Liz Talks, Episode 49: Laura Bruner on #VanLifeLiz

Laura Bruner of the Modern Mamas Podcast and stops by to talk living the #VanLife and answers Liz’s questions about camping, safety, toilets, and more!

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Welcome to Liz Talks. I’m Liz, and I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner and best selling author, but here I’m 0% professional and 100% mom, spouse, friend, and overly analyzer. We are going to talk food, beauty, family, fitness, mental health, friendship, marriage, and everything in between in this season of Liz Talks and I’m so glad you’re along for the ride.

Remember, this is a podcast about thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and I definitely do not give individual, personal or medical. Welcome my friends. I’m excited to bring you this episode with my friend and colleague Laura Bruner, who I have known for years now, thanks to a very lucky meeting as a guest on her podcast, The Modern Mama’s Podcast.

Several guest appearances actually, and I just adore her so much and I’m so happy she was willing to come on my show to talk about Van Life, which if you’ve ever thought about traveling in a van or converting a camper van, or vacationing in an RV or a van, Or renting someone else’s van for the weekend.

Are you just curious what it might be like for all these cool hip folks like me? Ha. Like Laura, who do it? You wanna have a listen? But first, quickly, a reminder about the discount code for the Vibrant Body Company. My 15% off code for my listeners is Liz 15 all caps. So you can go to real food and use code Liz 15 All caps for an amazing, no wire certified clean bra or pair of underwear or shelf tank.

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She’s amazing. And I learned so, so much from my fitting. And next step, a quick shout out to Element Electrolyte Packs. You can grab a free sample pack with any purchase through my link, which you’ll also find in the description for this podcast in your podcast player. Or you can go to drink element L M N food.

Liz, I was a late adopter. To these electrolyte packs, but they’re the real deal. They have extra sodium, and I really, really believe that’s the difference maker here. And of course, the flavors are super good. Watermelon and raspberry salt are legit. I think raspberry salt is my new favorite. So again, if your interest is peaked, go grab a free sample pack with any purchase through my link, which is clickable, just like vibrant in the description for this podcast in your podcast player.

Or just remember, drink l m n food. All right, so as we begin today’s episode, let me introduce you to Laura Bruner. Laura is a certified nutrition consultant, level three CrossFit trainer, co-host of the Modern Mama’s Podcast, and Mama to Evie Wilder and Indie Bow. She finds joy in this crazy life through her family, traveling, often, including a year.

Spent living in and exploring the country in a converted van, which is what we’re gonna talk about today. Spending time in nature, creating in the kitchen, especially all things sourdough. Laura is the sourdough queen, working out to thrive in motherhood and life and adventure, and taking time for daily mindful movement flow.

Laura values authentic connection, real talk sharing, which is of course one of many reasons. She and I connected so quickly and she values lifelong learning. She’s learned more from motherhood than she ever knew possible, and she’s forever grateful for the journey. You can find Laura’s recipes, Sourdough Guide and shop her podcast Travel Stops Map all of her

All right, let’s get onto my chat with. Well, I’m really, really happy that you’re gonna come talk to me about this today. I mean, I’m happy that you’re here in general because I love you, but this idea that , I don’t know. I don’t know why I didn’t think about coming on and talking about Van Life. I mean, it is something I did for a year and a half, like full on living in a van for a year and a half.

And it’s something that I don’t talk about often anymore. It’s like when we were in it, I talked about it all the time, it was our life. And now I’m like, okay, that was a chapter. Um, but anytime I have the chance to, I will jump because it’s so fun to talk about. And I still, one of the highlights of my life, I think was that experience.

Well, I need this information personally because, Okay, well, backing up, anybody that’s been listening to Liz talks here and there. Might already know that we commission, By the way, that’s indie. She’s might guest her podcast today. Laura’s lil. Bye bye. Hey, we got our van, Our sprinter van conversion delivered like at the end of August.

So it was complete, delivered, done, and we’re like, okay. Now what? Like we had this idea in 2020 that we would buy a van and convert it and travel like so many other people in, in the world in 2020. And unfortunately it took a year and a half to get it done. Apparently you can’t just buy those and just start going.

So it’s finally finished and now like I’m, we’re trying to figure it out and I’ve been on a couple of trips in it, like weekend trips, really close to home. But there’s stuff that’s popping up that I’m like, Ooh, I don’t know how this works or how to handle that. And I just need to know. I just need to know everything.

Like I need to know about peeing and pooping. I need to know about sleeping and parking and where you can go and where you can’t go. So can you just, can you just start by telling me what you want me to know and I will interrupt you frequently with question. Yes. When it comes to, Here’s one thing that I always tell people is when it comes to like a van build out, you probably need less than you think you need.

Yeah. We started super bare bones. We just did, we had a bed, a fridge, which I highly recommend both of those, a sailboat kind of toilet, um, that we never pooped in . What is a sailboat toilet? It’s instead of having like a compostible one or compostable one, it’s one where you put the blue liquid in. Yes. And it’s just like a, a little tiny toilet, um, kind of like an outhouse, I guess.

It’s more like an outhouse, like, but a little, a little block. And we had it in. Cube that we opened the door and pulled it out. It was under the bed. Yeah. And we sat it on the floor of the van. So we moved it. Moved it to the floor. Yeah. We knew when it was getting heavy because we had to move it. Um, a funny story actually blew my back out once at the tail end of a trip.

We had been driving so much the past two days and sitting a ton. We stopped cuz Rusty was coaching virtual classes at the time. So we stopped at a park so he could teach a class. I. Pulled it out to go to the bathroom, went to lift it, like bent over, lift it to put it back in the drawer. Full, full back spasm.

It was one of my experiences ever. Um, and I like lift a lot of heavy weight, but it’s never the load. Right. It’s never like the barbell, It’s the, the f. Porta potty filled with p It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot. It’s not the plane, it’s the porta potty filled with p the porta potty. So yeah, so we um, never once pooped in that thing.

And I can say that now without knocking on wood. Cause we have actually sold our van. We were like the pre covid van lifers, you know, We got, You were like the beginning of the wave, like even before the beginning of the wave. Yeah. And then we got to take advantage. The desire for these things and sell it when they’re still hot.

So that was exciting. Um, but yeah, so p and Poo have a toilet, but ideally not one that you have to poop in. This is not something that I ever wanted to deal with. Um, and we navigated that for a year and a half living in it. Only pooping in gas stations or campsites or restaurants or lots of coffee shop morning, morning, uh, situations.

And so, All we really needed was, like I said, the bed. We had, um, three pullout drawers outta the back and we kept a camping stove in that. So we didn’t, uh, necessarily need like a full kitchen and then, We had a drawer with that was like our kitchen drawer, pots, pans, One plate for each of us, one pair of like utensils for each of us.

Um, , I’m sorry. It’s funny cuz she’s been super, super sick and like on my body nonstop for the past week and now the day we record she like wants to be on the move and getting into everything. So she’s like, I’m good. Yeah. Um, so yes. And then we just used cubes. So like you can get on Amazon, these little zipper cubes.

We each had four cubes, and then we had drawers that pulled out the front. So the way we navigated the bed situations, we also had two dogs, so we had it like lofted, so Rusty couldn’t even sit up in bed, Really? Mm-hmm. . And then under that, we had like an area where the dogs could be, and then we had drawers that pulled forward into the van, and then three drawers that pulled out if the back doors were open.

And then we each had like a cubby. Um, up above where our feet were on the bed, so we kept our cubes in those. I had like, uh, my Diddy bag, my United by Blue Diddy bag that I still have. Um, and it had my beauty counter stuff in it, and we just, and then we had above the, so it was like we had a two. I highly recommend if you don’t have more than two kids, and you’re doing this as a family to get a two seater bench instead of a three across.

If we had like a medium Oh. We’re navigating that right now. Yeah. It takes up so much space that, so much you don’t need to. Yeah. So we’ve heavy. Yes. So I could, you know, we have the two buckets in the front and then we had the two seater bench. We never moved it. I could lay on the ground and flow on the floor of our van.

I could navigate like cooking and pulling out the fridge and all of that, um, without worrying about space, which was huge. And then we had like a little table that folded up that we could hook, like put in so that we spun like two captain chairs and had the bench. We could have like a dinner set. Didn’t use it once.

Maybe one time I used it, but mostly, you know, we stopped to eat at parks or campsite or restaurants, you know, And um, just stuff like that we didn’t need. The only temperature control we had was a ceiling fan and there were some hot nights, like I remember a night at a KOA in Nebraska that was just like scorching and we slept with the doors open.

Mm-hmm. and every window open and the fan going. Um, And then for warmth, you know, we had a down comforter and we all, we bed share. So it was all three of us in the bed. This was pre and d and um, we had insulated window covers made. So those covered the windows. And we never, I never had a night where I was like super cold until Evie started getting older.

And this is like right before we were considering selling and she had like a cover boycott. And so I remember camping and I was, at this point I was like eight months pregnant, seven months pregnant with Indy. And she wouldn’t keep the covers. We camp every year for my birthday. So it was like one last hurrah in the van.

It was still cold. That was the only time I ever remember being really cold. Um, and yeah, I mean those are the main things. A warm comforter, some window covers, some kitchen stuff, and. You just don’t need a lot. It taught me so much about how little we need, cuz our thought was let’s go super minimal and then add as we need to and we didn’t need to.

Ultimately, I think if we had, maybe if it had been a longer term, like years, we would’ve done more. I think the one thing we would’ve done next, but it would’ve been temperature control. Right, but like a shower, not necessary unless you’re someone who has to shower every day. We found plenty of ways we boon docked in Portland, Maine, like in neighborhoods for 10 days.

Um, and never like, we ended up getting like a free day like gym to like go shower outside of Alley. Okay. Boondock. What is boondock? I don’t even, I don’t know all the lingo. Boondock is. Um, you basically just like pull up somewhere and park for the night? Yeah. Okay. So we, Portland, Maine was great for that.

We actually made friends with the owner of this place called the Ferment, and it’s like cider hard cider kombucha, hard kombucha. And he was like, Sleep here as many nights as you want. But outside of that, we mostly stayed in this one neighborhood we found, and when we boondock, we’d always, and I mean your van is.

Bigger, longer. It’s pretty sexy. Like it’s maybe get that so big. Maybe. Maybe that’s what we’ll name it. It is. So our van is a Mercedes sprinter, like one 70 ext. So it’s like 20 some odd feet long. Yeah. It’s beautiful. I saw it in your stories. Ours, it’s a big a Ford Transit, like charcoal bay. Yeah. Andie.

We’re just talking about the van. It’s okay. Um, and, you know, not, we didn’t get, we got like the medium height, the medium length, so it didn’t, it didn’t really stand out. Um, and so we were able to like, pull up, What we do is we’d spend the day doing all the fun things and then like as night was falling, we would pull into a neighborhood.

It sounds so shady. Russ is gonna be like, ah, you’re, you’re sharing our secrets. But no, and then he would just put up all the window covers. And like, we’d typically like stop at like a Whole Foods or something and like brush our teeth or whatever, and or we’d brush ’em from them. But we had a water tank actually.

Mm-hmm. , um, like just a, I think five gallons. And so we would brush with that if we, if we needed to. That’s not gonna work. Um, and we would. Then we would like change and put all the window covers up and climb in bed and go to sleep. But we’d always try and find a spot near, uh, like a coffee shop that we knew that I liked because our morning ritual would be that I would wake up really early cause I was working, you know, doing all my beauty counter stuff, my radical roots business.

I’d wake up early, get dressed, hop outta the front door of the van, um, and go to the coffee shop, you know, go to the bathroom. I would put my toothbrush in there, like take care of that in the coffee shop bathroom, and. I know here, look at this, look at that. Um, and then I would, uh, get coffee work until, and then Rusty would text me when Evie woke up and she was like a late sleeper.

And I would bring coffee back for him and we’d trade. He’d go to the bathroom and like, take care of his stuff. And then we’d start our day and it ended up being like, I think it was a lot easier for me than him. Um, For many reasons. I’m an Engram seven, he’s an engram one wing nine. So it’s like, it’s just the whole scenario.

He grew a lot from he, but for me it was definitely, I’m like, I could do this forever. I have my rituals and I was able to keep them, like my morning flow, all of that. I find a park and flow, you know? But, um, I think that’s what made it doable. It’s like no matter where we were, we had our routine. So we’d find a coffee shop.

Yeah, we’d have the same thing where we’d like pull in, you know, do all. That’s a plug. Um, and so, you know, it worked out pretty well for us. Uh, and yeah, would you answer your question and also went on a tangent there, ? No, I like it. My, I have so many questions, so, Okay. First of all, we. Let me just like, plus one a couple of the things that you said.

So we got kind of a, I don’t, I don’t think we say bougie anymore. I don’t think that’s like a cool word to say anymore, but it, we kind of went with a bougie van and part of that was I was super pregnant when we decided to do this. My husband was like all about it and I had like mentioned one night before I went to bed.

I was, That’s that you were pregnant, like super pregnant. That feels like so long ago. Feels like so how so long ago? It was like two and a half years ago. Crazy. And it’s just, it’s just wild. So we were laying in bed one night and I was like, We should get a Sprinter van. I think we were probably looking at your Instagram at the time, like, we should totally get a Sprinter van and convert it and just like travel.

Cuz at the time we were really, really, really considering homeschool. So I was like, we just travel school. Like, why not? You know? And the next morning we woke up and apparently he had stayed up late looking for the perfect van and the perfect person locally to modify it. And I was like, Oh, oh, we’re so we’re doing this.

So we did it. We bought the van. We found the guy, and I was like, I cannot think about, We had just gone through like a bathroom remodel and there’s so many things to think about. I was like, I can’t think about this. So I downloaded basically a template that I thought looked cool from custom crafted vans.

Before that was like Sarah and Alex James or something like that. They convert vans, but they also sell floor plants. And I basically bought it and gave it to the guy and was like, This is what we want. And it looked so good. And then of course, right before we get the van, I note that the same company, it was like we improved, you know, this floor plan drastically because of this problem and that problem.

And I’m like, ah. And it’s funny because those are like the issues that I’m noticing and one of them is, like you were saying, the shower we’ve, we built in a whole, like there’s a wet room. In our, in our sprinter. So it’s like a shower and then a cassette toilet built in. And so it’s a cassette and then you pull it out and you have to like put in a little like packet of stuff to make all the waste, like dissolve and coagulate, and then you gotta dump it.

And we have, I think my husband has used the shower once. I don’t know that I could figure out how to use the shower. And also like the, you know, there’s only so much water that you have and then you have to do all these switches to make it work. And on top of. Another thing that I’m feeling like was sort of a mistake was the toilet situation, because it is built in, so we don’t have another option.

We can’t just decide on another toilet, and it’s built in there. And I’m telling you like even with just p, the smell. , Even with those packets, it’s like the packets are supposed to cover up the smell, but it’s still a smell. It’s the smell of the packet, and it’s almost worse, and the bathroom’s right there by the bed.

So I took my oldest camping for two days, just her and I, Literally just her and I, one, number two. It wasn’t me because I don’t do so good when I’m traveling. It takes me a couple days, but one, number two, and then the rest just pee. And the smell. I kid you not, I could not, I had all the doors open the entire time cuz I couldn’t stand it.

And of course then all these flies are getting in. So I learned we need a screen. But that’s like a whole nother, a whole nother conversation. But a friend of ours who did Van Life for about a year and a half, about the same as you guys did, had. A different type of toilet and I forgot what it’s called.

I’ll have to look it up while we’re, while we’re talking here, but it’s one that has like basically a Mylar bag in it and every time you go you basically seal it off and then store it in this other compartment in the toilet. So it’s like you’re actually sealing off your waist and storing it versus this cassette toilet situation, which is like an airplane bathroom where you like flush it, sucks all the waist down and it just sits in this cassette and you put all.

Tablets in it, but it does not help. It does not help. So those are the two things that I would’ve done differently at the gate. That’s, that’s hard. Ours is a dematic if anyone’s wants to like look it up, um, just like a square. And if, if there was pee in there for too long, it would smell, but we never actually used the blue stuff because I didn’t want to smell that.

Right. Um, and we just knew, like if it’s starting to smell, we would find a campsite and that’s where we would like dump it and we would hose it, you know, like really just clean it. Yeah. Um, but because we never pooped in it, I think. That was like the saving grace. I still can’t believe like a year and a half, and we never had any sort of stomach bug.

Any of us, or like food poisoning or, I haven’t gone a year and a half since without that happening to us. Right, right. Yeah. Or like God or Univers or whoever was looking out. So yeah, I can’t find what this toilet is called, but it’s called, It’s called something. I’ll find it. I’ll find it at some point. It exists.

It does exist. It exists. It’s apparently there’s like a six month wait, six month wait to buy one. But wow. It’s what I would do if I could do it over again. So pre covid, and I think this was serendipitous in many ways, like this was supposed to happen for us, but we were like talking about Van living with some friends.

He lived in a tiny home. The next day he texted me a link to a Craigslist ad for this beautiful, like basically what we had manifested and put like in actual words, we wanted two cedar bench, we want charcoal gray, we want a Ford Transit. He lived a block away and he was selling it to us. We walked over there.

He liked us. He liked what we were gonna do with it. He worked with us to like deal with the financing and stuff, which was a pain in the butt. He was so patient and we owned it. A week later. . That’s amazing. Oh, Lao. Lao lava. La Lao Lao. Okay. A one you have or the one that your friend has? That’s the one that I wish that we had.

Oh, okay. But we did like the whole build out. It was just completely done. So it’s like we would have to like tear. And that’s the other thing, the way we did it to be so bougie, like, you know, it’s everything is built in, so like modifying things is so much harder. And the friend of. Who did it? Everything is modular.

It’s like you can put up shelves, you can take ’em down, you can put the toilet in, you can take it out. They don’t have a built in fridge. They have a cooler that they can plug in, which I think ours, It was like the one that be freezer or fridge. Yes. And it came with that. It came with that in the bed, which was awesome too.

Cause so much smarter. And then plus wanting your bench seat too thing because we were like, oh, well we we’re also renting the van out through outdoorsy, which it’s been okay so far. Um, you know, like a nice extra source of income to help the van pay for. But we, we opted for the three seat bench because it was what was in stock, It’s what we could get.

And I was also like, well, some people might wanna rent it with three kids. And we’ve had a couple people do that. Our dentist in particular, it was so funny, our dentist rented our van off outdoorsy and then he follows me on Instagram and he saw the van. Like on Instagram and was like, We just rented that van.

Is this your van? So funny. But he had three older kids, so that worked out well for them. He could take all three of them on the trip, but there’s no, there’s no space to wa like you can’t get around the bench seat to get into the front seats you, so it needs to be a two seat bench. And what I’m hoping is we can modify things and make it so that we can remove the two seat bench.

Turn it sideways and use it as kind of like a, you know, a bank at like a side seating and just then, you know, a cool, a cooler just table. Yes. Cause we spent a lot of time like just sitting on the bed. Um, but we just spent a ton of time in the band except for when it was like really stormy and that Yeah.

Tell me more about where you went, like where you went and how you stayed there. Okay. I gave her a set of keys, which is a horrible idea. Um, we, so my brother, we started in California. My brother was getting married. In June in Connecticut. So it was kind of fun to have this like destination, a place we were gonna get to.

Mm-hmm. . Um, and we also had, at the time I was still doing the like pale FX thing. Um, and so we had that as a destination as well, and so we went. It was so fun. Like our first, we first we went up north to Seattle area where we live now, actually to visit a friend, and that was a wonderful first trip. That was January.

Um, and then we came back down and spent the hot the next month or so, like preparing mentally and spending a little bit of time with our families. And then we, um, took off in early April and first night on that like big trip was Joshua Tree and we just like, you know, found National Forest and just parked for the night.

So cool. Like, so, so glorious. So you could do that. Yeah. National Forest, you can park anywhere, um, without having to book or anything. And it’s totally legal. National Forest. Is that different from National Park? Yes. National Park. You can only sleep in if you have a permit. Okay. But national Forest, you can sleep anywhere.

So like we spend a lot of time in central Oregon. It’s one of our favorite places on the planet, like sisters, that kind of place. And um, there’s a lot of national forest there, so you can just pull up and park, which is okay. Okay. And will there be a bunch of other people doing the same thing? Not necessarily.

There’s, it’s so expansive that you can find, You can usually even like, you know, you can find places, you just gotta kind of do some digging. I would prepare ahead of time and not just like show up, like where are we gonna park but have like four different options of places where, you know, you can go. Um, and one of them will be available.

And we didn’t even, we didn’t have plugin, like our van does not plug into anything. We had a, One thing I didn’t say is we had a Yeti, like a square Yeti charger thing, and you can plug in stuff to that and that would hold charge for a long time. And then the van running, the van runs the fridge. Mm-hmm.

and the fan. So just by driving around, we’re charging our fridge and we’re charging the fan. So we didn’t really have to plug in anywhere, so it was really easiest to park wherever. Yeah. Um, so we did Joshua Tree and then Arizona for a couple nights. Mm. We were a lot of, a lot of time spent changing plans, a lot of time planning, and then changing those plans.

Um, like we planned on spending one night in Tucson. Really, really loved it. Stayed for three. We did that a bunch, um, because we also, at this point we had sold our condos, so we were living in the van and kind of looking at the trip as a. Way to decide where we wanted to go next. Cause we knew we didn’t want to settle in California.

Um, and so we, when we fell in love with the place, we would, that was our justification. Like, well, we could live here, so let’s stay as long as possible. Um, like Tucson couldn’t live there now that. I look back, I’m like, Huh. I think we were just really excited cause it was like our first place. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And then we went into, uh, New Mexico, which was not, not a place we’d wanna live necessarily, but one of our fondest memories of the whole trip, we stayed in the Oregon Mountains, um, and it, it’s like pretty far removed from everything. First we pulled into this tiny town and it was just like, just felt very, it was very cool and very much just like a unique experience that we’ve never had.

Um, and then we went up to the Oregon Mountains and this incredible thunderstorm rolled in and we all climbed into the van and we, like, we watched a movie and then this th storm passed and we came out. And this, I still remember the smell, like, I wish I could bottle that. This like kind of red earth wet.

Um, and we climbed out and we went for a walk around the campsite on these trails and we look up and there’s like a double rainbow. And vie was just, I have photos of her just. I don’t think she’s ever been happier, just like pure bliss on her face. And I’ll, I’ll never forget that. It was so special. Um, and then into Texas and we did, uh, I really love Dripping Dripping Springs, which is like the beautiful hillsides heading into Austin.

Just so cool. And then we did Austin and then went through, um, Arkansas, which also surprised me. Mm-hmm. Little Rock is very, very cool. And then into, um, we spent some time with friends in Tennessee, which was super fun on their farm. Okay, I’ll pick you up. And then we did, um, North Carolina Asheville, super fun.

And then at the time he said hello. At the time Rusty was working CrossFit seminar, so he was able to work as long as we were near an airport. He could like plug in, fly to his seminar. You say Hi, we’re just waving. Yeah, just waving back and forth, Andy. And then, um, So we, I spent a couple weekends, like alone with Vie and Yeah, you just very chatty.

Um, and then we went up into like, we did New York City. Do you know what Dina Ruben? Yes. What was that like? Um, I love her and I don’t love this city and I’m okay with. Say that I actually had like borderline anxiety attack in line of the museum. It’s just, there’s too many people. It was I agree. I’m the same way.

Yep. I just spent the entire time in, in Central Park walking. I was like, I can, It was so intense for me. Yeah, So intense. Um, so I’ll never go back, but it was, I’m glad we did it. What would you like right now? Okay, you’d like to be on the podcast, Mom. We’d like to have some milk. And so yeah, so we did that and then we spent time in, in Maryland, um, DC and we did this really cool thing, which actually I should tell you about this.

It’s called Harvest Host, and you pay $70 for the year and you can park. On others. They have 170, probably more now. Um, farms, breweries. Wineries, cries that you can park at for free. Oh, wow. All they ask is that you like buy a glass of wine. Yeah. And so we found some really, really incredible ones and it helped to kind of guide our trip too, because you go to this place, you meet the owners, you ask what’s cool around here?

You know, where’s it like farm to table food? Where can I find the best sour dough? And they direct you and. Highly recommend that. That was super duper fun. Some have plug and they’ll tell you what they’ve got like plugin capabilities. Are you parking in a parking lot? We stayed at one brewery where we just like parked in the parking lot for the night.

Mm-hmm. . But it’s just nice to have that option, you know? So we did that. I remember one winery in DC outside of DC like near Shenandoah that I stayed out with EV when Rusty was traveling. Um, and then we went up to my brothers, then we hit my brothers. We did Pennsylvania. We hit my brother’s wedding, which was a blast.

And then we, we were like, we’re gonna spend one night in Portland, Maine. And that turned into 10 days and we got to house, sit for our friends in Maryland for a little while, which was cool. Um, and then it was like, we were, we were a couple months in at this point for like the big cross country trip and we were on the East Coast and.

We were like, at the same time, we have to get back. It just, it just all of a sudden, energetically we were like, We need to get back to the West coast. Mm-hmm. . So we drove from Pennsylvania to Colorado in like two days, which was really intense. Whoa. Yeah. Really, really? We, we slept at truck stops. Um, and we just, fortunately in Evie was just like a, there’s no way we could do that with this one, as you might be able to hear.

Um, but we, yeah, we just, we just did it. We drove and drove and drove and we got to Colorado. Awesome. And we stayed at my friend Claire’s house for a couple days. House out for them. Actually, that’s another thing. If you’re living in your van, seek out opportunities to house, Sit for your friends. Cause like you get a break, which you need.

I, I needed, I needed a break at times from like living in a van, you know? Um, I know Rusty did too. Like things you don’t really think about are relaxing. Like sitting there isn’t, I’m not really a relaxer. I like to be on the go and to do things. My husband will spend an entire. On the couch. Just like full, full, like chill mode.

Yep. And he didn’t get that. So we actually have this business idea. Please don’t feel it if you’re listening. . Um, my business is called Radical Roots. If you wanna fund it or invest in me, reach out. But, um, called The Roots collab. Basically it’s like a, a space where people can gather and come together, whether it’s community, like host community events and whatnot.

They’ll be like maybe a climbing gym or gym space. Um, cubicles for like co-working space. Yes. I wanna have like a bar with, you know, Cold brew, beer, cider, kombucha on tap. Um, and then host like monthly or bimonthly community events. But then also just have a place where people can drop in and like have a big TV if they wanna sit and like watch football.

Yes. Be, have showers, you know, it sounds like a uso, but super cool. And on steroids. Yeah, we’ll call it that. Yeah. So that’s my, that’s my, That’d be a good name. Have you thought about that? Name us. Uso, but super cool. You know where like all the military people gonna go at the airport? Oh yeah, yeah. You get to go, like if you’re there for long enough, you gotta lay over.

You show your little card and you get go in and they have like reclining seats, snacks, little space for kids to play. But it’s like you come in and you know you’re gonna like run into like-minded people. Like who are you, where you’re from. Like hang. I figure that’s kind of like what it’s like to move around to different bases, you know?

Yeah. There’s some certain commonalities you’ll always find. Look at this one. Um, yeah, so that’s, that’s our future goal. Perhaps when we moved to Wyoming, we thought, thought about doing something like that, but yeah. So then Colorado and then we went, My sister was getting married in uh, Seattle, so then we cruised up there.

Spent time in Montana on the way. Um, what’s funny is we bypassed right through Wyoming. Mm. We were like, there’s no need. Right. And now we’re moving there. . I love that. So, yeah. And then came back down to California and lived like just. Cruised around California for chunks. And then we’d go, We spent a ton of time up in Bend.

That’s where we thought we were gonna settle. Mm-hmm. . Um, and we just kind of like bopped around the West coast for a while. Yeah. And so we ended up settling for a bit and then unsettling again. And this is the longest we’re right now, we’re like going on exactly a year here. Um, in Washington or two years, Excuse me.

And this is the longest we’ve ever lived anywhere together, Rusty and I, and we’ve been together for 13 years. Fascinating. So, Oh my, No Madic at heart. So would you say that your, I mean, you, you lived in your van. Would you say that was a money saving endeavor or did it come with a lot of co No, no. You’re, you’re shaking your head vigorously.

That’s a no. Okay. We laugh. It put us into debt. Okay. We sold our condo, moved into the van, and, you know, it’s, Also, it could be, it could have been done differently, but there are a lot of things I didn’t think about. Maybe you would or others who are doing this would, Um, and we just really wanted to, I think if we hadn’t done the cross country trip, we probably would’ve saved money.

Hmm. But we wanted to, like, I travel and my business is a lot about sharing our experiences. So fortunately it’s a lot of write offs, but, You know, it’s like I wanted to eat at the, like farm to table, great spots in town, and I wanted to, And also you think about parking for the night. Sure. We did some moon docking, but we also had to pay for some campsite.

And if you think about paying rent versus paying like 25 to $35 a night for a campsite. Mm-hmm. , you know, it, it adds up. Food was the biggest expense, I’m sure. Gas. Um, but just living basically for that whole time. We were on the road most of the time we were living in the van. We lived as though we. Kind of on vacation, Right?

Especially when it came to like enjoying the local food and drink . Yes. And so I’m sure we could have done it differently. We could have done it a lot more, uh, budget friendly, but we didn’t, and I don’t regret any of that. Um, but definitely like we had a thought that it would save us money. We’d be set up to like find out where we wanted to live and then have a down payment.

And that’s just not how it went. And. I wouldn’t change that for a few reasons, cuz where we thought we wanted to live, you know, two and a half years ago is not where now we wanna be. And so I think that everything, I’m not like a throw your hands up and be like, everything happens for a reason. I’m gonna be a responsible kind of person, but I am kind of like listening to, you know, universe and manifestation and I think that we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be in this season.

So, yes, but no, to answer your question, we did not save money. Okay. Another question, I’m sure you had asked this a lot, personal safety, like you said, Rusty would be traveling and you would be, you would be parked somewhere with the van and and with Evie. So what does that look like for you guys? Did you feel safe or did you feel like you needed to be like packing?

You know, I think I was a little naive. In ignorance is listening. I don’t know if this is gonna be taboo to say, but if I could go back, I would have, We have since, like I’ve done some training and we own a pistol. Mm-hmm. and I would’ve had it like in a safe in the van with me. Um, we, we did not have anything like that.

And I think about like one night I remember like I bo dogged with EV in la just the two of us. Oh my. We were picking Rusty up the next day at the airport. He was on a seminar in Australia. Granted, we were like, I knew we were near my cousin’s house. Um, and it was, it was a safe. Ish area. It was safe. It was safe area, but it’s still, it’s, it’s la you know?

Yeah. Um, so we, we locked the doors, you know, and I look back now, I’m like, are there things that we could have done differently perhaps? Are there things that I could have like thought of differently perhaps? Um, were okay. And I was, I was aware Rusty was hyperaware. It was so stressful for him to sleep to Boondock.

And I was like, It’s fine. This is a safe spot. This is so fun. You know, But he, he was hyperaware, He didn’t sleep well when we did that. Um, Right. I mean, the van is like doors locked. If a door opens, alarms go crazy, you know? But still these things happen. It’s a nice van parked in a neighborhood, so it’s like potentially a target for break in.

But overall, um, at the time I didn’t think about it as much as I probably could have. Um, what, what, what I was hyper aware of is like always, always knowing where Evie was and like tabs on her and um, that kind of thing, you know? Cause we were traveling around and we’d be at playgrounds and that kind of thing.

So like, never was she ever out of my. But as far as like danger of someone like breaking into the van while we’re sleeping in it, that wasn’t on my mind a ton. We didn’t bo Akata either, like that. Those were like few and far between. Um, but I think the one thing I would’ve done differently is have done training ahead of time and been a responsible gun owner ahead of time and had our weapon with us in the car.

Yeah. Yeah. And you had the two dogs, right? I mean, not on the cross country trip. They stayed with my, That would’ve been different too. You know, we have two pit bulls. Um, but they, I just couldn’t fathom, especially without temperature control traveling across the country in the summer with them. It wouldn’t have been safe for them.

So, um, it would’ve dramatically changed our trip too. So we, uh, We left them with my mother-in-law on her ranch. And that’s another thing that really was beneficial to us, is that she has, she had 35 acres at the time and two shipping containers. So we were able to hold onto our furniture that we loved and that kind of thing, and store it there.

Uh, so she’s, she’s, uh, been a godsend, but yeah. Um, overall I think having the dogs would’ve made it. Safer perhaps, but so much harder. I mean, who knows? You might have felt safer, but who knows if you would’ve actually been been safer than Safer? And I don’t know where we like big dogs. I don’t know where we would.

Put a dog in the van. So our dog passed away last year and like just, oh my gosh, my heart, I just miss him so much. But I can’t imagine, you know, we keep talking about, is it time to get another dog? And I’m like, No, let’s, let’s get some experience, let’s get some time on the road in the van. Cuz I don’t know where we would put a dog, you know, with that big old bench seat.

And I, it’s just logistically, I can’t figure it out because what we did was we did. Uh, uh, a bank cat basically in the back, so it’s like the two like long benches and then table in the middle and that can convert into a bed on the lower area. And then you’ve got a top. Uh, it’s called the Happy Jack and it comes down so you can sleep like two kids up and then two adults down, which I actually don’t love.

By the way. We actually ended up buying a, something called the, oh, what is it called? Uh, Cab Bunk, which is a company out of Britain and basically you can hang these sort of bunk bed cuts. On the captain’s chairs in the front, you turn the captain’s chairs, captain’s chairs around, and you can hang these bunk bed cots on, on those chairs.

So you’ve got a sleeping up and one up one down, and there’s, they’re probably big enough for kids until maybe nine or 10 years old. So, At this point, having the bed that comes down from the ceiling in the back actually severely limits like the head space walking back there. So the whole van is pretty cl claustrophobic.

Um, but I, I just gotta get used to it. But, um, the, the, there’s no storage space underneath is basically what I’m saying. So I probably would’ve just done a raised bed. Like what you guys did, and have that storage space underneath. And then do the cab bunk in the front for the two, for the two kids. And we have not taken the two year old yet.

We’re gonna try and figure that out. Probably just camp in the driveway and figure out if we can get her to sleep in the cab bunk. See how that goes. But I think that would’ve done fine for us for quite some time. And then who knows, once kids are 12, 13, maybe they don’t even wanna go anymore. I don’t know.

But if we did need a table, then what I would’ve done is just have that, you know, I know people out there have vans that they can remove the bench seat, turn it against the wall, and then just put the cooler there for a table. Like we don’t need that whole table banquette situation. It’s not necessary. So that’s kind of where, where we’ve been.

I can’t remember where it was going. Our plan is to get a, we wanna get another van once the girls are older. It’s mostly just for us to, you know, and then we, we thought about like just having a tent and they sleep in a tent. Cuz if they’re old enough, you know, we camp. We’ll use it more for like camping then like bo knocking.

And there’s ways to make it work, but. Yeah, that’s, that is. So ours was, we thought about if we were gonna keep it with both of them. We thought about turning that lower area into a bunk. I would’ve had, my friend and her daughter tried to sleep under there when we went camping together. Cause they didn’t have a tent.

And my friend was like, Absolutely not. Like she was Soph. It’s. Yes it was. And it’s like you just fall asleep, worried that you’re gonna accidentally sit up in the middle of the , just knock yourself out. I had to, when we went on this little camping trip with my oldest, we went back the next weekend with our friends that also live like you guys, like full on Van Life for.

A year and a half or so, and they were three of them in a van about, I think the same size as yours. So it was the parents, two younger kids and an older son. And they totally made it work. And it’s so fun to talk to her about it where I’m like, Well, I dunno if I like my toilet. And she’s like, I don’t, you know, you, you figure it out.

But we went to the same farm and the girls wanted to have a sleepover. Now I’ve said before on this podcast that we. Do sleepovers just in general, but we were camping. Like it’s just, it’s a different thing, right? So I let the girls come and stay in our van in the upper bunk, and of course they wanted to like, it goes up and down, it’s fun.

So let them stay in the upper bunk. And then I slept down below and I was worried one of the girls was gonna sit up and hit their head or try and climb out. So I put them like I gave them a lot of headroom and I literally gave. Two feet of space to slide in and sleep. And like, not only were the, the, the cushions made of this like wipe clean plastic material, not.

Not, this is not safe textiles. People like it is fully not at all. And so I was like, like it made all this noise while it was crawling on. And then I had to get out in the middle of the night thinking once to go to the bathroom myself and once, because I thought my daughter needed to go to the bathroom.

So climbing back out was literally like, I mean, it was like being born, it was just like ridiculous trying to like get myself out of there. So I was not, not a big fan of, Oh, the visual is so good. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. You know, that’s why it’s complicated doing more. Our friends just sold their van. They’re having their fourth child, and they’re like, I just, I just don’t, They had a sprinter.

Oh, that’s how, I just can’t imagine doing that with more, We could have done it with this one. Ultimately, I think finances were like a big piece for us, and we, we felt like we had done it. We had, and we didn’t want it to become a burden and have like the final years of owning the van. Yeah. You know, something that was like, it was hard.

It was hard. But also we, we decked out, we gotta afford Bronco Sport and we’ve decked it out for like, it’s like a sweet camping rig and it’s fun to be back to tent camping. I actually, yeah, we camped so much this summer and it’s been, We’ve kind of done the, like CrossCountry visit all the places staying cool like cities.

And now we’re like, okay, we just wanna be like out in nature away from people and our, this rig can get places more like over landing, like get places that the van wouldn’t have been able to though it was four wheel drive. Um, anyways, that was a tangent that I didn’t answer any questions. No, I like it.

Were you already, were you already accustomed to like going out and camping and figuring stuff out? I don’t have. Background that’s never stopped me before. I mean, we bought a farm and made it work for like four years. Never having had any experience with that before. So I know you can figure things out, but it’s just not normal.

Not, not that it’s not normal, it’s just not something, It’s not familiar to me to be like, Yes, we’re gonna go camp. We’re gonna drive over a bunch of rocky terrain, find a place to lay down and set up our tent and, I don’t know, have bear spray and all that stuff. What’s your advice for people who are like new to camping?

I mean, it doesn’t even have to be in a van, but if you’re new to just going anywhere and. Popping your tent up and sleeping there. I mean, safety wise, all of that. I actually have like a, um, five tips for camping with kids on my, on my Instagram because I Nice. You know, we started with both girls when they were like six, eight weeks old.

Yeah. Just giving her some water. Cause I think that’s what she wants. Um, and. Okay. There’s some melt on central over here. Um, and so I would say some things that like plan food ahead. If you’re just going for a night, like have your food prepped already where you just have to like warm it up or not even Yeah.

Um, keeping things, sandwiches, super simple. Yeah. Um, try and choose like when you’re just getting started. Choose like warmer or comfortable weather camping. Don’t go when it’s in the middle of winter or what’s gonna be like freezing, You know, you could just wear like a t-shirt and shorts to bed and be comfortable.

Also, don’t go when it’s so hot that you can’t get cool. Um, if you can go camping with friends who’ve done it before and split up things like, Okay, I’m gonna bring all the chairs, who’s got the firewood? Try and like divvy up who brings what, who brings what food. Um, What else? Close to home for the first one,

Yeah. The first time I took both girls camping by myself, we were only like 30 minutes from the house, and so we stayed by this lake and, um, it was so fun. Or we were in the national park, the Olympic National Park, and it started to rain at like four in the morning and I was like, Absolutely not. And because I, I, I didn’t want to like, I love morning, like the morning campsite morning, but only if you can have a fire and it’s not raining on you.

And so it was like four o’clock, four 30. Both girls were sleeping. I moved Evie into and bed sharing helps us, you know, like she just sleeps with us on our mattress. And I know there’s different varying takes on that and that’s fine to each their own. But I just moved Evie into our bed and we set up our mattress like a, like a bed with fitted sheet comforter, all of that.

So it just makes it more familiar to her, like just like she’s at home with, she’s in like the woo SleepSack. So I moved Evie to our. Cleaned up her stuff, moved them both into their car seats. They both fell back asleep, pulled down camp, just threw it in the back of the car. I was home in a half an hour, you know, home made coffee, cleaned everything up.

It was great. So doing it, if you can be close to home for the first one, just in case, even middle of the night, you’re like, You know what? Wow, this isn’t working. You have the peace of mind to know that you could. Worst case scenario, throw everything in the back of the car and just drive home. Um, what else?

I think those are the, the main ones. And just like, don’t worry about getting dirty. Everything is cleanable. This just is so chatty right now. I know. Do you wanna co-host my podcast? I’m looking for a co-host. Gosh. Thank you everyone who’s listening for bearing with me on this. This is what it’s all about.

I love, We’re making it happen, right? I was like, between dropping off my oldest with my mom around the corner. Oh. You know, giving instructions to 17 different people about how the rest of the day’s gonna look while I’m in here. And you’re like, just making it happen with the baby that’s recovering from whatever it was.

And yeah, we would’ve been literal recording their headphones yesterday because Oh, she was like just asleep, you know, She didn’t wanna have anything to do with anybody. And today she’s like, I got some sleep last night, and my cough is settling. I, Anyway, so those are my name tips. I, I just, and just, Kind of pulling off the bandaid.

It might be messy. It might be hard, but yeah, my big thing is that the benefits are for me exponentially. Like, like they, they, they far, they go far beyond the challenges. Um, kids are happier. There’s no walls to bounce off of. I’m so much more present when we’re in it. Mm-hmm. then like that’s, I think that’s why I love the band thing.

It’s like I get to plan stuff and then we’re there and I’m just in it, like, I’m so present because every step of the way I’m like, okay, what, you know, what are we doing right now? And then what’s coming next? And you’d think that might pull me out of it. When we’re there, I was just, where I’m at when I’m at home, there’s so many things to do and I’m thinking about work way more.

Yeah. Um, when we’re camping, I’m just so able to disconnect from everything else and just be with them and, and they are just so happy in their element. And they don’t ask for any, you know, like they don’t ask for toys. We don’t bring anything in that regard. It’s just, they’re just in it, in the dirt. And yeah, it’s, it’s definitely worth it.

It’s not easy. But same thing with the van thing. It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. The things they got to experience, like we really prioritized. I mean, it was easy at the time. We prioritized like national parks and really cool nature as much as we could. Um, We took a trip to Connecticut this past week and visited my brother and his wife and it was so fun.

But we spent a lot of time, My whole family was there and they had this big beautiful house. We spent a lot of time, like in their kitchen cooking. We did like a holiday meal, all that. We spent time just at their house, just being, and by the fourth day, my sis, my, my daughter was like, Mom, this is a different kind of trip.

And I was like, . Why? So? And she’s like, Well, we’re not eating at cool places. And we’re not outside very much. Mm-hmm. , like, I appreciate that you can like, note that difference, you know, That, and that what she prefers is like eating at really cool cafes and restaurants and, uh, and being outside as much as possible.

So something, you know, something paid off. It’s, it, it’s impacted the way that she looks at the world and the way that she’s looked at travel. Oh, . I know. Oh. I’m almost done. I just have like two more questions for you, mama. Questions. Ok. She can’t hear me, can’t she? ? No. No. Oh, wave. So how do you manage then with the kids, like the lack of boundaries?

Like, I feel like here, you know, we don’t have, we, we live in a pretty nature rich area. None of the, it’s not a, a, uh, traditional subdivision. It is a neighborhood, but it’s around a lake and, and it’s a little bit different. So nobody really. A traditional fenced in backyard. If you do, you’re very lucky. So there’s plenty of nature, there’s plenty to do.

But there are times where I’m just like, Dang it. I really wish we could just like go play in the backyard and I could have some boundaries where like they could do what they wanted, but within, you know, this square feet of fenced in yard. So, When you’re out, when you’re in nature, when there’s trees and paths and bugs and you know, some things that scream danger and other things that look like they’re gonna be perfectly safe, how do you keep, I guess it would just be EV right now from going too far or do you even deal with that?

I. I think it’s so kid dependent. Now that I have a second, I’m far more aware of how easy was . Yeah, Yeah. Um, she’s not really a, like, she, she’s not really a wanderer. She likes to know where we are. Um, and we, and she also just kind of listens. Like if we say, Hey, this is the boundary. She won’t go past it.

But we know we kept very close eyes on her, but she liked to just like be with us. So we’d go to like breweries and wineries and whatnot. She’s just not someone who took off. And, you know, we left when she was a year and a half. And she turned two in Maryland. Like that’s, that’s the season for a lot of people where their kids are like all over the place and she’s just not that kind of kid.

Um, she would sit at a restaurant and a high chair and like, hang out with us, you know? Wow. We didn’t have to do much, like give her the, give her a show during a, a dinner. Uh, very rarely. And that’s usually if she’d been cooped up, like driving all day. So now that I have this one who’s a very different baby.

It’d be, it’ll be interest to see like as we camp more and all of that, like, especially like next summer when she’s a year and a half and just compare the two. Um, we, Forest school’s been really, really good for us. So Evie goes to a forest school and I’m glad we’ve done that before having Indy because it’s taught us to trust them and their bodies and their awareness.

And yes, like as far as. Climbing trees and that kind of thing. That used to, I used to be like, Oh God, I’m gonna catch you. Mm-hmm. . But kind of just now we’re like, she knows what her body’s capable of. We have to trust that and it’s working. Like she won’t do anything that, of course she falls on occasion, but it’s amazing to watch her, like when I’m, everything me is like, I wanna go pull her off that log , but watch her navigate it and, and start to go and, See her, her limit and then back up and climb down when she knows that maybe it’s not the right thing.

So mentioned to see if this one has that same kind of wherewithal. We just try to trust them as much as possible. It’s other people I don’t trust. Yeah. But that’s really where we’re at when it comes to like really trying to implement and like in ingrain, like Stranger Danger, um, and Wow. Telling her what to say if someone comes up to her and you know, that kind of thing.

Um, Because I trust them way more and like their body awareness and their physical capacity and their ability to like tune into that and not, not do dangerous things way more than I trust other people, you know? So I give them more leeway and more flexibility if we’re like out in National Forest and all the parameters will be way bigger, but like if we’re at a brewery or a restaurant or like in a town, I’m like, You’re going in the carrier , you know?

Mm-hmm. . Cause I just, I don’t trust other people not to snag my. There’s some horrible people in the world, and just the reality of it. No, just too many crazy stories that you mm-hmm. hear and that you see. Well, it’s interesting. Between my two girls, one, seven and a half, one, just, just a little bit over two, they , you know, people said, you know, it’s, it was fine.

The age gap is gonna be fine. The older one will help with the younger one. No, no, no, no, no. It is like the older one is in full on. I don’t know the rehab mode from the fact that everything was all about her for five and a half years and she really struggles with it not being all about her. And I think part of that is also that she’s seven and that her little sister is not this cute little thing that I can just haul along with us.

Anymore. She’s like a thing with opinions and things she wants to do and things that she likes and that she doesn’t like, and she makes that known so she doesn’t cooperate. Right? Like my seven year old wants her to cooperate, so I’m, we’re just gonna have to go. We’re just gonna have to go and find out how it works, but, Thus far, what’s been kind of a bummer and a little bit of a struggle is that I wanna do things all of us as a family, but it generally becomes divide and conquer.

Like the two year olds wants to go do this and not once, like I get that kids don’t always get to do what they wanna do, but you can’t make a two year old wanna do the same thing that a seven and a half year old’s gonna do. It’s easier to go with the flow of like where, where they’re leading than to try and control everything.

Like surrender has been a huge lesson for all of this is like I had maybe had this whole day plan. We’re gonna do this and have this picnic and sit here and, and it’s like, Nope, that’s, I Sometimes you just gotta roll with it. Yep. You just gotta go with it. And, and I don’t know, we’re, we’re figuring it out, but I would like to be able to do whole family stuff.

It was really, really nice to do a little getaway with my oldest, just her and I and exactly what you were talking about. Like we were fully off grid and I can’t remember if I’ve told the story before we actually got one of the star. Satellites cuz we were like, we don’t know. You know, like both of us might need to go do something where we actually need to work and get service, whatever.

And I feel safer when I have some kind of connectivity. So we don’t have it set up on the, on the van yet. But that first trip we took out, myself and my seven year old, we got there a little bit after dark, we parked and you know, met it was on. Um, oh man, what is that website where you can rent space on people’s land?

Hip camp. Hip camp. Yes. We went on hip camp. We found these people just outside of Kansas City. So, so, so nice. Like best experience. So much so that we went back the next week and it was a farm. My daughter loves farm life and so it was perfect, but we had like no connectivity. It was a little bit after dark and I look up into the sky and there’s this, literally, there’s a UFO in the sky, like there is a ufo.

In the sky directly above me and the other gal that lived there, we were both looking up there at this thing and it was this like long line of lights like you would imagine on the side of like a flying saucer just floating through the air. And I was like, What? It was not an airplane. It was, I did not know what it was.

I couldn’t Google it cuz I had no connectivity. And we were both looking up there and I was like, Well, if you’re the last person, I see you seem very nice. So , thanks for these very peaceful last moments of my life. Turns out. It was starlink something or other. It was like Elon Musk satellites floating to wherever they’re going next.

But it was a terrifying moment and like I just, how good I am at suppressing terror. Like I’m very impressed at myself. But it was, it was like a little bit of a scary moment and I was like, Well, that’s okay. I guess. Oh, I guess we’ll be fine if we survived. You know, the U. Passing of 2022, then I guess we can figure anything out one day at a time.

That’s like me on a, on an airplane, there’s like a little bump and I’m like, I lose all capacity to control my, Are we okay? Yeah. Yes. It actually helps me to fly with my husband as pilot. So I’m always like, Are we, are we okay? Are we, He’s like, Yes, we’re okay. And if we’re not, I probably won’t tell you, but yes, we’re okay.

You know, so that’s, that is helpful to have like a little moral touchstone there, but I was like, wow. I’m out here in the wilderness with my seven year old. My husband’s at home with the two year old, and I hope I see him again, . I really hope I see them again. Wild. Yeah. Such we, Last time when I camped, Well that reminds me like you talking about just camping with her and having those special moments like the summer before when I was pregnant, um, and we still had the van and everything, like I will never forget the memories.

I can’t, Rusty was working wild on fire so he was basically couldn’t do anything all summer. And so it’s just me and Evie and we spent so much time camping. We went to Idaho, we spent a bunch of time in the national park, so many camp trips, just us too. And those, I feel safe cuz we’re like in a campsite, like very removed from everything, but mm-hmm.

um, it. Yeah. How special? No, UFOs. We did see a bear, which is pretty sweet. Oh my gosh. From how far away? Um, this is actually with Indy. This was the first time I camp with both girls by myself. Oh my. And we were at Sold Duck in the national Park, and it was like we had a campsite up against the, the river.

And the bear was crossing the river coming towards us on a log. It ended up turning and going the other way, but we were like headed to the hot springs and we, we see it and EV’s like just jazz outta remind. Um, that’s the same trip where we went home really early in the morning and I thank the bear because.

That reminded me like, don’t leave anything out. So the night before, I’d put everything in the car, like cooler, all of it. Uh, so it was really easy to, to get back. But it was a very cool experience and it never like came, I, I’m sure these bears know like, don’t come during the day, come at night and get your, get your food.

But it was very, a really cool experience. What kind of bear was it? Uh, I think it was a black bear. Yeah. It wasn’t huge. It was probably like a mama, but, but yeah. Which is like, Right. You don’t wanna run into a mama bear though, right? If they, I didn’t see a baby . Oh my gosh. So intense. I was, Well, I really hope we, we get some more band adventures on the book before.

What if we meet up at some point? I feel like once we’re in Wyoming, you know, it’ll be a closer proximity. We should, we should figure it out. It’d be so fun. Uh, 100%. Not just saying that like, you tell me when it’s time and we will, We’ll do it. A hundred percent. Be there. And I think, I think our guys would get along pretty well.

Oh yeah, they have, I think they would create quite the ruckus . That would be so fun. Our older kids on the same, it’s very similar, I think. And then the younger too, also just like watching the, the little one, like cruise around all the time. You like falling or like all Yes. I would love you. Get along really well,

Oh, I would love that so much. Stay tuned for, you know, we’ll start an Instagram, um, profile and we’ll just document. Trip to your brand new one. Oh, it’s gonna be great. Okay. Did I miss anything? Anything else I need to know or anybody else needs to know about Van Life? I don’t think so, but if there’s anything you wanna know, you know where to find me and then anyone listening, feel free to reach out as well and, uh, ask away.

I’m, I’m all here for it. I think it’s so fun. We actually have a little YouTube channel that we didn’t do, Russ and I had this like big intentions of doing update videos. Every other week or so and there aren’t a ton of ’em. We do have a really funny one on, cuz we got a question about like, how do you stay intimate on the road?

So go check that out. . You know, I’m sorry to say, that was not even on my mind. , Nope, nope, nope, nope. Oh my gosh. Well folks, I think our next trip is gonna be to Fayetteville probably, and I’ve got some contacts in Arkansas, but I’ve heard amazing things about Fayetteville since we’ll be coming out from the Midwest, so I’ll let everybody know how that goes.

Cool. I have a searchable map on my website with all of our favorite stops across the whole country. You can like type in your zip code and all the places will pop up. With their website and the address and all that. So, and they’re organized by like sips and eats and outdoor and camping and markets and whatnot, so.

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I’m gonna say it in the, in the closing, which I will record separately, but will you still tell everybody where to find you and what your resources are? Yes. My website is, um, my radical, and you can find everything from there, including I have like a sourdough shop and, and all that.

I do a lot of the sourdough thing, which that’s been a perk of having a. Um, and then my Instagram where I’m the most active is Laura Dot Radical Roots. Um, and you can just kind of find everything from those, including my podcast, the Modern Mama’s Podcast, which is going on six years running, which is so wild to think about.

And that’s, I mean, that’s really how you and I like you came on our podcast early on in our career and that launched us into Cuz you’re so Loved, um, launched you. Podcasting into having an audience to talking to. Sounds good. Ok. . Ok. Just wanted to make sure I knew where you were going with that. Into all things good, including good, you know, impacting and informing my motherhood journey.

Introducing me to Eliza Parker. I mean, I could just go on and on, so, Oh, thank you for the ways you’ve impacted my life and for having me on today and just getting the. I would say sit and chat for an hour, but kind of, um, rock a baby and jump around. And , thanks for being patient as we, Well, I wish everybody could see how much you were rocking it just now.

It’s pretty, pretty beautiful to see. That’s it for this episode of Liz Talks. Find Laura at Laura dot Radical Roots on Instagram And remember, you can ask me anything by sending me a DM at Real Food Liz on Instagram. But the best way to ask is to go to Real food Liz.

That way they don’t get lost in my inbox. We are wrapping up this season, by the way of the Liz Talks podcast. I’m really pondering what it’s gonna look like for season two. I think I’m gonna focus maybe more on one topic. We’ll see. I’m gonna talk a little bit more about that in episodes coming up, but until then, I appreciate you and I’ll see you next week.

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