Another Journey Begins…

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – D. Williams Jr.

One of the most commonly asked questions on the tour has been “What are you going to do next?!”. We set out on this adventure exactly one year ago with the intention of trying out this vagabond lifestyle for the year and then reassessing our goals. We are happy to say that we’ve accomplished everything we set out to do! We traveled to faraway and delightful places, we met new friends (who will now be lifelong friends!), we educated others about sustainable living, and we spread the love of Jesus. All of that excitement has left us longing for MORE of the same! So, instead of settling down…we have decided to continue our journey indefinitely! We’ve enjoy the “mobile life” so much, that we wanted to make ourselves more permanently mobile. With that in mind, we’ve made a few changes.

The first change is that we have moved into a new home! Another home on wheels of course. :) We had been looking for a new RV for about 6 months, and found the perfect one for us in Burlington, WA when we were traveling through to Vancouver. It’s a little longer, a little wider, and has a few nice features that will make full-time life on the road easier. As I type this, we are in Eugene, Oregon having the veggie conversion done at Green Eye Auto. They are a fantastic company and we have been really happy with their service. If you are looking to get a veggie conversion done on the West Coast, be sure to give Clark a call! They also have an abundance of cool diesel (veggie-oil ready!) vehicles too. We’ll be headed to Bozeman, MT next to do the remodel on the inside. I’ll be doing an entire post telling (and showing photos of course) about the new RV near the end of July.

Our beloved “blue beast” has served us well…it was really hard to say goodbye to it! Moving out and saying goodbye was so bittersweet. Before I walked out for the last time, I paused to think about all of the memories made in that space…so many amazing people and intriguing conversations, the late nights spent blogging and sipping tea, delicious meals shared, and oh the sights we saw! It was a wonderful home…I was unable to hold the tears back! Bella was quick to point that out with her adorable comments. “Mommy…are those TEARS?!!?” and “Mommy…why are you sad?!”. We had some good talks about how you can be happy and sad at the very same time.

Luckily, we won’t have to say goodbye for good…the original Live Lightly Tour bus will “live on”! We have sold it to Jeff and Kim (you met them in yesterday’s post about Plano, TX) and they will be JOINING the Live Lightly Tour…starting their own adventure in early 2009. They will be doing a separate tour…doing demos around the country and using the RV as a tool to bring awareness to social issues. I asked Jeff and Kim to give me an overview of their mission and what they are all about so I could share it with you:

Hi! We’d like to introduce ourselves…we are Jeff and Kim Harrison. Our 3 yr old son Parks will also be joining us on our new adventure! Born and raised in West Monroe, Louisiana, we ventured out to Boulder, CO six years ago to live and play in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. Living in Colorado taught us to pay even more attention to our environment then we had ever done before and we want to take that knowledge and our passions of travel and meeting new folks out on the road, spreading some Live Lightly Love!

We had the amazing opportunity to meet up with Sara, Matt, and Bella while in Plano, TX where we currently reside. We had already felt the tug of our own hearts to hit the road and set out on a tour that would mirror some of their accomplishments. When they gave us the chance to become part of the Live Lightly Tour and share many of our same passions, we realized that it was no mistake that we had crossed paths. Our dreams were now given some wings to fly!

Our goal for the this tour is to encourage people to make simple choices for both their environment and their communities. By lightening our footprint on our earth, we would like to share some ideas for people to do the same in their own lives.We in turn want to continue to educate ourselves about organic farming, gleaning, and of course hopefully enjoy some great music along the way! We also desire to shed some light on organizations across the country who are sharing their own love to help others.

There are simple things we can all do make a positive difference, and we will live purposely to share that truth.

Our plans at the present time involve getting the RV home to Plano, TX and just doing some small projects to make this very cool bus our own. We’ll be donating and selling more of our belongings with the goal of moving into the bus around August of this year. Our desires are to keep our current full-time jobs through December 2008, and with Parks still in preschool, live in a local RV park here in Plano. This will enable us to schedule our route, make contacts,be with our families during the holidays, and develop our plans to hopefully hit the road Jan 2009. We HOPE to be doing some local demo’s here in the south throughout the fall, aiming to stay in the southern region on the first full-time leg of the tour, then moving farther north throughout the spring, summer, and fall. We will most likely begin in Florida, moving our way West, through New Orleans, across Texas, and of course passing through Colorado, aiming for Portland and Seattle. We also will plan to do an East coast leg as well because Nashville,TN, New York and the Carolinas won’t be missed!

Our paths will certainly intersect with the Janssen family while we are on the road…we plan to meet up with them to celebrate the Tour of ’09 and regain some much needed inspiration!

-Jeff, Kim, and Parks

We are so excited to welcome the Harrison family to the tour! They are a perfect fit and God has had his hand in this process from the beginning. There have been so many little details over the last couple of months that have worked out exactly how they needed to for everything to happen. Jeff will be flying into Seattle tomorrow to pick up the RV and will meet up with us in Burbank, WA so we can give him an “RV 101″ class :) before he drives it all the way back down to Plano, Texas.

The website will, of course, remain…but will undergo a few minor changes…adding their blog, etc. Those changes will take place over the next couple of months. Basically, The Live Lightly Tour will now have two families traveling and spreading the love instead of one. Double the fun!

As for our immediate plans…our schedule on the Route page is still accurate. Our last booked demo was in Vancouver, BC…but we will still be available for bookings in the Midwest. We will be focusing on catching up on blogs and photos from the West Coast and relaxing throughout the rest of the summer and will be with Matt’s family in Montana and Minnesota and my family in Iowa. We’ll head out to Colorado in the fall…we’ve been contacted by several different groups to speak, so if you’re out that way, watch the Route page! My sister is getting married in October in Minneapolis…and after that, our life is an open book! Another journey begins! We are planning on heading south during the winter months and then will be back to the Midwest in the summertime. We’d like to settle into a routine of 6 months traveling, 6 months parked (near family). We will continue doing demos, although the schedule will not be as intense as this year! And of course, we’ll be swinging in to say hello to all of our new friends around the country.

Thanks for hanging in there with us through all of these transitions….please bear with me as I get everything uploaded and blogged from this last leg of the tour. I hope that you’ll understand now that you know all the craziness that has been going on! :) To tide you over…here is the San Diego photo set that I just uploaded.

I am also excited to announce that I will be working on an eBook in the next 3-4 months that will go into greater detail about our everyday life on the road, traveling on veggie oil, and also how YOU can travel too :) Stay tuned!

Plano | Dallas | Ft. Worth, Texas

At the last minute, we were booked to be a part of “Live Green Expo” in Plano, TX…so we headed up and parked overnight in the parking lot before the event the next day. They had a great turn out…with green companies from all over Texas being represented there. We were out in the “transportation section” in the back and had a lot of people in and out of the RV, including many blog readers who came by to introduce themselves.

After the expo, we were hosted by Jeff and Kim and their little boy, Parks. We immediately hit it off with this cute little family…we share many common interests…including a love for Jesus and his creation. We enjoyed meals together…including a particularly delicious one at a local Thai restaurant. Well, let me back up a bit. We were running precariously low on grease and had been talking to Jeff and Kim about it. So, during the expo, they just swung by a couple restaurants to check for us. Jeff called Matt and told him that he had found some…but of course, we had no idea of the quality, how much, etc. After heading over there and inspecting it, we crowned Jeff the “King of Grease Hunting”. He had hit the jackpot. We filled up completely and then some (120+ gallons!) with perfect, clean grease from the Thai restaurant he found. Yay Jeff! So, of course, to celebrate we ordered some curry, pad thai, and spring rolls and other such deliciousness and had a meal in the RV as we pumped.

The next day, we went to their church, Life in Deep Ellum, in Dallas. Kim had been working on getting us set up there for a demo for quite some time…and we were able to give a short talk during the service about our vision for stewardship and also talked about our journey so far. We had a fun open house and meal with the entire congregation and connected with so many cool folks. It’s a very young, hip church and their desire to care for God’s creation is strong! One of the ladies there who I had been in contact with before we came and she brought a big bucket that I could dump our compost “stuff” in . Thanks Kelly! We said our goodbyes to everyone and headed to Ft. Worth for another demo that afternoon.

City on a Hill is a house church organization in Ft. Worth and they invited us to come down and talk to their group about our tour. We enjoyed an afternoon of sharing, food and fun. Thank you to Beth and the crew for bringing us in!

Photo album here.

DwellSmart to the Rescue!

One of the things I have missed most in our travels is growing plants, herbs, etc….just green stuff in general! We don’t really have the space to have big plants in the RV…but growing herbs in the windows is the perfect solution! We were excited to receive a package in the mail from DwellSmart in Charleston, SC with the herbs as well as a neat compost container and compostable corn-based plastic bags. The herbs were so easy to set-up and grow. We have 2 different kinds, lemon basil in a fully biodegradable pot and saucer made from reclaimed rice hulls…and a mint “garden in a bag”. Bella loved helping me plant them and was absolutely giddy when the seedlings finally popped through the dirt to show their delicate green leaves. She continues to water them daily and asks constantly when we are going to eat them. :)

The compost container has been a great place to put all of our food scraps…and it’s so easy to just grab the bag and throw it in the compost pile. No mess! It’s surprisingly large and smell has not been a problem at all because it’s breathable. The unique material allows heat and moisture escape, therefore eliminating “stink”.

DwellSmart’s mission is to help protect and improve the health of individuals and the environment. We had a great time checking out their store when we were there….so much green goodness in one place! I was hyperventilating! :) They truly are a one stop shop for all your eco-needs…with a staff that is committed to living green and helping you do the same. Be sure to comb through their website…lots of goodies!

Wheatsville Coop and A Little More Austin

The crew at Wheatsville Coop welcomed us with open arms…we had a great time at the demo and met a lot of really fun people. While we were still in Austin, we were able to have lunch with an old family friend of Matt’s. Jamey and Matt grew up together in Minnesota, and we still hang out with his twin brother, Jeremy, whenever we go back. Before we left town, we had a “tune up” done on the RV and took care of several things that needed fixing. We parked in the shop’s lot overnight for a few nights…and awoke each morning to the sound of roosters just outside our window. We were also able to hang out a little more with Evan and Pilar. The hill country of Texas is so beautiful and we were sad to leave! But we were off to three events in Dallas/Ft. Worth…

Photo album here.

Crickets and Future Thoughts

There is a cool breeze coming through the RV tonight and the crickets are making their presence known…along with some frogs and other noisy night animals :) A freight train just rattled by for a few minutes…and we’re parked so close to the tracks that the RV swayed back and forth the entire time it was passing. We are settled in for the night just north of Mt. Vernon/Burlington, WA. It was a beautiful day today…super sunny and 70. FINALLY SOME SUN! These last couple of weeks have been heavy with decision-making and ideas of our future as well as demos, photo sessions, new friends, good food, mountains, and beaches. We have so much to share with you … exciting news and fun developments. But you’ll just have to wait a bit until it’s all ironed out. :) So don’t go away!

I am still editing photos and getting blogs ready from Texas, Arizona, and all the way up the West Coast. There are so many adventures and amazing sights just waiting to jump from my hard drive into the blogosphere…I am looking forward to a little more down time over the next couple of months to catch up with it all and process this year’s journey.

Hope you all had a great weekend and a meaningful Father’s Day. More to come soon…