Wandering Footsteps: Wandering the World One Step at a Time » Blog

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  • Well hello there! Glad you've stumbled upon Wandering Footsteps, the travel journal of a nomadic couple on a slow overland trip around the world. With thirty years of travel experience between us and a round-the-world trip already under the belt of our trusty 1988 Toyota-cum-camper van, this journey is bound to be interesting! Join us in our global wanderings - we've saved an extra seat just for you!

    - Brittany and Bruno

This month’s Wrap Up will be a little different than previous months because there has been essentially no travel or tourism. Instead, our nomadic overlanding life has taken a backseat to one thing and one thing only – our bus conversion. In this post, I describe our first steps – registration, insurance, maintenance, and shopping!

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  • Auntie Freya - Brittany and Bruno,
    I’m so proud of the headway you are making with “Big Blue”. You’ll soon be on your way to more adventures! I’m off to Egypt on 3/16 with a very special tour (only about 20 people) lead by an archeologist (and past Ministry of Antiquities) and Anwar Sadat’s wife. It should be very interesting. You still owe me an email!
    Love, FreyaReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Thanks for the note, Freya! It’s so encouraging to know our project is being avidly followed by so many… definitely keeps us motivated!

      I SO hope you enjoy your trip to Egypt! Can’t wait to hear about it on your return. Best. :)ReplyCancel

  • Louise Jones-Takata - Tough! Keep up the good work. Big Blue lookin’ good.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany Caumette - Thank for the encouragement, Louise! I guess the name of the bus is catching on! :)ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Brown - I’m sure I am among many of you readers who admire your hard work to overcome the difficulties of making your blue bus a beautiful new home.Your determination will be your reward. I will look forward to see it someday.
    Love , GrampaReplyCancel

    • Brittany Caumette - Thank you for the kind words, Grampa! I sure do wish I had a handyman such as yourself here right now to help Bruno! Eh well, we’ll manage – things are coming along and I can’t wait to post an update for everyone to see! :)ReplyCancel

  • Annette Gaudet - Looking forward to seeing the next pictures ! Good luck ! 😊ReplyCancel

    • Brittany Caumette - Thank you, Annette! It’s nice to know people are watching with interest! If you have Facebook or Instagram, you can see more up-to-date photos of our bus conversion by following/liking our page. Otherwise, my next post will have a ton more photos of our work so far. :)ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth S. - Glad to see things are progressing and you are learning new skills, Brittany!ReplyCancel

    • Brittany Caumette - Yes, despite my best efforts to never learn anything related to vehicle mechanics and construction, I AM learning!ReplyCancel

  • Rcs - Can’t wait til I see the final version of Big Blue.
    You’re becoming quite the bus mechanic!ReplyCancel

    • Brittany Caumette - Thanks, I can’t wait either! :)ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - Thank you for visiting our humble little blog and stopping into say hello! We’re happy to know someone will be following along with us during our bus conversion – it’ll help motivate us during the challenging moments!:)ReplyCancel

  • Daniel McDougall - It is great to learn about your bus conversion. I hope it goes well for you and look forward to future posts.ReplyCancel

After months of searching, Bruno and I have finally purchased the vehicle that will replace our beloved Totoyaya. We’re thrilled to introduce you to our 2001 Freightliner Bus and share the reasons we opted to make this our next home-on-wheels!

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  • Polly Mulligan - I love it!!! Seems like a great choice! XOX. Auntie PollyReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Thank you Auntie Polly! Can’t wait to show it to you face-to-face this summer! :)ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Brown - Amazing!! Your going to have all the room you wished for. I thought you would find another ” off road” model but this one will give you lots of room for living more comfortable. Look forward to see the conversion process.. I could use a couple of those beautiful seats for my deck at home.
    Love, GrampaReplyCancel

    • Brittany - We would have loved an off-road model but could not find something that had our size requirements, unfortunately. We’ll see how we like this bus over the coming years, and if we miss a proper off-road vehicle, we’ll look into the Mercedes Vario in Europe again! :)

      Can’t wait to show you some of the conversion progress!ReplyCancel

  • RCS - That’s a very good question…I think your choice of vehicle is close to what I was expecting since I knew a bus-type was being searched.
    I like the name Big Blue…sounds ox-like, large powerful and dependable.
    BTW, doors can be cut and windows replaced. Don’t forget a rear ladder to get to the storage area you will need on the roof for bigger outdoor things.
    I like it!ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Thanks for the tips and positive thinking! I agree – we’re going with “good enough” rather than perfect, even as this conversion gets under way! :)ReplyCancel

Totoyaya, our 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ75 with a custom camper box is for sale (again!). Read on for the reason she’s back up for sale, her vital statistics, what she’s being sold with, and tons of interior, exterior, chassis, engine and action shots. Currently located in Tucson, Arizona – come and get her!

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  • JIM - Please email to discuss thank you!ReplyCancel

  • adam jaa - hi
    i can pay u $9k for bj75. i can come anytime this week and pay u cash.

    adam.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Hi Adam, thanks for the offer. Our price is pretty firm, and we believe our vehicle is well-worth the price. For the moment we are going to pass on your offer, but thanks anyway.ReplyCancel

      • Jason and Sarah - Website is still in the works, we have been searching for an excursion vehicle for a while now. Would love to talk if you have the time. 404 630 4019ReplyCancel

        • Brittany - Hi Jason and Sarah,

          I replied to your comment via email a few days ago but not sure if you received it or not. In any case, our Toyota got sold back in March. Apologies! Best of luck finding something! :)

          Brittany and BrunoReplyCancel

This post carries a whole lot of news. A visit to Vegas, an exciting update on our vehicle search, and a bigtime snag in the sale of our beloved Toyota camper van. A really cool Christmas gift, a few quiet moments between a lot of vehicle visits, and a desperate cry (or two) for help from our readers! HELP!!

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  • Nikos & Georgia - CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Good luck with your next project. Wish you all the best & soon back to track 😉ReplyCancel

  • Craig Asher - Hi-

    I came across your ad for the Totoyaya and that led me to your website. I am not interested in the vehicle but I am definitely interested in meeting you guys in person and possibly helping with your conversion.

    I am in NY visiting with family at the moment and am considering heading to Tucson to finish out the Winter and early Spring there.

    I used to live in NY and have a house and construction business here. About five years ago I sold my house and most of my tools and equipment and converted my 2001 Chevy Astro van into a camper and have been living and traveling in it ever since with my three rescue dogs from Mexico. Except for the year I spent in a 1986 Toyota Dolphin mini motorhome with an amazing partner and our SIX rescue dogs! I can definitely relate to your feeling of not having enough space. It is such a fine line that needs to be drawn when living this way, isn’t it? That tricky balance between having enough space and having the maneuverability that you get from a smaller vehicle.

    Sometimes we get to a point in life where the decision gets easier and I could tell from your post that this was something that you basically had to do at this point and I totally get it. I hope to move up to something bigger one day also.

    I have spent most of the past five years traveling between Hood River, Oregon and Southern Baja doing odd jobs and teaching kiteboarding and playing guitar gigs and, of course, rescuing dogs.

    I am excited for you guys and your new project and I know how hard it is to part with a home that you have so many memories in. But I believe that you will fall in love all over again with your new home and make many new memories with it.

    Good luck and I really hope to see you guys soon.

    Cheers,

    CraigReplyCancel

  • Louise Jones-Takata - Congratulations! I like your bus. I do hope that you will keep some of the windows other than the obvious ones. Privacy yes, and light yes, yes! All the luck to you and Bruno with your renovation and finding a buyer. for Totoyaya!

    Vegas is a trip. I always have a good time partaking in a different fantasy, the last in October at the Bellagio. We did see the Cirque du Soleil’s Beatle show which was also terrific.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany Caumette - Glad you like our bus! We love the windows (except for the fact that most of them don’t open!! We’re eventually going to have to change a few…) It will be interesting to document and share the conversion process with you all on our blog! :)

      Vegas is exactly that – “a trip”. Perfect way of describing it! I don’t feel the need to return, unless it’s to see another fabulous show! :)ReplyCancel

  • Les Brown - A beautiful bus , I’m sure you’ll love it. I would love to visit you in Tucson, a great City, but will not be able to get there this year. Congratulations on your find.I wish you both the best of luck with the conversion and sale for your beloved Toyota
    Love and best wishes , GrampaReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Hi Grampa! Thank you so much for reading and sending your lovely warm message! It would have been great to have you come visit us in Arizona – maybe next winter somewhere?!?

      My apologies for being a terrible emailer these days… I think I have a pretty good excuse, though, right?

      Love and best to you and Leonie.ReplyCancel

  • Jan Miller - I love reading about your road adventures! We’ve been in Scottsdale since January 1 and will be here til Feb 28. We rent a condo (from a Belgian couple) in the shadow of Camelback Mountain. While here you should try to see the Musical Instrument Museum (called MIM), the Western Spirit Museum, The Heard Museum, and the Botanic Garden. In Tucson drive through Saguaro Natl Park–all great places to see. I hope Totoyaya finds a good home and that the conversion goes well.
    Bonne chance!
    Jan 🐸ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Oh my goodness, Jan, I just read this!! I wish I had seen it last week – we were still in Phoenix! It would have been amazing to share a coffee and a few stories! We are now in Tucson until mid-March working on our bus conversion. If you happen to come down this way at all in the next month, please do let me know! I would LOVE to see you!
      Best wishes, and hope you’re enjoying this unseasonably warm weather! Thank you for the travel tips! :)ReplyCancel

  • Alain - Congrats on your new camper! What an adventure. We’ll probably see you on the road somewhere next year. Happy remodeling and bon voyage to the 2 of you.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Thanks very much! Sure you don’t want to put off your own traveling and come help us build our home? Hahah! Just kidding (sort of!).ReplyCancel

“I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need” was a phrase I often used when people were incredulous about how I could live in a tiny camper van AND LIKE IT. It’s been awhile, though, that my phrase no longer describes how I feel. Here’s the honest truth about why Bruno and I are searching for a new home-on-wheels.

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  • Alice - I actually met Phil (from Phil and Angie) while travelling in my micro camper. I’ve up sized too as I couldn’t cope with any more baby wipe washes and want to head to Scandinavia next. I love my new van and I hope you love yours too :-)ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Oh my goodness, I can totally relate to the baby wipe showers!! Small vehicles are wonderful for warm climates – cool bucket showers along tropical beaches are pretty amazing, actually! – but I couldn’t agree more than upgrading for Scandinavia (or North America, for that matter!) is a great plan. We’re pretty pumped because we’ve made space for an 80cmx80cm shower which is massive! We’ll still mostly do bucket showers in there (with hot water, though, haha!) but it’ll be nice to throw out the wet wipes!

      Where did you meet Phil and Angie? Best of luck in Scandinavia – it’s on our list for the future!!ReplyCancel

  • Angie - What a brave piece of writing Brittany. I can absolutely and totally identify with all of what you have said in such an open and honest way and I know how difficult it must have been to open up as you have.
    “People”, I.e. Friends and family and faithful blog followers so oftentimes identify this nomadic lifestyle as idyllic, which of course it most often is and we appreciate that fact.
    However, there is a flip side of course and apart from the mundane ( which the general process of life and living throws in, such as shopping and laundry) there are those things that we miss.
    Some of these things can be found in some measure, I.e. Your joining a sport club for some exercise but yoga, I’ve found has been remarkably difficult to maintain. Maybe I can too easily find too many excuses….it’s too public, it’s too windy, it’s too uneven, but the fact remains, nothing beats those regular classes with a known and trusted teacher!
    Being a member of a library and just being able to come out with armfuls of cookery and art books, is something else I miss.
    At the moment, the only way I seem to be able to appease these desires is to take more frequent visits back to Wales( though to be honest, I still don’t do as much yoga as I should!) This isn’t really an ideal solution though as Phil is still very much in travel mode and thinks we don’t have enough time to visit everywhere.. however, he, like Bruno, is caring enough to give me the opportunities that I need and compromise his own needs.
    You now have a new vehicle, an exciting new project, which will take you some time to complete but which I think will give you the injection of enthusiasm to continue.
    Don’t worry about what the future may bring………life has a curious way of springing change upon us, when we least expect it.
    In the meantime, thank you for allowing me to speak my thoughts too!
    A huge hug to you both.
    XxxxReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Hi Angie, your message (which you also sent to me via email) was the first thing I read when I woke up this morning, after posting this late last night. I felt like I could finally exhale deeply, and something truly lifted off my shoulders. I think the sharing of my inner thoughts has ended up being very cathartic for me, and I’m seeing the benefits of having a little community (or a few girlfriends!) to vent to or to unload that on when I need to. This life is wonderful but it can be lonely sometimes. Today I feel very much un-alone. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - Hi Brittany,
    This is a beautiful post. You succeeded in showing gratitude & honesty. We made the step from a Jeep Wrangler with rooftop (but with a better kitchen than yours & an a few closets instead of cardboard boxes) to a large self-build expedition camper truck. We understand the importance of feeling home on the road and that it requires some comforts. Especially on cold, rainy days we’re very happy with this “upgrade”.

    Best wishes,
    Nicole &ElmerReplyCancel

    • Brittany - As I’ve just noted to the kind comments of other nomads and overlanders, I REALLY appreciate your message. I was so hesitant to share this post and come off as ungrateful or overly-negative, but I’m feeling a lot better about sharing it now that I’m seeing I’m not the only one to feel this way from time to time. It’s really good to hear that your vehicle upgrade has done just the trick – I think it will for Bruno and I, too!

      Thank you both, and hope to introduce our upgraded rigs to one another someday! :)ReplyCancel

  • Phil n Angie - So good.

    I read this and can so understand exactly where you are coming from, but I also read it knowing the next vehicle is just around the corner, so not only do we understand where you are coming from but also where you are going to.

    With love.
    PnAReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Really appreciate the nod of acceptance and encouragement I’ve been receiving from other nomads and overlanders. Thanks a bunch you guys, it really means a lot. Where we’re going is totally unchartered territory, but we’re both really excited for the new adventure ahead. Can’t wait to show it off to you all!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Hey Guys! This post makes total sense to me. Oh my gosh, after living so long in a small camper van I can only imagine the urge to enjoy a bigger one. This life on the road, it is such a great privilege, but there are certainly two sides of the coin. I know you’re not alone that sometimes there is a struggle to find and regain that balance. I hope a bigger bus brings you well into the next stage. All the best.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Thank you so much for the kind words, Tiffany. I feel good about having shared this post because, finally, I have received more encouragement and compassion than anything. It has helped make me feel like my feelings are legitimate, OK, and that they don’t necessarily mean I’m not cut out for this nomad life. Really, really appreciate the message, Tiffany. Thank you. :) And yes, I hope this bus will be just the trick, too, at least after the conversion process is over!!ReplyCancel