How’s it going?
That’s the first question I’m always asked whenever anyone learns about this project.
It’s probably the best and worst question ever. It’s great in the sense that, 9 times out of 10, I can answer it in one simple word that satisfies just about everyone – Awesome!
What sucks about it is everything that falls through the cracks in that simple question-and-answer exchange. It’s hard to answer “How’s it going” and do the response justice, cover it all, give you the high points, the low points, the small day-in-the-life-type moments that make or break my day. It’s hard to sum up in one (relatively concise) answer just what it’s like to live entirely out of a car and a camper, to be based out of nowhere and everywhere at the same time, to know that at the end of the day, no matter how much fun you had on the rock or on the water with your pals, you have to retire solo to your camper while everyone else returns home to family, dog, kitty, pet llama, etc. etc.
The video above was taken just one week into the project (shot and edited by the talented Matt Smink), yet it feels like it was shot ages ago, back when everything was new. Even now, my life still feels like a test run, like some monthlong trial that ends back in my basement apartment in Charlottesville with an ice cold beverage, a pint of ice cream, and my feet up on the coffee table, thinking “shew, what a ride.” But there’s no basement apartment anymore, no freezer for ice cream, and definitely no coffee table. There’s just me, my car, my camper, and about every piece of equipment I could need to do everything from photo shoots to kayaking and hammock lounging.
So, in an effort to provide a little glimpse into the truths of this vagabond, transient, wayfarer lifestyle, I’ll attempt to list some thoughts from behind the wheel (where most of my ingenious moments occur). For better or for worse, my roadside confessions.
1. 99% of the time, I drink cold, day(s)-old coffee.
I typically buy coffee in the morning from some mom-and-pop type coffee shop, realize I can’t drink it right away because it’s too hot, promptly forget that I bought it, then realize I have an entire thermos of coffee days later when I go to repeat the entire process.
2. There are weird things in my cupholders…
…like jojoba oil and pocket knives.
3. I am a bug sensei.
I have seen, slept with, and probably eaten more bugs in the month I’ve lived on the road than I did during the three months I spent in the Amazon…okay, maybe not quite, but it’s a damn close second.
4. Showering without flip-flops on is heaven on Earth.
5. I am perplexed by the amount of mysterious bruises on my body.
Between the bar brawls, the strangers that beat me in my sleep, and my own perpetual clumsiness, my skin is closer kin to a bruised banana than a healthy epidermis.
6. I forget that I live out of my car…
…that is, until it’s suddenly 9pm on a Tuesday night and I’ve yet to eat dinner and everywhere around me is closed and all I have is a jar of almond butter and I’ve ran out of fuel and/or am too lazy to cook. Or I volunteer to drive and someone gets in the car and I have to move my drying underwear from the dashboard.
7. I dry my underwear on the dashboard.
Rarely. Sometimes. Pretty regularly. Okay almost daily.
8. I once judged my friend for not showering for five days…
…only to return to the Go and realize that I, too, had not showered for five days.
9. I lose things in my car.
It sounds silly, improbable, even. But the truth is, I’ve lost a headlamp, one sock, and my social security card somewhere in the vicinity of that Jeep Cherokee. Organization was never my strong suit.
I’m sure there are plenty more confessions I’m forgetting (or choosing to forget), but bear with me. One month down and 11 more to go! Here’s to the open road ahead.