“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
I am a wanderer. I am a minimalist. I am a traveler. I am curious, unafraid, and ambitious. I am also a photographer, writer, adventurist, and, simply put, a twenty-four-year-old gal with more energy than a five-year-old boy. I’m the one who sings to every cow we pass and the one who tends to drastically change our itinerary in a heartbeat. I’m also the “social butterfly” who will make friends with just about anyone we happen upon along the road. I am one of the happiest people you will ever meet, and I want to do just about everything from live in a remote African village to climb Denali. My bucket list grows rather than shrinks with each passing year because for each item I check off, I find at least three new ones to add. I strongly believe that the key to happiness, and therefore success, is to do everything you have ever dreamed of doing. And if you don’t start now, who is to say you ever will?
Kevin is the quieter one, the behind-the-scenes man who is calm and collected throughout every situation. He is the one who invents kick stands out of sticks, and the one who is guaranteed to stop and help you fix your broken chain in the pouring rain. He is the patient one, the practical thinker, and the fisherman. A small town guy with a love for the woods, Kevin is a hunter, a firefighter, a family man, and the one who keeps this trip running smoothly.
How It Started
I am Canadian and American by passport (and always Canadian while traveling), but I consider wherever I may be living at the time to be my home. Unlike many travelers who find this lifestyle in their late twenties or thirties after realizing there has to be something more out there, I was lucky enough to find it at sixteen (and the seed was planted even younger). I grew up traveling a few weeks a year with my family, mostly to Europe, as well as to New Zealand and Israel, and then at sixteen I lived in Belgium for a year. After graduating from high school I left for a year long, life changing adventure backpacking through South America. I climbed mountains over 6,000m in the Andes, worked with monkeys in the jungle, met hundreds of astounding people from around the world, and most importantly, experienced life on the road.
Then I spent a year living in Bend, Oregon, a mountain town where everyone climbs, cycles, skis, and fishes… all in one day. And that’s where I met Kevin, my craigslist roommate. After becoming friends, and then lovers, we spent an amazing year together before we went our separate ways; Kevin to Alaska to begin firefighting again, and me, to cycle around the world because it sounded like everything I had ever dreamed of. Nine months into my solo trip Kevin bought a plane ticket out to Nepal and that’s how this solo nomad turned into part of “The Wandering Nomads” team.
After our two-year long tour finished in 2015, Kevin and I spent nine months living in Astoria, OR, where we struggled to transition from nomadic freedom to having a home, a schedule, and commitments. Things changed for the better once we moving back to Bend, OR in 2016 where I started my dream job working in wilderness therapy and Kevin got his dream job repelling as a Wildland Firefighter for the Forest Service. We found that starting jobs we love (and, more specifically, jobs which allow us to eat, sleep, and poop in the wood), doing as many microadventures as possible, trail running (for me), and living in a beautiful place has led us to find fulfillment and excitement in our sedentary life.
Since Kevin’s job is seasonal and mine is flexible (they are used to people like me who like to take off on extended trips) we plan to cycle tour for three months every winter and enjoy the other nine months in Oregon (in 2017 we will be moving to Eastern OR).
Why We Do It
Think about it, seriously. Why not travel the world, explore different cultures, climb mountains, visit temples, and live life simply but happy. Many people see my lifestyle as “alternative,” which is hard for me to understand since I could not imagine living any other way. There is no better education than travel!
Why the Bike
After backpacking through South America at eighteen I knew I would be traveling for the rest of my life. I also knew I wanted something more. I wanted to do something different, something that gives my travel a “purpose.” I also knew I wanted a way to visit places other travelers don’t get to see, to stay in small villages in the middle of nowhere, and to have the freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want. A bike fulfills all of this and more. By traveling by bike I am taken in by locals, I spend my nights camped in beautiful places, and I get the feeling of personal accomplishment since I am traveling by my own power. Plus, it is fun! Even after years of pedaling, my favorite part of the day is still while I am in the saddle.