A woman and her dog on the adventure of a lifetime

By Nina Steele 

Maryanne Pope and her dogMaryanne Pope has been a source of inspiration for me, ever since we became friends on social media, so much so that she has been featured on this website on more than one occasion. She became a widow in 2000, aged just 32, and her memoir, ‘A Widows’ Awakening’, gives harrowing details of the events that led to her husband’s death and the aftermath. 18 years on, Maryanne is starting a new chapter in her life by going on an adventure with her beloved dog. I caught up with her a few days ago. I found her decision to sell her house and go on an adventure quite inspirational and wanted to know more.

Q: Was selling your house the catalyst for the trip?

A: Sort of. I have been wanting to do a big writing road trip like this for many years – but the timing wasn’t quite right. Part of the reason for selling my home was so that I would have the time to do a big road trip such as this – and not have a home to worry about. The main reason for selling my home, however, was because of the noisy living situation (neighbours over the years, traffic, etc). But I knew selling my home would also mean I could do the road trip…so it was a win-win situation.

Q: what do you expect to gain from it?

A: To be honest, the main goal of my writing road trip is…to write! I have many writing projects (books, plays scripts and screenplays) that I really want to take to the next stage of development. I am excited about working on a project at one place for a week and then moving on to the next place. I know I will also see an incredible amount of beauty and meet interesting people…plus the freedom of life on the road will, I suspect, be very good for my writing.
Maryanne Pope with her dog
Q: What is your itinerary?

A: I moved out of my home in October and have been staying with friends in Victoria, British Columbia. I have done several small mini-road trips locally, to get a feel for what I need to take with me on the big trip. I spent the Christmas season (stayed in one place for a whole five weeks!) with my friends in Victoria and will be heading out on our 3-month road trip on Fri Jan 12.

Sadie (my dog) and I will be heading south from Victoria to Washington State, then down the Oregon Coast and northern California (to see the Redwoods!) and on to Los Angeles. That is as far as I have accommodations booked for (until late Feb). After that, I will likely continue south to San Diego and then over to Yuma, Arizona and north to Sedona. Then I’ll likely continue north up through the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park etc. Then I’ll continue north all the way back up to Vancouver Island again. I will have my 50th birthday on the road (Feb 23rd) but I don’t know yet where I will be, which is really cool.

Q: how long have you had Sadie and what impact has having a dog had on your life as a childless woman and as a widow?

A: I have had Sadie for 3 years. She is a 10-year old Retriever, so I got her as an older dog. As for what impact a dog has had on my life as a childless widow, well, in a nutshell: my dogs mean the world to me. Before Sadie, there were my two German Shepherds, Sable and Soda. They saved my life after my husband, John, died (in 2000). They gave me a reason to get up in the morning. We were our own little family unit…a pack. After Soda passed away, I was on my own for 9 months…and then Sadie came into my life. Caring for a dog (especially elderly ones) is the closest thing to a child for me. I am very glad I didn’t choose to raise a human child because that wasn’t my path. But having a dog/s to care for has been really good for me…and it has given my dogs amazing lives. My life has been richer, having shared so many experiences with my dogs. On a day to day basis, I prefer animal company to human company, so this lifestyle is a great fit for me. I do love people…just not day in and day out!

For more information on Maryanne Pope, visit her website. You can also purchase a copy of her book ‘A Widow’s Awakening’ on Amazon.


  1. Maryanne Pope says

    Thank you so much for posting this article about my writing road trip with my dog, Sadie! We are heading into week #2 of the trip and the first week was spectacular! We spent the week at the “Sunflower Cottage” (a VRBO managed by Vacasa) at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. Writing, walking on the beach, watching the pounding surf, reading, cooking simple meals in our little kitchen…Heaven for a writer 🙂
    Next stop: Newport, Oregon!
    Take care,

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