Year: 2020


Our 1987 ABI Award Adventurer Trailer

Somewhere on one (or many) of the scenic lookouts of Bon Echo Provincial Park’s Clifftop Trail my name is etched into the wood, possibly alongside the name of one (or many) high school crushes. I’m not entirely sure if I actually scratched my own details in but I know for sure that my best friend did, with a different boy’s name at each view.

I grew up at Bon Echo, painting my legs with clay on the beach when my dad would drift the pontoon boat in, picking up garbage with my Girl Guide troop, feeling an affinity with Nanabozho. When we moved back to the Kingston area in 2019 one of my first trips with the kids was a single overnight at Bon Echo, all we could muster up in the jam-packed reservations map.

When Ontario Parks reopened camping during this 2020 COVID crisis, I latched onto what must have been someone else’s cancellation and booked us in for what was supposed to be three days, tenting again, but this time with a camp stove and air mattresses and fire-starter and all of the stuff I didn’t have the year before because I was woefully unprepared.

Fast forward to Matt driving an hour and a half down the road to help me tear down camp the very next day. There were literal tornado warnings and wicked rain; my car battery died for really no reason at all; it was a disaster. And a raccoon stole my nachos in the five minutes during which I turned my back.

As soon as we got home we started idly searching for a travel trailer/camper to make our excursions more comfortable. We were aiming for the sub-5K range, so we knew we would be getting something relatively ancient and probably in need of work. Of course, everyone wants an RV during COVID, which meant slim pickings.

Then we landed upon an 80s delight. My sister asked me if it was vintage and my response was ’80s vintage not sexy vintage.’ A lot of people passed it over because at some point in its three decades of life (and counting) an owner ripped out the dinette area and put in some IKEA bunkbeds. But really, what do you need more when you’re camping — beds, or a table?

So we bought it, meeting our budget. It came to us slightly-remodelled — someone put laminate flooring in (a bit scratched, but I’ve learned that the floor gets really dirty anyway), painted the cabinet exteriors white and many of the walls a medium gray, and of course, took the dinette out.

You can see the general layout from these photos taken by the previous owner. From the door, looking left, there’s a little baby kitchen, a bathroom (behind the mirrored door) and a double bed in a room on the far left. Looking right, there are bunk beds. Thassit. She’s 23 feet long and packed full of cupboards and beds.

The bathroom (not pictured) is ugly with a leaking vent and needs to be ripped out so we’ll be looking at options for how to make the most efficient bathroom out of like… two square feet of space. We may, eventually, take the bunk beds out and try to come up with something new there too (my mom suggested a loft with a foldout couch underneath for more sitting/eating space) but for now the kids love the bunks so it works. But aside from the bathroom the rig is in good shape especially considering its age.

For this year I just bought new bedding, dishes and dishtowels and kitchen stuff, and hung up a few little decorative things. We have one camping trip under our belts with it now and I’ve already learned quite a bit about what could be adjusted to make it a better trailer for us, so I’m thinking it will be a gradual process to make it fully our own.

That said — remarkably firm bed, curtain rods that fall off when you’re driving, janky bathroom and all, it was so very nice to have an indoor place to sleep and an awning protecting us from the rain. The next time we camped it poured for two evenings and not only did everyone sleep cozy and dry, the adults were able to sit outside under the awning and not feel a single drop. Two thumbs up for trailers, even when they’re older than me!

If you want to keep up with more trailer/adventure/camping/attempting to be outdoorsy things, I made a separate instagram account because of course. Click over to @nomadleys to follow along!


Cacoethes (Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

In nearly every iteration of my online writing existence I’ve pointed to the fact that I’ve been blogging since before blogging was called blogging. My teenage Livejournal, spanning from 2002 to 2006, is proof. 

A couple of days ago I finally regained access to that journal. At some point I had gone in, privatized every entry, and changed the password to something that immediately escaped my brain. The recovery email was my old university address, and the cell number was my Waterloo phone that ceased to exist over a decade ago. I sent in a support request to every contact I could find, begging them to let me prove that I’m me so I could get at those teenage thoughts, and had resigned myself to never reading my melodrama again when the support desk response finally came in.

So that’s how I sent a photo of my driver’s license, with an LJ support email in the background, via an Imgur link to a now-Russian company. It was probably a horrible idea but, like I said — precious teenage memories. I guess it’s worth the potential identity theft.

In the 18 years since I started that journal I’d read through the archives countless times but it’s probably been about a decade since my last read-through. I actually haven’t been able to bring myself to scan through it all because the nostalgia and embarrassment and sentimentality and cacoethes grabs me somewhere behind my ribs and won’t let go if I get too close. That sounds really dramatic, but lord, we are in the middle of a pandemic if now is not the time to be dramatic than what is?

I don’t quite know how to explain these feelings, other than that this morning I was washing dishes and started feeling like high school me — lonely, left-out, ‘all the cool kids are hanging out without me.’

Which is ridiculous because I am too old for that. My concerns revolve around if it is going to rain or do I have to water the tomatoes myself. Like, I threw out an entire waste bin today that I found in my kid’s room, because when I opened it there was some kind of horrific mold monster growing in it. This is my glamorous life.

Let’s be clear: I don’t want to be a high schooler; I am glad to be an adult; I am even more glad that social media was not a thing until I was in university and even then I had to do a lot of internet-sanitation when they let the parents in. I’m not yearning to be a self-centred 17 year old again. But lately I’ve been feeling extremely in-my-30s. The whole pandemic thing is not helping. There’s entirely too much time to stare at my own face.

All this to say — I used to put a whole lot of vulnerability out there, enough that I have to adjust my eyes to it decades later. Then I wrote, again, as a 20-something, but I found myself writing for all of the wrong reasons (internet fame lol). Then I stopped writing because nobody reads blogs the way they used to. I don’t read blogs. (For the record, I archived everything I had once written here in a PDF so it’s not gone forever.)

I just want to write, old school, and have an audience of me and probably my dad and whoever stumbles across this and pretends they aren’t reading it when they encounter me IRL. I don’t want to make graphics or worry about SEO or come up with ridiculous questions at the end of every post that nobody will answer because commenting on a blog is not a thing that anyone does anymore. Internet relevance is a new beast that I understand and employ for my clients but I don’t necessarily want for myself.

I don’t even want to call this a blog because I am tired of that word, itself.

So, welcome to my blargh, internet friends.