First Entry

Trip Start Aug 13, 2006
Trip End Aug 12, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Monday, August 28, 2006

Call us crazy or call us brave. We'll let you decide. The Hope Family is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime. Tired of the rat race and conforming to societal norms that say you can't do what you want until the kids are gone and you are retired, our family is going to seize the moment, pack up our 1980 Dodge Camper Van, rent out the house and travel North America.

The idea started as just a spark when we bought the camper van 4 years ago. Whenever I would get behind the wheel for a family vacation, (you know the 2 weeks a year of freedom from the J. O. B.), a sense of calm and serenity would come over me. The normal 130 km/h on the highway becomes a thing of the past and 90 km/h seems just right. The world slows down to a crawl and life becomes more about the moment instead of the hustle and bustle of the cell phone, deadlines, kid's sports, sales quotas. Everything just melts away to the rolling and bouncing of the vans old shocks.

It was in these times that I would dream of winning the lottery and just staying on tour, meeting new people, seeing new sights, letting my hair grow and connecting with my family. The problem is I don't play the lottery so the chances of breaking free seemed pretty bleak.

Then a friend of ours said, "Why not? What are the reasons to go? How can you make this happen?" I had always thought of how it couldn't happen. Looking from a different perspective made all the difference. When I really started to think about it we already had won the lottery. Our family is basically healthy, our relationships are strong, and both my wife and I are extremely employable and we have saved a little bit of money. We love each other. That is a richness not based on the chance of 6 lucky numbers coming up. In fact I am quite certain that all the money in the world can't buy those things. The daily grind just seems to blur all of that keeping us trapped, pulling us apart and at odds with each other. No time to enjoy the simple things. The harder I work to have more time with them the farther away I seem to go; risking losing the lottery I have already won!

So now it is time to live simply and reconnect. We are not running from life. We are walking into the unknown to Live Life! I want to dedicate this year to connecting and reconnecting with my wife and children. Seeing the world with them, and through their eyes. Somehow I have forgotten how to play, how to live, how to love.

Is this a radical solution to the mundane? Maybe. So far it seems like the right solution for us.

Our demographic info is Cliff 34, April (is a woman don't ask), Evelyn 11 and Garrett 8

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

So this is the opening BLOG entry. Only 7 weeks (oops now 8) since we have been out of our house. A lot has happened and it is now difficult to remember everything. We are currently sitting in St. John New Brunswick sleeping in the line for the ferry to Nova Scotia. It is really the first opportunity I have had to sit and write. So let's go through the last several weeks of the journey.

It started with April and the kids moving out of the house and into the back yard in out tent. Switching places with Lyn and Albert as they took over the house. They were very gracious and let the kids stay in their own rooms for the two weeks that we were still at the house.

Meanwhile I had taken off to Halliburton to work for my friend David doing some de-construction work. I think that I got the better end of the deal staying in the van by myself and working with my good friend. It was lots of fun. I really enjoyed the physical work. Had some/having some serious thoughts of a career change.

The fun couldn't last as I had to come back to Ottawa and finish up my work with Rogers Cable. In the meantime April and the kids had moved in with our friends Mary Anne and Austin, their two kids and their summer boarder Brendan. Fortunately their house is huge and could accommodate everyone comfortably. It was great staying with the Pearce-Lawrence Clan, we had lots of fun singing playing and getting ready for Kaleidoscope and our journey to come. Austin and Mary Anne were also getting ready for a trip to the UK that we would have gone on had we not been taking off for a year on our own adventure.

A couple of weeks is lots to spend with anyone and we left before our best before date came due and went to house/dog sit for other friends. It was the first time we had been alone together in almost a month. The quite time was nice and gave us an even greater opportunity to prepare to really leave Ottawa.

All to quickly it was time for Kaleidoscope (for those of you who do not know about this event check it out at it will explain everything. We have been helping organize and run the event for a number of years now its great). This year's fest was one of the best I can remember. If you were to look up great party in the dictionary there would be a picture of this years fest there. Only one sour note thanks to our un-named drunk friend Andy. Oops I shouldn't have said that. "But hey when you are basking there is no asking!" Fest quote of the decade. To sum up though, fest really was fantastic this year and it is really hard to say any more. So I will LOL. I would like to say thanks to all of you that took part in the send off ceremony for the van and us. It was very special to us that you all gave your protection and well wishes to us for our journey. You guys are the bestest friends anyone could ever have or wish for. That is right you know who you are.

We had planned to stay at the Fest site Whispering Pines but had an invite to go and stay with our new friends Brad and Julie at their farm just south of Ottawa. It was an invite we could not turn down and bugged out Tuesday after fest was done.

August 28, 2006

Fell asleep and had to continue later and later for the continuation happens to be 6 days. We are very busy people. The upshot from the last entry is that we had a great time with Brad and Julie. In fact they are really cool and we are very grateful for thier generosity in letting us stay at thier place. It was all too soon and we had a wedding to go to. Our friends Christian and Bev.

The wedding was great and we all had a nice time. We got away on Sunday August the 13th and went to dance camp at a place called Dancing Bones. It is an intentional community where twelve people live full time with shared facilities. They all have thier own houses but share kitchens and baths. The dancing was great. We really enjoyed it. The dances are all spiritually inclined circle dances it was very peaceful. Evelyn did lots of volunteer work in the kitchen and learned lots. She made baklava one day amongst many other dishes. Garrett met a friend his age and we did not see much of him except at meal times.

After dance camp we stayed an extra couple of days and went to a Pig Roast at an Organic Farm that was also a collective working and living and working arrangement called D'Acers. It was really neat. The food was great.

That took us to last Sunday where we danced again at a place called Neskaya a world dance reteat and free movement center in the New Hampshire Mountians. We are going back in earily October for another dance weekend.

We high tailed it for Halifax after that. Stayed just outside of Bar Harbour (at our friend Carl's place he was not there but we scared his son) and then made our way to St John and took the ferry to Digby. The crossing was great. We say a bunch of dolphins.

Got to see Cliff's Dad and step mother Millie last night for dinner at Millie's sisters. Dad does not live in Halifax, he just happened to be visiting his sister in law. It was a great home cooked meal eaten at a table. WOW how nice.

We are currently in Halifax. The weather is great and we have been doing a lot of housekeeping here. Our mobile home has needed some repairs. Breaks, a seal on the rear differential and an oil change. We also got the rear end of the van raised and are not dragging our ass anymore. LOL!

We went to an NA meeting this past Friday and met some great people. Of special note are Nathalie, Daniel and their son Nigel and great dog Cannon. Their hospitality has been incredible. We can not thank them enough for the generosity they have shown us. Nothing like a few days of home cooked meals, hot showers and a real bed. Dan took us to the beach yesterday and we have had lots of fun at their house.

Anyhow, I should go for now it is getting late again. Tomorrow we are off to Newfoundland and we promise to give you all shorter enteries. Another update will come soon. Likely the next time we find a high speed connection.

The Hopes
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