Do you panic every time you have to leave your beloved pets behind when you travel? Then maybe it’s time to consider taking them with you – like the globe-trotting couple that brings their dogs along for every adventure.
Freelance writer Brianna Madia and her husband Keith, from Bridegeport and Fairfield, Connecticut, USA claim they couldn’t bear to leave their dogs and go anywhere without them. “It’s messy and it requires a lot of planning and sacrifice but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Brianna. “When you live in a vehicle with your dogs, they stop being regular house pets and really become the co-pilots of your life. Anywhere we go, they go. Any activity we do, they do. There is no us without them.”
Brianna says she learned everything about being free from watching her dogs. “I have to see places through their eyes. I have to experience things the way they experience them. No place would be the same without them, so I just couldn’t imagine leaving them behind.”
The couple do run into some problems by bringing their dogs everywhere and have to avoid US National Parks due to strict leash laws or no dog policies.
Brianna recalled how they came to live in a van in the first place and how the lifestyle is less glamorous than is often portrayed on social media.
“After college, my husband and I had nowhere to live so out of desperation, his family let us post up on their 33-foot sailboat for seven months while we worked and saved up some money to move out west,” she said. “I’m sure that sounds super glamorous, but the fact is we had no running water, no air conditioning, no internet, no TV and no refrigerator.”
A couple of years later, when they were thinking about getting a home, they realized they wanted to continue living like they had on the boat. They decided instead to buy their giant orange van and hit the road.
“There is an overwhelming sense of safety and comfort in knowing exactly how little you need to be happy.” Brianna does, however, note that there is a big difference between what people living the van life post on social media and how it actually is. The couple spend most of their time in Utah but have travelled through Oregon, Colorado, California, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho and even Mexico. They hope to live on a sailboat again someday, somewhere outside the US – but not without their dogs.