Alternative Lifestyle

Winter in the Van 2021

In late October of 2020, our van journeys came to a halt as we geared up for the winter and “settled” in San Diego, California. And just as it was exciting, it was also a strange transition. We went from living in extremely remote natural settings to a busy urban environment within a week. Our initial plan was to wrap up the van travels and spend our whole winter in the sunny surfing epicenter. But as 2020 has shown us, plans change quickly and suddenly. And some changed plans have proved to be for the better. So we’ve decided to

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Alternative Lifestyle

Minimalism 101: How Living With Meaning And Quality Has Reduced Our Need For More

We’ve been on the road again for almost a month. We left Santa Barbara with the intention of never really going back, and drove south towards San Diego, across the Southernmost landscape of California, and into the dry heat of Southern Arizona. From Phoenix, we voyaged north to Sedona and Flagstaff, then east towards Colorado. Now we’re in Denver, enjoying the slow death of summer and the beauty of fall’s crisp chill and captivating colors.  Yes, currently, we have no home but this van. It’s been a pleasure. The sense of having a home that remains in one place in

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Van Living

How We’re Making Local and Ethical Shopping Work In A Van

Living in a city can be a luxury when it comes to finding sustainable products that align with our values. But for Alex and I, van life proves that this is far more of a challenge, and it almost becomes a little game we have to put a lot of effort into. While we’re used to living in an urban area, where we have an array of different shops to consciously choose our foods and items from, being in a remote setting – which is where we often are – ensure that our options are far more limited.  Quality, Local,

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Sustainability

Living Sustainably On The Road: How Do We Do It?

Living as minimalists is inevitable. We have a van that’s on the smaller side for two people and a dog. We’ve had to downsize a LOT in order to fit things in an organized fashion in our tiny home on wheels. Every inch of space is valuable for our essentials that we’re currently carrying. But another addition to this simplistic lifestyle is also: sustainability. So . . . how are we living eco-efficiently while on the road? We compost: For the most part, we try to use and consume as much of our food as we can so that there’s

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Alternative Lifestyle

Nature IS Medicine – And The Best Feeling Is When You Re-discover It

(Written on June 26th, 2020 – 3 days after we left for the road.) Upon driving out of the Bay Area, it’s been a complete sigh of relief as we entered the natural world: a city of trees and sidewalk of trails and epicenters of lakes and rivers. It’s so close to home and so far out in the middle of nowhere.  We’ve arrived in Lassen National Forest, where we’re spending the night right on Lake Almanor. We’ve been fishing, running with the dog, inhaling the sweet scents of pine and freshwater, and hearing nothing but the sounds of nature.

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Alternative Lifestyle

It’s Day 1 of Van Living: Here’s What It’s Like

Creatively-stimulating. Anxiety-inducing. Slow-paced. High-maintenance. Adventurous (obviously). Thought-provoking (all the new sights, people, even different regional cultures – they can be pretty eye-opening!). Worrying. Tiring. Beautiful. We’re making the best out of something that we knew was going to be challenging. Yesterday evening, we drove out of Santa Barbara straight to Big Sur State Park (a classic for van-lifers, I must say). We made dinner, which had to be done faster than I’m used to given we only have a limited supply of solar energy that our high-voltage induction stove eats a huge portion of. But the dinner was delicious for

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Alternative Lifestyle

Van Building: Doing It The Unconventional Way

While we labor day and night every day to finish this epic building of our little home, let’s just say that we don’t have it all to make this build close to perfection. Running off what I wrote in my previous blog post, Alex and I have never done a single aspect of this kind of work before we took on this project. To top it off, we have a small apartment that doesn’t have a garage, so most of our work has been out of our town’s Home Depot parking lot. And to top that off, our financial situation

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Alternative Lifestyle

What Constructing A Van For The First Time Is Like

A year and a half ago, Alex and I came up with the marvelous idea of become nomadic van-dwellers. I don’t think we’ve ever committed to a goal as much as we have with this one. After we dispatched from our previous home in Boston, we drove cross-country all the way to California to base ourselves here long-term. Along the way, all the sights during the road-trip, the adventure and the experiences for all five senses was invigorating and inspiring. There was something about being so human, getting ourselves dirty, and becoming engrossed by the rawness of nature, that tantalized

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Alternative Lifestyle

Wake-Up Call 2020: Live In Alignment With Your Values

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou Most of us did not anticipate what was coming back in 2019. We looked forward to the start of a new decade, a rebirth if you will, and a fresh kickstart was expected to burgeon out of the new year.  But this happened to not be the case.  The COVID-19 crisis has made sure that we barely transitioned out of the first quarter of the year without our safety bubbles bursting. Now we’re stuck with our fingers between our teeth asking, what

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Alternative Lifestyle

5 Things the Coronavirus Is Making Us See

You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen. Michelle Obama With the streets bare of pedestrian foot traffic, businesses shut down and supermarket lines snaking out the door, the world feels unordinary and strange. Instead of lending a hand and supporting those who need comfort more than ever, people wrestle for the last can of beans or soup; the toilet paper crisis amplifies our anxious hoarding mentality. There are pronounced worry lines on people’s faces. Their brows furrow as they talk to families and friends – some of them with masks on, some without.

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Alternative Lifestyle

How To Support “Ethical Brands” – And Why It’s Important

By our nature, we’re consumers in a materialistic society. We shop because we need to. It’s part of our human lifestyle. When we need something, we travel to the nearest shop to look for the thing we need. The modern world of consumerism is nothing more than a matter of convenience to greet our current craving or necessity. So, shopping has become a mindless act. And it’s phenomenally easy for us to forget what’s behind the product’s history – how it was made, who made it, what it’s made out of, how it’s been transported and what the morals of

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Sustainability

Sustainability & Van Living: How We Plan To Do It

Alright, here’s a more personal article for you to read. I’ve written in the past why Alex and I have decided to choose the #Vanlife route. But as of more recently, we’ve also become super passionate about helping our real home (Planet Earth) and thereby living a sustainable lifestyle. This goes in tandem with our “alternative living” goal.  In case I didn’t make it clear enough, I don’t agree with what society’s normal and standard lifestyle looks like. The unsaid, yet implied, motto of modern day living is “convenience, comfort, easy access”. This is A-ok – there’s nothing wrong in

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Sustainability

How to Shop Sustainably and Save Money

What first comes to mind upon hearing the words “eco-friendly” product? Most likely you associate it with expensive brands. I know I do. So we want to become greener and purchase items that do more good than harm. But how can we do this in a way that doesn’t hurt our wallet?  Oftentimes, this association of living sustainably and paying a pretty penny is what de-motivates us from making environmentally conscious shopping decisions. It’s a natural deterrent, and we feel powerless to do what we can to support the right brands and not use products that feed the endless waste

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Alternative Lifestyle

2020: A Year Of Caring For Your Planet More Than Before

You’ll notice if you went looking, that there is a myriad of articles out there, thousands upon thousands, committed to educating the public about sustainability. If you were to google a simple topic (Ex: “How to reduce your plastic waste”), you’ll see that the results to your question are not scarce. You can be educated in a heartbeat, given handy and insightful tools that can help you co-exist with the planet. But while these articles exist out there, not enough of us are motivated to dive into such subjects. (More about that here). Yet so much has improved in the

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Sustainability

Sustainable Lifestyle: What Even Is It?

“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” -Henry David Thoreau I’ve recently entered this new stage in my life where I’m finding extreme significance in taking care of Mother Earth. But that’s pretty broad. It’s easy to “care” and not really do anything about it. It takes no time and effort to appreciate the world you live in, but when it comes to taking responsibility as a fellow earth citizen and choosing to go fully “green”? Not a simple transition. I’ve always been a green girl. But – finally

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Alternative Lifestyle

Green Lifestyle: 3 Ways To Commit Yourself To Living Eco-Friendly

The issue of devoting ourselves to living sustainably turns out to be a psychological problem. It takes a significant amount of determination to lock ourselves down and commit to this lifestyle, which is not an easy transition for, I would say, anyone really. Because as humans in a modern world, we rely on convenience. We rely on less effort and instantaneous results, for less quality and more quantity. But the major component of our lack of action during such crisis in our environment is the inability to educate ourselves and care, and therefore decide that we need to act on

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Alternative Lifestyle

Go On A Technology Detox: How To Make Your Life Simpler, Cleaner and Happier

Isn’t it strange, how at this point in history, our relationship with our tablets is deeper than some of our human relationships? The title may be misleading. Clearly, none of us can really get on in the world without our devices (sorry to those of you who stick to the past.) I’m an advocator for all things natural, but when it comes to advancements in our modern society, I am all for generating new apparatus’s that can assist in our species’ evolution. It’s exciting to see what we can do and how we can solve problems that one hundred years

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Van Living

Go Unconventional: What Van Life Really Shows Us About Ourselves

Van living, van-venturing, van-dwelling, nomadic wild Homo Sapiens. It’s not an easy topic to bring up to an older family member. “My plan for the next few years of my life is to live in a van!” Usually, no one will look at me like I’ve still got a head on my shoulders. And I get it – it’s a foreign subject. America thought they saw the trend dissipate along with the hippie frenzy of the ‘60s and ‘70s. After that, it seemed like as a collective we were, for the most part, geared towards obtaining success in order to

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Van Living

Van Life Now!

Hi guys! The day has come – earlier than expected. We couldn’t wait any longer, so we decided to jump right ahead on a pretty sweet deal of a van. There are so many different vans out there. It’s hard to choose the right one for you and your budget. We were initially thinking on a van with regular height roof such as the Ford Econoline or a Chevrolet Express. This setup would probably work for a single person, but as a couple and a dog it’s damn near impossible. As we dug deeper into research we decided we’d Need

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elena kick
Alternative Lifestyle

The Yes-I-Can Attitude: How To Make Things Actually Work For You

It’s not what you think that makes a difference It’s what you say. Is anyone’s life built on stability? Honestly, tell me – is there such a thing as this? I’ve come to discontinue my faith in it. Instead, I see the entire spectrum of our lives as a platform of shifting sands. There is no stability, no concrete grounds for us to base our lives on. This throws our security-reliant instincts into distress. Without stability, there is no certainty. Without certainty, there is no peace of mind.  And so, we’re constantly stressed. All we want is to reach for

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Alternative Lifestyle

How To Deal With Society As A Non-Conforming Adult

What kind of image do you want to show off? Does it even feel like you? I fit the title of “non-conforming adult”. Being a nonconformist is a choice, as I go into greater detail in my article “Non-conformity: Why it might be the right avenue for you” but it’s also a part of us to some degree. See, I remember watching the movie the Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, and really loving it for many reasons. But what captured my attention was the protagonist’s try-hard desperation to fit in to a pair of high heels

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Van Living
Van Living

Why I Want To Live In A Van: A Moment of Honesty

When I was a youngling, my heart ached for the openness of the wild. It sang to me like a tranquil lullaby, and I would often find myself fantasizing about my days prancing through meadows surrounded by forest and mountains. I envisioned myself as a free spirit – just as most children are. But I longed for such unrestrainable action that may whisk me into a whole other world, an alternative way to live that most people feel unable to obtain.  And then adulting happened So as I grew older, I stuck by that preconceived vision in my head. It

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Alternative Lifestyle

Why Do You Hold Back? The Law of Action and Reaction

“You are what you do, not what you say you do.” – Carl Jung When you make an action, there will always be a reaction. No exceptions – it’s the order of the universe. Newton discovered the simplicity of this truth and titled it as his 3rd law in physics. It’s the ultimate rule. When you take a step forward, vibrations scatter throughout the ground. When you breathe, you shift the dust in the air. When you touch a lover’s skin, their nervous system jolts. Your cause will always have an effect.  But there’s something about our human nature that

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Alternative Lifestyle

Why Non-Conformity Might Be The Right Avenue For You

In this day and age, being different is a compliment as it is an admirable feat. Being referred to as different tends to evoke flattery in us, whereas sixty-years ago being different was a concern. It’s amazing how history can reconfigure itself within the course of half a century. Ever notice how things are speeding up faster than ever? (That’s a blog for another time.) These days, in Western culture,  following “the crowd” is akin to being a sheep amongst other sheep. It’s a saying now, and a concept. Follow the crowd and you find yourself stuck in the same

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Healthy Diet
Sustainability

Overeating: How Western Society Copes With Their Problems

I can’t lie, I have been obsessed with food for as long as I can remember. There’s something about our relationship with food that shapes the life we live. It’s an addiction, in a way, and at times a pleasurable consumption that helps us escape from whatever pain we’re dealing with. Other times, we depend on our cravings to meet our needs – for once. It’s a psychological issue, in reality, because when we feel unable to attain the thing we want – small or large – we resort to the easier things for us to get. This is a

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Kalalau Valley as seen from Kapa'a
Alternative Lifestyle

The Kalalau Trail: What The Wild Taught Us

The cascading mountains of the Na Pali Coast of Kauai is formidable and yet gentle in its beauty. There’s a certain rhythm instilled in the atmosphere – a kind of a rhythm that would reset any person’s biological cells back to its natural state. The flow of being consumed by nature is hard to push against. This is something that Alex and I have discovered upon trekking the twenty-four mile coastline for four days, without any contact with the outside world other than the sparse number of hikers that surrounded us. And so it had us pondering over the concept

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Kauai scenery
Alternative Lifestyle

Travel: Turn Mainstream Tourism Into A Simple Experience

Yay! Alex and I are finally traveling again. This time we’ll be heading out the farthest west we’ve ever been in the USA – Hawaii. Which island? The most ancient one of them all – Kauai. Now, I’ll tell you why we chose this specific island. I’ll sound like a hypocrite so bear with me, but I detest modern-day tourism. My hypocrisy comes into play because the definition of a tourist is someone who is visiting a foreign place, usually for pleasure. And we are traveling here for pleasure. I don’t have any ill-feelings towards people visiting other places around the

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Secluded Road in the Woods
Van Living

Van Living – The Beginning of a Journey

Have you ever wished you weren’t tethered to an apartment and instead have your home on wheels? Just imagine for a moment the possibilities that unravel when you become a road warrior. And how about juggling the seasons? Are you a summer person? You could drive away from the cold. Prefer winter and enjoy winter sports? Better get comfortable near a ski resort up in the mountains. How about you do all this while not spending money on rent? Becoming a road warrior It certainly sounds enticing to you, if you have stumbled upon our blog. It’s a long transitional

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Week Without Meat
Sustainability

Try a Week Without Meat – And Save the Money

Recently I’ve been thinking about how frighteningly costly meat is. Not only have I read numerous articles and watched a depressing amount of documentaries on the corruption of the meat industry, but through first-hand experience seen the depletion of ten, twenty, thirty, forty dollars a week on meat alone. Alex and I only get chicken now, and even that at Whole Foods is an exorbitant $8.00 per pound (for an organic, “free-range” package of tenders.) Even salmon – something I love grilling on the pan – is a hefty lump sum for a measly amount. I mean, are we that

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Be You And Only You
Alternative Lifestyle

Authenticity: Be You and Only You

I know I’ve lost my creative voice when writing makes me cringe. When I feel it choking the life out of my artistry. Leaving me to sit as an empty cup without any creative juice left. That’s a massive problem – since my ultimate passion lies at the very heart of getting my thoughts out of my head and translating them into words. When the act of writing depletes my energy and has me doubting my abilities, I tend to succumb to a minor breakdown. When you’re extraordinarily passionate about something and come to feel extreme resentment towards that very

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Alternative Living: Is It The “Right” Kind of Life?
Alternative Lifestyle

Alternative Lifestyle: Is It The “Right” Kind of Life?

It will be a year until we set out on our van to live a whole new lifestyle For me, I couldn’t be more anxious. There’s a feeling of insecurity in abandoning a secure life. We’re creatures of habit, as it’s been shown and experienced by everyone. But aren’t we also creatures of change, which eventually leads us to our own evolutionary growth?  For most people, there comes a point when you feel sluggish in daily life. The job feels sordid, and you hunger for an iconoclastic scenario that shatters your stable life. Alex and I could both very easily

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Something to Learn from Minimalism
Alternative Lifestyle

Minimalism and What It Really Means: A Deeper Perspective

It’s becoming a new trend, this minimalism stuff It’s like people have been waking up one day and suddenly – magically – feel disgusted by the state of their room or house. And then perhaps they feel their skin crawl from the inside out. Perhaps they can also feel the chaos in their mind that perfectly matches the mess in their room or house. Naturally, this insightful awareness would make anyone want to transform their lifestyle. A person’s room is their personal sanctuary, really. It is their their main dwelling, their haven, and their personal happy place. In order to

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