Travels
Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Travel/Stories/Tips]

In a few days' time, I will be heading down to southern Utah and I couldn't be more excited for the next adventure. I've been in salt lake city for a bit now and I actually have really enjoyed my time here. A lot of people might think this town is "trash" but I think it's alright. It's not amazing but it's not too bad either. There is plenty to do in the area and I love exploring what is around me. Not only that but they have the nicest climbing gym I have ever been to. It has climbing, a huge workout area, lead climbing, bouldering, showers, a sauna (in the women's and men's bathroom), a dog area in the back, a climbing store, and of course a cafe on the third floor. It's about as bougie as it can get and I love it. For a little, over three weeks I have been doing everything under the sun in this amazing gym. 

Every day I'm here which may seem like a lot but I also paid for the membership which was a bit pricey since you also have to pay the Initiation fee. Overall it was around $140. Now thinking about that cost over the past three weeks or so and coming here almost every single day (I think I've only missed 4 days so far) it makes the membership worth it. Every day I'm using wifi, working out, showering, and of course using the sauna which has been a wonder for my muscles. 

 

Along with this amazing gym, I also had the chance to dog sit two adorable pups and while I was there Lylah got a break from the van life and got to run outside every single day and play with them and I got to use a wired connection, charge EVERY SINGLE THING I can and do laundry without having to pay $10 - $20 depending on how expensive the place is. And of course, the other upside is cleaning out the entire van and getting to have the ac set to a wonderful 70 degrees while sleeping on a memory foam mattress. 

When I'm not at the gym, working, or dog/house sitting I've been hiking, going to brunch or a new brewery, and just enjoying the time. I've always wanted to spend more time in Salt Lake City so I'm glad I am getting to spend more time out here and really get to enjoy what's around me. 

And yes I have seen the homeless populations around and have been taking safety precautions when I'm out and about. I never go out for too long in the dark and I always make sure to have my cell phone and a knife just in case. so far no one has bothered me and I'm not too worried about those around in the area. They all seem to just want to be left alone and not bothered so I do just that. All in all, I think it's alright and if I did decide to come back I now know what it's like here. 

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These are some more lessons I've learned so far. 

Lesson 5: This one may seem obvious but for me, it wasn't something that really occurred as a necessary piece of equipment or really a lesson until about three weeks ago. If you will be doing any traveling in a van setting get a battery-operated blanket or something that gives off heat without too much hassle. I finally was able to order one and I am more than excited about this coming in. Not only will it prevent me from using less power in the van to heat myself up but it will also allow me to be comfy for up to 6 hours without having to charge it in one sitting. As someone who is living in a van that does not have central heat I can just slip a switch for this Is a huge helper when it gets into the 20s or 30s. 

Lesson 6: I find that my feet get colder than they really should so get some really nice thick socks. Wool socks are great for hiking but if you want something in the van to hang out in but not touch the cold ground get yourself some puffy socks. They sell them at Walmart and pretty much any travel destination. They will keep your toes warm and they will prevent you from touching the cold ground of your van/camper when you have to get up in the middle of the night 

Lesson 7: Tell someone where you are. I try to update my dad on where I am whenever I move to a new location. If I'm moving cities, states, or even staying at a random house ill make sure to let him know. You don't know what can happen out there and it's much better to be safe than sorry 

Lesson 8: Insulation is your friend. One thing I have noticed about the van is that the space between the two sets of doors (behind the driver and passenger seat) gets cold immediately after I turn the van off. During this time of the year, I am blasting hot air all the time because this van is huge and I want it as warm as I can get it when it's on. Initially, when this van was redone I didn't put insulation in the doors (and yes they were mostly hollow) but now I'm going to be adding some when I can to try and help out with keeping the inside of the van warm. 

Lesson 9: Don't be afraid to go out and try new things or explore where you are. Just because it's new doesn't mean it always has to be scary. It may be a change in lifestyle but that doesn't mean you have to stay in your "home". go out to a new restaurant (not a chain), go do a local run, walk downtown and check out the shops, or even just go to the park and enjoy the sunshine. Anything is good as long as you spend time where you are enjoying what it has to offer

Lesson 10: Now this also goes with lesson 9 but don't be afraid to get out for a bit and move. I say that because there are going to be days when it's hard to go somewhere or do something due to a lack of motivation. But it's better to get out and at least stretch if you can. It's usually best to do at least 20 to 60 minutes if you can. After all, being in a smaller space for too long can cause series of depression, anxiety, and just frustration. So moving even a little is best mentally and physically 

Two videos will drop tomorrow so be ready

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The truth about van life is that it is hard. It's a challenge to anybody involved. Here are a few things that I've learned since I started on this journey. 

Lesson 1: Walmart will be your primary stop if you wish to save money on accommodations. With a van, it's easy to park and just go right to sleep. you can do it with an rv to but of course it's a bigger rig to have to maneuver. Luckily they have big lots so it's not too much of an issue to get around. Walmart is also safer than most locations I've stayed at due to the brightness of the lights and the fact that you are constantly surrounded by people. You just have to make sure you don't make it obvious you are "camping" or you could get kicked out. 

Lesson2: Always have water. This ties into Lesson 1. I have approximately 15 gallons of water throughout the van. This doesn't include whatever is in the cooler. All this water is helpful for not only my survival but also Lylahs. If you run out of water or if you can't find somewhere to fill up water containers due to the WINTER time closing those options Walmart has an area you can fill that container. It is .30 a gallon but at least there is a backup if you can find somewhere with that resource. 

 

Lesson 3: Back in the day Planet Fitness used to be a terrible option for showers. I remember them charging $20 just to go in to use equipment or to shower (or both if you needed it) and that was looney of them. They used to be highly recommended by anybody that I saw online that did this lifestyle. Now I can say that they are on my radar as well. I went into a planet fitness to work out and they only charge $5 for a shower and to work out which is wonderful since I did need to do both. So if there is one in the area I would recommend them for a shower/workout session If needed. 

Lesson 4: Be aware. This can be used in many ways. to me, it doesn't matter about gender all that matters is if you are aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut. Even with Lylah, I am always aware of where I am and who I am around. If I pass someone on a trail I always look back to make sure I'm not being followed and keep lylah near me as they pass. It seems weird to check behind you but you never know what people are capable of and if it comes to you or them I would hope you would choose yourself. 

These lessons have been something I've been thinking about and keeping in mind as I go on this journey. There's so much more to come but those I feel are some good ones to pass along. 

Stay safe and thanks for following us on this journey as well as supporting us. 

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One of the many things I do wish this van had was a central heating system of some kind. We're heading into cold weather and over the last five days, it has definitely become a little colder at night. Luckily I have Lylah to help keep me warm (even though I have a thing against dogs being in bed I am making an exception for this kind of cold weather) and she is literally a furnace. Throughout the night she will move but she mostly keeps her butt against my legs or side which keeps the warmth under the blanket. 

I am also looking at getting a battery-operated blanket for those chilly nights so that it helps some with getting us warm and keeping us warm. Most only last five hours but I think that's more than enough considering that I'm also in 30 minutes or less when I get in bed. I can then charge it while I drive around and have it set up for the next night. really I think it's the best option for a long-term solution. 

So far the coldest we have reached is 20 and in the van, it's a little warmer (around 30 to 40 depending on where I am) and it's surprising that none of the water in my van has frozen yet. I am hoping that won't happen as I need that to drink and stay hydrated but only time will tell as we progress on our trip. I'm interested to see how things go and see how we handle this type of cold. I am looking to get some thermals to help with those cold winter hikes as I have noticed I get cold very easily. Of course, I'm hoping to break up staying in the van some by staying at a client's place in Salt Lake city (I'm dog-sitting out there) and also staying with a friend in Vegas for Christmas time and will be ready to enjoy free hot showers and more room to move in with hot air all around. With that being said I don't miss Florida's hot air (screw you Florida) but I do miss the warmer side of temperatures for more of the purposes of showering without freezing my ass to oblivion. 

Once a week I go find a real hot shower somewhere and pay up some money to do that but I cut back expenses by putting up with the freezing cold water my portable shower provides. 

Were going to be moving North West today and make our way into Idaho for a few days to do some climbing and hopefully see some scenery. I was hoping to go back to Stanley for a few days to hike some trails but they already have feet of snow coming in and I don't think Gimli would do well in those conditions so were gonna pass on that opportunity. 

Wish us luck. 

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Purchase a piece to help with my travels. More artwork is coming soon but I always appreciate any purchases made 

 

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Hello, one and all! Hope you guys are doing well and that things are dandy.

We are a month in on this trip. A whole freaking month and I can't believe it. It's wild to think about how long we have been out here exploring, driving, and just living life. We have done so many trials, Been through many states and we have only just begun. Right now we are parked outside Crazy Horse and that experience was a wonder to see. Who would have thought we would be carving into stone giant monuments for future generations to see? Of course, at the rate they are going, it may not be done for another 50 years or more. With it being a private foundation they don't get much coming in to actually carve into the stone. sad to think ill never see it completed because it will be Magnificent when it is but also interesting to think about if it will survive long enough to get to completion. Only time will really tell of course. 

I also visited Mount Rushmore and that was quite a view in itself. I do think it's a marvel to think about all the people who helped make it a reality and the amount of time and effort that went into the process. The details in the carving and the ingenuity that went behind that process are a lot to wrap around for the time it was built. It makes me feel a spark of creativity as an artist. Of course, I can't do realism like that but one can dream of doing something of that scale and detail. 

 

We will be going out to spearfish canyon and then to Devil's tower. I'm excited to see more of these amazing places and I am ready to explore them. We are in no rush so we have taken out time getting around. Luckily out here there are plenty of places to camp for free so I have been using that to my advantage and people don't bother me whenever I park in these places. I will be saving these locations for future use which will be helpful and can also share locations that I have stayed at with others if people need it. I'm sure I will have plenty of locations as time goes on. 

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Will make a separate post about the Badlands for you guys and I also have three videos dropping here in the next few days. I dropped one the other day and they are vlogs about my thoughts, feelings, and events happening on the road. I'll make a separate post for that as well. 

Love you guys. 

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Art for sale, purchase to help support my travels!

 

 

 

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