groups were camping on the island that night… that put the head count at about a dozen people on Antelope Island that night, CRAZY!

Wandering the streets of Antelope Island
Wandering the streets of Antelope Island

I must say watching the sunset from the roof of my car was a highlight of the trip. I pulled over to the side of the road, climbed up onto the roof of my Honda Fit and just laid there taking in everything around me. No phones, no cameras, no distractions.


Watching the sun setting off in the distance and as I lay there taking in the scene, three bison walked over to my car to sniff it. Remember, I am on the roof sans phone or camera, just watching the sunset. I’m laying flat on the roof of the car so as not to startle the bison, when all of a sudden the three of them move towards the trunk of my
car to give it a sniff (I’m sure they are smelling my dog). I flip over to my stomach ever so calmly so now I am laying the entire length of my car (on the roof). I could have reached out and touched the bison but no, instead I just laid there watching in awe as they sniffed around my car, grunted a few times then wandered off. My heart was RACING. A total Jurassic park moment for me… Cue the music 🙂

After the sun set over the hills, I hopped back into my car and took off for camp. When I ran into those same three bison again, I jumped out of the car and grabbed this photo of them, wished them a peaceful night and back to camp I went. I watched a movie in the car and fell asleep being sure to set my alarm for the sunrise that would be anything but lame. 🙂 Utah, you are one of my favourite states!! 🙂

Sunset on Antelope island
Sunset on Antelope island

– Devon

Memphis Part Uno.

Quick drive through Texas I’ve always wanted to go to Memphis. It’s a hotbed of sights & sounds. The blues were born there & a lot of the major fashions seen in early rock & roll came from Lansky’s on Beale. Everything from zoot suits to the jive cats of the 70’s, they all came from a little shop at the end of Beale. A lot of major events took place in Memphis as well. Most notably the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in downtown Memphis on April 4th, 1968. The Lorraine Motel has since been converted into the National Civil Rights Museum. And of course, the home of their most famous citizen, Elvis Presley.

The drive down to Memphis from home went well. We found several really cool places to stay along the way. One of which was Red Rock Canyon State Park in Hinton, OK. Neither of us had been to Oklahoma before, but it’s a beautiful state. One thing stands out in my mind about Oklahoma. They love their highways manicured. I have never seen such clean highways, and it seems as though they mow their lawns every single day. I never saw one unkempt lawn. Impressive to say the least. The bugs are something else in OK. I’ve only seen bugs that big in one other place in New Mexico. Once, when I went to the washroom, I got smacked in the face with a huge locust bug. It shocked me so much to be hit in the face which such a bug. I stood there in the doorway and watched as the locust hopped out the door and into the night. Devon was SO creeped out by the bugs that she refused to use the washroom alone. I don’t blame her. Red Rock Canyon State Park is a really beautiful park. You drive down a tricky, winding road into the park. You’re surrounded by red rock walls and the canyon itself is alive with vivid colours, trees, grass, everything jumps out at you. The park has several walks and hikes to enjoy. The canyon was used as a winter stop over for the plains indians where they’d bunker down and wait out the snow. It was also a landmark and camping area on the California Road. Settlers going west used this sandstone canyon for collection of fresh water and wagon repairs. On the west side of the canyon, along the California Road Trail, you still can see the wagon ruts. People even come down into the canyon to fish in the river. Though Devon & I were off put by the thick green sludge covering the river. Across from the river up on the hill side was a beautiful patch of St. John’s wort. Devon, being a plant nut, was eager to climb up the hill to pick some but the grade on the hill (cliff) was far too steep even for her. *Note to self: remember climbing gear when out on a nature walk.* This park is also pretty rare in that it offers campers the use of showers. Much needed when on the road. I know we appreciated it. After one night we were back on the road to Memphis. We would make it there in one day’s time. Camping just outside OKC

Once we arrived in Memphis, we ended up camping at Graceland RV & Campsite located conveniently on Elvis Presley Boulevard across the street from Graceland itself. The trip down went a little faster than we thought, with us arriving two days early. We enjoyed camping out the first night after a long day in the car. The next day we went into downtown Memphis & checked out Beale Street. The first place we checked out was A. Schwab’s, the oldest establishment there, opened in 1876. With two floors full of oddities & trinkets, I quickly saw why this store has been popular for over a hundred years. Between the first and second floors is a balcony housing the Beale Street Museum. A mercantile shop, this was a fun place indeed. There’s a little bit of everything here. From clothes, to records, to all sorts of knick knacks. A family owned store for 136 years, their motto is “If you can’t find it at A. Schwab, you’re probably better off without it!” The floor boards were amazing. In fact, the whole building was beautiful. I still remember Devon walking out of the bathroom commenting on just how beautiful even the washroom was. The 100 year old wood was in brilliant shape. Beale is quite funky & truly the birth place of the blues. We walked along Beale for a while and checked out the store fronts. There’s a feeling on Beale that’s hard to describe. It feels like you’re surrounded by soul. Walking down Beale we stopped at Church Park on 4th, checked out the statute of W.C. Handy, then walked down to W.C. Handy’s house on 6th. The house is little more than a tiny shack, no bigger than a shed. It’s surprising to know that this is where the blues were born.

Sun StudiosAfter Beale, it was on to Union Avenue where we went looking for Sun Studio. The record store is just as cool as I thought it would be. Sam Phillips brought the best out of local artists here. It was here in 1953 that Elvis came in to record two songs for his mother, “My Happiness” & “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” for $3.25. Sam Phillips assistant Marion Keisker discovered the young King and pushed Phillips to record with him. There was an exciting buzz inside, as if the energy of all the great music created there still lingered. We decided to forego the tour there, but I’m kind of kicking myself now. When you go inside the recording studio itself, you get to stand in the very spot where Elvis changed the face of music. After Sun Studio, it was down to the mighty Mississippi River to check out the size of it all. An incredible sight to behold. The backdrop of several books & movies, made famous by Mark Twain, the Mississippi is massive. Once an important cog in the cotton trade route, the Mississippi was used as stopping points for restocking troops during the Civil War. Remnants of some forts along the shore still exist. I’m glad we stopped to check out the river. It was truly a marvel.

Pulled "Pork" Sandwich After a long day of checking out the city, we found ourselves completely famished. With help from a friend who emailed us directions, we managed to find some vegan food at this cute hole in the wall called Imagine Cafe. Pulling up to the “restaurant”, the place looked more like a private home than an eatery. Once inside, it became clear that we were inside a restaurant. Waiting for our food, the smells coming from the kitchen were insane. I got mac ‘n’ cheese and a buffalo chick’n sandwich and Devon had a pulled “pork” sandwich.With our food in hand, it was back to our site for the evening. We were serenaded by Elvis as we ate dinner poolside. Turning in for the night, I struggled to sleep.

The next day, it would be Graceland.

– Jade

Magical Lakes & Bison Sightings.

The first day of our crazy road trip started off like any other. Everything packed up & off we went. The first day of our trips are always about distance. Putting distance between us & our lives back home. Washington state is beautiful. The lush green backdrop is a constant reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a vibrant environment. The Pacific Northwest is amazing, hands down. However, if we don’t make it out of Washington on the first day of a road trip, it simply feels like we’re cross border shopping. So we moved like bandits on the run from the law. Making it all the way down into Oregon that first night.

The first hiccup of our trip has to be the moment our “new” GPS decided it would be awesome to crap out on us. It was back to reading a map for me & navigating old school. Having searched the map for a worthy camping site close to the Idaho state line, we saw a state park sign for Anthony Lakes in between La Grande & Baker City OR. Enjoying the 20 mile drive up to the park, we came upon fields of cows who were more than willing to pose for photos & seemed to enjoy the attention. Once we were on the drive up the mountain into the park, we both remarked how similar this felt to Yosemite, but on a smaller scale. The mountain tops were blanketed in mist making the whole drive up there both beautiful & mystical.Anthony Lake Oregon After arriving atop the mountain we were surprised to see it was a popular destination. We managed to snag a spot away from the groups of families. We then went for a quick walk around the area & found ourselves surrounded by crisp air & vibrant colours. The peak itself, Mount Ireland, was stunning. After a while, what I thought was a campsite we did not want to intrude upon turned out to be one of the lakes, we hiked down to the water to take in the living postcard before us. Every angle was an amazing photograph. There were a few people quietly enjoying the lake, fishing & taking their own photos. Devon picked up some discarded fishing line so it wouldn’t become a hazard to the wildlife. Then, we heard the distinct sound of a base being tuned up. Apparently, there was a wedding reception starting up. With that, it was back to the camp site.
Lake Anthony

Devon set up the site while I walked down to the camp site host for a bundle of firewood. We enjoyed a quiet dinner with the crackling of the fire pits seemingly in unison. A rather nice lady from the site across ours came over to introduce herself. She saw that we were Canadian and wanted to say hello. A fellow Canadian, we ended up having a lovely chat with her & quickly fell for her beautiful rescue German Shepard. The next morning, I walked over & gave them the remaining firewood we were unable to use up or take with us. Their dog was super sweet & quiet playful. Just seeing her made us miss our Jacke Boy that much more. We said our goodbyes, gave them some advice on travelling back home up to Victoria & started out for the day. A quick stop in historic Baker City OR for coffee & then it was on to Boise ID.Camp Dinner

I’ve never been to an REI but I can tell you this, after stopping at the one in Boise, I really want to go back! The employees are so nice, and the product selection is varied & far more cost effective than the items back home. We also stopped in at Whole Foods for some much needed food supplies for our cooler. From there it was on to Salt Lake City, Utah. The drive through Idaho went faster than it has in prior trips. I wish I could tell you that the scenery on the drive through Idaho is unreal but the reality is far more bland. We spent more time watching the roadside for deer than the landscape itself.

Antelope Island After high fiving having crossed into Utah, a state of calm washed over us. It truly feels like a vacation when we hit Utah. The drive through this section is breathtaking as you see the land change colours before your eyes. After consulting the map again for the exit to Antelope Island, Devon saw a sign for it & we started in on our next adventure. Making our way through the small town of Syracuse we found ourselves at the entrance for the Great Salt Lake State Park on Antelope Island. Paying for our entry & campsite, Devon almost drove off in a mad rush to just relax after having driven for 10 hours straight. The park ranger handed us our booklet & our campsite pass then we drove into the park. Devon remarked that the drive in seemed eerily reminiscent of Tsawassen and the drive to the ferries. The first thing we read about Antelope Island is, of course, the antelope that inhabit it, as well as the bison. There are roughly 500-700 head of bison that call the island home. The road ahead forked and we picked the left hand road because Devon read that the bison like to hang out near the water. Not 5 minutes into the drive down this road were we met with 5 bison chilling by the roadside, grazing. The biggest smile took over Devon’s face & it looked like she would cry. These creatures are so massive & gentle. They meander with not a care in the world. We stopped the car, put on the hazards & took as many photos as the bison would let us. There were three to the left of the road on the lakeside & two more to the right of the road. A giant bison lumbered slowly across the street not 5 feet from our car. Both of us slack jawed & awestruck while furiously clicking away on our cameras, the bison had no worries about our presence and took his time crossing the road. I looked over & I felt as though Devon would burst into tears, her eyes reddening, her voice shaky with excitement. We waved at these beautiful creatures, said our thank you’s & made our way down the road a bit more before turning around and heading back down toward the turn off for the campsite. We were assigned campsite #18 and as we drove up into the Bridger Bay campground Devon saw a bison in the distance and quipped, “I’ll bet you he’s at our spot.” Truer words never spoken. As we circled around the site, looking for #18, we slowly pulled up & there he was, sitting there, like an official welcomer to Antelope Island. There he was, this gorgeous animal enjoying a dust bath not 15 feet from our site. We stopped the car, grabbed our cameras and took a handful of pictures of him as he lay there, enjoying the weather. We took a few shots of the sun setting as it tangoed with the low hanging clouds creating this crazy halo above us. Looking back at the bison, he would stay there all night, as if to say, “I get it, we’re cool.” These mammals made peace with mankind long ago & now they live in harmony with the land while we get to share in their beauty. I think that he hung around all night because he knew that we needed him to be there. We appreciated his presence and will continue to be grateful that we got to share his energy all night long.Bison

We set up camp, made a fire & ate beans as our meal while quietly enjoying the bison laying within 20 feet of us. Laying down for the evening, I could not wipe the grin off of my face & I wondered why I was so happy. The moment we set foot on the ground there a calm energy washed over me & stayed the whole time we were on Antelope Island. I kept sitting up, looking for the bison as darkness fell all around. Though hot all night it was a peaceful sleep. We arose the next morning, our new bison friend had moved on. Devon was awoken by a magpie sitting on the post next to our car. He cheerily chirped & sang her awake. Once up for the day, we made a BioLite breakfast of coffee & peanut butter & banana sandwiches. There were several pheasants visiting the surrounding sites. Curious little birds, they walked about looking for food. After packing up, we decided on exploring the island a bit before leaving. We ventured down the roadway & back down the road that first took us to the bison. Sure enough, they were there again. We waited as they marched on past us. This time they galloped past, then settled down & calmly walked across the road. We grabbed a few more photos then carried on our way down the island to the Fielding Garr Ranch.Antelope island ranch A working ranch for over 100 years before stopping operation in 1981, in modern times, the ranch house is still the oldest building on its original foundation in Utah. We took the self guided tour around the ranch. I enjoyed the simplicity of the 100 year old blacksmithing equipment, while Devon wasn’t much impressed with it having being raised on a farm. Her grandfather had a dairy farm & understood the inner workings of it all while I had to stop & read about everything. She humoured me & let me read each display while she tried to say hello to the horses in the corral. Once we were finished with the tour, it was back into the car & back on the road into Salt Lake City for the most amazing vegan buffalo sandwich I have ever tasted.

– Jade

Tattoos Heal?

I noticed something today; I seem to get tattooed when something big is happening in my life. Either positive or negative. I never really saw that until I was talking to a friend.

On my last Vegas road trip, I learned about giving up control and forgiveness in myself and others. My friend and I got tattoos during this trip as well! I fought with placement of that tattoo; I already have a bunch of meaningless tattoos so I didn’t really know where I would put this one… It was one of many topics on the trip. My friend suggested on my solar plexus! One of the most sensitive places on your body and some also refer to it as the core/center of your being. It was perfect! Made total sense for what we were experiencing on the trip. Now, what tattoo to put there? I had an idea from the start of the trip as to what to get. But it wasn’t until hours before the appointment that I finally decided. Jade had given both my friend and I presents of Buffalo Sage for the trip (to keep us safe). She had given me some before I left and placed some in the car for my friend. The theme of buffalo from the start was everywhere, from the sage to stories in the car, food, everywhere!

Then my road trip friend was telling me stories of the buffalo on our drive. I didn’t know much of the history of them so I listened with open ears.

When the white man came over from Europe they nearly eradicated the buffalo/bison population. It went from in the millions to just a few thousand!! Even though this mass slaughter and harvesting of fur and meat happened, the buffalo always carried on. In the animal kingdom animals don’t hold onto grudges, they hash out the problems and move on. Why can’t we? Why can’t I? My friend also told me of her encounters with the buffalo. She spoke of seeing captured buffalo as opposed to a free/wild one. The hurt and sorrow and soullessness of the captured ones compared to the calm, peaceful ones of the wild. My heart aches for the captured!

This species has almost been wiped out by the greed and disrespect of mankind and yet it forgives. It lives in harmony with the people of the earth and holds no grudges. I haven’t seen a wild buffalo yet but I WILL on this upcoming trip. This is my mission.

I’ve needed to hear these stories for a while. I’ve learned to heal and forgive myself. Just be in the moment and appreciate it all.

The buffalo tattoo was EXACTLY what I needed and so fitting ON THIS TRIP as well! It’s my favourite of all the tattoos I have and holds the most meaning. Maybe because I got it in Vegas on a killer road trip, maybe because I was with one of my closest friends and there was a reason these stories came up. Maybe it was all meant to be… It really was all meant to be!

Getting the work done was as though I was purging out everything negative in me while the artist was plunging ink into my body and soul.

A tattoo is, in itself, a healing process even before it begins to heal physically.

– Devon