No. This is not a vacation.

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The brakes on my bike squeaked as I came to a stop in front of the Blue Ridge Outdoors tent. I hopped off and immediately stepped in a puddle I’d mistaken to be a shallow pothole, sinking up to my knee in cold, gravely water the color of chocolate milk.

I dashed underneath the partially collapsed tent, cursing my misjudgment and shaking from the cold ride over. It was late Sunday morning of Tuck Fest at the U.S. Whitewater Center, my first event of the season. Though the rainy weather had held off for the weekend, we were paying for it two-fold now. The sky had been dumping buckets of fat drops all morning, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.

Thunder rumbled in the distance. My rain jacket clung to my skin, acting less like a jacket and more like a sponge.  Most of the other vendors had already packed up and left. Save for a few diehard festival-goers and boaters, the place was deserted. I huddled half-hunched beneath the soaking canvas, wondering whether to wait out the storm or pack up in the rain. An endless sprawl of dark clouds loomed overhead.

Well, how much worse can it get, I reasoned, looking down at my dripping clothes.

I straightened up and whacked my head on an interior support beam.

“So when do you have to go back to work?” A curious onlooker poked his head beneath the tent just as a string of profanities was about to leave my lips. His presence, and question, caught me entirely off guard.

What do you mean ‘go back to work,’ I thought. I’m working right now!

“I’m sorry?” I replied.

“Are you just hanging out in Charlotte for the week, taking a little vacation, or do you have to go back to work?”

Honestly, I don’t quite remember how I responded to the poor guy, but I stifled the urge to shout “THIS IS NOT A VACATION!” and probably muttered something about future travel plans to Pennsylvania.

My teeth chattered, my head throbbed, my shoes squished with every step. I could tell the guy was only curious, but still: I was about to wrestle a 10′ x 10′ tent to the ground and load all of the festival setup by myself in the pouring-ass-rain before hitting the road for a six-hour drive north. I simply did not have the patience to explain that this is my work. This is my life.

Recently, my coworker Nick and I talked about the Live Outside and Play program on the Charlottesville Newsplex (see video above). And while the intention was to hopefully shed some light on a day-in-the-life of a travel editor living, working, and playing on the road, I feel my readers may still have some questions.

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So ask away! From worst and best moments to what I eat, how I stay organized (ha!), and what it’s really like to live inside a lime green car camping machine, I’ll answer any and all inquiries! Just do me a solid and check out this post and this post first.

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