Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The making of - hardwork, perserverence and getting to step one

My husband and I lived in a van named the Hardwoo traveling around the U.S.A  for three months. since my return to Canada , I seem to hear the question how did you do it ? all the time . Amongst a medley of related questions like , where did you sleep ? how did you afford it ? why would you want to do that ? what was it like ? ..... So in response I decided to write a post or a few posts really all about what life in the Hardwoo was really like behind the scenes.
You could say The Hardwoo adventure started many years ago back then it was just a sparkle , idea nothing more than a pipe dream . Calhoun and I have always been cursed with wander lust but getting out isn't always as easy or romantic as it seems. It was years from when the first seed of an idea was planted until it actually came into fruition and when it began to there was even more hard work ahead of us than we had imagined .
In the beginning
Though to those on the outside it may have seemed like we just picked up and left that wasn't at all the case. It took us over a year to save the money that we would live off of on the road. It took many wearied nights and weekends and much sacrifice of common comforts, immense personal and psychological strain we almost lost each other in the process .
We have been together for eleven years about a year and a half ago we finally got married, the idea of skipping the honey moon and keeping the money for the trip was debated but after 4 years working overtime I had to insist I wanted my pampered honeymoon in the sun . However every penny friends and family gave us for our wedding went towards the van without their generosity the Hardwoo never would never have been .
Once we returned from said honeymoon in the sun we were rejuvenated and ready to start down the long and winding Hardwoo road. It took us months of trolling classifieds , auto trader and kijiji  before we found the Hardwoo , and we jumped on it . It was being sold by a couple around our age who had just used it to move (ironically enough) from Toronto. They were nice folks who knew nothing about cars and the deal worked out for everyone . We finally had our vessel and we couldn't have been happier but the fight wasn't over yet not even close .
 I want to take this moment to answer one of the most commonly asked questions about the Hardwoo. Why is it called the Harwoo ? Well before it belonged to the couple who owned it before us , it belonged to a flooring company that specialized in Hardwood only the d along with most of the advertisement had worn off the side of the van now it read "Canada's leading Hardwoo" we had argued about the name (we always name our vehicles) Calhoun wanting to call it the behemoth and me opting for road warrior circus but when the suggestion of Harwoo came up it just stuck.
In the months that followed we would work our selves near to death , both taking on as many extra shifts as possible as well as picking up any side jobs we could get. Calhoun moved furniture in the van and did temp demolition work for a friend. While I booked a couple shows and sold everything I could bear to part with.
For those of you who have never sold everything you have acquired in your life so far in anticipation of launching your self whole heartedly into the unknown , it can be quite liberating . I once heard some where that the things you own end up owning you and I've come to realize there is some truth in that . I've moved a dozen times but this one was different there was no new address to send things to , no certainty of where I'd be next month , the only certainty was for better of worse this was going to happen there was no turning back now.
Scrubbing away
We moved into my parents house after our last days at work figuring we would save the rent and devote ourselves fully to the preparations. What was supposed to take a couple of weeks took a month even though we weren't working we were busier than ever, selling more things (I couldn't believe how much we still had) , putting the few things we kept but weren't taking into storage, having the van checked over, replacing tires, having the back seat installed, filling prescriptions for the next 6 months, picking up supplies for the van, changing windshield wipers, purchasing travel insurance, attempting to find out if you can travel to the states with a fish, buying road worthy fish tank (not easy to find), having jackets and shoes repaired, dropping off boxes of yet more stuff to friends, not to mention trying to see friends before we left seeing as we had no idea when/if we would return. Every night we went to bed exhausted.
I don't think the majority of our friends got it until right near the end, some not until well after we'd left , people would still be inviting us to things we kept having to remind them we wouldn't be there next week.
We had set a dead line for our departure , the day before the delivery of my parents new furnace they had half jokingly suggested it and it served a reason as any. As the date loomed upon us we became progressively more frantic.
All done !
A couple of days before the fated day we finally set ourselves to converting the inside of the van from cargo van to rolling road warrior dream home. It was not easy we both had criteria we wanted it to meet we didn't meet them all but after 12 hours, 3 pairs of rubber gloves, galllons of water and all purpose cleaner, a pack of jay clothes and scrubbers, 4 ratchet straps, 2 giant Tupperware boxes, 1 in destructible fish tank with a lid and about 50 bungee cables in varying sizes , the inside was clean , the  mattress was up , Girlie and glimmer had their allotted spots, everything was tied down and secured and you could still see out the back window, then we collapsed in a heap I think I may have actually fallen asleep mid conversation that night. 
Calhoun and I are very different he is this amazing anything can happen kind of guy that just falls into things always somehow not only landing on his feet but in the perfect place at the perfect time .
Ready to go
Me, I need a road map, a game plan and an exact address to find a friends new house when they've moved two blocks over. As a result days it works great and some days are like the day we left a chaotic whirlwind in which my plans and maps get so swept up that I forget my jacket and have to turn back before I've even left the city .
Once we blew out of city limits though the sun shinning the van packed to the gills with every contingency plan for every situation I could imagine , the radio losing it's signal as we left Halifax behind , I felt more free than I ever have .

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