My research on travel-friendly Dogs

By Daniel van Stralen – 12 years old. 

Over the past year I have traveled around North America with my family of 5, in our Winnebago RV. Currently we are traveling in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  

I think it’s fair to say that I am a dog lover. I would like to get a dog again someday but I understand the challenges of traveling with pets. So, I am currently doing some research to get a better understanding of what type of dog would fit my family’s life style.  

I would need a dog that doesn’t mind riding in our Jeep or motor-home for hours at a time. I need a dog that loves to hike and climb mountains and finally I need a dog that is not too hairy because we live in small spaces and my Dad would be sneezing all night. 

So while traveling I’ve been looking around and asking fellow travelers what dog or dogs they love traveling with.  It is really fun research because I’ve been able to pet and make friends with so many awesome dogs everywhere I go. Their humans are usually really nice too. 

I’ve gotten back lots of good feedback from many different travelers. I’ve seen all types of dogs from active to relaxed, big and small, long and short haired. 

Every one has different opinions but I’ve found my favorite dog breeds for the active traveler. 

Here are the top two active breeds I like best! 

  1. Australian Shepard.
  2. Jack Russell.

I will start with the Australian Shepherd. Most people think that they would be big and aussyscary just because of the word Shepherd in their name, but they are actually very cute. To give you an idea of what they look like here’s a picture.

I know they are pretty furry but you can trim their hair or get a short haired Australian Shepherd. They are active dogs and are perfect on hikes or mountain biking. They also are good at going on walks and being a family guard dog. They can be trained to do a lot of tricks.

 One Australian Shepherd I know can even army crawl. I had the pleasure of meeting plenty of Australian Shepherd’s at the Over Land Expo in Asheville, North Carolina. The one I got to spend the most time with was named Athena. They are good in RVs and in cars as long as you take them out for a walk/play every few hours, just like a kid like me, I love getting out and playing between long trips. 

Overall Australian Shepherds are great traveling dogs for the active traveler, I’ve seen some running beside their owners on everything from mountain bike trails to multi-day treks.

So now that you have heard all about Australian Shepherds I’m going to talk about the Jack Russell. 

Jack Russells are in the small category of dog sizes. They are very playful and they love to dig holes, but I’m sure you can train yours to not dig up your lawn. 

These are very cute dogs and are mostly short haired. Jack Russells are also one of the smartest dogs in the world. If you have never seen a jack Russell they are pretty hard to picture, so here is a photo of one.


I have met a lot of Jack Russells and have had fun playing with every one of them. Jack Russell’s are very active, especially Jack Russell puppies. 

They are good hikers and swimmers and are able to carry a dog hiking pack. They are good in RVs and cars as long as you take them out to exercise and feed them. I personally recommend using a soft case to transport or carry them in. 

My conclusion so far is that both Jack Russells and Australian Shepards are great for the active traveler like me, but I can’t choose between them at this time. Maybe I’ll ask my parents if I can get one of each. 😀

I hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions or can share some more insight on these dogs or other breeds, please comment below. 

Thank you 


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Elephants in Bali

Hi my name is Daniel I’m 12. On this blog I’m going to be talking about my experience with elephants in Bali. Elephants are kind animals that care for each others safety, can carry lots of weight and can run up to 40km an hour. They have a long nose called a trunk that they use to drink water and grab food. Here are some pictures to give an idea on how big they actually are.

African elephants grow to be 3.3m and Asian elephants grow to be around 2.7m. That’s pretty big. dan1

On our visit to the elephant park in Bali, I spent most of my time playing with the baby elephant named Lina, I also got to bathe the elephants and ride them. When you ride an elephant bare back you usually sit on its neck or on its head. Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt the elephants.

Elephants can eat 200 to 600 pounds of food per day and can spend 12 to 18 hours just feeding. Elephants are not native to Bali. They were imported here by an English born, Australian man named Nigel Mason who is the owner of the Bali elephant rescue safari that we visited.

Nigel Mason rescued these Elephants from Sumatra where they were being shot by local farmers who consider them to be a nuisance.

Even the baby elephant Lina seemed really big up close or at least for me. Elephants can be trained to do lots of things but Lina just likes to hug.

Elephants will hug you with their trunks which is a weird feeling.  it’s awesome because you can hug them back. They have hair on their trunks and most of their body. But their hair is not like a human’s in the way that our hair grows in thick patches. Elephants hair is more wide spread and sort of prickly. dan2

Besides that, elephants are easy to love and hug.  After spending time to learn and play with the elephants they came to be my favorite animals. I can guarantee that if you go to Bali and decide to go to elephant park and take the time to play and understand the elephants, they just might become your favorite animals too.

I hope you get a chance to visit the Bali Elephant park someday. If not, you can at least enjoy my video and photos here. Thanks for reading!

Follow me on Instagram Here.


To guide or not to guide. That is the question.

By Caroline

~Does having a tour guide make it less of an adventure? ~

Having a tour guide while exploring Bali was not in our initial plan, and at first I wasn’t thrilled about the idea. I have always had the notion that tourists with tour guides and itineraries are missing out on a spontaneous and adventurous experience.

img_6540However, now that we’ve experienced Bali with the help of a tour guide, we couldn’t be happier. In fact, if this is your first time traveling to Asia we would highly recommend you consider hiring a guide as well!

As with most DIY travelers, the tour guide option was a new experience for us, but as I look back on our trip, I am particularly thankful for Ariani, our friendly, English speaking guide. For us she was like a living, breathing Bali encyclopedia.

She shared with us many different historical, religious and cultural facts from a perspective that only a local citizen could give. image2

She helped us avoid tourist traps and other possible money-wasters, allowing us to enjoy the best that Bali has to offer. She taught us words in Balinese and helped open our eyes and minds to the incredible beauty of this Indonesian island.

image3Creating a memorable and life changing travel experience often depends on the decisions you make before you go. Choosing a tour guide might just be the best decision you can make.

Follow on Instagram at @Caroline.Abroad


Things I am learning from life. (by Carol vS)

This is my first blog post so it’s not perfect, and a bit longer than I expected, but I really hope you find value in reading it.


image2Hi I’m Carol.

Peter and I were married 18 epic years ago. It was love at first sight. I am originally from Oregon, USA and moved to Toronto, Canada to start a family there with my husband.

We started with very humble beginnings, living in a small upstairs rented apartment with almost no furniture and a three-dollar coffee table. Some of our fondest memories are sitting around that little coffee table getting to know each other better. One thing we understood sitting around that little table was that if we weren’t happy in a small apartment we wouldn’t be happy living in a mansion.

We both had a strong work ethic, not knowing that “normal people” took weekends off or drove vehicles other than their work trucks. It never phased us, we were too busy working and having fun.

Soon Caroline came into our lives and then Pete Jr. The doctors told us we were at too high a risk with each birth, and that having more would most likely not happen, then along came Daniel. I feel so lucky and blessed to have each one.

As a snow plow and salt truck operator back in the early days of our marriage, Peter was often gone for days at a time. We wanted to spend time together but also knew he couldn’t abandon his work responsibilities. That’s when I had an idea. Yes, you guessed it. In the truck I went baby seat and all. Once during a particularly nasty ice storm the salt dispenser on our truck broke and we were far from the shop. That’s when Pete taught me how to drive a 5 ton truck in low gear with the instructions to drive around in circles. He then jumped up in the salt hopper  with a shovel and proceeded to salt the entire office complex by hand. What great memories and family bonding experiences these were!

Fast forward through the years of building our first home then selling it to build another – selling it and renovating another home where we lived happily for 10 years. These were busy times and we used to wonder what it would be like to just sit around and have a BBQ on the weekends.

Peter was thriving in his new role as CEO of the family franchise business. My passion other than our little family was to help and support him however I could. I would contribute in little ways like helping on a garden crew when they were behind or washing trucks or picking up uniforms and supplies. There was a time when we would sit together as a family at night in our living room and stamp, label and pack 4000 envelopes for our monthly company newsletter. I loved how we could balance work and family even while not always being able to be together physically!

When Peter had to leave on business trips, I would find notes by the kids beds telling them how much he loved them and how he was counting on each one to do their part

in helping mommy and the business by bringing in firewood or keeping their rooms clean and being on time for school.

Doing a morning huddle at home helped me and the kids be a part of everything. This face to face time gave us the opportunity to share good and bad news, to celebrate each other and to reassure each other that we are not alone. It was awesome to hear the kids talk about a test they were nervous about, or a new trick they had learned on their snowboard. We never felt we were on our own even though he worked around the img_2031clock.

I especially loved when we started We Care Day (Link) in honor of Peter’s sister and her children. This initiative really became the heart and soul of our office and franchise family and inspired us to learn to give.

We Make a Life by what we Give

One day a dear friend of ours told us about a mission trip they were all doing in Haiti. She invited us to participate in purchasing, assembling and delivering solar light kits to a remote poor community in Haiti. Our role was to assist with the donation, but also our time img_4263teaching the families how to operate and maintain their new lights. Spending time in the village really had a positive effect on us. I think we received as much help from this experience as those we were trying to help. 

Balancing work, play and CARE became our motto.

img_2037As a family we began to rethink our own life style and looked for ways to give back to those in need. Not just money, but time. Not just our own people, but also the unseen, unpopular and lowly.  – “the least of these my brethren.”.

We became very aware about whom we surrounded ourselves with and how we chose to live each day.

Why are we striving for “things” to impress other people? Success is not in material things is it?

Every month we made it a habit to read out our personal goals. Over time we realized that what we dreamed about were experiences but, what we spent our money on were things.

We are doing all of this for you guys, we’d tell the kids. Don’t you want nice things, and to live in a big house? we’d ask. As only a child could reply, “not really… we img_6604only use three rooms as it is.”

Our kids helped us realize that “time” was the best gift we could give our children and others.

We stopped thinking about money and what we could GET, and started thinking about what we could GIVE. That’s when it all changed for us.

For the next seven years we were on top of our game. Our business was growing img_2042rapidly and we were closer than ever as a family. Although it cost us at least four times more to do so, we traveled together as often as we could to trade shows, speaking engagements, conferences and expos. We knew we may never have a rich bank account doing this, but our lives would be richer in the fellowship and experiences we shared together.

img_2034Our vacations were usually work related events where we attended and participated at a conference and took an extra day or two to unwind. We would combine work and play so that they became one. We bought 5 longboards and between meetings would be seen longboarding through Central Park in New York or along the beach in Florida. We couldn’t afford the time or money to go on long trips around the world, so we explored our own local area and had a blast making so many memories!

I released that people won’t always understand the way you think! This time in my image1life really taught me to make our own family traditions and way of life. What works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it works for all. I loved meeting new people at franchise Expo’s and landscape shows and best of all I loved being in our home office surrounded by our team. You could say they and our franchisees became family. img_2046

In 2008 Peter told me that he had written a goal to travel around America in an RV. I laughed out loud because it just seemed impossible! We can barely take a few days off, how could we ever just go away like that? It took 8 years of hard work, but that dream came true!

It’s amazing how things fall into place when you are clear on your goals, and when you are working for a greater purpose. In 2015 Peter’s families’ business where he was part owner, and had been working for 25 years, was acquired by our business partner The Dwyer Group. The timing was right and was a good move for our franchisees our family and the Dwyer Group.

After a six-month transition period however Peter was essentially out of a job. With Peter’s experience in the franchising industry, he had many employment opportunities available but instead decided to put our money where our mouth is and choose a simplified, minimalist life-style that would allow us to spend lots of time with our kids. If Peter had owned the whole business, perhaps we could have retired, but as part owner we needed to continue making an income. Together we started a small speaking/ coaching business we call “Work Play Care” where we help others create success through a balanced, holistic approach to life.

What a year!

rv2This last year was exciting being on the road full time!  It was also a bit of a culture shock from the “norm”, and initially going from 2,500 ft2 to 250 feet was kind of hard.

img_2032I was enjoying our trip and travels, hiking, biking and meeting new people, but sometimes I’d miss the “comfort zone” of my routines – my house and friends and little things like cooking with an oven.

Then something happened that took us all by surprise and shock! I remember it clearly. We were hiking in Joshua Tree National Park in California. There was no cell phone service in the valley but as we climbed to higher elevations Peter’s phone began to beep with incoming messages.

When I looked back, I noticed he had stopped down the trail and then called for me to come back. I thought that’s odd, and saw on his face that something had happened. He gave me his phone and I was in shock!! I was looking at pictures of our home having been robbed and ransacked!

The same home we had worked so hard for. All the things we had collected over the years were all taken or trashed! The kids toys, jewelry, paintings, computers, TVs – everything was broken or taken! A feeling of violation and hurt came over me. Who would do such a thing? Do you know how hard we had to work for that?!

I remember Peter just said oh well it’s just stuff, we still have each other, but I wasn’t feeling the same way.. yet.img_2028

We decided to drive up to Oregon and have the kids stay with my family while Peter and I flew back to Toronto to clean up the damage. We  also had to fly to Ottawa for the Canadian Franchise Conference and then back to Toronto for a speaking engagement. For the first time in a long time I cried on our flight. I didn’t want to leave the kids.

When we arrived at our home and saw the police tape on our doors it became real. Looking around at the mess was horrible! I didn’t get really upset till I went in the garage and noticed that even my garden tools had been taken.  WHAT!? Anyone who knows me knows I love my tools. It was heartbreaking to see things like the boy’s paintball guns that they had worked so hard for, or my great grandmothers necklace gone. 

We decided after talking with the kids on the phone we would put the house up for sale. This was not a new idea for us, we had been talking of it ever since Haiti. It was clear it no longer felt like our home nor did it make sense to keep it now that we were on the road full time and had sold the family company.

We managed to clean up the mess by staying up till sunlight loading a large rubbish bin and burning the broken furniture in a big bonfire. In the morning we caught our flight to Ottawa then back to Toronto two days later.

img_2039After Peter’s speech we had a few hours to drive back to our home, buy a few pictures for staging and meet the real estate company to take pictures and sign the listing papers. As we were running out the door to catch our flight back to Oregon I remember looking at Peter shutting the door with this look of peace and excitement. We had talked of being free from material things, and now we were actually doing it. We had taken the leap!

It felt like a weight lifting off our shoulders as we opened the door to a new way of living.

fam-4We had no idea that the weeks ahead would test us even more. More than the sale of our business, more than our home being robbed and more than learning to live on the road.

A Life changing turn in the road

On one of our hikes in Yosemite National Park our son Peter Jr. began to feel very ill. We took him to a local hospital and were shocked when the doctor diagnosed him with Type 1 diabetes. His body had stopped producing insulin and as such despite eating and drinking liquids like crazy he was slowly starving and dehydrating. There is nothing quite as difficult as seeing your child lying in a hospital bed on multiple IVs and monitors. As a parent it really makes you realize just what is important to you in life. Wouldn’t you give all that you own just for another day with your child? (YouTube video of that moment here)

Pete’s positive attitude through his ordeal and recovery has been such an inspiration to us and to anyone who has heard his story and we know God had great things in store for him. (see Peter Jr’s Blog Post Here) climb

Things I am learning on this journey

  • Know YOUR dream and then take the leap.

First and foremost, it’s about knowing your own dream and not someone else’s dream for you. Be crystal clear on your dream and then make the leap required to achieve it.

  • Be grateful and content with what you have.

Be content and happy with what you have and you will be in a position to receive more.

  • Your calendar and wallet will show your priorities.
  • Anyone can do this, not many will.

Just work 19 hrs a day for 20 yrs and then sell everything and go. (I know people much smarter than us that have done it in much less time)

  • Maximize the time with your family while you can.

We never know how much time we have with our health and with our precious loved ones. Don’t wait.

  • Integrate work, play and care.

Work to integrate these three no matter what stage of life you are at. Just starting out with your career? Work will likely dominate, but don’t neglect the other two. Someday things will change and you will need to maintain the balance.

  • Enjoy life in the process!

The best days of my life are right now. Not 5 years from now. Not once we achieve this or that, but right now. Enjoy the struggle, enjoy the learning and enjoy the success. Enjoy life in the process.

Thanks for reading this, I hope you found some value in it. I am not usually this long-winded but this is my first post. I welcome you’re feedback. Do you have any comments or questions? Please comment below and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram etc. Click follow below as well.

Thank you!



My Story

img_5759Hi my name is Peter van Stralen. I am the proud father of three wonderful adventurous children Caroline 16, Peter 14 and  Daniel 12 and husband to my amazing wife and best friend Carol.

I am a speaker, coach and author of the book CARE Leadership. I am the former CEO and co-founder of The Grounds Guys® landscape management franchise system and a Certified Franchise Executive. I am a director of Dwyer Group Canada and a shareholder at The Dwyer Group, which acquired the Grounds Guys brand from our family in 2015.

My Story

I started my career 25 years ago, caring for trees and shrubs as an Arborist at our new  family landscape business.  I am one of ten brothers and we started a little landscape company with a borrowed mower and an old car. What we lacked in start-up capital we made up for with drive, ambition and a strong work-ethic.

Through years of dedication and hard work our little company grew to be a leader in our market area. After twelve years of working in the field I began to study the franchising industry and went through a complete reinvention of myself, achieving the necessary qualifications to become a Certified Franchise Executive. Over the next twelve years I helped to turn our families’ single-location landscape business into a very successful multi-million dollar North America wide franchise system The Grounds Guys.

Within a few years I was promoted to CEO where I focused on building a world-class

Signing books

culture, known as the culture of CARE.  This became my passion and the topic of my book CARE Leadership. We learned to integrate work, play and care, by creating a driven, focused and fun culture. We brought purpose and meaning to our efforts through philanthropic initiatives and by giving back to the communities in which we operate.

This C.A.R.E philosophy helped our company attract and retain great like-minded people and as such we grew beyond our wildest ambitions.

In 2015 I helped broker the sale of our brand The Grounds Guys to a large multi-brand franchisor out of Texas, The Dwyer Group.

Thus I began the third reinvention of myself. I am now a coach, author and public speaker, specializing in helping my clients build great cultures at their places of work while finding balance in their lives. I absolutely love doing what I do!

At the same time Carol and I sat together with the kids and began to articulate our own

The kids at one of my Keynote talks

dreams and goals for the next few years. One of the things we loved about my old job was traveling as a family to conferences, seeing new places and volunteering at meaningful causes together. We knew we wanted to do more of that. The kids are in their early teens now and we knew that our time with them at home was limited.

By being honest with ourselves we admitted that we were also in danger of getting caught up in the consumer culture that made us feel like we needed to work longer and harder to buy more kids2stuff. More things, a better car, maybe a pool or tennis court, new brushed concrete flooring throughout the house? The list is endless if you’re not careful.

I knew that I could always earn more money, but I could never earn more time. Did the kids want a bigger house, or more time with their parents? The answer was clear.

We decided to make some huge lifestyle changes.

We started over, with a new speaking/coaching business called “Work Play Care” to help individuals and families live their dreams, while finding a healthy integration between work, play and care. This business is not location specific so it gave us the freedom to travel as a family. We bought a motor home, enrolled the kids in online school and hit the road together.

After a few months on the road we were really enjoying ourselves. We had gone from 2400 ft2 of living space to 240 ft2 and we loved it!

We decided to go all-in on this new lifestyle. We really had to do some soul searching and figure out what was most important to us. We had worked very hard to finally own our dream house, with the million dollar view, in the right neighborhood with the nice cars in the driveway,  but we realized that theses things did not satisfy. The rat race of “keeping up with the Jones'” was all consuming.

So we sold our house and hit the road full-time, on an epic 12 month, 60,000 km journey around Canada and the USA. We are now in the process of touring Australia, New Zealand and parts of South East Asia.

This has been an incredible education for the children and parents alike. We don’t know how long we will continue this journey but for now we are living in the moment, eager to keep traveling and sharing our experiences with you.

Our motto is work hard, play hard and care by leaving every place we visit a little better than we found it. Our goal for this blog is to help inspire others to find balance between work, play and care, allowing each of us to lead extraordinary and exceptional personal, business and family lives. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe!

Take C.A.R.E.

Peter van Stralen


My Type 1 Adventure

The first time I felt something wrong was in Canyon lands National Park Utah. We were on a hike circling a huge crater, it was called the sync-line trail it was listed as only 8 miles round trip so we didn’t think to much of it.

Overlooking the Canyon Trail ahead

As the hours passed and the trail showed no signs of ending we started to get a little worried, we were a long ways out in the wilderness, the trail was hard to find and the sun was starting to set. We just went deeper and deeper into the canyon and we all started to wear out a little. Eventually we came to the part of the trail that started upwards, a trail sign said 4 km to the trail head. We thought we would be back in an hour or so until we realized that the trail was 4km straight up the canyon wall.

I was full of energy on the way in to the Canyon
We still had to go all the way down to the riverbed and than up the other side.

That’s when I felt something wrong, I just started to lose all of my energy rapidly and cramped up to the point that I just stopped. My Mom stayed back to encourage me and she gave me some energy gel. That got me going again. My dad went on ahead to see if he could mark the trail before it got dark. When he saw my predicament he climbed back down to where we were and carried my backpack on top of his own. Eventually we all made it back to the end of the trail.

Watch the YouTube video of our epic hike here:

I had never felt that way before and I was embarrassed about it so I said nothing. I would have good days and bad days, one day I would be surfing all day without any problem and the next day I would sleep in and stay in our RV. They say once you finally figure out whats going on it all makes sense, but at the time we just chalked it up as the signs of a rapidly growing teenager.

Sitting (Daniel and Royce) on Hammock (Aliza, Beatrice,and Braydon) Standing left to right (Remington, Caroline, Izzy, Kate, Sylvia, Sam, Emma holding Luna, Me, Harrison)

My birthday party was at my cousin’s house in Salem, Oregon. Most of our West Coast family was there. I looked fine on the outside, but I noticed that I was drinking water obsessively and going to the bathroom a lot. One time when I went to the bathroom I looked in the mirror and opened my mouth because my tongue was hurting, and it had a white film on it. I didn’t know why and didn’t think much of it, so again I didn’t say anything.

I woke up the next morning , looked outside and noticed that I couldn’t see more than 5 or so feet in front of me. These symptoms had slowly worsened but I felt so tired all the time I didn’t really notice till then. I thought it was from over sleeping and not being really active, because every time I would start to do something I would cramp and get even more tired.

I discussed my vision issues with my parents and we agreed that maybe I should wake up earlier and go with them on their morning bike rides. At this point I had been feeling every symptom of type one but had no idea that I had it. 

We headed down to Yosemite in California and set up camp in the National Park. The next day, everyone was excited to hike the amazing Yosemite falls trail except me. This trail is a strenuous 6-8 hours round trip, 7.2 miles (11.6 km) , 700 ft (823 m) elevation gain. Normally I would be at the front leading the way but this time I could barely muster up the energy to go. That’s when we all agreed that we better pack up and head out to get a Doctor’s opinion on whats going on.

We were 5000 kms away from our family doctor, so we probably delayed the visit to the doctor longer than we would have done if we were at home. We found a clinic in the tiny town of Oakhurst CA and waited 4 agonizing hours until a nurse finally saw us. She listened to my description of symptoms and suggested that I go to the Valley Children’s Hospital near Fresno to be tested for diabetes. Amazingly this hospital specializes in


Giving Thanks – Today we were released from the hospital.

Pediatric Endocrinology and was only an hour way. Once we checked into the hospital I was immediately put on an IV drip to help re-hydrate my body. I was also given blood glucose test which showed my blood sugar was very high. The doctor confirmed that I indeed had new onset Type 1 Diabetes.

We were in shock.

(Watch youtube video blog of that moment here:

He assured us that there was nothing I did to cause it and nothing I could have done to prevent it. It is an auto-immune disease where my immune system accidentally attacked the beta cells in my pancreas stopping them from producing insulin.

Thankfully I recovered quickly and my family and I have since been learning to manage my blood sugar levels through, diet exercise and by administering my own insulin injections. It is not easy though and takes a lot of self-discipline. Thankfully my family is very supportive and together we have all adapted to a diabetes friendly low-carb diet.

Sitting on top of the world

Two months later I was feeling well enough to join my family on a climb of Oregon’s third highest peak. It is 10500 ft to the summit.  Every time we stopped for a break I would test my BGL levels and eat something to bring up my level to where it should be. At 9300 ft. (Pictured here) I was feeling a bit off so I made the decision to stop and rest rather than carry on to the summit. You have to listen to your body and not be afraid to make the right decision. My Mom and Brother stayed with me as Caroline and Dad summitted and then rejoined us for the long descent.

 See our YouTube video of the climb here.

In the past 7 months since my diagnosis I have climbed several mountains, hiked, mountain biked, rock climbed, traveled the ultimate road trip to Alaska and flown across the globe to New Zealand and Australia.

My goal is to encourage other young people with Type 1 to carry on and be strong. You may have diabetes, but it doesn’t have you! I wish you all the best on your adventure. – Peter Jr van Stralen

Gaming on the road.

Me (right) and Pete (left) enjoying the views at The Grand Canyon

Airport layovers and long road trips just got a lot more fun. Introducing the GAEMS portable gaming console. Our travels have taken us over 60,000 kms of North America roads in search of epic outdoor adventures. During some of the long road stretches and long airport layovers, my brother and I have had a blast fun playing our games with our portable GAEMS units.


Today I’m doing a review on the GAEMS portable gaming system. 

First I’m going to be talking about the GAEMS features.

The GAEMS case allows you to carry it like a suit case, when the PS4 or any

Me and Pete playing in the RV while we drive down the freeway.

other console is inside it ways about 5 to 7 lbs. The GAEMS has only a few wires making it easier to move around, but it still needs to be plugged in to a power outlet.

There are three wires not counting remote charger. The first is the TV plug-in which allows your screen in the case to light up and project any thing you want to see. Next in my case is the PS4 power plug/wire or any console power wire depending on which you prefer. The last wire is the HDMI cable. This is the wire that allows the game from your console to be shown on the GAEMS screen.

What it comes with.

The GEAMS system comes with all 3 power wires and a little remote that allows you to turn the screen off or on and change the brightness and sound.  I’ve been using the GEAMS portable gaming case for about 7 months and I love it. It works really well while I’m traveling and overall in my opinion it’s the best portable gaming case out there. You can buy them directly from the GAEMS website or you can order it from a local you EB Games or GameStop. There are a couple of different models  available.

The Vanguard black edition  and the Sentry.

Here are some pictures with specs and prices.

1. The Vanguard black edition // Non-reflective 19″ 720p (1080p scaled) El-LED display


2. The Sentry GAEMS //  15” 720p LED display

 Have fun and make sure you balance your play time with other important things like work and care.  – Daniel van Stralen

A hike at Oregon’s spectacular Crater Lake (Video)

500px-usa_oregon_location_map-svgCrater Lake is a must see if you are in Oregon. This lake formed in a collapsed volcano and is one of the deepest lakes in the World! You will love the awe inspiring beauty of this brilliant blue lake surrounded by mountains. There are many family friendly hikes here along the main road including the one featured in our video below filmed and edited by Caroline.

// Garfield Peak (970 ft) //

A look back at 2016


Post by: Caroline vS

It is so overwhelming to look back on this year and see all the amazing things that God has put in our path, and the journey He has begun leading us on. We are so thankful for the countless adventures, challenges, and triumphs we have had this year because of Him.

We have definitely grown as a family, and as individuals with these life changing experiences and new perspectives. We have met so many amazing people, seen and done things we would have never imagined doing or only dreamed of, we have learned so many things about ourselves, and how much we have exterminated comfort zones and borders from our lives. In this past year we sold our home, traveled to 39 U.S states including Alaska, 8 Canadian Provinces, and one Canadian Territory.

We all had a life changing experience when Peter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes while we were in Yosemite, California which has been a huge journey for our whole family and we are so thankful to have God by our side through it all. We then retrofitted our Jeep to become our new “home” to begin our next endeavour over-landing.

We then set out across the globe to New Zealand where we explored most of the North Island by rental car while our Jeep is being shipped from Toronto. We then flew to Adelaide, South Australia where we have spent the past almost month exploring this beautiful part of Australia and visiting family. Today we received news that the cargo ship carrying our Jeep has been delayed until January 24th in the Solomon islands. One thing this journey has taught us is to be flexible, ready for anything, and always up for an adventure. So in that spirit we are headed to Indonesia where we will be exploring the island of Bali until our Jeep arrives! We will then resume our journey through New Zealand making our way to the South Island. We will then hopefully return to Australia and Tasmania  with the Jeep for another epic overlanding adventure!

We are excited for what God has in store for 2017, and we are also excited about things we are currently working on which will be coming out in the coming year!

Wishing everyone a blessed new year, and thank you all for following along on our journey!
Post by: Peter (Dad)

One thing we’ve learned on this trip is the need for agility and flexibility.

Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t pan out. This morning we got up early to head to the airport for our flight to Auckland. Our alarms were set, our bags packed, our tickets and passports ready to go. I woke up ahead of the alarm to check the time on my phone and noticed that an email had arrived from our shipping broker. email-messageHe informed me that the jeep would not in fact be arriving as scheduled but would be delayed in the Solomon Islands for about 24 days! What!?!  You see, the jeep is more than just a mode of transportation, it is also our home.

This means that we would be stranded in Auckland trying to find accommodation and transportation for 24 days which would be a very expensive situation.

Carol and I discussed the situation and decided it would be better to stay in Australia and perhaps travel around this region for a while rather than go back to the north island where we had recently spent almost a month.

So we jumped into agility mode and begin making phone calls. First I called our travel agent and had her cancel today’s flights and change them to the 24th. We then called our hotel in Auckland  and Expedia in Canada and had our reservation moved from December 31 to January 24. We then called to make sure we had living arrangements lined up here in Australia.

Next we discussed some potential options with the kids, one of which was to travel to another Southeast Asian country for part of the time while we wait for the jeep to arrive. We spent most of the morning with a local travel agent looking into options and decided that the most cost-effective option on such short notice was to travel to  Bali where we could tour the island, avoid touristy resorts, and experience the local culture, wildlife and natural surroundings.

Boom, within a few hours our plans had completely changed but because we were all involved in the process and have learned to adapt quickly, we were happy and ready for our next adventure.