The Dream of Life on a Continental journey: The Call of the Open Road

header image by ALISON VAGNINI for PGM

When Hilary found me in the Chapters’ photography section, she asked about my glossy red eyes. I was holding an Ansel Adams photography book and I’m pretty sure I was only able to eek out ‘it’s just so beautiful’.

Thunderstorm, Yosemite Valley

Because it really is. I had a similar reaction upon seeing the Rockies for the first time, and I was 10.

The first week that  I met B, we hatched a plan to drive to the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Our second date was a scavenger hunt for a swimming hole that never materialized. We spent 7 hours in the car, we smoked, we sang along to Weezer. I wore my purple bathing suit and tan colored gaucho pants. Just thinking back to that day, I am overwhelmed by memories and the excitement of the unknown. 10 years later, we’ve been on many many road trips since, one of which took us as far as the red sandy beaches of PEI. For anyone who knew us then, you might remember the horror stories of the drive back. Otherwise titled as ‘When 8 month old babies get possessed by demons’…

Timeless Travel Trailers

Road trips are easy to idealize. The Pinterest photos alone can make you want to drop thousands on a camper. But you really only need to be on the road for 5 hours before you realize that the romance is gone. The snacks have been eaten, you’ve played all your road trip tapes and everyone needs to pee.

But what if you took 6 months out of your life? With your 3 kids. And just drove to South America…

You could go across Canada, through the NWT, the Yukon, up to Alaska and down the coast, hitting Yosemite and Grand Canyon… driving along the Pacific through Mexico, Central America and down the western coast of Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and finally arriving in the mother land of Chile. Once you got there, fixing an old house, selling your camper and flying home…? Maybe?

Hypothetically speaking, that is.

It’s an idea that I’ve entertained when my mind goes blank. It stays in my subconscious and re-surfaces every few months. Reading things like this, this, all the Bill Bryson and essentially any travel essay that library holds, well that gets your brain going too. It isn’t that I have a million destinations that I want to see before my time comes, it’s that I have this one experience I want to live with my family.

Listening to this podcast reminded me of my dream again.

our-open-roadPhotograpy: Adam Harteau

But why?

How else are we going to see Chile, the Grand Canyon, Dawson City and the Northern Lights? How many weeks of vacation and thousands of dollars would it cost to fly all of us? And what about the places in between? How do you get to see those? And of course, there are ways of doing this that don’t included dropping your entire life and leaving. But I also know a relentless-potential-terrible-idea-that-just-needs-to-be furthered, when I see one. Like dying my hair strawberry blonde. Or piercing my tongue.

Photograpy: Adam Harteau

Our Open Road: Kickstarter Backed project seeing a family of 4 from California to Patagonia and back, with a mid trip 24 Hour Art Bazaar to help finance the second wind of the project.

mali mishMali Mish: A family of 5 with over 5 years of Road Tripping experience and a wonderfully detailed log and map section of their trips. Soon to be subjects in an upcoming Airstream Documentary.

So while this may be way off, or may even be a pipe dream (most likely will be a pipe dream) it tickles my inner non-conformist.

F*ck it.


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