We hit the road after a solid snowstorm rolled into Colorado. It was a great day to head south! For six months we traveled in Tatanka, zig-zagging across the American southwest chasing warm weather and letting National Parks and good hiking guide our route. We clocked over 14,000 miles, 30+ Parks and Monuments, and all the hot springs we could find before returning to Colorado in the spring when things were turning green again.
We returned for a few reasons.
1) We love where we call home and all of the summer adventures in the mountains.
2) 5Point Adventure Film Festival was happening and we wanted to be back for the Van Life Rally.
3) We were low on money, and my boss was waiting for me to get back so he could go on a ski trip in Europe. I roast organic coffee for a small-batch roaster and cafe and my boss and I basically take turns traveling as long as one of us is around to roast. So we came back to replenish funds, hike some 14ers, and figure out our next steps.
This was when things got interesting to some people who don’t understand why you would live in a van and not be moving. After six months, it was hard for us to think about returning to the grind of rent payments, bills, and full-time work. It’s very expensive to live where we do, so free housing is a no-brainer. We both had personal goals that we were working on, starting our own businesses, and giving all of our time and energy working for someone else’s dreams wasn’t appealing at all. So we decided to stay in the van. This allowed us to keep our freedom of time and focus on other, more fulfilling activities. Casey started his own business teaching kids to skateboard in Aspen and Snowmass, and I have been able to dive full force into turning Rock Meets Soil into a great community and online shop, as well as self-publishing a book of my film photography from over the years. We also had so much more time to play outside in the mountains which is medicine for my soul.
So summer and fall passed, offering us multiple opportunities for smaller trips in the van while being home based in our little mountain town. Then the fun really began as we decided to tackle winter day by day. It was an interesting experience, luckily not as bad as I thought it would be, but something I probably won’t do again. With nightly lows sometimes dipping belore zero degrees Fahrenheit, we learned a lot about ourselves, our van, and just how much I hate winter. But we did it, finishing the last of the cold with a house sitting gig that turned out to be exactly what we needed as some big changes were about to take place. Want to know more about how we survived winter in the van? I wrote about it here and our friend Dylan Magaster did a video interview/tour here.