Photo Story: Going Full Nomad

Oct 30, 2020
by Jacob Johnson  


Since the Edwardian era, our insatiable urge to take with us way more stuff than necessary has been mocked by the cheeky string of words "everything but the kitchen sink". Slightly less catchy but even older is "everything but the kitchen stove" from at least as far back as 1894. Well that's a really long time ago. It's the 21st century and things have changed a lot. Now we can bring everything and the kitchen sink, the stove, and throw in some bikes for good measure too!

Going full nomad. How did it come to this, traveling with everything and the kitchen sink? Well... yearning, that niggling fear of missing out. With endless places to explore, staying put felt like settling. So we bought a 5th wheel toy hauler to be our new home. There were several months of research, more time than anyone wants to spend with sales people, a lot of haggling, and then one day we drove off a lot with a home attached to the truck. We spent a year using the home on wheels only part-time to figure it all out, having never owned anything like it before, and to work out the kinks. Of course, there have been some kinks. The RV industry is notorious for poor quality paired perfectly with poor service. That said we've been fortunate with our industry experiences, and a little troubleshooting builds character.

Going Full Nomad Past Articles
• First year of full-time nomad life
"Unsettling"
• Navigating the pandemic as nomads
"Irrelevant"
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New Year's Day 2020... Who knew what the year would bring?

With that initial year of intermittent vacations a success, our subsequent first year of living full time on the road was, for the most part, a perfectly idyllic adventure. Then came along a li'l ol' virus. The pandemic has been the perfect prescription to slow down, explore closer to home, and take on projects that keep getting put off. Ever since moving into our tiny home on wheels we've had dreams of renovating to fit everything tidily in that tight space and to make it ours. The slower pace of the pandemic and less traveling was the perfect opportunity to take on the task.

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Summer! Where did the time go? Oh ya... that renovation project.

bigquotesDecluttering to fit into a tiny home on wheels isn't unlike pursuing a better life. You just take the stuff you like and leave the rest of the shit behind.

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Toy hauler garage makeover. From dark dumping ground to functional storage and work space.

When we left our sticks and bricks home behind to move into 330 square feet perched on four wheels, we felt freedom, the ability to do what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it, without constraints. Well, actually there are constraints, not least of which is that limited space. Becoming nomadic, for us, was a move toward a better life. Decluttering to fit into a tiny home on wheels isn't unlike pursuing a better life. You just take what you like and leave the rest of the shit behind. Whether it's life, or the home on wheels, there's always little things we can work on to at least try to make it better. We wanted to make the garage a whole lot better!

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Ready for adventure. Lots of storage and bikes, each with their own hanging home!.

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Undisputed fave new feature... Doors letting in loads of light!

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The original garage was just that, a garage. We'd strap three or four bikes to the walls with bungee cords when travelling, and with no storage everything else just got piled on the floor. Apologies for the low-quality images, they were snapped as a precaution before putting our 5th Wheel into storage a few years ago.

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Custom making everything from cushions to doors couldn't have happened without friends showing us how it's done and a massive amount of help every step of the way.

With friends providing heaps of help and the perfect home base for our renovation, we managed to sneak in an adventure or two. As with any project, we way underestimated the time and money required to complete the task, so a bit of mountain time to clear the head was a must.

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Fernie, B.C. Taking a break from garage renovations for the Milky Way, mountain bikes, and mountain tops.

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Pot of Gold? Morrissey Ridge is the gateway to some of the most extraordinary trails around.

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A couple weeks late for the full potpourri of wildflowers, but Fernie's Dirt Diggler is more than just pretty flowers.

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With our makeover complete and summer nearly over it was time to hit the road. Revelstoke... There's always a 100% chance of weather here.

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Fifty Six Twenty. Maybe you've heard of it? As advertised, 5,620ft vertical feet of descending.

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There is a berm or two along the way... somebody has probably counted them.

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Darker shades of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Pipe Wrench (Left) and Fish Bonker (Right)

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Back in 'berta on a twisting turning trail called Pistolero.

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Taking it all in. Fall is a special time of year in the Rockies.

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If you only have time to do one ride in the Kananaskis region Prairie View isn't a terrible choice.

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Rare things are often coveted... Autumn days like this are no exception.

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Golden hour!

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Sublime!

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Weathered!

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With a crispness in the air and precious daylight hours dwindling, there is an urgency to savour what's left before it's gone.

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Classic! Drops a Lot in Penticton British Columbia.

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Savouring every last drop of sunshine and warmth in the Okanagan as snow and cold tightens their wintery grip on much of the Canadian West.

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If bikes could talk...

Seven months after our bikes were stolen from this spot, we're back. Upon our return the RCMP call. They have just recovered our property. Chopped swapped and broken it's a surreal reunion. What have those bikes seen over the past 200 days? Big shout out to Cst. McCready in Penticton B.C., Trek Bikes, and Cycle Therapy in Lake Havasu City Arizona for putting the clues together. Don't steal bikes... everybody loses!

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The Wiltse network of trails delivers on views and slabs.

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Who woulda guessed... Same slab as above but looking the opposite direction.

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Waterfalls and hints of winter.

bigquotesThe lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us... Eugene O'Neill, The Iceman Cometh

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Snow in the hills signalling it's time to move on.

In a normal year we, along with hundreds of thousands of other nomads, would be migrating to warmer climates. But it is not a normal year, there will be no trip to exotic destinations abroad. With our escapades confined to Canada as winter approaches, there's a poignant reality in the air... The Iceman Cometh! True to the 1939 script, reality may be too much to bear. Until another dose of reality slaps us in the face, we'll be blissfully chasing our pipe dream of sunshine and warmth as far as we can.







Follow our pipe dream: @mysticmountainadventures



60 Comments

  • 23 0
 In an internet landscape that’s cluttered with hundreds of “follow your dreams” #vanlife social media accounts, this one is so different, and so refreshing.

Thanks for sharing, for skipping the hyperbolic BS and standing out from the crowd with something that actually is inspirational, instead of just pretending to be.
  • 6 0
 Humbled and grateful.... thank you Salute
  • 1 0
 @mtnmanjake: in the infamous words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “You a bad motherf*cker, Jake!”
  • 5 0
 Great blig addition Jake, those captures are incredible Love real.stories bro, love an adventure Golden hour ... that got me
  • 2 0
 Thanks good sir! Being "stuck" in Canada definitely feels less adventurous than I would have hoped, especially with a bunch of time spent doing the reno... Looking forward to exploring some new-to-us destinations this winter!
  • 4 0
 Nice man. Great writing and photos
  • 3 0
 Much appreciated! It's not the story or adventures I would have imagined for 2020... but it's what we got Redface
  • 3 0
 @mtnmanjake: stunning shots, great story telling regardless of the sucky year and wow that home on wheels is awesome sauce dude!!! Beer
  • 1 0
 @landscapeben: Oh goodness Redface Huge thanks Ben Salute
  • 4 0
 Love it bro, your words and pictures are food for the soul.
  • 2 0
 Very much appreciated Relapse :Salute: Hope you're getting out in the Blue Pig enjoying some forest time!
  • 3 0
 As always, great photos and write up, Jake.

Did they catch and charge the bike thief (thieves)?
  • 2 1
 Huge thanks Bill! Not sure my bike being recovered lead to any thieves or any type of organized ring. There's a lot of people in a lot of different circumstances so important to keep an open mind. I do know that even with insurance, we lost, the person the bike was found with lost, and so on...
  • 2 0
 Great words and amazing pics as always @mtnmanjake !!!!! Can't wait till you can come here and take some pics of my fine ass!!! lol
  • 1 0
 You’re too kind Joe Redface Man I wish that border was open... and I wish I had travelled more when I was younger and getting a long stay visa was easier than catching the flu.
  • 1 0
 I can put you to work here and get a work visa!!
  • 1 0
 @whattheheel: either that or you put on a white dress lol
  • 1 0
 Nein!!! You put on the dress!!
  • 3 0
 Looking for a place to happen...........making stops along the way......
  • 1 0
 Wayward ho, away we go....
  • 3 0
 Really enjoy this article dude! Also we now own the same camera!
  • 1 0
 Oh man! Thanks so much Salute It’s been a good little camera for me for the past five years. I’ve never done a firmware update and probably should have long ago Redface My biggest disappointment is in low light but for the price it’s pretty cool. I just gotta stop asking it to do things it was never meant to do lol
  • 2 0
 Great article and great pics! Only one minor complaint... not enough bike hooks...
  • 1 0
 Thanks! It’s crazy just how much room bikes take up if you want them in one piece and easily accessible. Like anyone I think we wish our home on wheels was twice as big inside for STUFF, and half as big outside for towing and getting in to tighter places. Redface
  • 1 0
 We have a 5er toy hauler. I love what you did with the back . We haul motor toys, or we would do something similar. We made a 6 bike PVC front wheel rack for bike trips.
  • 1 0
 Heck ya! That’s awesome owlie tup ours is still fully functional for bigger toys... all the anchor points are still there and the furniture is on felts to be shuffled around or fully removed. Doors open full width in the back to get a sidebyside in etc. Maximum flexibility!
  • 1 0
 I really enjoyed this series (I went back and read the old posts), however being from the UK I wasn’t aware of toy haulers - but I now want one!
  • 2 0
 Thanks tons... somewhere I read that you should never pay more than 66-70% of MSRP for an RV... not sure if it’s true but nonetheless I haggled and walked away and haggled some more until I got the deal. Used is even more affordable... just don’t be in a hurry and wait till the right unit at the right price comes along Salute
  • 2 0
 Nice read Jake
"Oh the places you'll go" - Dr. Seuss
  • 2 0
 Damn that's an awesome quote! Can't believe I didn't use that one yet?!?!? Thanks Shred Man!
  • 3 0
 That is a great one, also reminds me of another that I love:

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off too.”
  • 1 0
 @landscapeben: Ha lol we lost our footing a long time ago... swept off and no idea where we're going to end up Redface
  • 2 0
 @mtnmanjake: lol
  • 2 0
 @mtnmanjake: Cheers!
  • 2 0
 Man do your images tell a story! Great work Jake!
  • 1 0
 Thanks Chris! Somehow the months have disappeared and didn't get the images i had envisioned but C'est la vie... Think the whole thing is up now after some edits...
  • 2 0
 Absolutely inspiring! Thank you
  • 1 0
 Much appreciated Salute
  • 2 0
 Photo of the year contender: www.pinkbike.com/photo/19517032
  • 2 0
 Nah Redface but appreciated nonethelessSalute
  • 1 0
 @mtnmanjake: FWIW, I have that image set as my computer desktop image. Very nice work, amazing images. Do you sell prints or have hi-res downloads available for purchase to get printed?
  • 2 0
 @chacou: typically you’d be able to purchase digital files and prints on our site mysticmountainadventures.com. But it’s the off-season so to save money we’ve downgraded our web store subscription so I think in theory everything shows as sold out. We’ll be updating the site over the winter and everything should be fresh for the 2021 season. Salute
  • 2 0
 Rad buddy!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Thanks tons Yo Salute Hopefully we'll catch up with your fam caravan in 2021.
  • 2 0
 This is wonderful!
  • 1 0
 nah... you're wonderful!
  • 2 0
 Nice work Jake!
  • 1 0
 Huge thanks my friend! Absolutely would not have happened without ya Beer
  • 2 0
 Awesome as usual Jake.
  • 2 0
 Grateful for the kind words man! One day we'll get this traveling circus up to PG Salute
  • 2 0
 Nice one Jake tup
  • 1 0
 Thanks so much! Means a ton. You’re far better a telling a story and creating a gripping image than myself!
  • 2 0
 Great read Jake.
  • 1 0
 Grateful for the kind words D! I always struggle to come up with something coherent to say in these damn things. Especially in a year with less adventure and eye candy than usual Redface
  • 2 0
 great work!
  • 1 0
 very much appreciated Salute
  • 2 0
 LOVE IT Smile
  • 2 0
 Thanks so much!
  • 1 0
 Should of gone Full Nomad on a Nomad.
  • 1 0
 Never go full nomad

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