It struck a cord in Kieren Britton when someone told her that she was “brave for a girl” after taking a solo road trip to California. She was angry.
“That just drove me up the wall, that saying,” Britton said, whose home town is Saskatoon.
Britton wasn’t deterred by being patronized. In fact, it inspired her to organize trips for other women all while living in a bus with her dog.
Britton is the founder of Ladies Alliance – a group that brings women together for hiking, camping, outdoor courses and even trips ranging from as close as Tofino, B.C. to as far as Bali.
“The Lady Alliance started from my bus trip social media account where I was showcasing my road trip,” Shalini said. “When I got back from the road trip, I changed it to the Lady Alliance and I started showing other ladies adventures and then we just started meeting up and doing adventures together.”
The journey kicked off with a yellow school bus, which she converted into an RV.
“I’ve got a bed in the back, it’s a queen sized bed. I used a memory foam mattress and I just had to trim it on the sides just a little bit,” she said. “I’ve got a closet and a pantry area, a kitchen along the one side, a couch along the other.”
While there is no oven, she had a propane stove, a fridge and a sink. She even installed a bathroom at the front of the bus.
“The bathroom is surprisingly very non-invasive with the smell, which is great because it’s close to the front of the bus. But the idea with having it close to the front of the bus was if something were to happen, if I were to roll or if I got into a bad car accident, my driver’s seat is completely blocked by solid wall. That’s why I put the bathroom there. It’s also less bumpy – that helps with the smell,” Britton said.
“I learned everything along the way. My dad is quite handy as well so whenever I had questions he was always there to help and answer. He taught me how to plumb propane and set up my baseboard heater and do everything.”
The bus – which is now blue – has taken her from Saskatoon, her home town, to Canada’s west coast and south to California.
While she’s on the road, Britton dedicates her spare time to the alliance where she helps coordinate and lead trips and hikes for women.
She also takes the odd job here and there including freelance writing for MEC and other outdoor publications.
Women, inspired by her travels, have reached out to her for help gaining confidence and Britton offers them life coaching for free.
She’s now in the area, moving where ever her odd jobs take her, from Redwood Meadows to Canmore and back to Calgary.
“I coordinate adventures for women, so I’m always on the move,” Britton said. “Our predominant market is Calgary, Canmore, Bragg Creek, Okotoks that whole area.”
“We’re always looking to unite women together and allow them to meet people that are like-minded and ladies that get into the same adventures that they enjoy.”
“They can build their community and go out to do things with a bit more confidence with themselves as well, but also push past those self-doubting beliefs that will hold someone back.”
The Alliance – and bus living – is only a summer passion for now.
“You can only live in (the bus) in the summer, it gets really cold in the winter,” she said. “The coldest night I’ve ever spent on the bus was -21 C and I’ll never do that again.”
When the winter comes around, Britton lives in her home in Saskatoon. Before her most recent trip, she worked for the hospital foundation there.
“I am always floating around so everything does depend on where I get my next gig.”
“It’s been an absolute blast,” she said. “Gas is a little bit gnarly as well.”