Our Story

Here We Are

But How Did We Get Here?

Hello! We’re Heather & Ramsey and we live a nomadic lifestyle, sorta like VanLife just not in a van! We started off in a tiny Ford Escape SUV that we converted into a kind of campervan home, but we did it on a 20 dollar budget! We started off with a dream to travel and experience life, but ended up discovering ourselves out there. Our world is a beautiful place & the fact that we’re alive is incredible! We wanted to a live a life in which we are ALIVE!

This is the story of two people and 3 rescue dogs (Lillee, Kluane, & Ohana) living a very untraditional lifestyle. We don’t have much stuff, but we have everything! And we want to share everything with the world!

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The Herd


It Begins

Part I: Finding Our Way

Once upon a time. . . we lived an average life. We bought stuff, lived in cities, we traveled sometimes, and we didn’t know each other. We each had something missing in our lives but we didn’t realize what it was. We hopelessly wandered through the journey of life.

As we grew, we each began traveling down a path. We had no idea that we had each chosen a path that led not only to one another, but eventually a life of maximum fulfillment. We individually faced a diverging path at similar points in our lives, and we both chose to take the one less traveled. And that made all the difference!



Two Roads Diverged

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

Then We Met

The paths we had chosen included a more simplistic, positive, authentic version of life. We wanted to chase our dreams but neither one of us were really sure how to make that happen. Our paths crossed in Colorado one spring day and it was like each of us was the missing piece for the other. As we built an incredible relationship we began discussing our passions and the ideal lifestyle. This led us to where we are today. It took us a little while to work out the details.

And the World

Turned to Color

So We Made a Plan
One night, while having one of our typical discussions – about the stars, life, & dreams – we came to a crazy conclusion. Maybe our dreams that the rest of the world called “crazy” weren’t so crazy afterall? Perhaps we could make them come true. It would just require one thing – doing something that everyone else would call..well..crazy!

“Want to quit our jobs !?”

We decided we would live on the road for a few months. We’d quit our jobs, sell our stuff, & hit the road for a while. We could go see the things we dreamed of – the Coastal Mountains, Pacific Ocean, Yukon wilderness, Alaskan range, the most remote place we could hike to, the best small towns, Utah’s Canyons. We could bath in the rivers, lay by the lakes, sleep in the forests, & just be. It was a dream not just of travel & adventure, but also of an experience that few people get to feel – true freedom. Go wherever you want, do whatever you want, each day.

So, we took our Ford Escape SUV and built a bed in the back. We got scrap wood and supplies for free off of Craigslist & from local yard sales & finished the car home for about $20.00 !



Life on the Road
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. -Oscar Wilde”

The Simple Life

So, we did it! Many years ago now, we hit the road. We lived in our little converted SUV Campervan, a Ford Escape SUV that we called The Great Escape. We finished a simple & cheap bed build into the SUV & threw together an easy cooking setup for car camping. It was the three of us – Ramsey, Heather, & our pooch Lillee. We set out on an incredible journey that unbeknownst to us would change our lives forever.


The Latest Adventures

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Eventually, we decided this life was for us for good. We added a new family member, an Aussie mix rescue dog who we named Kluane. Together, we all had incredible adventures. You can read up on past tales in our Nomad Travel Journal. As our Great Escape campervan aged, we had to think about what we would live in for a lifetime on the road. It was a challenging decision that required a tremendous amount of research, but after a while we settled that the best nomad rig for us was a popup truck camper. Our lifestyle, the challenges, and the adventures continue to change. We even added one more family member not long ago! If you want to meet the Paradise on Pennies Dog Pack, you can read about them below or watch them over at Youtube or even follow them over on Instagram Paradise on Pennies by following #KluaneDog, #LilleeDog, & #OhanaDog.

TRAVEL STORIES >>

BROWSE PHOTO GALLERY >>

 

Our Years in The Ford Escape Campervan: Saying Goodbye

The adventures we had just at the beginning were already unmatched and the little Ford Escape that we hauled along our bed in served as a good enough home for any. Sure, space was limited and luxuries were few, but it gave us a great humbling perspective on what really counts in life.

A New Tiny Home on Wheels: Meet the Turtle Shell Home

When we got our new truck camper to live in, we kept it simple and kept it small, but for us this was a new luxury. We can cook inside, out of the bugs! We can escape the wind! We can snuggle with our pack inside on rainy days. Some people would think our home is too small. But we’re in it for the killer back yard!


Married in the Mountains

Along the way, we also decided to get married. And much like our entire life this event was also very untraditional. We simply climbed up one of our favorite mountain ranges & proclaimed our commitment to a forever life on the road together. We promised we’d never let the other person get stagnant, and fill our lives with love, adventure, & perseverance no matter how high the mountains stood in front of us. We promised to LIVE!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow. . .

We did’t get married to lock in a never-changing lifestyle. Instead, we agreed to change, together, forever. We’ve learned how important change can be for the individual, the mind, the body, and the relationship. Anyone can simple live together, marry, and even travel together in a van, but real adventures happen with your absolute best friend. The one that pushes you just enough to keep you a little crazy. Read how our nomadic life has taught us the value of change.

We Exchanged 2 Homemade Rings

Somewhere high in the North Cascade Mountains we got married. We exchanged 2 wooden rings we made together. We had a free meadow of wildflowers, our dog as a guest, and a view of the glacier peaked Cascade mountains on a sunny blue sky day. It was magical. And it only cost us a couple bucks – one of the all-time cheapest weddings ever!

North Cascades Mountains, Washington
Exchanging our vows at the top of the world!


A Simple Wedding

Meet the Herd

Paradise on Pennies Nomad RamseyRamsey

Ramsey, born & raised in a small town in northeast Iowa, spent much of his childhood outdoors in the country. He was always a curious and creative one with a bright personality & a big smile. Family & friends know him as being the one who brought happy vibes into any room. He spent 12 years working hard to establish a solid career. However, one afternoon he quit his job to pursue his authentic self and move to Colorado where he could spend more time outdoors. He wouldn’t regret this decision, despite some fear of the unknown. He had a lot more time for hiking, rock climbing, & snowboarding and met his best friend along the way. He further realized how short life is & how much there was left to discover and he desired to commit his time to his passions. Now, he spends his afternoons enjoying hiking in the wilderness, gazing up at space, & living life to the fullest with his wife & pooches.

Paradise on Pennies Nomad HeatherHeather

Heather has always been an animal lover & a curious soul – interested in the stars, far away places, & exotic species. Those passions were further molded by later life experiences. She was born in Pennsylvania but moved quite a bit. As she grew, she sharpened interests in 3 key areas: a thirst for learning, creativity, & nature. She fed these via jobs & formal training in education, marketing, & science; but she didn’t fully find herself until facing a series of life’s unexpected ups & downs & gaining a drive to discover true authenticity & happiness. She quit a good job to pursue her real passion in biogeosciences (via graduate studies). Then, she made a 2nd life-changing decision to move out west where she truly felt at home in the mountains – to Colorado. Unbeknownst to her, it is here where she’d meet her soul mate & together they would make the final leap toward a full life – on the road!

Paradise on Pennies Nomad LilleeLillee

Lillee is a rescue pup from a humane society in Florida. While Heather lived there, she went for a companion pooch & found the sweetest little girl, scared & in need of love. Lillee had a rough start, losing all of her brothers & sisters & having been physically hurt by unknown means. She was scared of men & garbage bags. Heather promised to teach her human kindness & give her the most exciting life to make up for this. Lillee has been to the entire western U.S., much of the east, Canada, & Alaska on her adventures. She climbs mountains & travels everywhere Heather & Ramsey go now. She absolutely loves Ramsey, who spoils her when no ones looking!

Paradise on Pennies Nomad KluaneKluane

Kluane is our middle child, a sweet boy with a big bark. He was rescued from a shelter in Northwest Montana. Lillee was not happy about sharing her snacks & love when we got him but they are becoming pals now! Kluane is named after the wildest place we experienced in the Yukon while living on the road. He loves playing in the snow & cuddling when he’s sleepy. Kluane loves life on the road. Every day is a new adventure for him – from the travel & hiking adventures to new dog parks where he makes friends from all over the Americas.

Paradise on Pennies Nomad OhanaOhana

Ohana is our latest addition, a little energetic Border Collie from the Arizona Border Collie Rescue. He is a very clever boy, of course, and certainly lives up the the #FetchIsLife mantra. He’s a singing border collie, no joke! He whirls through our legs and learned to wave hello or goodbye. He wakes us up bright & early to get going so a second of life is never wasted! Ohana is also enjoying the travel & hiking adventures with his big brother & has had the opportunity to play at many new dog parks across North America. Our nomad life wears well on this guy who benefits physically from the active lifestyle and mentally from the frequent change of scenery.


Endless Wanderers But Never Lost


Today’s Adventures

“Yesterday is Gone, Tomorrow is Uncertain . . . All We Have is Today, The Present!”

Today, we continue our adventures. You can track our location now or get updates from our Facebook page. We also do periodic travel updates from our Youtube channel.

Paradise on Pennies

So far, we’ve been to nearly all U.S. states and many Canadian provinces (*see all Travel Stats). We haven’t been lucky enough to travel internationally yet. Our travels are centered around minimalistic & simplistic means that cost little to achieve. this allows us the time to travel and explore and be flexible enough to dash off to the next adventure. It means we aren’t tied up in work and status quo obligations. We’re free. We’re wild. We’re happy.

 


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