WHEN YOUR HOME IS NOT ENOUGH…
Many times I have written about female travellers, who with bated breath, travel the world in search of a deeper meaning of their life, admiring what Planet Earth has them to offer. Each account had one thing in common, namely going outside the comfor zone, which frequently blocks or at least delays our decisions related to exploring the world, the one which is located slightly further than our own yard.
The thing which is getting more and more popular is travellig on one’s own, a so-called ‘solo travelling’, which can certainly give some of you goosebumps. However, as it occurs at the time in which so many of us can speak English, our interactions with newly met travelers, the ones we encounter on our way, are becoming easier and much more enjoyable. Consequently, travelling which starts solo, doesn’t need to finish in the same way. Thanks to starting our trip on our own we can be more flexible while choosing our companions on the following stages of our journey.
And what if we add a mobile house on wheels to all of this? Sounds temptng, but would you be able to adjust to such discomfort in the long run? Isn’t that enough? Well, there are women who are not scared of such little inconveniences. Nay! They decide to build their own mobile houses, to be their own rudder, sailor and ship.
I’m truly pleased to introduce you to my today’s interviewee – Taylor King – an energetic veterinary student, who loves solo travelling and thru-hiking and to all of this she designed her own van in which she is going to spend the next few months.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Taylor: I am a veterinary student for 8.5 months of the year, but I’m an adventurer at heart.
I have wanted to be a veterinarian before I can even remember, and it was never a question of whether or not I would become a vet. It was a question of when.
Vet school is very competitive in Canada and, in summary (so I don’t bore you with how it all works), I was competing for 1 of 15 seats. I didn’t get in the first two times I applied (despite good grades + plenty of work experience), so I used that as an opportunity to grow in other ways.
During that time, I got a second degree, walked from Mexico to Canada, and moved to another province for a few months. By the time I got into vet school, I had mapped out other adventures I wanted to go on. I had even bought a van in preparation to build it out into a liveable space.
I wasn’t ready to give those dreams up, so I decided to work on finding some sort of balance between my professional and nomadic lifestyle goals.
Creating a blog was a way to document my journey, share information, and provide tips to those who struggle with incorporating adventure into their lives. I love teaching, coaching, and creating – so a blog seemed like the perfect fit!
Passion Piece: You’re a nature lover and a veterinary student. Is that what led you to a nomadic lifestyle?
Taylor: It’s probably related in a way, but I think it’s more about living in the moment.
I want to seize opportunities, not wave to them as they pass by. Being able to take advantage of those impulsive moments is ultimately what I look for from a nomadic lifestyle.
In society and in your profession, you need to have at least the next 5 years mapped out… but the thing is – I don’t want to know exactly where I’m going to be in 5 years.
Passion Piece: How do you combine your current way of living with studying?
Taylor: August will be my first time experiencing full-time studies and full-time van life together, so that will be exciting!
The plan is to combine 3 different approaches:
- use campus study spaces
- visit cafes for wifi + a change of scenery
- create a designated study space in the van.
I have made sure to include a study space in the van build plans. There will be a pull-out desk where I can set up each day. The one downside is that I will also have to put everything away each time I move the van. That’s just the trade-off required right now, as my van isn’t all that big.
Passion Piece: How did you start the whole adventure? How did you prepare yourself for so much hiking and the van life?
Taylor: They both trace back to my childhood, funny enough!
I always loved being at home, but going camping always felt like a second home. My family and I would spend time hiking and biking at provincial parks, and I always wanted to venture a little further than anyone else. I finally got up the courage to start hiking alone, and that eventually led me to thru-hiking.
For van life – we had an old broken-down van near the barn, and as a kid, I would play in there sometimes. I always wanted to spend the night in the van, and I kind of dreamed about living out there. I never thought that would transfer into adulthood though. I guess childhood dreams have a way of sneaking back into your life!
Passion Piece: Are your experiences the thing you share on your very own blog ‘Wild Trajectory’? What else can your readers find there?
Taylor: So far my experiences have been shared more on social media, while the blog is more informative. It is a resource for those who want to learn more about thru-hiking. Anything from gear to trip planning.
As it grows, the blog will focus a lot on hiker safety, workouts to help with training and conditioning for long-distance backpacking, as well as information about van life.
I will be blogging about my upcoming thru-hike of the Long Trail (~273-mile trail across Vermont) with The Trek (which is a popular resource for thru-hikers).
I am currently doing a beta launch for beginner backpackers course called “Experience Backpacking”, which covers all the basics of backpacking so that more people can enjoy the outdoors! A lot of people get held up by trip planning, deciding which gear to take, or feeling like they aren’t physically ready for a backpacking trip. “Experience Backpacking” is designed to help beginner backpackers adequately prepare for their trip, reduce risk, gather the right gear, and practice backpacking routines. Experience is the only way you learn, but it can be hard to push past the planning phase. My goal is to help those who want to go backpacking for the first time, but want a little bit of guidance in the beginning! Readers interested in backpacking for the first time should sign up for my newsletter to keep in the loop! The course will be fully completed and launched by July 22, 2022!
Passion Piece: How did you come up with the name of your website?
Taylor: The name “Wild Trajectory” was meant to be broad enough to adapt with me through time.
I wanted to share my love of thru-hiking, but I also knew van life was in the cards. There are also challenges that come along with living a more nomadic lifestyle while being a professional.
“Wild Trajectory” is meant to show that you can live in what is considered by some to be a ‘wild’ way of life (i.e. not the norm). The name also indicates that I’m not exactly sure where everything leads, but you can still enjoy the journey.
Passion Piece: What are the most exciting trails you’ve completed? Has anything unexpected happened on the road?
Taylor: By far the most exciting trail I’ve completed is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It’s a pretty well-known trail, and for good reason. It is absolutely incredible!
The PCT runs from Mexico to Canada along the West Coast of the United States and is ~2650 miles (4265 km) long. It starts in the desert, then traverses through the snow-covered Sierra mountain range, the hills of Oregon, and the temperate rainforests of Washington. There is truly no day that looks the same, and there is beauty all around you.
The trail community is full of kind-hearted individuals who are also seeking adventure. There is no way to describe a thru-hike accurately. The only way to understand it fully is to experience it for yourself. There is nothing like walking a couple-dozen miles every day through beautiful terrain with wonderful people, knowing that you are accepted no matter how much dirt you’re covered in. It truly feels like home.
To answer the second question – Yes, lots of unexpected things happen on the road! I think the most unexpected thing was when my tire blew apart! It could happen to any vehicle, but it was an eye-opener!
Passion Piece: How is it building your own van? Why did you decide to work on your own vehicle?
Taylor: It’s challenging, and it’s fun! I love a good project to work on, and a van build has provided me with a lot of valuable information.
I wanted to build out the van by myself for a couple of reasons.
First, I knew that I could not afford a builder. It just wasn’t in the cards. I decided to invest more time in the build to save myself some money.
Second, I wanted to know how things worked. Building a van or a tiny home of any kind is a great opportunity to learn about construction processes. I now know the basics of insulation, electrical, and furniture construction. I am not a professional by any means, but I know that if something goes wrong, I can probably figure out the source of the problem.
Tying those 2 points together: Knowing how things work and being able to diagnose basic issues will also save me money on repairs and services.
Passion Piece: When are you going to make use of it?
Taylor: My deadline is the end of July, and that deadline is pretty solid. I have 2 weeks booked to hike the Long Trail at the beginning of August, and then I start school immediately after. (Yes, vet school starts mid-August, which is crazy!).
Ideally, I would like it to be done before then… but a lot of things pop up as you go, so I don’t anticipate being done early.
Passion Piece: Is there anyone who accompanies you during your travels or do you prefer solo traveling?
Taylor: I usually go into things by myself, but often end up traveling with other people after a while.
A lot of people in my day-to-day life are interested in what I’m doing, but not enough to want to try it themselves (which is totally understandable). It’s easier to meet like-minded people once you’re out there.
Whether it’s thru-hiking or van life, the best way to be a part of the community is to jump in!
Passion Piece: How would you encourage people to travel more?
Taylor: I would tell them to try traveling alone.
Sometimes we need other people there to try something new, as a form of comfort. Trust me, I spent a LOT of years waiting for people to join me on a hike because I was afraid of wild animals getting me out there all alone.
However, this need for comfort shouldn’t be the reason you don’t follow your dreams and experience new things. Pushing past your comfort zone and opening yourself up to new experiences has the power to change who you are.
Passion Piece: What do you love doing in your free time?
Taylor: You can probably guess that hiking ranks up at the top of the list! I have plenty of other hobbies, but they tend to rotate a bit more (since I don’t have time for everything at once).
I enjoy taking photos and editing, writing, working out, and enrolling in professional development courses. I am also involved in several vet school clubs and committees.
Other than that, I enjoy little day trips or events! Including things like snowboarding, snowshoeing, beach days, or day hikes (just to name a few).
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future? What are your other dream destinations?
Taylor: I see myself in and around Saskatchewan and Manitoba for the next year or so. The summer of 2023 is a bit up in the air!
I would like to hike the John Muir Trail (in California) during the summer, or maybe some other shorter trail. Longer trails like the Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail are also on my list but aren’t realistic goals while in school.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Taylor: There is a saying I’ve heard going around a lot lately, and I really connected with it.
“Done is better than perfect.”
So simple, but so true. Sometimes we worry so much about everything being just right and it prevents us from making actual progress. It is better to take imperfect steps in the right direction because ultimately, you are still getting closer to your goal.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you wonderful trips in the future!
See you around!
Photos by: Taylor King