The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

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WebPage Visits

We're on Facebook

Sailing Banyan

Instagram: #banyantravels

but we're not Tweeting.

Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!
11 September 2017
02 September 2017 | Winkler, MB
20 June 2017 | Aa
13 June 2017
22 March 2017 | Eleuthera, Bahamas
14 March 2017 | Great Guana Cay and Oven Rock Cave, Exumas, Bahamas
07 March 2017 | Sampson Cay,
04 March 2017 | St Augustine, Florida
20 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Warderick Wells, Exuma Land and Sea Park
10 February 2017 | Exumas to Nassau to Exumas Bahamas
04 February 2017 | Black Point, Exumas, Bahamas
31 January 2017 | New Bight, Cat Island
29 January 2017 | New Bight, Cat Island
27 January 2017 | Cat Island
04 January 2017 | Staniel Cay, Bahamas

Make Every Day Special

11 September 2017
The caption on the Anna Magazine that we were given in our gift bags on Day One of the Leisure Travel Van Rally reads: "Make Every Day Special". And that struck me as a great way to BE... to LIVE, oui? Especially these past few days, in the wake of so many Natural Disasters sweeping the planet, combined with today being Nine-Eleven.

Photo Credit: LTV/Triple E Marketing Group

****

This Spring, we were somewhere in one of the many islands that are the Bahamas, on our sailboat SV Banyan, when we noticed that it was the right date, although not the right time according to the clock that hung on our wall, to register for the Annual Leisure Travel Van Rally to be held in Winkler, Manitoba early September.

Last year we were too late in registering and the Rally was Sold Out when we tried. We were disappointed as we had just picked up our Unity IB, which you can read about HERE

"Did you still want to go?" asked Dave, as I prepped our coffee and he patiently waited for the registration screen to load. Patience is definitely an asset without Fast and Furious WiFi at your Fingertips.

"Well, of course, but who knows where we are going to be in September" I replied, "but sure would be fun, wouldn't it? And we could arrange our travel plans around those days, I'm sure"

We watched the hands on the clock slowly Tick Tock their way ahead, and as we poured our second cup of java, the preset alarm beeped, Time Time!! We logged in and quickly proceeded through the question boxes, one at a time, trying to be speedy and also desperately hoping and watching the irregular WiFi signal hoping we wouldn't get disconnected, until finally and just in time the page loaded with a Thank You for Registering message.

We later came to learn that this year's Rally had sold out in a record setting 20-30 minutes, whoa!

Fast forward to Today: The Day after the Rally.

And, as with all events in life, all we have left are our Memories. Read On as we share Ours with you.

The Wednesday Arrival:

The Rally was held at the Winkler Bible Camp, just mere minutes out of the city of Winkler.



We arrived sometime after the designated noon o'clock start, and were greeted by Don. We chatted for a moment or three, and then he quickly affixed a large blue circle with the number 52 on our window as the line up behind us started to grow, as he said, "Just pull up ahead and wait there for the golf cart, he'll guide you to your spot".

Moments later, having followed the golf cart onto the large grassy field to our designated spot, we were soon backing in and then satisfied that we were level and with enough space on both sides for incoming, we plugged into the power lines. The Bible Camp has a central water and dump accessible to all at the entrance, but we had dumped and filled up prior to our arrival so we were ready to just Park'N'Play. All sites had access to electrical (approx 8 amps) however we were asked to run fridges and hot water on propane, with no AC or heaters (unless you run your generators), please and thank you. This is a No Pets Camp, however a generous exception was made for the Rally as so many travel with their furry friends. We met some pretty awesome furried friends!



But the real pests were the swarms of hornets flying abuzz, not to mention the biting ladybugs!

The 80+ parking spots were slowly starting to fill up and pretty soon the many Units were lined all in a row, like soldiers standing at attention.



The energy and vibe was infectious as everyone, once settled and level and plugged in, gathered outside for introductory smiles and handshakes. We met some people who'd been coming for years and years but most of the people were Newbies, just like us. We took a quick walk around and noticed a wide array of Provinces and States in the 'hood. Nova Scotia was well represented with two of us parked side by side. And the best part of that walk? Hearing "Hey, are you Banyan?"

We turned with the largest grin every, and replied "We Sure Are!". It's always a humbling moment to meet our followers and virtual friends, and it wasn't long before we were friends For Real. Throughout the Rally we were happy to have our "boat cards" with us, and it sure was an advantage to share those around as quick exchange of email or phone or social media details for later reference, or when memory fails, whichever comes first.

Registration time allowed for a mix and mingle type of lineup. It was a simultaneous exchange as we got our names crossed off the Attendee List, whilst at the same time being presented with green Rally Name Tags and a Gift Bag complete with Goodies.



We barely had time to put all that away when it was time for ice cream! Charley B Grill



Catered us all to some of the best ice cream we've ever had. Standing in the shade, we chatted with many: there's a reason they call it "Ice Cream Social" right?

The Large Dining Hall at the Bible Camp is new, and it was truly spacious and gorgeous, with open views of all the LTVs parked outside. All tables were numbered, and you could pick your table and seats. We always try to never sit at the same table twice: it's a practice that really allows you to meet and mingle. And sometimed as hard as it is to do, we are all creatures of habit after all, it is so rewarding to meet people from all woks of life! And don't we all have great tales to share?

An introduction to the Rally, followed by a Blessing, followed by supper. The Rally fee of included all the meals for the duration. The tables were called up random number style for a cafeteria style servings. The food over the three days was tasty, with plenty of it, although perhaps it would have been nice to see a few more options for each meal for those with dietary restrictions, or just to have a choice. During our three days we chatted with the lovely young'uns that were serving. They were smiling and kind with plenty stories about themselves, or the food they were serving, and when asked, due to our low-carbing it, were kind enough to double serve some portions when we omitted others. We also learned a lot about the Mennonite dishes that were offered up.

The end of Day One promised Bingo, but somehow, we missed it that evening as we were out and about mingling and meeting.

Thursday Day Two

The Second Day was a Full On experience for many and after breakfast everyone quickly dispersed to their respective locations or buses. Not only were there Factory Tours happening (wear running shoes!), but also on the list were Artisan Tours, and the start of a few days of back and forth as people were getting their vans serviced. For us, we had our MoHo serviced before the rally, so we'd signed up for the Mercedes-Benz Seminar, LTV Seminar and the Dometic Seminar. Our head was spinning after all that!

There was a scheduled Group Photo Shoot just before Lunch, some drone flying happening instead of an afternoon siesta, and just as the hunger pangs were starting to hit, the call to supper. The Beach Mingle that evening allowed for some good ole fashioned S'mores over the campfire, listen to the music playing softly in the background. The friendships formed as the sun set over the pond creating a calm and inviting ambiance, which allowed the stars to emerge in the darkening evening skies and twinkle overhead.



For three days the weather totally cooperated with shining sun and perfectly blue skies and although the nights were cold, it sure made for great sleeping.

Friday was Day Three...

... and for us consisted of FUN. But not without first chatting with LTV Staff who were busy outside baking us our breakfast of homemade waffles.



Some people signed up for a golf game. More Factory Tours on the go, and since we'd done one last year we were free to clamber in the limousine style bus complete with mirrors on the ceiling as we enjoyed a comprehensive and in depth tour of Winkler. George, the Driver, and Walter, an ex-Triple E employee was informative and took his time touring us about with many stories to share of an incredbly vibrant Community.



That afternoon we toured Thresherman's Museum complete with people in period costume and tractors too old to count running around the fields of a maze in maize.



The cooking demonstration by Anna Magazine resulted in many delicious tastings and it was a treat to meet her, her infectious zest for her work, and her gifts of jam a wonderful parting present.



That evening, being "Canadian and all, eh?" we attended the Winkler Flyers hockey game and afterwards were given a guided backstage tour of the facilities and a chance to meet some of the young lads vying for their spot into this very competitive group.



What we missed by doing that was an evening of music at the Chapel, which we later heard was quite lovely.

For three days we basked in the glow and love that is the very heart and core of this company. It was a pleasure for Dave and I, as Leisure Explorers, to meet the Marketing Guys, which had previously been just names on emails. Dean, who appears in all the LTV videos, brought in many different LTV makes and models to tour about in, and we enjoyed lots of laughs in his company. And of course, to put a face to the name that is Brad , who was the recipient of a few email queries from us.

For three days we were totally comfortable and kept well informed of updates & news. LTV/TRIPLE E planned, and in our opinion, succeeded in a successful Rally, making us feel like they've known us forever, like we totally belonged, that we were part of their... family.

Aha, Family! There you have it. We listened to many who insisted that this company needs to grow and expand to reduce the 9 month waiting period, to produce more, make more.. etc. We humbly disagree. We too suffered a 9 month waiting time period, but we seriously believe that would they grow too fast, produce too many RV's too quickly, they would lose the very thing that makes them so successful! This Family atmosphere would be nixed in a too large too frenzied type of setting. We have, a few times over, experienced their bend over backwards Customer Service, and we have to say, in each and every single instance, it was superior, top notch and professional. They're all Crazy Busy, but they pay attention to each and every little detail and to each and every member: That's family. That's LTV/Triple E



There was nothing scheduled for the last morning except a good long breakfast before everyone planned for departure. There were many handshakes and hugs and we were, in true Banyan fashion, the last to leave the great dining hall.

Every Day of the LTV Rally was Special, thanks to Triple E/LTV staff. Thanks to the Bible Camp staff. Thanks to the Presenters and seminar hosts. Thanks to Every Single One of the participants we had the pleasure to meet.

We are thrilled to be part of the Leisure Travel Van family. And our new mantra: Make Every Day Special!

Join us as we drive, OnOn.

SIde Effects to Season Five: OnOn

02 September 2017 | Winkler, MB
Who knew that when we first executed our Living the Dream Lifestyle (one that had us sailing away from Halifax, on 29 July 2012), that we'd find ourselves today (01 September 2017), sitting in our RV in Winkler, MB. And simply marvelling at how we've amassed five years of Friendships and Adventures under our Wheels and Keel. And incredulously spent a whopping 1858 days with each other (24/7!!) What an OnOn!

For those of you that are new to us, we're Dave and Alexandra. Dave was a dedicated Navy man, having served in the CF for 33+ years, before retiring. We both shared a dream of travelling and it was truly a series of rather serendipitous circumstances, and one of the hardest decisions he had to make to retire, but one that had him ultimately whisking me away from my job with the Dept of National Defence, all with the one whisper: "Let's go Live Our Dream". With much planning and saving, selling and organizing, worrying and fretting, and the blessing of our kids who said "Go Now, timing is right", we finally hit that Execute Step that made it all happen!

We currently have two homes. Our Home on a Keel is a Sailing Vessel named Banyan, a 2001, 40 foot Jeanneau. And our Home on Wheels is a 25 foot 2016 Leisure Travel Van, Unity IB that we affectionately call our MoHo (short for Motor Home).



You can can read all about how we came to own our MoHo here

Every year 'round about this time, Just After we've emerged from a summer holiday hiatus, and ready and eager to embark on new Season of Adventures, I write a Side Effects Blog. It's a very real reflection at how the past year might have changed us, a sometimes tongue in cheek parody of perhaps why not do what we're doing.

If you haven't already, you can read about Side Effects to Season One, Side Effects to Season Two Out of Control, Side Effects to Season Three HoHum, Side Effects to Season Four Jus' From

Two weeks ago we were Living our Dream as we sat in a traffic induced stillness on the BlueWater Bridge Border Crossing (Sarnia/Port Huron, Michigan). Two lanes of highway were expanding into way too many lanes of backed up cars and trucks and RV's of all colours and shapes and sizes waiting to cross the the border from Canada into the USA.

Despite thirteen lanes of access, there was nothing to do but wait as the air conditioning noisily blasting ice cold gusts on us, and we inched forward, one car length at a time. Outside the sun tried to shine through the haze that is the hot summer heat reflecting off of cars and highways. Thirty minutes later we found ourselves at the red light meanign we were next in line. We approached the tiny one-man booth, lowered our window, and developed an instant sweat as the outside heat rushed in. As we handed our passports to the young uniformed officer sitting there, we smiled, and said "Hi, How are you". He looked at us, then up and down our MoHo, and with just a hint of a lip curl responded "Oh, I'm just living the dream!". We kind of giggled, a little unsure at just how funny he was trying to be. Perhaps he was suffering from too many inhaled fumes and vapours, a side effect of all that traffic? I'm sure that he didn't feel he was living his dream, that day, at that moment, as he let us into his Country.

This past year our Living the Dream lifestyle has allowed us to spend some awesome times with friends and family as we Adventured in our RV to the different Compass Points from Coast to Coast, WOW! We still giggle about how we needed to talk every single one out of their shocked insistence that we just can't, simply shouldn't, {{ GASP }}, sleep in their driveway. It took some insistent chatting to convince many that we were just fine in our comfy cozy home, and yes, it would be in their driveway. And then we exchanged our Wheels for a Keel and sailed away, to the gin clear waters that are the Bahamas. Where the frantic pace of a highway was replaced by the simple breezes of life on the Water. Where we found ourselves instantly back on Island Time. Where we won first place in the Staniel Cay New Years Day Regatta,



and where we were thrilled to have family onboard to show them the Islands on our Time and a life filled with Vitamin Sea.

This past year also revealed just how shockingly fragile everything is. Relationships have faltered, Lives have Left Us. We've been smacked in the face with the ultimate realization of just how brittle the status quo is, how quickly it all changes. And all that has left us reeling, but yet, deep in our hearts a grateful appreciation grows, the memories of times shared that make us smile as we face a new day. OnOn!



We've found ourselves a little frustrated this year. And really, how is that possible? Sitting here, pen to mouth (or fingers to keyboard), I have no answer. Yet there we were, Living the Dream, cranky and all.

It sure felt as if something went wrong almost every day. We had gremlins that we just couldn't evict, and not only that, they were multiplying faster than we could evict them. Or we'd just settle into a nice quiet anchorage, plan for a few days of R&R, when a new westerly weather system would appear that required us to move on, or would force us to stay put for an additional week or three. Things were breaking on an exponential scale. I was left without a camera to photograph it all! Minor Health Issues were cropping up. Nothing seemed easy. In fact, it felt like every molehill became a mountain of epic proportions and we felt we were in a valley with no way out. Travelling even became cost prohibitive, what with the economy taking 30% of our monthly fun away. And then, there's the whole social media-itis and the nature of that beast. A love/hate relationship developed every single time I'd open up a newspage or Instagram, or FB: it was {{gasp}}, best not to peek at the upheaval surrounding everyone everywhere. Stirred up way too many emotions!

Yet, how can we, how dare we, complain? We're "Living the Dream" after all, as everyone likes to tell us.

We've enjoyed magnificent sunrises on both land and sea.





We're seeing Wildlife at its best, whether it's dolphins that are surfing at our bow,



or catching glimpses of moose in the fields



We are at the mercy of crosswinds be it on a boat or on the road. And always, at the end of a passage, we still toast each other & a safe passage, as we enjoy our arrival beer.

The gentle motion of the ocean lulls us to sleep when we're on the water, or when on land, the quiet caress of the wind as it gently rustles the leaves overhead sounds almost like a lullaby. And we're grateful that we have not one home to enjoy, but two!

Life, whether you're Living the Dream or Not, is just that, perfect imperfection! Whether you're in 1400 square feet of space, or 40 feet of boat, or 25 feet of RV, there's no "one is better that the other". Life anywhere can feel cramped and confined if you're cranky or the hormones are hot flashing and no amount of extra feet is enough when it's raining for three days straight, and something else is going wrong. Even my favourite catch-all phrase of "It is what it is!", isn't quite cutting through any of it. However, what do you do? You go OnOn

OnOn? While in Grenada we joined the Hash House Harriers (HHH). The Hashes we attended were a weekly walking/running event: A hare (trail setter) marks a course using clumps of shredded paper (or flour or chalk...) on the ground for all to follow for a pre-determined amount of time. Walkers/runners have to find and follow the clumps of paper, and the one consistent theme is that it's usually a crazy chaotic venture into some off the beaten path of a trail somewhere. And it all ends as a social event with plenty beer and BBQ's. Something of a Banyan, right?

Small Segueway: Banyan? In choosing the name of our sailing home we wanted a name that reflected Dave's (and my) military connection as well as combine it with my "thoughts become things" way of thinking...



Canadian Naval personnel use the term "Banyan" to mean a break in the daily routine to enjoy a social gathering while away from home. The constants are that it is usually held outdoors, with an emphasis on good food, good drink, and with great shipmates. And spiritually, "Dream transforms into thought, thought results into action.. that is "Banyan". Sounds sort of what we're all about, right?

Back to Explaining OnOn. Oftentimes during a Hash one can hear breathless and winded yells of "R U?" Which is a call out to those ahead and is asking "are you on the trail?" If the response is "OnOn" it means keep going, the trail is good. C'mon! And if they say "OnBack" it means they lost the paper marking the trail and best turn around, backtrack and find the way again.

We've taken to using this OnOn callout in our daily lives. We HighFive an OnOn as we set out in the morning. Or after we fuel, and get back on the highway, excited for our destination. Or after we hoist the sails and allow the wind to catch, and anticipate the journey. We dream OnOn as we plan our passages. We know we're heading somewhere, and as with all things we don't have the foresight of shredded paper clumps on the ground to guide us, or anyone ahead of us to pave the way. The Universe is always there whispering in our ears, and we listen as long as we remain aware. Rest Assured, we've done a few OnBack's too! After all, those make for the best sundowner stories, or tales to tell around a campfire, wouldn't you agree?

Five Seasons done and Wow! Five years feels like... a little like a Wednesday. Mid-week. A Hump Day of sorts. And I don't know how I feel about that. I think I've been depressing about it. Thinking that, with us coming full circle (bringing the boat back to the States, bringing the RV back to Winkler where we first bought it), that it was sort of coming full circle. An Ending?

And then there's another huge milestone facing me this year. I'll be jumping into a new decade, welcoming the big Five-Oh. And that also feels like a... Wednesday. A Hump Time. I've never defined myself as a number of years lived, always preferring to think that Age is just a State of Mind, but I have to admit that this big Five-Oh has me a little... unsure, a little frazzled. Perhaps it's the Hot Flashes? But the desire to make this new to me Decade a Big One is strong within me.

And then there's Other News, a fantastic achievement to announce! One of my Dreams has come true! That of being published! My love of words, of blogging, of sharing my stories has been picked up and Dave and I are now Leisure Explorers
and can't even begin to tell you how thrilled we are! Mostly I write for personal reasons, but getting recognition, and seeing my words in print, both virtually and on paper, is a nice pat on the back!

While taking a break from finding my words, I've been creating on a different canvas



Which has allowed me to pour love onto paper, of people who have touched our lives.

The Side Effects to Season Five have been... well, they've been a bit OnOn and a bit OnBack. It's been a Journey, with no real destination, which is the ultimate Adventure, right? We're learning and we're growing. We're laughing and we've shed a tear or three. We're Just Out here Living the Dream, with Each Other. And no amount of words or canvas can adequately sum that up. Except the Love of doing so, together, is a serious motivator. OnOn.

We're just starting Season Six, and it's already got the promise of having One Helluva Kick-Start. If you have a moment, spread the Love of our Blog. Give us a like on Facebook, send us a comment, keep the Social Strong, it'll make us come online with a smile! We're heading... OnOn!


Vessel Name: Banyan
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 40 Sun Odyssey
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: David & Alexandra
About:
Welcome Aboard. I'm Alexandra, and if I'm not out Adventuring with Camera in Hand, or cheffing up a storm in my galley, I'm looking to pirate some WiFi to upload our latest tales (with way too many photos) about our most recent adventures. [...]
Extra: CHART YOUR COURSE: Our destiny is shaped by our thoughts and actions. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.
Social:
Banyan's Photos - March 2016
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The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

http://www.hitwebcounter.com/htmltutorial.php
WebPage Visits

We're on Facebook

Sailing Banyan

Instagram: #banyantravels

but we're not Tweeting.

Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!