Why a bus?!

After months of searching, we finally found it! We found the bus that would start our dream. Specifically the dream that would render us free from the monotone life of repetitive routines and schedules. After graduating college, getting a good job, and working for over a year, I realized that I am miserable. As a 23 year old, I should be in the prime of my life with endless opportunities in front of me. However, I trade these opportunities for a life behind a desk. 40 hours a week of the same work leads me to nothing but a paycheck that allows me to cover my bills and enjoy a night on the town. I realize that all of my hard work and hard earned money is spent on one or two days of freedom per week. However, these weekends are not long enough to spend away from home. The fear of missing work that starts back on Monday, forces you to spend your hard earned money within a few miles form home. This ultimately creates a prison for you, and is no different than having an ankle bracelet with a slightly larger radius than your home.

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I have asked myself, how do you escape this monotone life? How do we leave the place that we are so familiar with behind? Unfortunately, many do not. Most blame it on money, some on family and friends. The reality of the matter is that we do not leave because we have built a comfort zone. This “zone” is everything that we know, and understand. How could you walk away from everything that you know and understand? The truth is most people do not. If we are lucky, we have on average 80 years on this earth. Yet our final resting place usually ends within a few miles of that comfort zone. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, and expect a different result. Well my friends, I believe we should all be diagnosed insane for keeping our lives on this endless cycle of repeat.

I plan to change this for myself. Although I find it increasingly difficult to walk away from my comfort zone as well and I have found a way to make it easier for my self. Simply, design myself a mobile life style. By taking my “comfort zone” and narrowing it down to a mobile platform, such as an RV, I will not be required to give up everything that I know and un12509066_1052650298110832_4839756500137602900_nderstand. Because I will bring it with me in the form of a tiny home. This is where the Bus idea was born. After searching for months, we purchased an old 1990 GMC school bus. I fell in love with the retro style. Now it was official. I have my outlet. I only have one more step, and that is to convert it into the tiny home that I have always imagined.

It has taken about six months and six thousand dollars and I feel like I am still at ground zero. Although this is frustrating, I feel closer than ever to my dream of traveling the world. Every day I continue to work my 9-5 job for that pay check. However, instead of spending it on the up coming weekend, I put my money into my dream. Just like going to the gym, it’s a slow process, but eventually you will see the difference and when you do, you wont ever look back. All I know is that I am certain of one thing in my life… That is simply, if I give up on my bus, or alter my direction in life at this point, I will never find true happiness and I will always be daydreaming of better moments. I must stay firm with my decision of buying this bus. I must stay firm with changing my life for the better. If not, then I will end my days as that 80-year-old man, with only a few miles from my comfort zone, and no tales to share of a happy life.

 

This is why I devote my self to my bus, and why I have chosen this as the outlet to a brighter future. I wish all who read this, to find their inspiration, and alter their life to fit their goals and dreams.

 

The Scenic Pacific Coast of Oregon Part 1

Every once in awhile you see something amazing and think to yourself “that could be on a postcard’. Along the pacific coast of Oregon your day is filled with these moments of awe. In fact, many times you take in a sight or a view and realize that there is no way a picture could capture the same experience in exactly the same way. Recently we decided to take a camping trip to Cape Perpetua Oregon with Marissa (Nick’s girlfriend), Rheena (Alex’s girlfriend) and our friend Campbell Troup. I (Alex) and Rheena had a trip planned through Oregon and decided to meet up with Nick, Marissa, and Campbell through the trip. To reach Cape Perpetua from our starting point (Seaside, Or) we had the unique opportunity to travel a length of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway AKA Highway 101. This winding road travels very closely to the coast allowing for incredibly views almost throughout the entire roadway. Along this path are numerous quaint costal towns rich with culture and history that is tied to the ocean itself. After about 4 or 5 hours of driving we finally reached Carl G. Washburn Memorial State Park which is a campground just south of Cape Perpetua and the surrounding areas. Once we set up camp we were joined shortly by Nick, Campbell, and Marissa but it was late and time to turn in for the night.

The first day we decided to see what hiking opportunities this beautiful area had to offer. We managed to find a trail that seemed appealing. A moderately difficult 10 mile hike that would take us inland through the thick forest of Douglas firs. This forest is so green and lush it is absolutely breathtaking. The way the light breaks through the trees creates scenes that are almost dreamlike. After we hiked for a few hours we had the opportunity to take a short detour to a scenic overlook where we broke for lunch. This scenic over look is on the peak of a smaller mountain that gives you vast views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Again this is a place that can only be fully experienced by being there. After enjoying some lunch and a rest we continued on through this incredible landscape. Once we arrived at the campground we still had a few hours to kill before sunset and decided to take advantage of the fact that the beach was mere minutes from our campground. We gathered up some beer, firewood, and camp chairs and headed off to find a place to relax and enjoy a coastal sunset. The beach we arrived at was completely void of other people and stretched on for miles. Even though the water was quite cold at the time we could not resist getting in the ocean. Luckily we were able to get a nice warm fire going to help cut through the chill of the ocean. Of course another advantage of the fire is roasting hot dogs and smore’s. After spending a few hours relaxing on the beach a dark peaceful walk back the campsite concluded our evening. This is Part 1! Click for Part 2.

The Scenic Pacific Coast of Oregon Part 2

This is Part 2! Click if you missed Part 1. Following a good nights sleep after a nice night on the beach we awoke and started to decide what we would do for the day. Just a few miles north of our campsite there is a great trail called the Cape Perpetua trail. This was a moderately difficult trail that consisted mostly of switchbacks leading up the side of the cape. Almost every time the trail jutted out towards the coast we were met with breath taking views that only grew more beautiful the higher we climb. Once we reached peak of the trail we were able to experience an incredible view that is difficult to describe. You can see for miles in each direction up and down the coast as well as being able to take in the vastness of the ocean. After hanging out at the top of Cape Perpetua and enjoying one of the best views ever it began to rain. We decided it was time to head back down. After descending back down to the trail head we decided to head down and check out the tide pools and thousands of mussels that cover the sides of the rock formations along the coast. Another attraction that can only viewed at low tide is called Thor’s Well. This deep hole that is connected to the ocean through a tunnel at the bottom interacts with the ocean to produce an interesting phenomena of water swelling up and down inside this column of rock. Now it was time to head back to the campsite and call it a night.

The end of this adventure was near so we thought it would be a good idea to make some headway back towards home. If you follow Highway 101 down the coast it will take you right into the Redwood Forest in California, This seemed like as good of place as any to set up our final campsite for this journey. As we drove along the Oregon coast we were met with even more coastal views. Eventually you pass into California and start heading slightly southeast into the heart of the Redwood forest. Soon the road is flanked with a towering canopy of coast redwoods and giant sequoia’s. This monstrous forest has the tendency to make you feel very very small. We camped at the Elk Prairie campgrounds which were known for the large fields where elk tend to congregate and graze during certain times of the year. After setting up camp we had time for a short stroll through along a path that weaves through the thick forest of huge trees. It is lush and damp and absolutely full of life. After returning to camp and getting a fire going we met the people staying at the neighboring campsite. They were cross country travelers from New York making their way north along the pacific coast. We all sat around the fire and exchanged some stories in keeping with campfire tradition. It was exciting to meet some other travelers who had come so far to share this experience in nature with us. They returned to their campsite as we turned in for the night.

The long 7 hour drive home provided ample time to contemplate the entire journey. Oregon is an absolutely beautiful place full of history and character. We can hardly wait to explore more of this amazing state. The pacific coast as a whole is definitely an amazing destination. Cape Perpetua is definitely a must see for anyone traveling to Oregon. Back to Reno, NV for now but we will return soon Oregon!

Putting the “Pack” in Backpacking!

A few days aIMG_3980go, my close buddy and fellow travel blogger Campbell Troup and I decided to hike Hunter Creek Trail just a few miles west from Reno, NV. Campbell had just recently purchased a 50 liter backpack which is ideal for extended trips. All I had was a small day pack although obviously I’m going to need something more substantial to travel the world with. So before we headed to the trailhead (and after getting my tax refund) I decided I would go splurge and buy the pack I plan to travel the world with. This sounds so much easier then it really is. What would I buy? How do I know a pack is right for me? How many liters should I have? The questions only piled on. Luckily, my local REI had an awesome guy named Chris help me out! First, we had to measure my back… which already caught me off guard because I figured, its a pack, don’t you just put it on and go? Anyways, Chris had a method to his magic. Once we had my measurements, we started talking capacity. What would be good for what I wanted to do? Chris shared a few stories with me and helped me understand what size was good for different scenarios. TheIMG_3975 trick is knowing if you will be alone or with others in order to distribute weight. Also, (pretty obviously) how long are you going for? Well, now that was a problem for me, how long was I planning to travel!? I could only answer by saying, years! Thus, I need a pack big enough to carry everything I owned. How could you possibly pack your life in a bag? I may as well attach a mountain to it! Yet, there is a trick to it. You want it to be big enough for the essentials that you cant live with out, yet small enough so you don’t break your back every day. I decided to pick a 65 liter pack. It was big enough for large trips, including my soon to be permanent one! Yet also small enough that I am able to use it for day hikes with my friends in the mean time. Yet, there was one thing that I realized is a must when looking for your pack… Comfort!!! I kept trying to talk my self into a nice looking pack that had all the bells and whistles, but I realized there was something slightly off. It didn’t feel like the right fit, no matter how much I wanted it to! Thus, I found a pack that fit like a glove, A Gregory Baltoro 65. Finally! It was time to test my pack. To the nearest mountain we raced!

IMG_3978The Hunter Creek Trail is an easy 8 or 9 mile trek mere minutes away from downtown Reno. It was the perfect place to test the new pack… and also look ridiculously over prepared next to all the day hikers. Campbell and I loaded our packs up with gear and headed out on the trail. Before I bought my pack I never would have imagined that 35 pounds on your back could be so comfortable! After the hike I felt no pain or soreness in the slightest and I knew I made the right judgement that how the pack fits is the number one criteria when choosing a pack. So, “Lets go on a short hike!”, ended up being more like, “Lets go spend three hours at REI, empty my wallet, then head out on the trail”… Buying a pack is hard but in the end it is undoubtedly worth your time!

Oregon Day #2: Views, Views, and More Views

Two Worlds Diverged in a Wood

Remember being child and wanting to play in the rain because for some reason it made everything better. The idea of hearing the rain drip of your jacket and splashing in the puddles are thoughts we slowly lose as we get older. The beauty of backpacking is your inner child finally gets to come out. Day two along the Oregon coast was prove of this. It was cloudy rainy day and it was perfect to climb St. Perpetua Mountain.

IMG_0223_2St. Perpetua is a short five to six mile hike in and out. The best part about this short hike is, its straight up. This is a great quick workout and brings you to “the best view of the Oregon coast.” You start the hike from the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center and up you go. From switch back to switch back, through the woods you go. Up and up the mountain…

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Snow sports in the Reno/Tahoe Area.

When you think of Nevada you may think of dry dusty deserts filled with tumbleweeds and sagebrush. While these characteristics do apply to Nevada, if you visit in the Reno/Tahoe area you might find something you didn’t expect. The Sierra Nevada mountains run along the border between Nevada and California creating a beautiful playground of outdoor activities for the residents of Reno (Tahoe, Carson City. Etc…) Around the beginning of november, barring abnormally warm weather, these breathtaking mountains are wrapped in blankets of white powdery snow. This offers a wealth of opportunities to those who engage in any one of the many snow sports.

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Those of us who live in Reno know that you would be hard pressed to find a local who does not ski, snowboard, sled, snowmobile, etc…  In fact people travel from all over the country and the world to experience all these mountains have to offer. The Reno/Tahoe area boasts over 7 world-class ski-resorts. This can create quite an attraction for skiers all around the world. One of these ski resorts is Squaw Valley, on the California side, where the 1960 Olympic Winter Games were held. Many people who have never visited Nevada would be shocked to learn about the winter wonderland mere minutes from the desert and the sagebrush.

I can recall many times as a child jamming our various sleds precariously in back of the car. Squeezing into layer after layer of clothing knowing that it will never be enough to satisfy mom’s fear of you dying of hypothermia. The atmosphere in the car is buzzing with anticipation of the wonders of a playground made out of freshly fallen snow. The car climbs the winding Mt. Rose Highway as we press our faces against the windows drinking in the breathtaking sights. Some people would be content to fall in the snow and make a snow angel and others might build a snowman. Where’s the fun in that!? The real thrill is dragging your sled up the hill as far as you can manage, jumping on your sled, then holding on for dear life as you hurtled down the mountain. Now that we have grown older not much has changed. When the morning breaks and the sun’s rays reach through your window to gently wake you, the first thing you do is go look out the window to see the snow falling. Just the sight of those bright white flakes floating down to earth is enough to not only bring back childhood memories but to instill and excitement for the new adventures that you will embark on through those huge snow-capped mountains. The only difference is we traded i101335_Mt.-Rose-Ski-Tahoe-Lift-Ticketsn our sleds for skis and saved up for a ski pass and instead of sliding harmlessly down a little bunny hill we fly down the chutes at Mt. Rose.

At the age of six, I walked on the snow for the first time with a pair of skis on my feet. I quickly fell in love with the sport and went skiing every chance I got! Being only 30 minutes away from my favorite resort, Mt. Rose, there was never an excuse not to go. Even when in class, I would find a way to sneak away and head up to the mountain! Today, I work at the resort and teach children how to ski. It seemed so fitting to teach at the resort that introduced me to the snow all those years ago. If your in the area, and want to ski, feel free to plan a fun trip with me! As long as you think you can keep up 😉

Your First Choice: Down or Synthetic?

Great information from our good friend and adept blogger Campbell Troup.

Two Worlds Diverged in a Wood

Are you a light sleeper or can you sleep on a rock during a hurricane. No matter what type you are staying warm and picking the right sleeping bag is cruical.

Sleeping-BagsI don’t know about you but when I first walked into REI to look at sleeping bags for my first camping trip I had no idea sleeping bags came in different types of materials. The only thing I knew about down was it came from birds and synthetic just didn’t sound natural. Standing their looking at the large rack of hanging bags I felt like a middle school kid at his first dance not knowing what to do. To avoid embarrassment I went home and did my research. Both materials have positives and negatives. Just like at your first dance you have to decide which one is right for you to take on your new adventure.

Down is not…

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