Van Life Journal Week 5: There & Back Again

Last updated Jan 12, 2021 | Van Life | 2 comments

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve just passed our one month anniversary living in Van Rouge!

When I see how fast time is going it makes me realize we could easily spend a year or two in the van. We’ll see where these adventures lead.

Cheers to a new week full of new discoveries and adventures! Here’s the recap.

Please forgive the limited number of photos. I’m still struggling to try to find reliable travel wifi where I can upload/download my super heavy photo files (on a Chromebook). For now, I have to painstakingly downsize/reduce their quality in order to manipulate.

Day 28 – Postcard Towns

Let’s see. Where did I leave off?

Right. We spent our last morning at No. 9 coffee shop in Lunenburg. When we went to leave, the barista said, “I feel like even though you guys say you’re leaving, I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”

Van Life Journal Week 5 | Bucketlist Bri

Our last morning in Lunenburg | Bucketlist Bri

But sadly, not this time. We said our goodbyes and hit the road, first stopping to do another load of laundry. Again! Yes, again.

When you only have two sweaters and a handful of shirts and undies, laundry day is more regular than normal.

But the real objective for today is to go to Mahone Bay. It’s a super cute fishing town we passed through on our way to Lunenburg.

We didn’t want to go back to Halifax – the capital – just yet. Even though we’re expecting to pick up packages there.

Mahone Bay is another postcard town. It’s got three distinctive churches marking its “skyline” that sit right next to each other. One is Lutheran, one is Anglican, and the other is Calvinist (I think).

Van Life Journal Week 5 | Bucketlist Bri

1/3 of the Mahone Bay churches. | Bucketlist Bri

Van Life Journal Week 5 | Bucketlist Bri

Our first night @ Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia | Bucketlist Bri

Each represents the mixture of cultures and religious beliefs of the settlers who arrived here in the 1800s – namely the German, French, Swiss, and of course, the British.

Other than the churches, there are lots of artisanal shops and galleries and tasteful restaurants lining the town’s cozy streets.

We arrive in the evening and hop out to stroll around the town to get a feel for it.

On our iOverlander app – which shows us where you can camp/park overnight for free – there wasn’t a marker for where we could stay. So Paul and I had to “leave our mark” and set the trend.

We found a free parking lot in front of Jubilee Park – and quietly spent the night inside the van making sriracha tofu and veggies before cuddling up and passing out.

Day 29 – The Barn

What I love about little towns is that they always have the cutest coffee shops. And Mahone Bay definitely had a cute one.

It was simply called “The Barn” and it was a cozy barn-house filled with books, comfy couches, and warm decor. It felt like autumn or winter without the snow – even though it was nippy outside.

We snuggle upstairs and get to work on our laptops.

Van Life Journal Week 5 | Bucketlist Bri

Hot chocolates @ The Barn Coffee House | Bucketlist Bri

It’s a frustrating day of work where you’re in between wifi twilight – it works but not really. So you get half the work done.

That evening we stroll around the town, checking out the shops. There’s a natural store I wanted to go to but it only opened on Wednesdays. So we spent another night in Mahone Bay.

Day 30 – The Only Place We’ve Visited Twice

We arrived earlier this time at the coffee house and thus landing the best spot upstairs next to a plug.

A woman next to me is retired and writing a novel. There are kids playing in front. The chatter below rises to the roof.

For lunch, we cook up something in the van and play with Yoda. Right before, I finally got to visit that cute store and ended up buying a little basket.

Today we drove back to Halifax – the capital of Nova Scotia and the fun city we felt attached to.

We drive straight to the pier where we know we can park and sleep for free.

Day 31 – Blur?

We attempt to get up extra early today and head to the gym. For shower purposes, mainly, but Paul sorely misses working out every day so we take advantage of both features.

The days are blurring together as we jump from workplace to workplace.

Since we both have full-time job endeavors and projects going on, it’s crucial that vanlife doesn’t get in the way of fulfilling our larger goals and aspirations.

That evening we leave Starbucks late and decide to take a stroll at the architectural gem that is the Halifax Central Library.

Van Life Journal Week 5 | Bucketlist Bri

One of the only pictures we took during our return to Halifax. @ Halifax Central Library | Bucketlist Bri

Day 32 – Back to Our Student Days

So turns out the library is awesome and we’ve been spending our money on silly coffee to work at coffee shops instead of working for free at the library.

So that’s what we’re going to do today. Work like grad students in the fancy library in Halifax.

Lunch consists of fast Thai food from a Bali-style shop on the corner. It’s expensive than our van lunches, but it fills a gap and we don’t have to walk all the way back to where the van is parked.

We finish our workday at the library, and because it’s Friday, decide to go eat out in town.

After finding all the seafood bars too expensive – and not to mention booked full – we decide to wait in the extremely long line at Five Guys. Mind you – I ordered a grilled cheese. 🙂 #nobeef

Day 33 – Onward North We Go…

It’s Saturday morning and the day starts out with a “Spring Clean” feel – although it’s feeling much more like autumn now.

Yoda enjoying a road trip nap! | Bucketlist Bri

We finally sent off some mail at the post office and finished off our errands.

Before we knew it it was past 3 pm and we still had a 4-5 hour drive from Halifax to Sydney, Nova Scotia.

We were headed for The Cabot Trail, a world-famous trail with scenic hikes and vistas along the coast of Nova Scotia.

But because temps are getting colder, we are going to by-pass The Cabot Trail for now and skip ahead to the province of Newfoundland.

And to get there, we need to take a 6-hour ferry.

(Sunday) Day 34 – When the Motivation Kicks in

We wake up in the Port of Sydney, Nova Scotia – the “ocean gateway to scenic Cape Breton Island!”

There is a gigantic cruise ship docked at the harbor, having just unloaded a whole bunch of retirees onto the Port of Sydney to explore the town’s rich coal mining history and historic downtown.

Paul and I make a run to go pee and decide what we’re doing for the day.

We have no data/internet anymore, so we always need to find somewhere to go to plan our day or work.

Apparently the world’s largest fiddle – in honor of the local music in Nova Scotia. @ Port of Sydney, Nova Scotia | Bucketlist Bri

We end up in a Starbucks outside of downtown and spend the better part of the morning and afternoon there.

For lunch, we make a delicious and comforting leek and potato soup and then hit the road to go find a dump and water refill station for the van.

We drive through scenic countryside and the first thing we notice is that the leaves are already starting to change colors. It seems like it’s getting colder, faster, so we officially decide to plan our ferry trip over to Newfoundland in the next couple of days.

We get to the dump station and it’s closed for the season, but you can pay at the self-service window to use the amenities.

It’s cloudy and gray and feels like a crisp, fall morning.

I take the opportunity to get Yoda out and go for a walk. He absolutely loves exploring on-leash and goes hopping and running from tree trunk to tree trunk – jumping on them and bouncing off as we go.

He’s the cutest.

We head back into town and go back to our source of Wifi for the evening: Starbucks.

For the next 5 hours, we relentlessly worked on getting our new Fluffy Kitty store opened up online to sell our eBook and our fully-recycled eco tanks. You can check it out here if you want. 🙂

We left Starbucks at closing time – 10 pm – and hurriedly, and thankfully, warmed up the rest of that leek and potato soup from lunch.

We curled into bed, grateful for another day on the road.



Catch up on Van Life Journal Week 4 here! Stay tuned for VLJ Week 6.

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  1. Carolyn brost

    Coolest thing ever. I wish I were you!

    • Bri

      AW thanks for reading Carolyn!! Come join in on the adventure 🙂


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Hi, I’m Bri! I’ve been slow traveling around the world in search of new adventures since 2013. I have lived in 8 countries on 4 continents including Nepal, Mexico, Colombia, and parts of Europe! I created this blog to inspire others to live a life of adventure, seek out meaningful experiences, and to travel slowly and mindfully. Join me on this journey and let’s tick off our bucket lists! Read my story here. promotional banner