Van Life – Day 3

April 22, 2019

Advantage to living in a van: Different scenery every morning.

Disadvantage to living in a van: Litterbox stink bombs seem much more potent.

Rainy day in Hope, BC

I find my waking hours have shifted a little bit. We go to bed earlier and we are up earlier in the morning – 4am this morning. I hear robins starting to sing outside.

I had the best sleep yet last night. I paid 30 bucks for a small tent site in Hope and had a really great hot shower. I tidied up the back of the van a little bit and made the bed up. Added an extra blanket, and crashed. It was so delicious and I was toasty warm all night.

And what’s better than waking up to being sandwiched between two heat-seeking kittens? I think we all kept each other warm.

Today we are going to drive part way to Calgary, but we will take our time.

Moody morning with Mystery in Hope, BC

I meant to start the cats on their leashes today but it was cold and rainy and I thought I would just put some miles behind us. I know Moonlight is really interested in going outside; Mystery doesn’t seem quite as much so but I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.

Later: We landed in Revelstoke this afternoon. I picked up a little bit of food and fed the kittens, then I did a Google search for places we could boondock. Turns out Revelstoke is very motorhome friendly and there is a large rest area just on the northwest side of the bridge. There are transport trucks and motorhomes and vans all parked here. There are even a couple of little outhouses, so I don’t have to worry about peeing in a bucket tonight!

It’s the little things…

Posted in Exploring!, General, Senior (55+) life, Van Life | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Van Plan – Day 2

April 21, 2019

​​​This is day two of sleeping in my van.

Yesterday I did the walk-through of my apartment and we worked out how much of my damage deposit I’ll be getting back. I left all the cleaning to them because the cats and I were stressed, so I wound up paying for that but I think it was well worth the money.

Last night we found a nice quiet street to park on and I actually had a decent sleep. We are slowly learning.

Certain twins-o-me-heart turned nine today!

I have downsized a bit already and I think I’m going to be getting rid of the cooler. It takes up a lot of space and I’m not really using anything out of it. I think I can learn to enjoy eating things at room temperature. Sometimes I’ll have access to a picnic table and I can cook something on my little stove, but for the most part we’ll be roughing it.

I’d rather have more room than a cooler full of stuff that I rarely use.

I will be shedding stuff over the next few days as well. I’ll be leaving presents at the birthday party today, I’ll be dropping off my modems at Shaw, and I will be leaving some things at the house as well. So that will lighten the load.

Enjoying the view from the dash
(Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby)

The kittens are doing well on the second day. They are less shy, more interested in what’s going on around them as we drive down the street, and even little Mystery is feeling more lovable and is purring louder. She is getting bolder about coming out from under the bed and hanging out with me. So I think it’s going to be a much easier day for all of us today.

Today’s lesson will be doing payroll on the road.

I think tomorrow’s lesson will be how to bathe on the road.

Posted in Exploring!, General, Senior (55+) life, Van Life | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dawn Ann’s Van Plan

April 20, 2019

So, I am starting a new experiment. Yesterday Isaac came and helped me move all my stuff into storage and last night the kittens and I slept in the van.

It was cold. Everything hurt from moving. We all had a rough time sleeping last night.

But we survived.

Morning light

I got tired of paying exorbitant rent in a place where they didn’t really care about me as a person. I’m sure apartment management doesn’t usually care about their tenants as people, but I never felt safe there and I never felt that it was home.

So, the plan is for me to live in the van with the cats for the summer. If I like it I will keep doing it, and if I grow tired of it I will find somewhere permanent but more affordable to live.

I’m going to try to be regular with these blog posts; just my thoughts a little bit at a time. I’m also going to post pictures. It’s kind of cool waking up in a different place every morning. The morning sunlight looks different on each landscape.

Mystery (my girl kitten) having a wee doze

My immediate plan over the next few days is to clean the apartment and get my damage deposit back, then head for Calgary. I have some business to do there and some friends and family I want to see.

Some things I noticed on our first night:

1) The cats were pretty stressed at first, but now they’re already relaxing into their new home. They seem to rather enjoy watching traffic, crows, people walking by. Especially Moonlight; he is always so curious.

2) I packed way too much stuff. The van is jam-packed and there’s hardly room to get around. I did this kind of on purpose, as I didn’t want to miss out on any convenience. I included as much food as I could bring. So the first order of today, after I get finished cleaning the apartment, is to go park somewhere and sort through everything, to see how much I can winnow out.

Posted in Exploring!, General, Senior (55+) life, Van Life | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ancient memories: Tara Time

I wrote this a long time ago but feel compelled to share it today. To preface the story, let me mention that I had had a past life regression which examined two former lifetimes. This is the story of the most ancient one:

Her kind old face was wreathed with laugh lines; her golden skin glowed in the sun. Sparkling dark eyes filled with intelligence, compassion and humor twinkled out at the world. She was the smartest, funniest woman I had ever known and everything I knew I had learned from her. She gave me a lasting legacy of humor and smarts, as well as a message for the world – that we are all One. I loved her more than I have ever loved anyone since.

I gazed around us this bright, sunny day, absorbing her love and her knowledge. The golden stones of the temple and the courtyard glowed warm in the sun’s rays. Brilliant green foliage cast cool shadows across the stones and added a softening effect around the edges of our existence. I could feel the calming, gentle wisdom of the trees. The wind in their branches spoke to me.

A quiet voice queried me; “What is the system of government of the time?” I looked around me. Students were listening to a teacher, seated upon benches of stone and dressed in long, white tunics and gilded sandals like mine. I answered immediately; “It is like a monarchy, but the leader is, in many ways, just a figurehead. The government is of the people and everyone cooperates in its running.” I wanted to elaborate further, as this was a topic that greatly interested me, but the voice asked other questions quickly that moved me from one topic to another. I became slightly irritated that my thoughts were not allowed to linger on each one.

I had come to this place after many millennia of absence. I had been first a student of the temple here, then a teacher. The mists of eons of time had dimmed my memories, but the feelings were familiar and much missed. I reveled in my surroundings and the expansion of my mind. Everyone here was working together to create a world of peace and harmony, of knowledge and understanding, of love and oneness.

A memory came to me of a later time when I was teaching a class, myself. My sister (who is again my sister in this lifetime) was amongst my students, sitting quietly in the back and listening intently. She came because she loved the ideas being presented and wanted to learn what she could so she could share this knowledge with her children. She was not a priestess, but was allowed to participate in the classes because of her relationship to me. What we studied and taught was not hoarded amongst the temple dwellers alone, but was meant to be shared and understood by all.

The high priestess’ wisdom left a lasting legacy with me. Through lifetime after lifetime I was able to utilize what she taught me and apply it to my lives. In this life, I understand where I got my sense of humor and compassion; she was the source.

My mind drifted from place to place during this lifetime. I could recall the colorful, bustling marketplaces, though we of the temple rarely visited them. Everything we needed was brought to us daily, as we were expected only to study, learn and teach. The golden stones of the temple and city vibrated with an energy that is now all but gone from this earth. We were able to communicate with the trees and the animals. We swam with dolphins and gazed at the stars. We learned how to manipulate energies and create what we needed, moving through time and space and accessing information that is also now gone from this planet – at least for the most part. At least for now.

“What is your name in this lifetime?” The voice again pulled me gently back into the current time. A split second passed before I recalled; “Tara. Or Kara. No, Tara.”

“Do you know where your country is situated?”

“I don’t recall.” I paused briefly. “No, I can’t pinpoint where we are. It was so long ago.”

I wanted to linger, explore my old lifetime and reminisce some more. Feel the warmth and energy and love that surrounded us all. See what became of my sister and her children. But slowly I was brought back to this life and my visit was over.

“Have you ever heard of Tara before?” my guide asked me.

Having been a Gone With The Wind fan all my life, I answered, “Just Tara of Gone With The Wind. And I have a friend named Tara, but beyond that, no.”

My guide got up and fetched a figurine she had of Quan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion. She explained that Quan Yin was also known as Tara in other cultures. I looked closely at the little figurine. Her hair was pulled back in loops exactly as I had remembered wearing it in those ancient times. She had a little ornament on her brow, just as I had. I could not see her tiny feet, but I was sure she must also be wearing gilded sandals as I had.

I looked up at my guide, wide-eyed. “Tara taught that we are all One,” she said. A thrill went through me. “I think you were Tara,” my guide continued. I did not answer, but upon reflection I should have clarified, “Not Tara herself, but a teacher of the Temple of Tara.” We were all teachers of the Temple of Tara. But the tiny bit of remnant knowledge we now have of Tara barely hints at the power and the wisdom that we knew then.

Posted in General | Tagged | Leave a comment

Nomadic life

Hitting the road.

Those who know me know that I love to travel. I get bored if I stay in one place too long.

So imagine my glee when I discovered a whole community of travellers who live in their vans, RVs and even cars full time. Seriously!

I think this is the life for me and I am seriously considering buying a van to fit out for living in. Tom says he’ll help me learn how to use woodworking tools and it will be a fun hobby for the two of us.

Here is a link to a great source of information on the subject. This forum has thousands of users from all over the continent.

And here is the corresponding Youtube channel.

Bob Wells and his growing van-dwelling community have been so helpful to me in my scheming. Check it out. Maybe I’ll see you on the road one day!

Posted in Exploring! | Tagged | 3 Comments

This scares me a little

I have known my Aunt Fern’s phone number since I was a girl. My mom used to call her sister regularly and I remember clearly how she would dial ‘0’ to contact the operator. Then she would say, “I’d like to make a long-distance call to area code 403, 299…” and then relay the rest of the number.

I can still see my mom standing in her house dress by the old-fashioned rotary-dial telephone, which was firmly attached to the wall between the kitchen and the living room.

I have never in my adult life had to think twice about Aunt Fern’s number. I just always knew it. I could pick up the phone anytime, anywhere, and get in touch with her if I had to.

Until today.

I wanted to phone Aunt Fern and the number just would NOT come to me. And it wasn’t like a “brain fart” moment where you forget for a second and then you remember. It was gone. With some concentration I could remember 299, but I never did get the last four digits. I finally had to look it up.

I probably shouldn’t let this bother me as much as it does, but I think I’ll start keeping a record all the same.

Posted in General, Senior (55+) life | Tagged | 2 Comments

Working remotely: why you need a virtual private network (VPN)

The find-an-apartment and move date will be in July. By then I will have finished up most other commitments and will have much more time and freedom.

Don't bother me; I'm busy!

Don’t bother me. I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

In the meantime, I am scheming and preparing, including gathering things together we’ll need. It’s fun buying towels and things for a new place. I figure if I do a little at a time, at each payday, I’ll have quite a little cache put together by the time I hit the road.

BUT, one of the most important discoveries to living and traveling remotely that I have found is this: a “virtual private network” tool, or VPN.

O. M. G. How did we live without this in the past? With it, I can access my home desktop computer and all its files and programs as if I were sitting right there in my office. I will be able to work from almost anywhere in the world that I have an Internet connection.


The one I chose is from and it is amazing. It is easy to use and seamless. The image of my home desktop, even from my laptop, is sharp and crystal clear (though small, laptop-monitor size). I can even toggle between my two home monitors.

I connected a decent-sized monitor to my laptop for when I am working remotely all day, but in a pinch it is perfectly readable for checking email or finding a file while on the road.

I would highly recommend this amazing tool if you plan to live and work away from the office.

Posted in Business, Technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dastardly Kirkpatricks

Most of the Kirkpatricks I have researched so far were respected, hard-working, family-oriented people who had a sense of humor and a sense of adventure. They were explorers and trail blazers. They were pillars of their communities.

I haven’t heard of too many “bad” Kirkpatricks, but there is the occasional one.

Recently I was searching through old west coast newspapers searching for information on my great-great grandfather, Thomas Gillham Kirkpatrick. He had spent time in California and Oregon during the gold rush, before he moved on to British Columbia, where he stayed.

I didn’t find anything on ol’ TGK, but I did find a fascinating series of 1858 articles about a Kirkpatrick who, along with his wife, poisoned his brother by putting arsenic in a Christmas pie of all things!

I want to transcribe these articles and post them here and in our family newsletter. Watch for them!

Posted in Family, Kirkpatrick | Tagged | 6 Comments

The evolution of a plan

I am having a lot of fun hanging out with my children and grandchildren down in the Greater Vancouver Area of BC. We had a fantastic birthday party yesterday and today I am catching up on a few things.

Happy birthday to adorable 5-year-old twins I know. <3

Happy birthday to adorable 5-year-old twins I know. <3

Plans have evolved a bit since my previous posts. My husband and I decided, since I’ll be spending so much more time in BC anyway, we may as well expand our business there, as well. This opens up all kinds of new opportunities, including being able to employ some family members as we grow.

As well, my youngest son, a college student, may be sharing an apartment with me for awhile, until he gets on his feet. It’s pretty crowded where he is now and he’ll have “our” place to himself for much of the time, so that’s going to be a win/win scenario.

See how creative you can get when you start really thinking about things?

Have I mentioned lately how excited I am?

Posted in Business, Senior (55+) life, Success in Life | Tagged | Leave a comment

I’m not the only one

One of the things I hope to achieve with this journal is to share stories about other far-seeing women who prefer to travel alone. A dear friend who knows me very well sent me a link to this article:

Holidays for one: why I love to hit the road alone

The author also enjoys getting away by herself for times of solitude and mobile-phone-silence. It contains such gems as:

Once I’m parked, I’ll cook myself a pretty spectacular dinner, if I do say so myself. It is possible to make gourmet meals for one in a teeny-tiny space, and this is important, because romancing your solo self is important.

Perhaps that is something I’ll have to start doing. My “solo self” could use a little romancing.

These lines spoke directly to me:

…a long drive on quiet roads can be soothing. The amniotic swoosh of passing tyres. The LEDs of the spaceship dashboard winking. The semi-trance of doing something on autopilot. And moving forwards with things rolling by in your peripheral vision, that literal unspooling. I really think there is as much potential for mindfulness in a long, lonely drive as there is in a yoga class.

Yes! Yes and yes. There is nothing so relaxing to me as just driving and driving. Sometimes with music or radio on, but often with just my own thoughts. To me, it is the very best therapy.

Posted in Exploring! | Tagged | Leave a comment