Posts tagged adventure
Luxury Problems

Do you ever feel like your thoughts and feelings don't even seem relevant in this troubled world? 

My joys, delights, my struggles and pains, just seem minuscule when considering the state of affairs in the world. In light of terrible politics and poverty, my artwork and artistic pursuits also feel like they aren't really relevant and don't add much to the betterment of the world.
At times I feel guilty sharing about these delightful things and somewhat trivial problems with all the tragedy in the news and all the wars that people are living in. But I really don’t feel it my calling to bring light to those tragic things. I feel strong desire to share the beauty that I find in the world and to share my experience of life. I want to share my experience living a privileged creative lifestyle. It sounds so luxurious. It really is. 

Dom (my husband) and I both grew up with parents who are missionaries. They lived lives of service, teaching and helping people in developing countries. They felt called to move their families across the seas, partly for adventure, I am sure, but mostly because they wanted to help people and live selfless lives. 

Is not the life of an artist, such a narcissistic life to lead? At least as an art teacher, I was teaching others about creativity and making, which was at least somewhat altruistic. 

Dom and I were listening to a podcast about having different points of reference for suffering. I think it was a "This American Life" episode. One woman shared about how her mother was jewish and the mother's reference point of pain and suffering was based on the Holocaust. In affect, the woman who was sharing the story, the daughter, her problems were so trivial to her mother in the grand scope of things. There was no empathy for her teenage heartache or being bullied at school. The daughter's struggles were never as painful as what her people had been through. This lack of empathy was very difficult to live with. It discounted any pain that the daughter had experienced.
My experience was nothing like this. My pains were acknowledged, listened to and considered legitimate, growing up. But I do feel as though I have lived in this paradoxical frame of reference. Growing up in Thailand with several poor/poorer people around me, helped me keep my problems in perspective. 

Usually when I have pain or suffering, I often think about those who are suffering more than me, to put my suffering in perspective. When going through a miscarriage, I had a lot of physical pain. However, imagining people who have chronic, consistent pain made my physical pain some what banal. Same goes for when Dominik and I broke down in our van in Denmark. We were frustrated and disappointed but, we both thought about the thousands of refugees living in camps in Europe today and their journey to the unknown future on their way here. They weren’t expecting to be in refugee camps for years in Greece. Our vanlife problems just were nothing in comparison with people fleeing persecution and war and now stuck in limbo. 

Dominik also feels the same way, maybe more extreme than me. His father’s favorite line to say when there is a pause in conversation is “Mensch, gehts uns gut!” “Man, we have it good.” It is nice to hear and to be reminded of. But it also has a tinge of reminder that others are not as privileged and taken care of as we are. It’s a grateful comment, but reminds me of others' suffering, which makes it hard to enjoy and actually be grateful. Dominik also saw more poverty growing up, than I did. He lived in places that had conflicts occurring nearby. I was in an international school bubble and my jr high problems were not brushed off because of a "real suffering" frame of reference quite as much. 
I suppose I have a similar conclusion to "This American Life," in that, neither way to live is perfect. It's not healthy to live in a bubble and never think of the suffering in the world. And it's not healthy to discount our struggles and pain all the time in light of the suffering of others. Neither one is healthy, but it may be most healthy to live in this paradox. Knowing that our problems are luxury problems, but acknowledging them as legitimate pain and suffering none the less. 

How do you live with this paradox? What are your frame of reference in terms of pain and suffering?

Thanks for reading lovelies,


*My narcissistic art-making is pretty much all I want to do. How can I justify this, coming from a family who's lives are dedicated to service and self sacrifice? I guess I may have to work through this in another post...

Simple Van Renovation

To see what the van looked like when we bought it check out the "Before" post I posted a week or so ago. Dom and I have zero experience with car repair and almost just as little experience with carpentry/ building things. We were very happy to have bought a van that as mostly built out already.  But we were excited to learn and make additions and changes to the interior of our first car!

To start we stripped everything out of the van except the front 3 seats. 

Then we deep cleaned every surface and crevasse.  Dominik's oma (grandma) is a cleaning wizard so we summoned her enthusiasm to help us get the job done. After cleaning everything we began putting up this self adhesive insulation foam covering the entire interior of the van. 

 Then we painted the wall mount boards and the shelving white.
We sealed the storage boxes and put on nicer handles.

We then began putting in the side paneling, reinstalling the newly painted shelving and bed board. Next up was to install some floor insulation and laminate flooring.

With the help of Dom's cousin we installed a new sink.

I made some curtains for the back and side windows.

And still to come are some solar panels for the roof. 
Again, we were so happy to have a mostly finished interior and to have the freedom to alter it. It's not the best build out but it is working so well for us so far. To see our semi finished van renovation check out this post. The photos for that post were taken right after our 5 weeks of summer travels in Scandinavia. It is such a great place to live and I can't wait to spend two months in the van very soon. 

Dominik and I are traveling to Spain and Portugal with our little baby Vigo.  We can't wait!


Van Renovation: Before
We bought our Ford Transit in march 2016. Just about the time we got pregnant. We bought it from this hippy couple in Bavaria. It was super cheap. We knew it needed some motor repair, but we decided to kind of risk it and buy the van anyway. It had a very simplistic interior build which we were excited to alter and repair. It was a little bit dank in the interior but we liked the general layout and were excited to spiff it up with a few hundred euros. 

The motor problems on the other hand were a gamble. Dominik and I didn't know anything about cars really. It could have been a quick 1,000 Euro repair, or a few thousand. Let's just say it was more than just a few thousand in repairs... Oh well, luckily we had saved enough for it not to break our bank. This was the first car either of us had ever owned and we were ecstatic! It would be perfect for playing shows, transporting paintings, and traveling.

The van did feel like it hadn't been cleaned in years. We wanted to redo parts of the interior build completely. We didn't want any separators under the bed for storage because we knew we wanted as much room as possible for music equipment and art transport. We were going to redo the "kitchen." It was also a bit nasty and we didn't want many things to be permanent and limit flexibility for storage.

Our van was going to be a band-mobile and a camper. It needed to have everything to be able to live in it, but it also couldn't have too much permanent storage compartments that would limit filling it with music equipment when we were driving to shows.

The moldy sheepskins, carpet and "artwork"on the walls had to go. The found wood pieces were also a bit too rustic for our liking.

The van ended up being in the shop for over a month, because even the mechanics couldn't figure out what was malfunctioning in the motor. Naturally they found several other things that needed to be replaced as well.

But the first step for the interior rebuild was to tear everything out and clean the entire interior! More on that soon.

Thanks for reading lovelies.

Home: Minimalist Nesting

I'm having this baby in just a few weeks/any time now and I haven't gotten much or bought much, I have borrowed most of the main things, a baby bay bed, car seat, chair and been given some clothes, cloth diapers, etc. But there is this overwhelming feeling like I need to buy a whole bunch of shit. A changing table, a play pen, breast pump, a new home to fill with many more things. The new baby shopping lists online and in books are incredibly long...

On the other hand, I feel a strong desire not to acquire anything at all. To just let this little baby lie naked in my arms against my breast. How much can this tiny human really need? He just needs love, snuggles, and boob right?

I'm getting the essentials ready and then just going to play it by ear. If we need something later on when he's (our babe is a boy, we recently found out) here we can get it.

The past few months I have been consistently getting rid of things in our home and garage that don't bring me joy. It seems when you have the space you fill it. I am not a minimalist by any means, but I have been paring down my possessions to the ones that really bring me joy. I'm really noticing a change in how I feel about our home because I've gotten rid of a lot of clutter. The minimalist struggle is real, especially when you are adding a family member to the mix.

To those mamas and papas, how do you keep your home and space from being cluttered once children join your family?

Thanks for reading lovelies,


Van Interior
Last sunday we returned from our 5 week van journey.  I wanted to shoot and share a few photos before we unpacked and moved out of our van. The space really became our home over the past 5 weeks. I honestly can't wait until we can get back on the road.

From left to right you can see the kitchen, bathroom (toilet), and living room. There is a board behind the backseats that comes out and has a leg, it slides into the rut above the toilet to make a table for working and eating (as seen in this photo). The table can also attach to the floor of the van and stand on the ground, outside of the van, on nice days as in this photo on instagram.

Here is our kitchen, we have a gas stove. The gas can under the bed. It's in a sealed box in the back with a vent so we don't accidentally get gassed out! Our pots and pans either hang on the rail when we are parked, or are in the wooden box to the left when we drive so that they don't clank around. The boxes above the sink have coffee, tea, kettles etc... then the other boxes toward the back are filled with clothes. Notice the safe on the top, far left, that's where we put all our valuables on our trip. It's screwed into the wall and the shelf from the inside, so it's not going anywhere. 

Our bed pulls out all the way to the edge of the sink, an extra part of the mattress is added, when it's bedtime. It's 2 meters long and about 120cm wide, so luckily Dominik and I are skinny minis and like to snuggle. I don't know where we'll fit the baby when it comes in January. Maybe a hanging crib?

I bought this bear bottle opener in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was fun to buy useful souvenirs along the way in Scandinavia this summer. We even bought a reindeer fur from a Norwegian lady in a dirt-yurt like hovel. We slept on the fur most nights, to stay warm, but it also covers our ugly back seats during the day.

Under the bed is where it isn't so pretty.  I am going to make curtains for the bits under the sink and bed, because our pantry, seen below, is a real eyesore!!! We didn't want to put in too much permanent storage because our van needs to be very versatile. It's our only car so we use it for big shopping trips and weekly stuff, but we also use it as a band-mobile for Dominik Baer and the 54s.

This summer we played a number of house shows, so the majority of the space under the bed was taken up with music equipment and Dominink Baer merch.

Well, that's our van, in its campervan state of being. If you have any questions about our set up please feel free to ask. As I said, there are definitely improvements we will be making over the years. But it has worked wonderfully for us this summer. It has been an amazing dream come true to have a home on wheels.

Thanks for reading lovelies!
It's been wonderful to see the great response to our trip and photos on Instagram and Facebook.


Anna and Dominik