So now I’m 26 and a labeled “flexitarian.” We’re into our fourth week into van life and third week in Canada.
And already I’m finding it hard to keep up with the journaling. But I’m grateful for doing it because one day we’re really going to enjoy reading about our adventures that flew by so fast.
Day 15 – Nova Scotia / Nouveau l’Ecosse
We wake up to the sleepy town of Amherst, Nova Scotia and I make a bee-line for the town square’s port-a-potty.
We parked on the main street lined with old, beautifully-designed churches and cathedrals. But after a morning of working on our laptops, it was time to recharge our batteries. So other than Tim Horton’s (Canadian Starbucks), there was a fancy McDonald’s nearby which is where we decide to spend our afternoon for work.
Soon enough, 6 o’clock rolls around and we pack up and hit the road to Halifax – Nova Scotia’s capital.
That night we found a place to sleep on the iOverlander app that was situated in a marshy-beachside part of Halifax. We drive through Dartmouth and stop at the Wal-Mart, too tired to go further.
Day 16 – A Creeper in Cow’s Bay
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Thank god for Wal-Mart. Literally, I don’t know what my bladder would do without them! That morning we were up and working quickly.
But first, every morning starts with a clean-up routine. We have to convert the bed back into our booth-like table/office; immediately clean the dishes we use, “shower” via wipes, get dressed, and put everything back in its place.
We spend the morning working in the parking lot until it – surprisingly – got too hot to stay in the sun. Luckily, we found some shade not too far away in a Dollarama parking lot.
The Nova Scotia weather was a warm welcome to the frigid foggy mornings we experienced in New Brunswick.
That afternoon we scoped out Second Cup Coffee Co. again to plug our computers and keep working.
In the evening we drive to a place called Cow’s Bay to see the sunset over the water. We park and have dinner in the van just inches from the calm waters rolling over the rocky shore.
We intended to sleep there that night, until an awkward – and quite frankly worrying – man stayed parked with his engine on nearby us. He would stand outside the trunk of his car and stare at us…
After we left, we saw the car leave too but an SUV got in between us. The mystery car turned off and didn’t follow us, but it was dark and lonely at Cow’s Bay so we didn’t want to return there to sleep.
We felt uneasy so we decided it was best to leave and go sleep at a small nearby Wal-Mart instead.
Day 17 – A Hot Shower in Halifax
We clean up and head back to Cow’s Bay to see the view in the morning. The beach was empty except for a handful of schoolchildren playing on the shores and in the water.
These kids were in bathing suits meanwhile Paul and I were like, “Okay cool beach and all with pine trees on the shore, yeah yeah, it’s cold let’s run back to the van!!!”
We worked for the rest of the morning inside our cozy van.
About every three days we have to dump our dirty grey tank water and refill up on our drinking water.
So that afternoon we drive to the dump station and pay a steep fee of $15 just to do our dirty work. Afterward, we go to Tim Hortons to work and charge our computers.
Evening rolls around and we drive to downtown Halifax for the first time.
We turn around and look for parking while the sun sets down behind the bridge. Our first impressions of Halifax are that there are lots of Korean restaurants and lots of cute pubs and bars.
The next thing we notice is the Fit For Less gym. And since today is the 29th and last Thursday of the month – the gym has a free open house for people to come try out the gym.
And here’s the best part of the story, and perhaps our whole week.
After an hour’s workout, we got to shower for the first time since being in Canada. It had been 12 days since our last real shower!
But even so, Paul and I agreed that it wasn’t the best shower ever (surprisingly). The satisfaction wasn’t as good as when you get home and shower after getting off a really long flight. But it came close.
After getting squeaky clean, we drive to the Halifax Harbor to sleep in the Pier 21 parking lot, a seemingly-stranded industrial lot next to the shipping harbor.
Day 18 – Oops, I Missed…
We wake up sore, not having slept well. The sound of an annoying loud cruise ship arrives at the port. We leave and go work at a fancy Starbucks all morning.
We worked in the afternoon and then drove around town to find parking in the evening and went to a beer bar called Stillwell’s.
It was dark and cozy inside and we felt like true nomads, exploring a city we barely knew but oddly feeling like we belonged, too.
After sipping down a sour beer and some yummy Asian-style house fries, we strolled down the harbor on foot and discovered the Privateer’s Wharf where the band Signal Hill was playing classic rock and roll songs.
Funnily enough, Paul said to me, “…I bet they’re going to play Queen.” And guess what the next song was? Bohemian Rhapsody. And they nailed it!
That night we slept alongside a large baseball park and spent the better half of an hour walking to find bathrooms.
I ended up peeing in a bag hovered over our trash can. And I partly missed. Lol.
The real van life, y’all.
Day 19 – This Is How the Scottish Do It
It was Saturday so we wake up a little later. At least late enough for public restrooms to be open, thankfully.
Outside there’s a familiar ruckus and a cheering I know all too well. The sound of softball.
We need to fill up on groceries so we head to the Halifax farmers market and spend the morning shopping local and organic produce and trying out a local farm to table restaurant for brunch.
I wasn’t feeling too great that day. We didn’t sleep well again and so we found a shady side street next to that same baseball field to park and take a quick nap.
In need of fresh air, we took a walk to a local music store for Paul to finally replace his guitar strings. This time it wasn’t just a birthday surprise gimmick.
We snack on wild blueberries back in the van and go walking around the Halifax Citadel. We come back to the park, lay down on one of our Mexican blankets and played harmonica and guitar before throwing a scratchy catch ball back and forth.
That night we drove back to the pier and made a yummy risotto with our cinnamon cap mushrooms we had bought at the market.
Then we took a stroll down the Harbor stretching along the boardwalk that’s one of the longest in the world, stretching some 4 km.
We explored the harbor and saw big yachts and bars, and went to a Scottish pub to have a drink.
Where the other night I was served an 8 oz. glass, tonight I would be drinking from a 20 oz. glass (lol).
As Paul said, “I guess this is how the Scots do it.”
Day 20 – Cats, Books, and Tea
We woke up to sunny, fresh morning at the Pier 21 parking lot. We cleaned up and tidied the van, and Paul made wild blueberry pancakes while I played with Yoda. Starting my morning playing with Yoda is how I usually start my day.
Waking up and not having a toilet has been one of the greatest vanlife challenges so far.
Normally as soon as I get up, I need to empty the tanks. Not Van Rouge’s, but my own.
Now that we live in a van, I have to hold it in until public bathrooms open. Luckily, the farmers market didn’t open too late.
It was one of those hang-out-in-a-bookstore-and-journal types of days. So we drive to The Trident bookstore/cafe house where I now sit and type all of this out.
— Pause and fast-forward a few days —
I’m now at another cafe and shop, however now south of Halifax in a colorful fishing town known as Lunenburg.
But first, let’s rewind.
After leaving The Trident, Paul and I made sandwiches in the van and watched a stand-up comedy show. We’ve been into those lately.
That night we even missed the sunset because we got caught up in Trevor Noah’s Netflix special.
In between, however, we got to explore the Point Pleasant Park that was just nearby the harbor. The area was once heavily used during wartime and has many monuments, bunkers, and not to mention cute red squirrels.
Day 21 – En Route to Piggy’s Cove! (Actually Peggy’s Cove)
It’s our last morning in Halifax and we spend it working early in the fancy Starbucks. The same one we worked in when we arrived here earlier in the week.
We needed a change of scenery so we leave Starbucks and go to another cafe in the city called Humani-T.
That night at 5 pm we pack up our stuff and hit the road again.
We’re moving on from Halifax for now, but we’ll be back soon. I need to pick up packages for my other blog, The Fluffy Kitty.
Our next destination is set on Google maps. We’re heading to Peggy Cove Lighthouse – or “Piggy’s Cove” as Paul said in his purposefully accentuated French accent.
The drive south to Peggy’s Cove has us going “Wow” and “Whoa” and “Awww” every few minutes. There are dozens of lakes and tiny fishing villages not even visible on the map.
Just in time for sunset, we roll into Peggy’s Cove.
And there sits the famous lighthouse on the enormous rocks, speckled with tourists climbing all over them.
We park and get out to join them a few minutes later. Soon enough, the lot emptied out until we were one of the last van’s standing. (Pun intended).
We peek open the blinds in the chilly morning and see fog surrounding the lighthouse.
And so begins week #4 of van life in Nova Scotia… Stay tuned for new adventures!