Before we get started with Lola’s story, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about our family... My partner Sofi and I launched @AfueraVida with the dream of buying a 1978 Mercedes 508D Fire Truck, converting it, and driving it from the Maine to Argentina with our two human boys (ages 5 & 2) and our dog Lola. We wanted to rediscover our family values and connect our two cultures in a meaningful way.
Over the last 18 months we’ve traveled much of the United States. But just as we were ready to cross the border south, Covid happened. A huge part of our story is Lola - she’s been with us ever since Sofi and I met, and we’re excited to share this piece about our adventures through her eyes...
As Lola settled into our routine in Portland, Maine the sedentary lifestyle clearly affected her. She was no longer running 10 miles a day chasing rabbits, paddling turquoise riverways and chasing our mountain bikes in the South Island of New Zealand - she was stuck in an apartment or home with less and less attention as we focused on the next phase of our lives. It pains me to acknowledge this, but the truth is real. As we focused on our careers, education, our first born, then our second, renovating houses and beyond - Lola patiently waited, never giving up hope for her life to return to “normal”.
Finally the day came when we realized that not only was Lola suffering from our best attempts at the American Dream - we were - and we decided to uproot our young family and embark on the journey of a lifetime. We left ice cold New England in January 2019 in a hot orange 1978 German Mercedes 508D Command & Control Center with our eyes set on driving through the Americas all the way to Sofi’s home country of Argentina.
At this point Lola had spent her first years growing up in New Zealand, a brief American cross country journey when she was about three years old, and then settled in Maine for the last four years with us. She was out of shape, moving into her golden years and had seen more heartache and turmoil than any dog should see. Steadfast in her company we left - moving towards a dream and lifestyle more connected with the inherent wanderlust within all of our true souls.
Instantly it was clear that vanlife is the dog's life. Endless and ever changing fields to roam, scents to sniff and wildlife to chase, water to swim and mountains to climb. Within weeks her demeanor changed. She shed pounds like she sheds her white fur. Her energy elevated with each new backdrop. No longer taking anything for granted, we gave her the love she deserved - every day.
Lola re-established her post as running mate for Sofi and I. She owned the position as guard dog - growling at any strange noise in the night - comforting us as we navigated the shift into full time van life. She owned the role as vacuum cleaner - whisking away the trice-daily debris found on our tiny floor as our 1.5 year old learned to eat on his own. And of course, as the queen of comfort, she was there for all of us in our own times of need as the turmoil within vanlife wore each of us down to the bone at various inflection points.
Together we experienced so much; the empty beaches of Vancouver Island - even managing to fit her into the wagon on a three day bikepacking trip, chasing jack rabbits for months in the Mojave Desert, vanlife festivals and events, ice cold rivers and freezing cold nights where even she was invited to pile into the queen size bed with the four of us to stay warm. She’s seen the Grand Canyon, spent eight nights along the Green and Colorado Rivers paddling about 100 miles, she’s been to NYC, Miami, LA, Seattle and every city in between, perhaps forty of fifty states - I’ve lost track at this point. Yet the places and locations are not the point. It’s the bond we’ve shared, the experiences we’ve cultivated and the life we’ve given each other through commitment.
Steadfast and loyal, Lola has been the one constant in the constant evolution of our lives. From New Zealand to Maine to a years long road trip around the USA to a 6-month stint in Joshua Tree, CA - she’s been there every day journeying alongside us, logging the memories in a way only a dog can. Needing only a scratch, a couple bowls of food, some water and a reasonable place to lay down, she sits silently, asking for nothing but giving us everything.
Colin Boyd and Sofia Aldinio are partners who met and lived in New Zealand but are originally from North and South America, specifically the state of Maine and Buenos Aires, Argentina. They raised their first two boys until the age of three in Portland, Maine where Colin moved on from an international snowboarding career and into experiential and video production and Sofi established herself as an independent photographer and videographer. Over the last two years, they have acquired a 1978 German Fire Truck, built it out and embarked on an 18 month journey around North America with the intent of traveling to South America (by land, by sea or by air - whatever Covid-19 permits). Follow the journey @AfueraVida or listen along to the Rewilding Parenthood Podcast.