As many of you already know, our travel editor has been living and working on the road for over a year now, carting her SUP, kayak, and mountain bike from town to town, constantly in search of a good story and a good time. You may have even seen her out there pulling her SylvanSport Go in her signature Live Outside and Play Jeep Cherokee. From what I can tell, she appears to be having the time of her life, but I wanted to get an update straight from the source. Here’s a quick Q & A with our very own Road Life Warrior, Jess Daddio.
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How many miles and states have you logged since you started?
JESS: 9 states, 22,080 miles
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you on the road? 
JESS: A bat decided to make its home in one of the support beams on the SylvanSport Go. When I went to set up I almost accidentally killed it, but instead took this video then walked away. It escaped unscathed.
 
Describe your low and high points. 
JESS: Low points – These are far and few between but usually happen the day after a multi-day festival when I finally realize that I’m dirty, tired, dehydrated, slightly sunburnt, and tired of smiling (and using Porta Johns). Nothing a little one-on-one with the river can’t fix. Probably the lowest post-festival day was the morning I woke up to see someone had decided my two driver-side door handles made the perfect places to vomit.
 
High points – Paddling new rivers, uncovering hidden gems in familiar places, meeting people and expanding a never-ending web of connections, French press coffee in the morning, discovering local music, and constant reminders of the power in a friendly smile and a home-cooked meal.
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One thing you’ve seen or done while on the road that changed your whole perspective on things?
JESS: This would be less of “one thing” per say and one realization – that the key to a life well-lived is to find and harness your passions in order to create a lifestyle that can be shared with others. More and more, my travels are taking me to young entrepreneurs who are discarding the 9 to 5 in search of purpose, community, and a quality of life that can only be achieved when heart, body, and mind are invested in one’s work.
 
Have you taken on any new hobbies since hitting the road?
JESS: Podcast listening and mountain biking.
 
The most interesting character you’ve encountered? 
JESS: There have been many, but a recent one would have to be a mountain biker who carries her cat in a baby sling. Props!
 
Do you ever miss being stationary? 
JESS: Only when I’m really dirty and don’t want to ruin my friends’ washing machines…or when I feel like baking…which is almost every day.
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What are a couple road life tools you couldn’t live without? 
JESS: Foam roller and Little Sugar Naturals bug spray.
 
The best food you’ve found?
JESS: Where do I even start? Best egg and cheese sandwich? Dunk & Deli in Abingdon, Va. Best mac n’ cheese? Secret Sandwich Society in Fayetteville, W.Va. Best lunch? A White Grass spanakopita from the Highland Market in Davis, W.Va. Best home-cooked meal? Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Get-a-Way outside Ellijay, Ga. Best quick ethnic fix? Chai Pani in Asheville, N.C.
 
Where are you off to next? 
JESS: Summertime means festival time! Red Wing Roots outside of Mt. Solon, Va., and Floyd Fest near Floyd, Va., are on the books for July. See you on the road!
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Check out Jess’ latest adventures on the road, from teaching the family dog how to stand up paddleboard to riding bikes in Canaan Valley, W.Va. Catch her at Red Wing Roots and Floyd Fest this month and enter your chance to win sweet prizes from Farm To Feet, ENO, and LifeStraw!