Who We Are and What We're Doing

We're journeying across Canada in a 1984 diesel conversion van (her name is Vanny) to find the best places to visit with a small, slightly neurotic dog. Along the way we’ll document our trip on our website at ZoloNeurotico.com using words, pictures, video, reviews and an original webcomic starring our pup Zolo as Zolo Neurotico, hero to neurotic dogs everywhere.

At the end of the trip, we'll combine that collection with resources from around the Web including maps, links to other videos, reviews and stories that we found useful while researching our stops. All of this will become a multimedia e-book designed for smartphones and tablets that’s part travelogue, part guidebook. We find it easier to understand if we think of it as an app you might buy from the App Store's Newsstand instead of as a standard black and white e-book meant for electronic readers that use e-ink technology (they can only do black and white).

The Cast

We are a family from Seattle, Washington. Vanny’s drivers and the creators of the content are Charlie and Alexis, a married couple who will celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary somewhere in British Columbia this July. The star of the show is Zolo, a 27-pound mixed breed who came to live with us three years ago thanks to the magic of Petfinder. (We think he’s a cross between Basenji and Corgi with Formosan Mountain Dog thrown in.)

All three of us are world travelers. Our numerous past trips include a month-long honeymoon in Bali, four months working and living at the South Pole, long trips in Europe and many multi-day, back-country hikes around the Western United States and Alaska. Even Zolo was rescued and flown here from the streets of Taiwan.

(Vanny's original provinces and past itineraries are unknown, but we bought her from a guy in Federal Way, Washington who said he’d driven her to California a bunch.)

The Project

A panel from our webcomic "Zolo Neurotico."

The travelogue part will include tales of our adventures and the things we see and do told with words, pictures and video. This part will be a story of discovery and of fun and who knows what else. (That’s why you travel, right?) In the tradition of the best travel writers such as Paul Theroux and John McPhee, we hope to transport our audience to the places we experience so they too can get a flavor for the Great White North.

Zolo’s perspective is a huge part of this story. Alexis is drawing a webcomic starring Zolo’s alter ego, Zolo Neurotico. He will entertain readers with and without dogs in a comic series inspired by XKCD (though with less math), Hyperoble and a Half (though with one less dog) and The Oatmeal (though with less Siracha Sauce). The comics will be posted online during our trip and interspersed throughout the e-book to give readers a better picture of what Zolo experienced.

The Neurotico Scale.

The guide book piece of the final product will list the places we visit and give vital information to help future travelers seek them out. We’re not aiming to create a comprehensive guidebook that covers every place to stay between British Columbia and the Atlantic Provinces. We will include our first-hand experiences and resources from the Web (allowing for always up-to-date info) for all the places we do get to see.

Each of the listings in the book will include two ratings. The first will describe its effect on Zolo, who tends to get nervous in crowds and around loud noises. This four-level Zolo Neurotico Scale will help travelers with dogs plan destinations that their canine companions can enjoy. Human readers of the e-book will want to know what Alexis and Charlie thought of a place overall, each one will be rated in a more traditional manner, e.g.: on a scale of 1 to 4 Zolos.