Dylan and I do a lot of traveling and road trips with our dogs Osita and Tila aka Atilla. We were both traveling when our paths met in paradise, more on this in the about section… We love to visit family, friends, new and old places. On our road trip to Alaska in summer 2016, as we were driving back through the Yukon in Canada, I looked at Dylan and said, “why don’t we just live on the road?” He said, “I’ve thought about it before, but I didn’t think you’d like to.” I replied, “are you kidding? As much as I like to travel and move from place to place?” That’s when the journey began.
With Dylan at Salmon Glacier, BC on our road trip from California to Canada and Alaska with our pups.
Dylan loves to set a time frame. Me, not so much. I like spontaneity. But to shift to a nomadic lifestyle of freedom and off grid adventures, there was a lot of planning to do. We had to work a lot to get what we needed: a toy hauler trailer with a garage for Dylan’s workshop, a truck and time off to get our Gypsy Caravan ready. Our plan was to be on the road by the following June. But as plans go, it took a lot more time than predicted.
Downsizing proved to be the hardest thing. Dylan had moved from Canada with his knife-making equipment and accumulated new tools and machines. He had to take down his entire workshop, selling and giving away a lot of extra materials and tools to metalsmith friends. I always saw myself as a minimalist, but as I was downsizing I realized I had decades of furniture, art, files and clothes I had collected through the years. It took days of sorting through, recycling, destroying old documents we no longer needed, selling and giving away two thirds of my closet, finding homes for precious antiques and furniture I had gotten custom made. As hard as it was to get it all done, it felt completely freeing to let go of things we didn’t need at all. We kept the essentials to live and work.
Some of the things that made the cut – an antique Indonesian bench, colorful pillows, coffee table books, etc.
Our friend Colin Parker of Present and Positive graciously let us use a spot on his 40 acre land to work on the gypsy caravan – a large 38 foot toy hauler trailer.
The land where it all began.
We needed enough living space for us and our dogs, plus a large enough garage for Dylan to set up his workshop, good size closets and cabinetry. The 2004 Forest Sierra toy hauler trailer we got came with the standard decor, which did not suit our style. We opted for a used trailer, not only because it was better on our budget, but also because the decor on most trailers, new or old, is not exactly our style. So, we would have had to remodel it anyway.
We removed all the furniture, as well as the carpet in the bedroom and kept the original cabinets and checkered floor in the living area. We liked the retro floor vibe and with our two dogs, we didn’t want to redo the floors until they really need it. After we removed the wall paper throughout the trailer, we found some water damage and mold in a few wood panels, so we had to bleach them and let them dry before painting them. Luckily, that did the trick!
Cleaning the retro checkered floors.
Dylan resealing the trailer. Lots of work and a good tan.
I had ordered eco-friendly paints that were made with clay and natural pigments. Dylan spent days painting with that earth-friendly paint to later realize it was clumpy and two chalky. He had to buff everything smooth to be able to apply other paint that worked on our cabinets and wood panels. So, finally, we ended up painting all the walls and cabinets white with Behr VOC-free paint, excluding the bathroom and bedroom slide-out, which got a faux cloud-Caribbean ocean turquoise pop of color. Then added bamboo and recycled vinyl flooring in the bedroom, cleaned off all the old decals on the outside and moved in with the only piece of my furniture that could fit in there: a gorgeous antique Indonesian bench-sofa. We got a great organic cotton futon mattress and had solar installed on the roof.
The solar set up – solar panels, batteries and inverter.
After a lot of work on the trailer in extreme heat in the high desert, we decided to continue working on it in British Columbia. We will be doing a dedicated “before and after” blog with pictures down the road (pun intended) when we complete everything. Take a peek at the interior in the following photos.
Once we were done with all we could do on the land, we were planning to do a little gathering there with our Idyllwild friends. But it was unbearably hot at the land, so we scrapped the idea. That is, until, our sweet friend, yogini and artist Rena decided she was going to be bringing some organic, vegan chocolate pudding (made with yummy avocados) along with some friends. It was a beautiful night under the stars with friends, their children, a bonfire, vegan enchiladas by Jenn and Aaron, vegan pudding by Rena, plus vegan smores that Colin and Miriam brought to roast over the fire! It was very grounding to invite them into our Gypsy Caravan for the first time and have it blessed with their wonderful energy.
We wanted to see more friends before we left the mountain, so we did a chocolate gathering at Jessica’s and Erik’s organic bean-to-bar cacao spot, El Buen Cacao. We got to spend time with our Idyllwild soul family. The mountain attracts some of the most interesting, conscious and creative people per capita. There are healers, artists, academics, scientists, environmentalist, etc., from all denominations and political views. Paraphrasing my neighbor Diana, “everyone in Idyllwild is like a geode, as you get to know them, as if turning over a seeming rock, you discover the gem.” It is so true.
Jessica & Erik of El Buen Cacao.
A few days earlier, I met English photographer Deborah Anderson at El Buen Cacao. A stunning British transplant, living in LA, who was looking to move to Idyllwild. I saw her in a beautiful, comfy dress and started up a conversation. I immediately loved her energy and invited her to come to the farewell gathering to meet Idyllwild locals; kindred spirits that would help seal her decision. The turn out was perfect.
With new friend, photographer Deborah Anderson at center.
We got to spend some time with our favorite Idy people, while we had yummy organic chocolate delicacies and drinks. Among those who came were multi-faceted artist and chef-owner Kelly Johnston-Gibson of Plant Food Supper Club, multi-media artist and jewelry designer Tricia Pilkington whose collection is available at our store, Michael Wangler of Sky Island Organics, Randy Olsen of Zebra Organics, artist and yoga healer Trine Bietz, jewelry artist and massage therapist Tawny Harrington with musician Carlos Reynosa and their beautiful family, healer Danny Peebles of Heart-Inspired Millionaire (whose book we sell at our store) with his family, Mark Yardas and Mara Schoner of Neighbor2Neighbor with Zora and Dante, Joanna Alexander of Strawberry Creek Crochet, Rena of YogaLove with Rena Bird, talented Danish designer and knitter Merle Swane, Dolma Rollins of Om Tara, jewelry artisan Chris Fox, Michael Kellner, Jill with Sorin and Billy, Jaqcs, Joel and Keri, Diana and Terry, Tima, and many others that came by.
Dylan and I with chef Kelly of Plant Food Supper Club and Randy of Zebra Organics.
We had a few other dinners with more friends the following nights. We even got to see artist and jewelry designer Alexis Dorchester (whose gorgeous line is available at our store) with her chef husband Justin and their two boys; one that she had recently given birth to. That topped off the farewell with extra love. The send offs were filled with great energy to start on our new gypsy life. Grateful.