Originally the idea was to get River hiking everyday. He's a pretty lazy pooch but for some reason when he's on a trail his eyes light up and his swagger turns into a prance. He’ll run ahead of you, sniff everything and lead you down the perfect path. When he's in the city or on the beaches he’s obsessed with gross smelling things and finding bits of garbage, but when he's in the woods he's more in his natural state. I feel like it's my obligation as his human to bring him to these places as much as I can. He's almost 11 now and still able to move around. He occasionally gets his ass stuck on the log that he’s trying to jump over but for the most part he can do just about anything as long as he can rest through the stiffness the next day.
River really is my best friend. I know that I don’t have my entire life left to spend with him, so I wanted to make the time that we do have together count. Although I could make an effort to spend more time with him at home, I felt it was important to create a way to spend all our minutes together for this quality part of our life. We will have plenty of days to chill and sleep in his arthritic years.
#2 - THE SPACE BETWEEN
Also besides wanting to go on a cross-country road trip with the coolest dog in the land, there is a desire on this journey to explore what I'm calling the space between. It’s really a driving meditation on what Deepak Chopra and other gurus calls the space between - where the magic happens and the mind reorganizes. We’ve been on many road-trips, some full of exploration and many with hard deadlines. I write this (speak this into my phone) as I drive through the farm country of Minnesota and I watch the sunset through the wind farms while listening to Nick Cave. Everything seems to move in slow motion, just as it should, psychedelics not necessary. I decided to do this trip solo with the River because I wanted to experience this. Although I'm pumped about heading west and being awestruck by mountain landscapes there's something in this too and it's hard to describe it. All I know is it’s harder to find when you have some place to be, and it helps to have long stretches of solitude.
#3 - CREATING TIME and CATCHING UP
When you're alone with your dog on the road your relationship with time changes because your priorities change. For the past 10 years I felt like I needed to catch up - read the books I've been meaning to read, go on more hikes, listen to podcasts, dive deeper into the spiritual practices, dedicate more time to meditations and trying different types of meditation, writing, hashing out new ideas…. I am working on balancing these practices with actual working on the road, which isn’t always easy, but I feel things leveling out as we get into the swing of things.
#4 - VISITING EVERYONE I’VE LOVED
When I was a freshman in college I bought a map of the United States and every time I would meet a new person I would put them on the map. I’m not quite sure what the intention of the map was at the time but I often think about it. I kept it with me for three years of college until multiple party vandalizations rendered it useless. This trip is allowed me to visit a lot of those people. People I guess I’ve intended to visit since the day that I met them. Visiting people without an agenda allows for this really special interaction. A moment of pure love and appreciation, and recognition of the special time that you shared together. Do a drop by… it’s always worth it.
They say true growth comes out of your comfort zone. The girl that I used to be would've told you that I'm super comfortable on this trip and badass, but the truth is parts of it have me scared shitless… mainly just the camping alone in the woods, and bears. When there's another human around, I feel safer. However, a lot of times in those situations things get done for us. Laugh if you want, but on this trip I've had to do a lot of things FOR REAL by myself for the first time, like pitch a tent, start a fire, cook on a camp stove, check my tires… and I know it's only the beginning. I'm looking at the weather this evening thinking about camping in freezing temps. This will definitely be a first for this Miami Beach girl.
#6 - A DESIRE TO LIVE SIMPLY
A few years ago I made a decision to live more simply. It started with a grand gesture of giving up a few unhealthy things and mindsets, then came purging of junk. I would get rid of 10 things a week, culminating to a final decluttering in Miami in preparation for a move back to Rhode Island. (If you are looking to declutter any space, read Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up). Knowing that this road trip as on the horizon, we took only what would fit in the Honda Fit and have since scaled down from there for life on the road. This trip explores the concepts of non-attachment, necessity, and efficiency. “Betty White” the Honda is packed with everything we could ever need to survive and honestly more than whats needed, which we will pare down over time. Check out the next piece on inventory for more info and updates. Besides the material things the live simply motto extends to a lifestyle on the road. A thin mosquito net tent surrounding you as you sleep, a camp stove and one pot to cook all your meals and your coffee, the breath of fresh air you get to take every morning as you do your stretches outside, the sleeping bag that keeps you warm every night.
At the end of it all I'm launching this website to serve as a time capsule of this experience and time with River and my mindset as a 29-year-old solo traveller. And also hopefully inspire others that may be on the cusp of wanting to pick up their life for a minute try something new. I hope there isn’t an end to this project and I can keep adding to it is a go for years to come as long as River’s alive and kicking, and if just one person is inspired to do something little different and break the mold because of these words are photos or videos then I consider this website of success.
Until next time drive well and prosper, stay healthy, love hard, and live simple.