Hi there. Nice to meet you!
We are Dave, Jen, Riia our Border Collie dog, and Laila our Spanish street rescue dog of Portland, Oregon, USA new residing in Granada, Spain.
Our relationship began under the premise of great adventures and worldly travels. Entering the partnership with a relatively dormant passport, Dave felt a bit skeptical of Jen’s promise of a life filled with travel.
We escaped when we could to places like Mexico and Colombia and regularly explored within our home state and its neighboring borders, as well as Canada, but with jobs at home dictating our schedules, we were limited to just a few weeks of annual leave and the occasional long weekend.
In 2011, we attended a sustainable business school program, where we met, both desperate to find a new way of life beyond the standard nine to five. One year after graduating, Dave found himself in the same job he’d held for the past seven years and Jen discovered that even her dream job proved not so dreamy.
After an unsuccessful attempt at a start up business and a two-week venture in Colombia, we began to question the lives we chose. We had a cute yellow house in a desirable neighborhood in SE Portland, two dogs, two cats, and two chickens, a beautiful garden that provides us with food throughout the summer and fall, and plenty of money to travel and play outside.
Only we couldn’t travel and play outside as we wanted. Our jobs told us where to be and when.
Our Australian Shepherd, Sora saw how work controlled our lives. She wanted to spend more time with us and see the world, so she convinced us to take her on a world bike tour. We thought it sounded like a great idea.
We began our adventure in Oslo, Norway in May 2015 and slowly made our way to Athens in December, via the Balkans and Turkey. In January 2016, we flew to Ushuaia, the end of the world, in Argentina, Patagonia, slowly crawling over the Andes toward Colombia. In April 2017, we finished our South America tour. We spent the rest of 2017 adventuring in the USA and Canada with trips to Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, British Columbia, and Alberta.
In May 2018, we relocated to Granada, Spain to experience the magic of the Sierra Nevadas, a lower pace of life, and continue our Spanish language training. In the Fall of 2018, Sora lost her fourth battle with cancer and moved on to Rainbow bridge. She is missed dearly.
We hope to inspire you to leave your job if you don’t like it, take your dog along on your adventures, and prove that vegan eating on the road is not only feasible, but delicious.
In 2010, Dave traded in his beloved VW Microbus for a Kona Jake, biking 24 miles roundtrip from home to work. It only took one week for Dave to become hooked on commuting by bike. Feeling unfulfilled with his corporate America job, Dave pursued his MBA in Sustainable Systems from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute at Pinchot, in order to shift his career from helping the system to an entrepreneur devoted to making a difference in this world. Currently he technology consults with small businesses at DaveHoch.com.
He finds joy in supporting a vegan, intentional, and spiritual lifestyle. When he’s not jamming out to Phish and reggae, he’s running, volunteering animal rescues, playing outdside, and supporting the mighty Portland Timbers Football Club.
“When you look back on your life, are you going to be proud of what you’re accomplishing now?” ~unknown
Jen is the Chief Storyteller and Photographer for the Long Haul Trekkers. Born with the travel bug, she has lived in Spain, Chile, and New Zealand. When she’s not galavanting around the world by bicycle, she is running long distances in the woods, exploring her Oregon backyard, or whipping up delicious vegan meals. She is always planning her next adventure.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~Mark Twain
Dave adopted Sora from Family Dogs New Life in Portland, OR as a nervous three-year-old project. Originally from Tri-Counties in Washington, she was picked up as a stray, transitioning through several foster homes before Family Dogs New Life took her in as a “second chance.”
Her piercing blue eyes attracted Dave to Sora and he took her home knowing that she had a an obvious history of abuse. The first few months together were tough: Sora was a submissive peer with separation anxiety who was not housebroken.
Originally named Grace, Dave chose to rename his new companion Sora, which means “blue sky” in Japanese. Sora’s sky-colored eyes drew Dave to her in the first place and she uses them to bat her way into extra treats and pets from friends.
With time, training classes, mastering sheep herding, and plenty of love (and treats!), Dave and Sora worked together to overcome her fears and create a loyal companion. She enjoys chasing squirrels, herding sheep and her cat siblings and rolling around in dead things on the beach.
Since 2014, Sora has traveled to over 25 different countries as part of her adventure life.
“The FriendBeast speaks mostly gibberish. You must listen carefully to decipher his two word vocabulary: ‘Blookityslorkblapblahboop TREATS blerksplapboobfds blargloo POTTY OUTSIDE blergityboopthptblehgrmpf.’ ” – The Oatmeal
We adopted Laila in May 2018 from Asociación Ladridos Vagabundos in Granada, Spain.
She and her brother were found on the street as puppies in Aracena, Spain. Pablo, her foster dad, decided to take up the responsibility for caring for her.
The brindle and massive ears are what attracted us to her. Originally named Lola, Jen preferred to slightly alter her name to reflect the Moorish history in Granada. Laila roughly translates to dark beauty in Arabic.
When not hunting lizards, barking at dogs, or trying to bite us and everyone who walks in her path, Laila loves chasing things and playing with plastic bottles.
“Ouch!” – Everyone who meets Laila and suffers from her chompers.