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CaseOfTheNomads

Five Weeks on the Road

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Five Weeks on the Road

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This morning I woke to the beach of Coronado near San Diego. Taking a moment to do my am yoga and mediation, it hit me. Alice and I have been on the road for 5 WEEKS! How far have we traveled? Are we turning into Thelma & Louise? Have we killed each other yet? Well, we have not killed each other. Far from it. As two seasoned travelers we are biting this trip off with mouthful chunks of adventure. But we both DEFINITELY have a way of doing things that can be very different than each other. Alice makes coffee one way, I make tea another. Alice enjoys stinky canned salmon while I enjoy hummus by the pounds. Alice sips on Jameson, I sip on Campari. Tomato Tamato. One thing is for certain, we are starting to learn what the other likes and dislikes.

Alice and me at the Seminole Cave Pictographs

Alice and me at the Seminole Cave Pictographs

One adjustment, for me at least, is getting use to having someone along on a long adventure. I was nervous about this. Would we be with each other ALL the time? We ALL need our alone time but some people don’t like being alone. I do. And I found, so does Alice. She has no problem just taking off with Truffles, her fluffy sweet dog, on a hike or working alone on her art. That was a huge relief and has allowed me time to write, take photos, edit videos, or go on a bike ride.

The sleeping arrangement. So…..we are traveling in a 24 foot Sprinter van. The back , aka the bedroom, has two twin beds connected at the head and separated by a roll down black screen. Does Alice snore? Will I bother her with my sleep talking and sleep farting? Will I freak out being in such close proximity to someone that I am always with? Will I feel suffocated?? Before the trip, my head flooded with every possible scenario and ya know what? I actually sleep great. I have my side, Alice has hers. When we go to sleep, we pull down the curtain and either we read, or she sleeps and I read, or I sleep and she reads or whatever we want to do without bothering the other. I do sleep with earplugs but Alice is the quietest sleeper that I don’t really need them. And come to find, we both fill the silence of night with the sweet sounds of flatulence.

Side by side sleeping

Side by side sleeping

We may be good roomies but there is one thing that we are not always on the same page about, pace. I like to take my time and move slowly. Alice has only one pace, Alice pace. This forces us to really communicate and let each other know when one is moving too slow or two fast so that we can adjust. Traveling with someone is always about give and take. Especially when plans alter at any moment. We may stumble in our steps to find our rhythm but I think we are starting to find our sweet spot.

As we head into Mexico, I do have a concern. What if we do take on the Thelma & Louise persona??? One thing I have learned is that for how different Alice and I are we make up in similarities. We both love traveling off the beaten path, are never afraid of any adventure, never want to miss out, and we both LOVE mescal, even for breakfast. So will we hit up a thrift store for some rock n roll ripped T’s and bandanas? We already have the hats, wild hair, and dirt under our nails. And we are headed deep into the desert of Mexico. As the driver, I will avoid all canyon drops and we will just have to rely on Truffles to keep us in line.

On March 14th, we left Georgetown Texas and headed down to the boarder following it up zig zagging through Marfa, Alamogordo, Tuscan, Joshua Tree, and San Diego. We have seen meaty art in the desert, bathed in lithium hot springs, camped alone in white sands, rode donkeys into Mexico, explored Orion, awed at cave drawings and much much more. There is still more to come. I’m putting together stories, when time allows. So stay tuned; there will be more adventure stories from Driving Miss Alice.

Images Left to Right: Crossing into Boquillas Mexico by Burro, Camping in Big Agnes tent at White Sands New Mexico, Performance art at Joshua Treenial with Aaron Sheppard, Lithium bath at Chinati Hot Springs


#heartshapedworld

#heartshapedworld

#heartshapedworld

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Canyon Rim Trail Ride

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Canyon Rim Trail Ride

“The 8-mile, modernly strenuous, trail system offers expansive views of Seminole Canyon and the Rio Grande, which forms the international boundary between the United States and Mexico. Whether riding a mountain bike or hiking, be sure to take a moment and reveal in the world-class scenery.”

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Driving Miss Alice

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Driving Miss Alice

The universe has spoken, and when it speaks you can’t help but listen. Longing for something, not really an answer more of a salvation or a type of healing, I piss poorly put out the intention that I needed that something. I needed help, that healing and I needed to get away.

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Wandering Love

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Wandering Love

The road has many bumps, twists, and turns. One thing I love (and sometimes dislike) is the unexpectedness of it all. But what we may think is a wrong turn ends up being the path we never thought to take. In todays email, I've included a few of those 'off the beaten path' folks and the love they share with others.

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COTN Episode Big Agnes Bob Swanson Memorial Grant

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COTN Episode Big Agnes Bob Swanson Memorial Grant

Last year, I had the great honor and privilege of being the first recipient of the Big Agnes Bob Swanson Memorial Grant. This grant is in remembrance of a true person of the outdoors, "The Tent Guy" Bob Swanson.

Thanks to this grant, and all its support, I was able to travel to New Zealand and bike 1900 miles across both islands, solo. Above is the latest episode of Case of the Nomads that documented this epic event! Here is my latest episode of COTN, enjoy!

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Spiral Jetty

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Spiral Jetty

A 1500 foot long coil that was created at the peak of the land art movement in the 70's by the legendary Robert Smithson is probably one of the RADDEST things I've ever seen.

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Women Who Explore

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Women Who Explore

A WEEK AS A NOMAD: A RAW VIEW OF SOLO VAN LIFE

“Taken straight from my daily journal, I’m opening up and getting real with you about what a week as a nomad is really like. And what van life is really all about. For two years I lived solo in a van while traveling around the US ….well almost alone, I also had my adventure dog India along with me. This journey changed my life. So come on, let’s crack this baby open, shall we, pages direct from my journal…”

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COTN Episode Van Life Build

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COTN Episode Van Life Build

When it came time to make my ford transit connect van into a home I had no clue where to start. With the help of my brother, we winged the transformation and lucked out. It only took a lot of blood, sweet, tears and beers for Jones to came to life as my….errr, sorry India..our home on the road.

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Mourning Glory

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Mourning Glory

A few months back my grandfather went into Hospice. It was believed that he wouldn’t make it to Christmas. He went off all his meds and became free to live the end of his life in comfort. He’s now thriving and the happiest I’ve seen him in years. It got me thinking does death bring life? Why at the end of life do we start living?

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Deep Thoughts

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Deep Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts from my journal...you may or may not want to know what's going on in my head but here ya go!!! Thanks for reading....I think.....

July 12, 2015....Bend, Oregon  

"I want to do something different. Right now I don't feel like I'm doing something different besides living outta a van. Which really isn't that different. A dude in a transit is camping at the same site as me.

Today I didn't want to come to Bend for the trunk show. I didn't want to be around people. Talk, say "Hey please take a look at my jewelry. It's PVC pipe, copper, leather, handmade." Vomit! That's why I'm on this trip, to expand and break out of the norm I've been doing or not doing.

But how do I support myself. Well. I have enough to last about two months. Guess for the next few months I'm good. 

It makes me rethink things. Make what the fuck I want, have fun and let go!!!

India and I have been playing in this meadow. I let her off the leash and she RUNNNNSSS. It freaked me a bit yesterday but I carry a bag of treats to call her back when she goes too far. She's so happy!! Today we went again. I felt a sense of tension gone. Letting go. She didn't want to run from me, like the past few years. She wanted to come back around, of course for a treat but also for a smile. We're bonding even more and I wish the world was just me and her. I think I may become one of those people who lives alone in a cabin in the woods. No one around. Or maybe after living in LA with four and at times six roommates it's REALLY fucking nice to have some alone time!!!

I just don't have the desire to do what I think I should do.

Like making money or showering!! HA!! I actually washed my hair and took a sponge bath in Jones.

Gotta tell ya, after a week without washing my hair it felt damn nice and the sponge bath too!

Gotta say it is nice sitting here at Rescue Consignment, door open, rain filled sky and me in a red velvet old school chair journaling away!!! It's super slow here, little or no costumers but I embrace the vacancy."


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I'm Just A Roaming Round

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I'm Just A Roaming Round

"Just a wandrin' worker, I go from town to town."

Woody Guthrie's I Ain't Got No Home

   Casey, India, SkidMark and Jones ready to Rock N Roll!!

 

Casey, India, SkidMark and Jones ready to Rock N Roll!!

I apologize for the delay. I’ve been meaning to write and it’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you it’s just….well….I’ve been adjusting. I’m putting my theory of living on the road into a reality. As we all know, the theory of doing something is much different than actually doing something.
 
I’ve slept in Jones, with the dog and all her 70 lbs of bed hoggingness next to me, since July 1st.  That’s been, what day is it? Ahhh yes, wow, 10 whole days!!! The first night was very easy since I was in my brother’s backyard in Joshua Tree. With the doors wide open to let in the desert night breeze while the pastels skies of the night and morning played their duel role of sandman and roster.  Wow, that sounds so romantic.  And the drinks of the night and the morning quail (who I named Doug) had nothing to do with it, I’m sure!!! 

Joshua Tree sunset....ahhh...yeah....

Joshua Tree sunset....ahhh...yeah....

Alas, life on the road is exactly what I though it would be, a life of not knowing what the fuck I’m doing!! Not knowing what I need, not knowing really where I’m going and not knowing what road I’ll take the next day.  All I do know is thank god for my atlas. It has become my saving grace. I knew I would have limited access to internet and cell service but not like this. I’ve listened to the same 10 song playlist for the past 1000 miles.  Yes, I have a few CDs but it’s too difficult to get to when driving in the middle of nowhere.
 
My first few days I drove on roads that had no one in sight. I’ve passed more people driving the 4 miles to work in LA than I did in the first 9 hours of my drive. But I guess you get what ya ask for. Ever since I moved to LA I’ve longed for being in the middle of nowhere and a good ol rain storm. Well, thanks to the universe I’ve had both. Hail, winds, gnarly thunder and lightening, all on the first day. It's rained every day I’ve been on the road. 

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So what is life really like on the road??? After a day of driving I find a place to stay. I prefer the national forest campsites because they are nice and cheap, usually $10 a night but this still adds up. I figure my rent is $300 a month. Once I’ve found a site to stay at, either online when I have a second of service or on my trusty Atlas, I then have to drive to the site. I’m in the middle of learning the National Forests language. They have a unique dialectic that’s, well, damn vague. I spend one evening driving endless dirt roads through 5, yes, 5 herds of cattle. Until I realized I needed to turn at the sign that said welcome to the campsite instead of going straight, which would be the logical thing to do when there isn't a sign to turn??? I'm learning. Another site had the name of the lake instead of the campsite name. Once you entered the lake site then the campsite sign appears, if I won’t have known the name of the lake I was staying at I would still be driving around. Regardless of the where’s waldo part I am falling in love with the National Forests.

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Inside of Jones, top photo is my closed work table with map and below is a bench that turns into my bed.

Inside of Jones, top photo is my closed work table with map and below is a bench that turns into my bed.

he set up. Each night I move up the front seats, put up a curtain in the front windshield. This blocks out light and if you are in a city people can’t see you sleeping inside, handy tip from my hobo friend and expert Bo Keeley, he’s a professional Hobo who gave me some great pointers for living on the road.  Next, I make up half my bed. I have a bench in the back of Jones that folds out into a bed in two parts. This makes it easier for India to jump up and I have most of the bed ready to go for the night. I then find sticks for my BioLite Stove, which uses sticks, pine needles and what not as its fuel source. I crack open an Omission beer and start to make dinner, organize my cooler which gets fresh ice every few days. After clean up I make the rest of my bed and crawl in with India. Before passing out I journal my days thoughts and then usually fall asleep curled up to my laptop after my unsuccessful attempts of connecting online. 

My life in now filled with things always shifting, setting up, taking down, refill, unload, move here, move there, not there, yes here, along with a ton of dirt and a shit load of dog hair. I won't change a thing!!!

My kitchen with hand pump faucet, sink and a Miss Pig breast feeding her piglets.

My kitchen with hand pump faucet, sink and a Miss Pig breast feeding her piglets.

hadn’t realized how much I had dove back into city life til I left. I’ve been scared at night, scared while driving, scared while at a campsite, scared of weather and pretty much scared of everything at one point but with every moment I’m out here, on my own, following my passion/drive/dream it becomes easier. It becoming the place I feel I belong.
 
There is more to come. Don’t worry. I just know that if you are like me and as ADD, you are about to drift off….Oh….shiny………

Want to stay in the know...sign up for my mailing list!!!

Comments??? Questions??? Please email me....thanks for reading!!!

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Lessons Learned

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Lessons Learned

Things are full speed ahead with "Case Of The Nomads". This has been an intense and fun experience so far and I haven't even left my house! I've been connecting with so many communities and every day I'm in touch with some other kickass like minded person or community that I didn't even know about.

I'm very excited to add Winnie Kao to my list of stops!!! 

 

Winnie is the special projects lead at Seth Godin and founder of Lessons Learned, an invite-only event series where smart women share career advice via short stories told live. 

 

"It’s awesome to hang out with cool people. It’s probably one of my favorite things about life."  

I first came across Winnie through her project #YourTurnChallenge, that pushed you to blog 7 days in a row. I jumped at the chance to join in (which most of you followed, Thank You!!!) What I learned about myself and my writing was more than I could have thought a daily post could bring. Thank you Winnie for such a great challenge and I am so excited to see you in NYC. 

Please check out the other community connecting projects Winnie has her hands on.

Winnie's Blog:
Diamonds and Steak

 

Give Back

Writing Exchange

Since I'm in the middle of writing my first jewelry design book and have been freelance writing for almost 2 years I thought it would be cool if I gave others my insight into how I got my start and happenings along the way. With this round table discussion, others are encouraged to bring their own thoughts, ideas and questions. There is no fee for the exchange and will take place at the following stops, for now.

  • Seattle
  • Minneapolis
  • Asheville
  • Denton

Traffic Signs

Yesterday I hit a bit of a wall. With lack of sleep, not a day off in sight and filling my plate too full (as usual) I headed to work in a frenzy that could have put any gnarly Nebraskan tornado to shame. As I stormed my way to the freeway I hit the typical LA traffic. Sitting there, watching the cars go by, eagerly awaiting my chance to sneak in my sight went to a guy walking down the street. I ended up just staring at him, for no reason. Then I finally noticed he was having problems walking even with the aide of a walker. I could see his struggle but it didn't take him over. He stopped, took a deep breath, then patiently took one step, then another. After a while he was down the street, making better progress than me. As I sat there taking in his lesson, I decided I needed to let my thoughts of angst go. Take a deep breath then take one step, then another. Pretty damn cool what you can learn when you skew your vision a bit.

Stops


I'm in the process of booking workshops, trunk shows, lectures and even a residency at University of North Texas (Thank You Ana, Harlan & James!!!) Everything seems to be coming together.

*Kat Sweet @ Sweetlines Gravity Girls Camp Seattle Washington (guest biker/artist)

* Emily Johnson @ EC Design Minneapolis Minnesota


* Renee Zettle-Sterling SNAG President & Associate Professor at GVSU Allendale Michigan

Josie Smith @ Decorah Bicycles in Decorah Iowa

NC Black Mt Airy North Carolina

-Brigitte Martin Crafthaus Chicago Illinois

Many Many More......Full List here

There are only days left in my campaign, so now is the time to contribute. I know that it's the end of tax season, Yeah, so after you've licked your wounds take a look. Any amount is greatly appreciated. 

Click to Contribute THANK YOU!!!

IndieGoGo

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Journey In A Jar

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Journey In A Jar

Something’s changing. Things feel different.  I feel different. It started yesterday with a jar of peanut butter from Justin's. Justin’s is a natural food company out of Boulder that makes the most amazing peanut, almond, hazelnut and other varieties of butters.  Justin’s and I have a lot of the same philosophies so I asked for their help with my project. They reached out by sending me 3 jars of butter, 3 boxes of travel size butters and Justin’s stickers. I was floored with their generosity.  Especially to someone they didn’t know. Thank you Justin's.


Throughout the rest of the day I had this sense of something. I didn’t know what. I was becoming more and more aware of it as the night went on.
 
It finally revealed it’s self this morning during my meditation.  But I was unsure and a bit scared of the change.  If I let go to embrace this next step would I loose sight of my purpose? Of what I’m setting out to find? Of my self? 

“We must let go of the life we have planned
so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”

With these few words whispered from a deep soft voice in my earphones I succumbed. I no longer felt scared or doubtful of my choice.  This choice, this something was now my path. With this new path I have fresh eyes with a sense of calm. I now know to look at things, this project, my life with these thoughts. It’s no longer how can my community help me but just about community. Help, do, how, doesn’t exist. It just is.
 
Even though I became aware of this by a jar of peanut butter it was everyone who reached out to help show me this path that started it. From the support of my first piece of jewelry made to following me along the AIDS Lifecycle to my 30 day blog challenge to strangers offering their homes with a warm bed and meal for me and India while on the road.  This is community and I’m yours.
 
During my walk after today’s meditation I called my mom to share my thoughts. She asked me what was the feeling? At first I didn’t know how to answer or what it was until the words passed my lips. Peace. 

To get involved with this project check out my IndieGoGo Campaign or website

Thank You

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