December 26, 2018

This morning, I awoke to the sound of rain on the roof of our home. For a moment, I was back in the van. “Everything’s going to be so wet,” I thought, and absent-mindedly reached for my cell phone to make sure it hadn’t been rained on through the night. And then I remembered—I was in my cozy rowhome in downtown Frederick, Maryland. The rain was outside, and I was inside. The weather no long defines my day, it is simply a backdrop, an afterthought. How ordinary and deeply strange.

“Do you miss it?” It’s a question we have been asked a lot over the past four months. The answer should be easier by now, but I still catch myself every time. In a sense, we were ready to come home. We knew our travels were a temporary madness, that the experience wasn’t sustainable financially or emotionally. But...

September 1, 2018

Yesterday, August 31, was D-Day—or “Done Day” as we’ve called it in Madge the Van. After 14 months and 48,917 miles, we crossed the Potomac River into DC. Back to where this madness began 427 days ago.

In embarking on this odyssey, we answered a call from The Road to explore the places and people it connects—to take advantage of this brilliant moment in time when each and every corner of the map is accessible by automobile, but when travel is still just difficult enough to make you earn the reward of the view out the windshield. And it’s been a hell of a view.

The Road has wound through the hardwood forests of the Great Lakes, cut through fields of late-summer sunflowers, and passed through groves of cacti, silhouetted in the sunset. It’s climbed the Rockies over and again, plummeted into su...

June 24, 2018

Thanks, as always, for following along! Our apologies for the long delays between posts. Each mesmerizing sunset, invigorating hike, and curvy road puts us one moment closer to the end of this summer and the end of this adventure. Thus, “what’s next?” inevitably creeps into our conversations, and we’ve been focusing more time on planning for the future.

But blame also lies with the pinon, sage, juniper, and red rock canyons of the desert southwest—a place that’s come to feel like a rough equivalent of a home on the road this past year, and where we spent most of April. It’s a place where my camera seems to point itself, possessed by the picture-perfect light and county-wide vistas. So part of the delay is a result of wading through thousands of photos during our evenings in the van.



April 23, 2018

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March 26, 2018

Back in early September—back when this maniac adventure was still in its spring—we abruptly changed course, making an about-face turn in the mustard-yellow hills of Southern Montana away from raging forest fires to the north, towards less smoky latitudes in Colorado and Utah. As we turned south, we began to chase the yellowing aspens into autumn.

In the Colorado Rockies we made our acquaintance with fall in the mountains. We broke out our versatile Patagonia jackets as the mornings and evenings developed a crisp chill. At elevation, the snowpack began to accumulate, building up the reservoir of water that makes life in the west (for plant, animal, and human, alike) possible. In the valleys, animals anxiously followed the first few instructions in their time-worn how-to manuals on winter sur...

February 19, 2018

I recently had a wonderful conversation with a dear family member who is on the precipice of a new chapter in life, filled with all the perfect elements of a true adventure: beginnings, endings, challenges, and celebrations. After hanging up the phone, I sat for a while, looking out over the Arizona desert. My thoughts swirled in their usual way, images of the past seven months, memories of life before the road, and my own expectations for the future. 

Since we set out on this trip, we’re often asked about the hardest aspect of living in the van. I imagine the person posing the question expects to hear something tangible, like surrendering my hairdryer, going a week between showers, or learning to live with Avery’s ever-growing mountain man beard. And yes, there are certainly myriad adjustm...

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