November Update – P2 – Why We Stayed

I’m sitting here with a big cup of tea in my hand ready to settle in… this is gonna be a big one. Yes, I’ve been putting this post off. Mostly because I haven’t been able to get my thoughts in order, as a lot has been going on these past few weeks.

It’s hard to be vulnerable, even in this space at times, for fear of judgement or criticism. But I have to put all that aside, because I want you to know where my heads at. And selfishly, I think it will help me sort my thoughts out for myself. I have never really been a person to hold back anyways, so yes – I’m about to lay it all out there for you.

If you need to refresh your memory, you can read November Update Part 1 here, but for a quick recap I’ll just remind you that when we last left off, I was headed back home to Calgary. What sparked this decision was that I had developed an ulcer, and in therefore not in good condition for travelling. I also wanted to see my doctor.

My sister and her SO took me to the Knordic Spa in Kananaskis – AMAZING.

Before I jump into it I want to say something really important. I was a mix bag of emotions coming back. What really comforted me was seeing my family again. They were all so happy to see me, and I know they missed me as much as I missed them. They gave me a safe place to land. They have always supported me unconditionally.

If I went to my family right now and said I wanted to be a naked astronaut, my older sister would say

“You accomplish everything you set your mind to so if you want to be a naked astronaut I know you can do it!”

My mom would say “A naked astronaut! Fun! Is there a naked astronaut party? You know what, let’s have it at my place to celebrate!”

My twin sister would simply ask “so… when do we leave?”

Fully relaxed at the Knordic Spa!


When we came back to Calgary, we truly had no plan. At this point M & I were looking at places to go next nation-wide. We promised each other that we would be open to any opportunity. Really having a break and time together to think about it helped me realize a few things…

  1. Living on the road is hard. Like, really hard. Like, don’t know where you are sleeping at 10 pm sometimes hard. Dogs shitting all over the backseat hard. Scary motel hard. LA 8-LANE traffic hard. Roasting in the vehicle overnight when it’s 38 degrees hard. You catch my drift. YES, living on the road is freakin’ amazing for so many reasons (I’ll get to that later). But like any lifestyle it also has its challenges!
  2. It’s hard on our dogs. Our dogs were actually such champions on the road, and I couldn’t have asked more from them. However when they get sick, or need medical attention, things can get complicated and fast. What made having our babies with us the most difficult was a lack of adequate space for them in terms of leaving them alone. The truck is definitely a “second home” to them, but it’s not an appropriate place to leave them for any amount of extended time.
  3. Working on the road is great. Working on the road while your partner is also working on the road is crazy. Matthew and I both made money working while we travelled. I know this sounds like a dream – and if we had even remotely the same kind of careers it might have been! However our dedication to our work brought us to have different priorities day-to-day, and that’s just tough. Often times we found that when M was free and able to do something, I needed to work, thus he was on dog-dad duty. And vice-versa. I would work on the road again because the digital nomad life is 111637/10 awesome and suitable for me, but I think we would have to figure out a way to structure it better so that it made sense for me and my partner.
  4. Money matters. Matthew and I worked incredibly hard to be able to travel for 3 months, but as time went on it began to dawn on us that we didn’t want to see it all slip away. I am definitely the one in the relationship who is… ehm… more comfortable spending money. But at the end of the day we agree – building up our savings and always having a plan for “after” or “if” is also important. So for us we kept in mind not wanting to travel until every last penny was spent.
Reunited with my BFFS

For all of those reasons, we decided to hunker down and regroup. Right now our focus is on financial stability & me working on my health. Unfortunately last week my ulcer burst and I have been dealing with more stomach issues. I have been taking incredible steps to heal it & I will definitely be sharing that journey with you all!

Travelling was so amazing, and I cherish all the memories we made. I miss going to sleep and waking with the sun. I miss the thrill of seeing something new. I miss long drives with iced coffee and a good podcast. I miss it. And I will travel again – sooner rather than later! Whether it’s M’s mom watching the dogs, or us investing in a better equipped travelling rig (bus or van), we’ll be doing a lot more of it in the future. Just smarter.

As for how long we’ll be in Calgary, I’m not sure. I do feel like I’m being called out to the East – and I want to follow that calling. However, we’ve committed to staying for a least a few months, so no decisions need to be made yet. I’m willing to walk through any doors that open for me. And it is with that open heart, spirit, and mindset that I will continue on in 2019.

What I’m most proud of is Matthew and I working together to make decisions that are going to keep moving us forward. It isn’t always easy working as a team, especially when we have different ideas that just don’t seem to jive. But we always manage to come together to work toward a common goal. We are not just a couple – we are a team.

I can honestly say I’m at a really great place in my life. And although in a way it might almost seem like I’m “back where I started”, nothing could be further from the truth. I am not the same.

I’ve grown a lot. I’ve faced challenges, outside and within myself. I’ve learned more about what are absolute musts in my life, and what I can live without. I have more gratitude because I know what it’s like to live with the bare minimum (she writes from her mattress on the floor). I’m at peace because I get it now… that home is no place in particular, but really any place that I can be with them…

From mountain tops, to backroad alleyways… from the hottest, driest dessert to the cold Alberta winters… from a warm motel bed to a deflated air mattress on the ground… these three are my home.

Thank you guys so much for following my journey, it truly is one of my favourite parts of this blog – sharing it all with you guys.

Do you guys have any travel plans for 2019? I’d love to hear them!


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Welcome to Standing Strong Wellness, where we embrace how much a strong body supports a strong mind! I'm Jen Standing - Certified Nutrition Consultant, Blogger, Food Lover, and CEO behind SSW. I'm a wellness-nerd who loves sharing my knowledge with others on all things food, fitness, nutrition, and mental health - stick around for tips on all of those topics!

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