Before Instagram #vanlife was a thing, sometime around the late 90s, I did what every other university graduate with an English degree does: I built a bed in the back of my white Chevy cargo van and headed ‘out west’ to tree plant for the summer.
It sounds more romantic than it was, but something momentous did emerge from that journey, even life changing you might say: I bought my first mountain bike. Parking at the trailheads on Hornby Island, I followed locals alongside the cliffside trails and fell in love with the intensity of mountain biking--that sometimes you have a few seconds to make a snap decision to prevent a crash. But more than that, I loved the focus, and the flow—that when you’re floating through the trees, inhaling the fresh pine air, nothing else in the world exists but that moment.
I fell in love with all the freedom and adventures that a bike offers, and shortly after that trip, I became a travel writer specializing in cycling.
More than 20 years later, with many trails, stories and bruises along the way, I’m repeating the same trip, only this time, as a new Liv ambassador, I’m not alone: my partner, dog Farley, cat Tom and my new Liv Intrigue are coming with me as we stop to ride with other Liv ambassadors along the way. The van is quite a bit smaller than the Chevy—it’s a Nissan Rogue, but I have built a bed in the back with two mini cabins for the pup and kitty.