Fort Mac and Back; A van life adventure

It’s a cloudy day in Ontario. Josh and I are driving along the 400 series highway south past Gravenhurst listening to a Joe Rogan podcast.

I’ve been telling myself for the past couple days that I should be writing a blog post about our trip so far, but keep getting distracted. My thoughts instantly go to, “maybe it’s been too long since my last post”…or “ah I’ll remember later and do it when I get home”.

But it’s not true, I won’t remember. I never do. Josh will … but I sure won’t. I have a ‘write it down or forget it’ kind of mind I’ve found. So here it goes…

We’ve been travelling in our van across Canada since Sept 1st, 2019. My husband Josh, my 13 year old labradoodle “Shibby” and myself. Oh and we named our van “snowflake” since she was born in the 2000’s and is unique in her own little way.

We decided to call the tour, the “Fort Mac & Back” tour, as Fort McMurray Alberta would be the farthest destination we’d travel. Josh’s sister, brother in-law & two nephews also live there. They’ve lived there for 8 years and this is the first time we’ve ever visited them. So naturally we decided to book a whole tour around it to make it as big of a spectacle as possible.

Living out of our van 80% of the time (we are blessed to have friends & family to take us in along the way for a shower here & there) it can be …interesting.

If I had to give advice to someone, looking into life on the road, it would be:

1. Use the washroom whenever there’s a chance, even if you don’t think you need to. Just do it.

2. Wash your fucking hands, every time.

3. Bring vitamins and take them daily. I’m serious about this one.

4. Wal-Mart parking lot people are not all bad, because we’ve been them, and it’s fine.

5. Forget what other people think. Period. It doesn’t fucking matter.

When we left our home in Southern Ontario it felt as though we had all of our ducks in a row. Shows were booked, gear was packed, plans were solid.

We wanted to have more gigs on the tour schedule to be honest, but ultimately decided we were going to travel regardless of the number of shows booked. You see there’s no clear cut path to booking a tour. It takes patience, connection & research. You need to know who to contact and when. You need to know what they’re looking for and have the right info to send. It can be a real right time right moment trap.

And listen, it’s not that it’s hard, it’s just not exactly easy. Especially if you’re struggling with crippling self doubt or anxiety like we do, or like a lot of artists or human beings really.

Queue audio self help books…

With a quick 34 hour drive ahead of us to the first gig in Alberta…we decided to dive into some audio books & podcasts to help pass the time. Mel Robbins taught us to honour our instincts with action, how to use the 5 second rule to change your way of thinking & ultimately your life. Kevin Hart taught us the importance of shoulder shrugging, to let things roll off your back more often and that you can take control of how your life story unfolds. Joe Rogan & Bill Burr taught us that humility is key and that if you aren’t ‘eating shit’ on a regular basis while working on your craft you probably aren’t doing enough. Trevor Noah taught us that we are seriously lucky to have grown up as Canadians.

To say the road hasn’t been a total therapy session between Josh & I would be a lie. Here we are playing shows & analyzing our childhood experiences, common fears & life goals like we’re fucking shrinks. I think my third eye opened up like 10 times.

I’m fighting the urge to type “LOL” a million times here. But I’ve never laughed so much in my life, literally, out loud … like in real life. Not just on paper. Is anything really on paper anymore? Lol…Fuck.

Visiting our family in Fort McMurray, AB. and being able to play a show there was amazing. It set up the rest of the tour wonderfully and left us feeling excited & ready to take on our next show in Calgary.

Josh & I pictured here in Fort McMurray at the Athabasca River

With a bit of down time in between shows we decided to “dip” into the mountains. We camped in Jasper & Banff. We had a really close encounter with a giant male elk at our campsite and shit our pants about it a little.

We pit stopped in Canmore AB and hiked near Grassy Lakes (or so we thought) trying not to get lost or to lose Shibby.

Our Calgary family welcomed us with open arms as always & “showed us the way” all the way to our gig at Bourbon Room inside National 10 downtown Cow-Town.

There are a lot of people to be thankful for, opportunities to be grateful about & truly unforgettable experiences.

Thank you to everyone who bought an album, a t-shirt, asked us where we were from, connected on social media & simply smiled in our general direction. We noticed, we revelled and we’re grateful.

As I’m sitting at my sister’s place in the Junction Triangle in Toronto we’re sipping some beers and relaxing on a big comfy leather couch. Apparently while we were gone fall arrived, although it doesn’t feel it here weather wise today.

With a few shows left on the tour poster we are eager to greet everyone and continue the show.

Just like the quote on our van bed’s throw pillow says; “Home … it’s not a place … it’s a feeling”. After almost a month on the road, I can verify it’s truth. Josh and I slept extremely well … like a couple of childless adults. Every. Single. Night.

Sorry I had to…lol.

And so I’ll end this all with maybe the most interesting piece of information we learned or I guess, realized on the trip, thanks to Mel Robbins. Passion; it’s not going to be a thing, an object or profession. It’s not something you find by thinking about it. It’s a feeling. The next time you find yourself lighting up, energized & electric … it’s your queue to figuring out your passions.

Follow it. Explore those emotions. Be ok with it having no explanation at times. It might take you somewhere totally unexpected, or even to a totally different life.

~ Peace, Love & Fresh Breath