#Vanlife Pt. 1

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Trapped in the states… we set out on an adventure to find the beauty in a country losing its beauty...

We jumped in our new to us 99 Eurovan and set off on the #vanlife dream.

Vowing to take only highways, no interstates, to see the small towns, the vast country that we live in. Meet some characters, and see some friends as well!

- Gene! We met Gene is Casselton, North Dakota. What a sweet man. He showed us his home and his art that he has made over the years. He told us countless beautiful stories!

- Biking the Hiawatha Trail in Northern Idaho / Montana with Erica and Brian!

- Cousin hangs in Portland

- Hangin' with Sydney in Minneapolis!

- Nate and MC in Portland!

- Nate in Issaquah!

- I think I left part of my heart in Minneapolis!

- And also in Boise...

We wanted to see what the guts of this country are all about. 2 months in and we have stayed true to this and skipped all major interstates.

As the permanent co-pilot I got ready to find the weird and beautiful spaces this country has to offer.

From tall Paul Bunyan holding a massive wiener in Atlanta, Illinois, to strange grottos in Wisconsin, and dinosaur parks from the 1930's in South Dakota, or any other random spot Atlas Obscura will tell us about.

- ATLanta, Illinois

- Dickeyville Grotto, Dickeyville, Wisconsin

- Dinosaur Park, Rapid City, South Dakota

This trip has been life changing.

Underneath the amazing shit that we are seeing, there is the real shit.

The shit that does not go away with the more beauty you see, or the different national parks, or friends, or new friends. The weird and scary shit of traveling in a pandemic. Especially when literally city by city you never know how seriously people are taking it.

Knowing that our jobs, in live music, will not be coming back for quite some time because of the pandemic.

It’s the balance.

Out of the thousands of miles we have driven, I cannot drive a single mile on this trip legally. Therefore I have only driven for 1 total hour and around about ten miles, all on an unpaved, switchbacking, Forest road in the Olympic peninsula that led us to one of the best views we have seen and back down again the next morning. (That is the ocean that the sun is setting over!)

- Olympic Peninsula, Washington

What falls on me is the planning. Where we park Serge and live for the night. What new podcast we are going to listen to (listen to the podcast called Bananas, you’re welcome!). Keeping a good vibe inside when tunes are the answer. I document.

With the help of google maps and a few apps (mostly iOverlander) to find free camping spots we ride, and I plan. As Lindsey is the only driver we roll about 3 to 3.5 hours a day.

All of this lends itself to misunderstandings, annoyances, bad attitudes, pouting, short tempers, and spells of silence.

A lot of joy as well! A lot of holy shit! moments, which are my favorite moments!

- Lake Cameahwait, Wyoming

We arrive, typically around 5pm or 6pm...or later. Even if we have left at 9 am, we still always turn up at these times. We find fun shit to see and explore. So if we are coming to hang out, that’s when you can expect us!

We begin to set up camp, sometimes abbreviated. Wenonah on and top down. Other times we sprawl out, Wenonah down, top popped, Al Tater in the ground, "Welcome" flamingo flag flying.

Once we drop Wenonah, we do our bits and bobs inside to get our house ready for hanging and cooking.

After all of that, comes the appreciation. The walks, the paddles, the swims (I have been working on living a dogs life and swimming in every body of water I encounter and I am doing pretty well I think!), and tea times with books and views.

- Glacier National Park, Montana

- Glacier National Park, Montana

StoryTime recordings while the sun is right, photo sessions for calendar submissions (sadly we did not get chosen).

As we all do, checking our phones dramatically, to see what is soooo damn important.

This is when time hits warp speed. Once we get settled. It’s when pause should be pressed. When the pace slows. When we relax.

What do we eat, when do I write, do I write, do I read, when do I do my exercises?

How do we get into routine? When do we get alone time?

This becomes the routine, or the lack thereof. The few activities done in any random order until we pull out the bed to go to sleep.

Another strange way of thinking that comes out is the feeling that darkness needs to come quicker, so I can do other activities and quit focusing on the beauty we are surrounded by.

Or even just go sit inside Serge and zone out. This is such a privileged feeling to have, I completely understand this. But it still presents itself, all of the time.

What do I miss when we have no service on our phones… I miss the morning ritual some friends and I have gotten into, sharing a new song, a favorite, meaningful song to start the day. All in themes based on the day of the week, it is the only way I’ve been able to keep track of what day it is. A fact I have found useless most of my adult life.

What I don’t miss… endlessly scrolling and staring. Reading complete bullshit from every corner of this “great” country.

I miss being able to leave this country. We have been so close to Canada a few times. We have gotten sad and screamed... Please let us in!!! To no avail. We are stuck here.

One of my favorite routines I have kept up with is doing my mini workout before bed. The silence and darkness. Or the vast stars that I have seen from the ground. This gives me some time to think. Sometimes, which I blame on my love for horror movies, I get myself all riled up thinking of what or who could be out there in the darkness.

This lifestyle also puts you in so many places and situations that make you have to have courage even when you don’t. It’s Lindsey and I in the woods, with Serge and whatever else that is out there. We have bear spray to ward off any creeper furry or not.

Nothing strange has happened yet but it is always on your mind, well at least mine.

All of this and we have not even talked about real breakdowns. Real Serge shit, "Sergeries", as Lindsey has dubbed them. Four have happened so far in our two and a half months…

These will be a whole other post…

So far I know...

I need to be more patient.

I need to stop worrying.

I need to breathe a lot more.

I need to be sympathetic to Lindsey for driving this whole trip.

I need to cherish the moments and put my phone down more.

Capture the moments and then be in them. Write later.

It’s hard when you never have any time alone. I lose sleep to get some moments to myself.

I get very frustrated with how Lindsey reacts. If she gets angry I’m so quick to negativity.

I’m not a negative person but with everything happening in the world it is hard not to be. I need to relax. Enjoy the little details.

Finding food, places to stay, little libraries, podcasts and music. Simple tasks that I truly enjoy have become “chores”.

I feel like if I “fail” it will be a bigger deal than it is.

I need to learn to communicate better when Lindsey is very frustrated despite any reaction she is having.

I need to remember how much I love her. All of the time. How much I fought for this to be my life.

All of this brings new strengths to my life. To my journey. To our journey.

I also know that...

This is a beautifully fucking wild journey! One I would not trade for anything.

Life is fully worth living… Fully living life…

- South Dakota

- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

- Lake Cameahwait, Wyoming

- Whidbey Island, Washington

- Kintla Lake, Montana (I swam in this one as well! Super cold glacier water! Incredibly refreshing!)

Peace Signs up ✌🏼!

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