This changes everything…

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Campervan Pregnancy Announcement
…SURPRISE!

I haven’t written a personal blog post in a while. 

I’ve more or less stuck to “25 things to do in [insert destination]” and “Guide to building [insert part of campervan]” types of articles for quite some time, so it feels long overdue to get personal here again.

And I suppose there’s no better time than now, being that we’re about to become… 

THREE Wandering Soles!!!

Bonfire at Cannon Beach, Oregon
This pair of 2 is about to add another member!

That’s right, we’ll be adding a pint-sized traveler to our crew in just a handful of months. And we’re feeling alllllll the emotions. All at once.

This is more or less the roller coaster we’ve been riding each day:

  • We wake up so excited we want to shout from the mountaintops. (It’s been real hard for us to keep this secret so long!)
  • Then we get nervous that we have no clue what we’re doing, because let’s be real — we don’t!
  • We talk it out and realize we’ll figure things out along the way, and in talking about it, we get stoked to meet our little one and show them the world.
  • Then we get scared about the state of the world we’re bringing them into…
  • But then we remind ourselves that there is so much more good in this world than bad, and we start the emotional roller coaster from the top again.

Can anyone out there relate?! (Just us…?)

A whole new kind of adventure

In one month from now, we’ll celebrate 8 years of marriage (and roughly 16.5 years together… which means our relationship could legally drive a car!). So I guess you could say we’ve taken our sweet time getting to this stage of life.

Ever since we returned from our honeymoon (Banff National Park!), we’ve been asked when we’re gonna start poppin’ em out. Usually, it was asked a tad more eloquently than that, but you get the point.

We’ve been asked by family members. By acquaintances. By strangers we met around the world.

Usually, we’d just shrug the question off or change the subject. Because honestly, we didn’t have an answer.

Here’s the thing… we always knew we wanted a family someday, but we never felt a huge rush to get there. There were so many things we wanted to do, places we wanted to see,  goals we wanted to accomplish. 

And I will be forever grateful for the time we’ve had — just the two of us — to build the life we wanted and to grow into the people we are today.

We’ve lived in 5 different countries together, built two campervans from scratch, and created a business that we are deeply passionate about and gives us near-endless freedom. 

We’ve worked as ski instructors, English teachers, photographers, and now full-time travel bloggers.

We’ve eaten scorpions, taken care of each others’ bouts with food poisoning, and made so many inside jokes that we practically have our own language. (Annoying, I know.)

We’ve hiked to Everest Base Camp, slept in remote villages around the world, jumped off of bridges and out of planes.

We’ve gotten our advanced scuba certifications and have gone diving in some of the most incredible sites around the world. We’ve gone rock climbing, canyoneering, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, backpacking, and spelunking.

Sometimes I can’t believe what we’ve experienced and accomplished together.

But somehow I know this next chapter is going to be an adventure unrivaled by anything we’ve ever done before. Bigger. Sweeter. Harder. More meaningful.

And I find myself getting more and more excited (and let’s be real — nervous too!) with each passing day.

Am I doing it all wrong?

The past few months have given me a lot of time to reflect on what society tells us this chapter of life should look like.

And what reflects society more in this day and age than social media?

For me, social channels like Instagram have been both frustrating and inspiring at the same time.

On one hand, the perfectly curated squares make me feel like pregnancy and motherhood are supposed to look a certain way. Follow a specific formula.

Campervan Pregnancy Announcement
Preparing to become THREE Wandering Soles. Corny, I know, but we couldn’t help ourselves!

And let’s just say, we’re not doing a great job of sticking to those rules so far…

  • Take a cute/corny pregnancy announcement and post it on all your social channels.

Check. (Evidence scattered throughout this article.)

  • Put together a perfectly decorated nursery.

Ummm… not even close. At the moment, our home is a campervan.

  • Take monthly pictures with a sign that says how many weeks you are and what fruit baby is now the size of.

Oops, I guess I didn’t get the memo that I needed one of those signs…

For the last few months, I’ve often found myself wondering, “Am I doing this wrong?”

But as quickly as that thought and wave of guilt comes, it seems to dissipate as the same platforms show me examples of people who are doing pregnancy and parenthood their own way. Without following any so-called rules.

  • People who are having their baby in a different country.
  • New parents who are living in a campervan, or schoolbus or sailboat with a newborn.
  • Moms and dads who take their little ones on epic backcountry trips and international adventures.

Like I said, social media can be uplifting and empowering too. Shocking, I know.

Mount Storm King hike Olympic National Park
Can you spot a little bump?! Seeing other women continue to do the things they love while pregnant (or after becoming new moms), has been so inspiring to me.

Plus, social media has begun normalizing topics that used to be avoided or discussed only in hushed tones, like what a struggle it can be for many to get pregnant in the first place. And the fact that some people don’t want to have children at all, which is totally, 100% NORMAL.

So I guess the point of all this is to say that I’ve realized there is no “right” way to do this.

Pottery Barn nursery or campervan.

Epidural or water birth.

Stay at home parent or childcare.

These are all the “right way” to someone.

Mount Rainier Fire Lookout
Already showing our little one some pretty magical places…

Sure, we don’t have a nursery set up, but one day we’ll be able to tell our little one that before they were even born, they went swimming in cenotes throughout Mexico, they lived in a campervan for months at a time, and came with us on two 30+ mile backpacking trips. 

Oh, and pretty soon, we’ll be able to add “road-tripped through Iceland” to that list!

While this pregnancy may not look “normal” in some eyes, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. To me, this feels right. And there are so many pieces of this journey that I’m already so thankful for.

I am grateful for the beautiful campervan we built that has been so comfortable that being pregnant hasn’t been a hindrance at all. Yes, seriously.

I am thankful for this job that is going to allow me to have a very flexible maternity leave (and for Ben to have cushy paternity leave as well!). Like, just typing that makes me feel so damn lucky.

I am grateful for supportive friends and family who have shown us love and excitement as we approach this new chapter.

Encahnted Valley Chalet, Olympic National Park

I am filled with gratitude for my body for growing a human being while allowing me to function normally (for the most part!). I know this is cliche, but truly, pregnancy has opened my eyes to just how powerful and amazing female bodies are.

I will be forever grateful for a partner who is sweet, supportive, understanding and patient. Oh, and who gives me daily (yes, daily!) foot rubs. How lucky am I?!

And I am already so grateful for the little human who is about to flip my world upside down and turn me into a mom.

Okay, typing that just gave me chills.

Campervan pregnancy announcement

Tell me more, tell me more!

Before I sign off, I’ll answer a handful of questions we’ve been getting…

Is it a girl or a boy?

We don’t know! (And we don’t plan to find out… well, until little one decides to join us.)

I’ve always wanted to wait to find out the gender. Although I’m curious (and have gotten lots of “are you seriously not finding out?!” exclamations), I feel like this is a surprise unlike anything else you can experience. 

And in my opinion, life could use more happy surprises.

When are you due?

The estimated arrival date of Baby Z is early December. Though let’s be real, we don’t really know when they will choose to make their grand entrance.

Where will your baby be born?

We are currently based in Bend, Oregon, and that’s where we plan to give birth.

Do you have health insurance?

Yes. Since we work for ourselves, we have self-employed health insurance through our state. It’s certainly not cheap, but it’s comparable with what you’d get in benefits through an employer.

Will the blog change once you have a baby?

Yes and no.

Washington state wild beach

I think it would be naive to say that things here won’t change at all.  

But the focus of Two Wandering Soles has always been and will continue to be responsible and adventurous travel for everyone. 

That won’t change.

What you’ll still find on TWS…

  • authentic experiences
  • tips for traveling more mindfully & ethically
  • off-the-beaten path adventures
  • small businesses worth supporting on your travels
  • must-try dishes
  • bucket list adventures
  • ethical wildlife encounters
  • epic hikes
  • budget-friendly tips
  • campervan travel and build advice
  • how to work and live around the world

These topics will always be at the core of our brand. But soon, we’ll also be able to add “tips for traveling with little ones” to the list!

Are you going to stop traveling when you have a baby?

Heck no! 

I mean, there will definitely be some downtime before we hop in our van or board a plane, but we’ve already got some sweet ideas for 2022 travel. 

And while it’ll look quite a bit different than what we’ve been used to these last 8 years, we have a feeling this next chapter is going to be pretty darn special.

We already can’t wait to show our little one the world and see things through their eyes.

Comments (19) on “This changes everything…

  1. Margaret De Gregorio says:

    Thrilled I am to hear your happy news. You two, as usual, are doing all the “right things” already. What a lucky baby, joining your loving circle. Trust your gut, trust your instincts. Bask in the glory and rub that tummy every time you can.

    Margaret

  2. Bea says:

    Warmest congratulations to you! Our crazy adventure already started 2 years ago with our little one, and we’re excited to follow your adventures with the tiny soles. 🙂

  3. Yin says:

    Hello Katie and Ben, as an avid follower and a mother myself, I can’t help but express my excitement upon hearing the good news of your pregnancy. Having experiencing it myself, what lies ahead is a journey and adventure unlike any other. Take care and congratulations for bringing to earth another wandering sole😊

  4. Jody says:

    OMG! Congrats!!!

    You are both about to experience the most amazing amount of love…so much more than you ever felt before or can even imagine (and I REALLY love my husband).

    Remember: you do you. All along the way. There is no “right way” to do any of it. We are honestly all making it up as we go. Just follow your gut & your heart.

    Yes, things will change. You will want to spend a ton of time just starting at him/her. Sometimes you will feel like you are losing your mind & it will never feel “normal” again. But this season is SO short (mom of a 13 year old here). Things will calm down & you will miss those baby moments. So, just breathe & be in the moment. Hug, kiss, and snuggle that baby as much as you can!

    Prayers & wishes for an awesome pregnancy, birth, & parenting adventure. Welcome to the club!

  5. Henry Mackenroth says:

    Take your inspiration for this part of the life journey from Frank Sinatra. “I did it my way”. Congratulations. Definitely the beginning of a new chapter.

    Unless a problem develops during this remaining trimester, you will be doing what has been done, successfully for millions of years (depending on when you want to start counting.)

  6. Nancy says:

    Exciting news!
    We dated for six years, then waited another six years to have a baby, so we can relate.  We were having so much fun traveling, skiing, etc that we almost decided not to have kids.  Now we are in our seventies, and we are horrified to think how close we came to making that decision, and how much we would have missed!! We loved showing the world to our kids, traveling, skiing, and enjoying many other experiences with them that we could never have anticipated.  Now they’re doing the same with their children—one family is currently camping in the Grand Tetons, and we’ll be canoeing in the Boundary Waters with the other family next week.  And spending time with those grandchildren is absolutely the best!
    One caution, which you probably realize, but we didn’t—we vowed not to let our new baby change our lifestyle.  But of course it did, for awhile.  Anticipate that, and enjoy those baby years as just another kind of adventure, as I’m sure you will.
    Congratulations to you!!!

  7. Valori says:

    Congrats!!! I have the same viewpoint on letting the sex be a surprise! So good for you guys! You will have one loved, adventurous, little guy(that’s my guess)!

  8. Gee Burton says:

    Congratulations. That’s wonderful news. Don’t worry about all the should do’s. Just cherish this time which is so special. I really admire you. Bringing up a baby is not always easy, (I’ve have 3) but do all these wonderful things while he/she and later ‘they’ maybe, are young and resilient and flexible. As they get older and have to go to school it becomes more difficult. They will be super chilled, adaptable kids growing up this way. How lucky are you!! Good luck!

  9. Michelle says:

    Congratulations Katie and Ben! I was hoping this would be your secret! My partner and I have been discussing when we’d like start a family and it is (and will be) so inspiring and exciting to see you three! traveling the world together. I have many fears about parenthood and one of them is that we won’t be able to travel, adventure, or hike like we have. Everyone says to do all you want to do before having kids – as if the adventure stops as soon as parenthood starts. The world needs more families and parents like the two of you! We can’t wait to follow along your adventures as a family of three and hopefully we’ll be able to use some of your ‘practical tips for traveling with children’ soon ourselves. <3

    • Monique says:

      My husband and I met in 2008, married in 2012 and finally had a baby in 2019. Before we had a kid, we regularly traveled. So much so, that some people we knew even vocalized that we traveled too much! :O But we also heard our fair share of people that said, “Enjoy it now, because when you have kids it will stop.” WRONG! I was so motivated by that phrase that within a week of bringing home my son from the NICU (46 day stay because he was 9 weeks early), we traveled to Iowa to see my husband’s family for the 4th of July and then weeks later we traveled to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. My son is 2 now and has traveled across most of the western United States and at least 12 national parks.
      Just about a week ago, my best friend from high school (who had her kids about 6 years before me) told me that she was at her nieces baby shower and they were filling out advice cards for the soon to be parents. My friend told me that I inspired her advice. She said, “Travel is harder with kids, but do it!” She told me that she always believed that comment that travel stopped when she had kids and so she never did it. But once my husband and I had our son, she saw all the fun that we were having and wished she had made an effort to do the same. I was so touched that I could positively inspire her to get out with her family and that she valued it so much to share it with others. She was actually more actively traveling this summer then my husband and I! She said she was making up for lost time! 😉

      I will say that traveling with a baby/toddler now is a challenge, but if you plan ahead and allow your plans to be flexible, it’s totally doable. My son may not remember any of the adventures he has been on so far, but he is accustom to being outdoors, long road trips, off-roading bumpy roads, being on boats, being carried in a carrier while we hike and now hiking himself. And even if he doesn’t remember it, there are pictures and stories to tell that are so valuable to my husband and me. You learn and adapt as you go and make it work for you and your family.

      Don’t be afraid that travel stops when you have a family. It just adds to the adventure and makes them even more special. Just like you Michelle, I am so excited for Katie and Ben to start traveling with a kiddo of their own. I am always looking for tips/tricks/suggestion/products that make things easier when traveling with my son. Plus, eventually my husband and I plan to make it two kids to travel with! 😀 So any tips that Katie comes up with, we’ll be able to use for the second go around!

      Katie and Ben, congratulations on your new grand adventure of parenthood! Like many of these people have said on here, you do you. Trust your momma instincts and you’ll do great! Try not to worry too much about the world you are bringing them into. That has been a worry for I think all parents throughout time. The important thing is to make sure that our kids understand the delicate balance in nature and have them respect and love it. Congratulations and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and your travels!

  10. Lisa Branch says:

    Congratulations!! While no kids myself. My bro and sis-in-law have two kids. They had them when they lived in China and traveled all over the world with them. They now live in Chile and they still travel all over. I am so excited for you both and see what new adventures you have. I can’t wait to get a van and start adventuring on weekends.

  11. Mary says:

    Congratulations! I was hoping this was your secret! I encourage you to follow your hearts on how to be parents. There is no one “right” way. I know you will raise a child who is deeply loved and respected and loves to travel!

  12. Tammy says:

    Congratulations! Don’t let social media influence how you do parenting! My husband Ron and I were married 8 years before we started our family and we were so glad we had that time to get to know each other and deepen our relationship before the happy, yet stressful times with little ones. We only just started following you when you were advertising your new class for building out a campervan as that was a dream of ours for the next season of our lives. Unfortunately, Ron passed away very unexpectedly and you may remember me writing to ask for a refund for our class as we never even got to watch the first class and I just couldn’t see myself going forward with that dream without my best friend of 38 yrs. Now I am 3 months out and can start to breathe again and realize that I don’t have to give up on our dreams, I’m just going to have to find new friends or family to experience those adventures with me!
    Live the life that you both want and don’t let anyone else tell you that you are doing it wrong! If your best friend is by your side, whatever you do will be awesome!! So happy for you both!

    • Ivete Muhai says:

      Congratulations Kate and Ben !
      You guys are invited to visit Mozambique anytime, it will be wonderful to welcome you guys here one day with your baby 👶
      Cheers

  13. Michelle Lambrechts says:

    Wow! Congrats guys! So happy for you and wish you a wonderful babymoon!

    Ps. I think it is a boy (hehe) 🙂

  14. Sue Merrill says:

    Congratulations, Katie and Ben! You have many family and friends to support you through this next adventure. When all is said and done, you have to do what feels right for the three of you!

  15. Emily says:

    Congratulations Katie and Ben!!! So happy for you both and so excited to follow your adventures with a little one in tow.

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