The Unexpected Downs of #VanLife

first_imgIt’s so easy to get caught up in the designer blankets, the steaming coffee mugs set in front of incredible beach views, and the starscapes sprawling over delicately lit vans while scrolling through Instagram #vanlife, that you forget you actually have to live in a van to also have those things. There are so many rewarding things about living a nomadic life, but the drawbacks are just as intense. Everyone always assumes the worst part of vanlife is pooping outside, but the downs are much deeper than bathroom jokes. Check out below for some of the unexpected downs of #vanlife.Losing CommunityWhen you pack everything you own into a small metal box and drive on down the road, you have all your THINGS with you, but you don’t have your RELATIONSHIPS. We both left family (and a two-year-old niece that we adore) and friends to achieve this lifestyle. While we are gone traveling, they are hanging out, strengthening bonds, celebrating birthdays, and making future plans. We are missing out on the growth of those relationships. When we come back to our home base, we are the ones that have to make an effort to get everyone in one place and catch up. Our friends aren’t used to us being there, so why would they call us randomly to hang out if we’re never around? It’s absolutely a strain on those friendships that we have been cultivating for years before we left. We miss our friends, we miss our family, and sometimes living this lifestyle doesn’t seem worth the ache in those relationships.What we do have is a road community. We have met so many incredible humans along the way that have become friends we see over and over again. We see them when we visit their cities and camp together at festivals. We have a network of people willing to host us, let us do laundry at their places, and park in their driveway. Thank you!!Losing ConsistencyEvery day is different, which is wonderful. We have no problem with a lack of routine. I think that’s why we do so well in the van. What we do miss is taking classes, having a favorite yoga teacher, and growing skills with other humans consistently. Being on the road for an extended period of time makes it impossible to sign up for a six-week pottery class, or join a frisbee league. Building skills outside of work become a self-reliant responsibility. You have to watch harmonica learning YouTube videos by yourself in the woods, or practice cross stitch while you cruise down the road.Logistics, Logistics, LogisticsEverything is a decision. Because consistency is out the door, and you’re sailing on the wings of freedom, you have to choose where to go, what to do, and how to do it. We have a unique situation where we attend 40 events in an eight-month period, so those create the structure for most of our weeks. But when we don’t have an event to mark as our north-star, we get confused and frazzled. The expanse of freedom is overwhelming. We have to make decisions every minute.Then there are the forced decisions. When the sink breaks or the fridge stops running, and we have to stop everything we’re doing so we don’t get water behind our insulation or have everything in our fridge spoil. There are also logistics for living in a house, but the urgency of vanlife logistics take them to a whole new level.Getting SickThrowing up in a van is very high on our list of things we hate to do. When you’re sick and tired and want to be close to a bathroom, being in a van in the middle of nowhere is the last place that is comforting. We have been sick a few times while living in a van, and every time we either get ourselves to a place where we can be under a roof with a bathroom nearby or pay for a place that will provide those things. When you feel terrible you just want a comfy bed, Netflix, and easily accessible water. Even just having a headache in the van can be miserable when you don’t have the comforts of living in a house. When the going gets tough, living in a van only adds to the tough. If you want to read about our last “being sick in a van” experience, check out our blog post from last year. It was zero percent fun, and one hundred percent miserable!Living in a van has its ups and downs, but we always say the ups outweigh the downs. These examples are just a few of the things we struggle with, there is a whole host of other issues that we face daily. But the freedom (even when you’re making 1,000 logistical decisions) is glorious and the views from the back doors unbeatable.There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors that make this happen: Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel. If you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to winlast_img read more

Trump slashes US refugee admissions to record low

first_imgTopics : President Donald Trump’s administration said late Wednesday the United States will admit a record low of no more than 15,000 refugees over the coming year despite surging global displacement, stepping up its hard line one month before elections.The State Department announced the number just half an hour before the October 1 start of the 2021 fiscal year, narrowly meeting a deadline set by US law following criticism from lawmakers.The 15,000 figure — the maximum who can be admitted over the next 12 months barring a change in administration — is a further cut from 18,000 last year and down dramatically from more than 100,000 under previous president Barack Obama. Nearly 80 million people around the world are displaced, double the number a decade ago, according to the UN refugee agency.On September 8, a fire ravaged a bursting-at-the-seams camp that had been attempting to house 20,000 people on the Greek island of Lesbos, a key entry point to the European Union.Trump’s Democratic rival in November 3 elections, Joe Biden, has pledged to raise the refugee cap to 125,000, saying that welcoming the persecuted is in line with US values.The Trump campaign has run advertisements highlighting Biden’s stance on refugees, saying he is “weak” and would bring in people from “dangerous” places. ‘No more generous country’ Asked about impending cuts to the refugee quota, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that there was “no more generous country” than the United States in providing humanitarian assistance. “You suggest somehow that we didn’t do our fair share when it comes to refugees – nothing could be further from the truth,” Pompeo said in response to a question at a news conference in Rome. “We’ve taken more refugees inside the United States than any other nation over the course of the last 20 years,” Pompeo said.The United States for years took in more refugees than the rest of the world combined. But last year Canada topped the US as the leader by resettling more than 30,000 refugees, according to UN data.Democratic lawmakers earlier feared that the Trump administration would not comply with the requirement to provide a refugee number by October 1, making it impossible to admit people. “We need to restore the refugee program and our moral authority around the world,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, who heads a House subcommittee in charge of immigration.Trump launched his 2016 campaign on vows to keep out Mexican and Muslim immigrants, accusing them of violence, and took heat after a debate Tuesday with Biden for equivocating on condemning white supremacists.Trump has frequently assailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for letting in hundreds of thousands of mostly Syrian migrants.Syria remains the world’s largest source of refugees after nearly a decade of brutal civil war. More than five million people have also fled Venezuela’s crumbling economy and political tumult.Pompeo last week on a visit thanked Colombia and Brazil for taking in Venezuelans and toured a migrant processing center in a Brazilian border town.The State Department statement on the refugee cap pointed to Venezuela as a case where the United States was focusing on “diplomatic solutions.”The Trump administration has been trying unsuccessfully since January 2019 to topple Venezuela’s leftist leader, Nicolas Maduro. Trump, who has campaigned on fierce denunciations of immigration, already suspended refugee admissions entirely for several months this year citing the Covid-19 pandemic.Explaining the proposed new numbers, which need formal White House approval, the State Department said the United States wanted to help displaced people “as close to their homes as possible” until they can go back.”By focusing on ending the conflicts that drive displacement in the first place, and by providing overseas humanitarian assistance to protect and assist displaced people, we can prevent the destabilizing effects of such displacement on affected countries and their neighbors,” a statement said.Refugee advocates had pleaded with the Trump administration to raise admissions in the face of global conflicts and fresh instability due to the pandemic. last_img read more

Kawhi Leonard ‘like Maximus coming back as the gladiator’ in triumphant Raptors return

first_imgTRADE RUMORS: Which teams could target Kevin Love?Leonard went on to score 23 points, adding six assists and five rebounds as the Clippers won, 112-92, to move to 19-7, while the defending champion Raptors dropped to 16-8.Rivers praised the Raptors for how they received Leonard and was certain the often-reserved NBA Finals MVP had been touched by the occasion.”It’s like Maximus coming back as the gladiator,” Rivers said just before tipoff. “He was the champion and just did everything honorably and the right way. I was joking earlier that would be a great intro.”After the victory, Rivers added: “Some players just don’t let you in. But I can tell you that ovation, to him, was very heartfelt. There’s no doubt about that. It meant a lot to him.”I thought what the Raptors did overall — the video, the players coming out, all of them who played with him — that’s the best that I’ve seen since I’ve been in the league. That’s a really classy move by the organization and then by the fans as well.”The Klaw x The North pic.twitter.com/aZzzwl8g46— NBA (@NBA) December 12, 2019Kyle Lowry presented Leonard’s ring and the two players shared a moment admiring the memento that contains over 640 diamonds.”I was joking with him and just showing him that the ring was nice and like it was shining too bright — we were laughing,” Leonard said, according to ESPN. “Memories probably just ran through our heads. As far as winning a championship, it pretty much has come full circle now, being able to get the ring and see where the hard work came from.”But it’s more than that. It’s just a journey. For me, as far as playing for the city, the chapter coming closed once I came over with the Clippers, but I still love the city. Those guys on the team, the players, the coaching staff, I still have love for them and wish them the best.” Asked about the video tribute and fans’ reaction when he received his ring, Leonard said: “It was great, it was a great moment. They did a great job putting it together, having all the players out there that won with me, standing there and presenting the ring. It just kind of puts you back in those spots when you were on the floor, or the locker room talk going into the game, and after the game watching those highlights.”It was a special season for us, for me and for the whole city and country. I’m just glad we were able to win. It was a blessing.”The Clippers lost Patrick Beverley to a concussion, while Pascal Siakam had a game-high 24 points for the Raptors, who have now lost four of their last five games.Title teammates foreverKawhi x Kyle in #PhantomCam pic.twitter.com/zxDfvqUge3— NBA (@NBA) December 12, 2019 Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was described as “Maximus coming back as the gladiator” by coach Doc Rivers as he made a triumphant return to Toronto on Wednesday.Leonard received his championship ring in his first game back in Toronto since opting to join the Clippers in free agency after he had inspired the Canadian franchise to its first NBA title. The Raptors welcomed him back with a tribute video, and he was greeted by former teammates and coaches in the center of the court, receiving a positive reception from the home crowd.last_img read more