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What if I went for My Dreams in Spite of everything?

What if I Went for My Dreams In spite of Everything?

By Barb Rees

On our dream board was a picture of a woman crossing the finish line of a race. That winner pictures me! My face is ecstatic, bursting with happiness and pride. My arms are raised above my head in victory. It was a long journey across Canada with minimal income but first let’s go back to 2003. My husband took early retirement at 58 and I at 54 didn’t have a “real” job. I was making money where ever I could. No more mill pay cheque every two weeks, just a much smaller pension once a month which seemed to rule out our dream to RV across Canada.

 “What if we sold stuff at farmer’s markets to pay for the trip?” I asked Dave. It was the first of many years of him rolling his eyes at my hair-brained dreams but bless his heart he keeps going along with them. People thought we were crazy. Ever had a big dream your friends said you were nuts or irresponsible to even think of? That was us and not spring chickens anymore either.

Halifax flea market
Halifax flea market

I am a big believer in abundance mentality. Hold out your left hand and make a fist. Hold out your right hand and keep it open palm up. If the universe (or God, call it what you may) is going to send abundance your way, which hand will receive it? That is the difference between scarcity mentality and abundance mentality. Always stay open to ideas and opportunities. Avoid naysayers. Sweep fear and doubt out the door before they poison your dreams.

 June 2003 we left Powell River, BC, $300 in hand in a 1977 motor-home loaded with driftwood, brandied blackberry sauce, my first book “Lessons From the Potholes of Life” and a ton of faith that we would make it to PEI and back. Boy oh boy did that trip test us but we made it and I was the woman doing the yippee skippee dance around the tourism lot in PEI singing, “We did it. We really really did it!” In 2006 I wrote my first RV Canada book about the trip, “RV Canada On A Dime And A Dream” then in 2007 took it back across in a cranky van I named “Boo the menopausal van.” She grumbled her way across, repeatedly breaking down towing a 27 ft trailer. She became the title for the next book “RV Canada With Boo the Menopausal Van” which we took up to Yukon and Northwest Territories in 2009, and stood in the Arctic Ocean.

Barb and Dave at Miles Canyon, YK

It was the same story; not much money, humongous dreams, vehicle problems and lots of creative selling to keep us going. It became the third book “RV Canada’s Far North On A Dream” which we took on tour to Hudson Bay, MB in 2011. That trip is the latest book “RV Canada And The Polar Bear Dream” which we are taking to Newfoundland this summer.

Money is tight but we have faith we will sell enough to help pay for the trip. I’m sure we will be tested but oh the joy of standing at Cape Spears as we greet the first sunrise in NA.

Each trip has taught us not to give up on our dreams. They have taught us to be grateful each day for what we call “gifts of abundance” those big and small gifts people give us. It can be a vendor giving us extra potatoes or no charge for camping. We are grateful for them all.

 Our favorite quote posted on the wall for all our trips is from Dr. Robert Schuller, “You don’t have a money problem. You have an idea problem.” Anytime we have been stuck far from home down to our last few dollars, we look for ideas and with them comes the money.

 Spread out both your hands palms up. What abundance could the universe send your way if no matter what happened or what people said you followed your dreams? Can you live with the worst that can happen? Then go for it!!

Spring camping in Powell River
Spring camping in Powell River

2011 Was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times.

Yes, it was definately a year of tests and we’re happy to report …We Passed! We made our fourth dream trip with the latest book “RV Canada’s Far North On A Dream” but not without major upsets. We covered 18,129 km from June 15- Nov.29.

It all started May 26/11, when we took the camper van “Boo The Menopausal Van 2” which was loaded ready for the trip, to the mall so I could buy a new smart phone. Our cute little pup Pali went along for the ride. It almost was his last. In the 3o mins. it took to get the phone set up, the van caught on fire. We had no idea until a fellow came running into the mall, and hollered at Dave, “Come quick. It’s an emergency!” Still, I didn’t clue in so I finished what I was doing. I went outside to see the mall lot yellow taped off like a scene from a movie, crowds of people standing around, and flames and smoke leaping from the van. Dave’s first words to me was, “Pali’s ok.” Stunned, I just gaped at our little home. Pali had been rescued, taken to the vet, and pronounced healthy by the time I got out there. I was more shaken than him. It tooks months to get over that scene.

That was the beginning of our summer. It meant dealing with insurance; deciding what to do about the trailer packed ready to go but nothing to tow it with now, making arrangments and finding another unit. People suggested we cancel the trip and our answer was always no. This was just a pothole, albeit a rather smoky nasty one.

Short version of the story: We took the trailer to Vancouver Island, left it on consignment at the lot we bought a 32 ft motorhome from which was a rip-off. Our departure date got moved to June 15, and car in tow we left Powell River, and broke down on the peninsula(part way to Vancouver). Four days and over $2200 later we left Vancouver wanting to sue Upper Island Motors for misrepresentation. Again it was asked if we would stop the trip Again it was no.

The RV continued to break down for the 3 months we were on the road but we kept on. We cut out Yukon and NWT because the money was so tight by then and moved towards our next big dream to get to Churchill, MB to see polar bears. We made it there and stood in the Hudson’s Bay doing our traditional water pouring ceremony. Standing under a full moon in Churchill, we were ecstatic we hadn’t given up on our dreams.

But the tests weren’t over. Sept.7, while camped in Mancota, SK we got a message that our son Brent had been in a terrible car accident in the Yukon while up there working. He became a quadrapalegic and was in dangerous condition. Dave drove over 1900 km in 3 days to get us back to Vancouver where Brent was in VGH. We spent the rest of Sept, Oct. and most of November camped in Surrey, and driving everyday to the hospital to be by his side. I’m happy to say on this day Feb.11/12, he is doing very well with his mind as clear and determined as ever. He has new plans for a  new life. The prognosis is that he will never walk but Dave and I believe in miracles.

I feel like it was a summer book-ended by sorrow but in between its pages were wonderful stories, people, and experiences. It’s going to make a fascinating 4th RV Canada book due 2013 for the next cross Canada trip.

The moral to the story is that life is constantly changing, nothing is forever so don’t waste time, get out there and make your dreams come true. Love and appreciate your loved ones.


2010 in Rees Review

It’s been a quieter year for the Rees’s as we stayed closer to home in preparation for the next “really big show” in 2011 when we take the new RV book on a 4 month tour. The manuscript draft is complete for “RV Canada’s Far North On A Dream” and now we start on the polishing and publishing by May 15/11.

I completed a 10 part series in Snowbirds & RV Travel about the 2009 northern trip. The Métis magazine Whispering Winds also carried some articles. My 2011 goal is to find new paid markets to write for. There are plenty of free magazines that expect writers to write for free and that’s how I got started but no more. I’ve done my time. As a member of the BC Association of Travel Writers I was privileged to go on my first all expenses paid “fam” tour to Dawson City in June. Thrilling and fun …I want to do more of this.

Boo the menopausal van was retired in Dec.2009, traded in on a 1992 Dodge Travel Home high top camperized van now known as Boo 2. We’ve had a ball this year taking little trips in her, sometimes just for the day but a nice getaway. She towed the 27 ft. trailer up to Kelowna for the RV Lifestyle Seminars in June without any problems. So now we have the best of both worlds.

We acquired a new puppy in April the same week Dave lost his only brother, Bill. Pali,a Shitzu/poodle, chihuahua cross is 3 pounds of love and bossy attitude. He’s changed our lives and the energy in our home.

Dave went to work at Wal-Mart in Sept in preparation financially for the big trip. He’s living proof that 68 yr old guys still can find work. While we have our health we are going to make good use of our time.

Métis of Powell River went from 3 of us to forming own community. How exciting to feel like I belong, like this is the family I’ve been missing after years of not knowing. It will be official in February and then we’ll start planning events and educational components.

As we close the door on 2010, hope you can look back on it with few regrets and look forward to an even better 2011. Life fully without excuses or regrets, make a difference in the world.

Great Northern Book Tour Journal Entries

Greetings from the way far north!
We are at day 25 of our four month book tour/exploration of Canada’s great far north. We’ve been in Whitehorse, Yukon for four days and leave tomorrow for Dawson City. What a vast land this is where there are more caribou than people: 165,000 to only 32,000 people. All that contributes to expanses of quiet wild beauty.

So far we haven’t seen any grizzly bears but as we head farther north we are bound to. The Yukon river is an incredible green that the Yukon River Quest paddlers tackled yesterday. 170 paddlers in 77 boats set off from here destined for Dawson City on their 750 km quest.
We’ll meet them there.

As a travel writer many opportunities have opened for me. I am so priviliged to have the best of both worlds: write and travel while making an income at the same time.
Watch for articles in Sun Cruisers RV magazine, Whispering Winds, RV Times and anything else I can find.

RV Canada with Boo the Menopausal Van is getting lots of exposure thanks to the sign on Boo’s front: Boo the Menopausal Van. We’ve been stopped at gas stations to sell books. Flag ladies just grin at us as do anyone standing on the streets.
We are having such fun exploring and learning so much about Canada’s early literally ground breaking history. This is the land of gold miners and the famous Alaska Highway.
If you want to follow us sign up at:

When we get to internet we’ll be updating. We are following our dreams all the way to Tuktoyaktuk July 12. We will be standing at the Beaufort Sea sharing our blackberry wine with someone just like we dreamed it would months ago. Hard work,determination and courage is all it takes.
Keep following your dreams and never give up.

July 19 in Carcross, Yukon:

July 11 will go down in our history as a very memorable day. It was the day we took a river boat tour up the McKenzie 180km to the Arctic Ocean.We did see two grizzlies on the river’s shore and got wonderful pictures. Our dream destination Tukotoyaktuk which sits at 69 degrees north. By then we’d already crossed the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees by travelling up the northernmost highway in North America, the Dempster. It is 760km of gravel and spectacular scenery.

But I digress that’s what got us to Inuvik, NWT where we hooked up with Up North Tours, Kyle and the guys who are so accomodating and knowledgeable.

In Tuk with our guide Boogie,we took our Powell River water and standing in the Arctic Ocean we poured it and refilled it to take back home. We hauled our bottle of blackberry wine all the way up there but never got a chance to share it so that had to wait till we were back in Dawson City.

I could hardly believe I was standing there in this totally differnt world of cold, no trees, sewer and water lines above ground, 24 hour sunlight, hunting whale and polar bears as a natural way to feed families, and pingos. What an eye opener!

We flew back to Inuvik over the pingos which are giant pyramids of permafrost pushing through the ground. In Inuvik we had a private tour of the famous Igloo Church built in a style that defied tradional building by putting down a foundation which isn’t done because of the permafrost.

The day was capped off when we attended the Great Northern Arts Festival cultural ceremonies. Watching the drum dancers, throat singers and whip artist demo made us feel like July 11 was a perfectly rounded day of really seeing and feeling the far north culture.

But now we are starting to backtrack from Whitehorse to Watson Lake, we are discovering yet more beauty. We’re currently in Carcross, Yukon and the smallest and most northern desert in the world. Majestic mountains and blue lakes abound.

Everyday we meet new people, learn more history, inspire and be inspired. This has been a journey of rediscovery of what is really important to Dave and I: keep it simple and enjoy each other without distractions and stress. Once again, as we did in our two previous adventures we are rekindling the depth of our love for each other and this great land we live in…and life in general.

Teslin, Watson Lake, Liard Hot Springs and Yellowknife lie ahead and yet to unveil their beauty. This was my last journal entry for this trip. 115 days since we left home, we drove back into Powell River 14,493 km later. For more complete journal entries go to: