Originally posted on December 15 at the Red River Paper Blog.
I’ve learned that stagnation often seems to be the natural state of humanity. But this is not how people thrive… it is merely how one survives. And Ellen and I need change.
Dallas in December is a crap shoot. For many reasons, really. First, the weather is often all over the place. Blustery and in the 40s one day, and the next, 75 and sunny. It wreaks havoc on my allergies. Also, we spend most of the year away from the masses and when we arrive in Dallas for the holidays, we are bombarded with work, social events, and family.
Have I mentioned that we have 11 nieces and nephews between Ellen and myself? Well, with all those human interactions, not to mention those with illness-incubator kiddos abounding, I always get sick. Weakened immune system from under-exposure the rest of the year or simply the time of year, who really knows what’s to blame. Regardless, the holidays are a time of warm reception for us, but also extreme exhaustion.
I’ve escaped to Lake Whitney in central Texas, where Gertie is parked, to write this episode and recover from the busyness of city life.
“Have I lost the ability to live in the city?” I ask myself this question every year. I grew up in a city, but I’ve always felt drawn to the rural, quiet life. As time passes, I feel much more at home in our little Wyoming town of 2,000 than in the urban/suburban sprawl of nearly a million-and-a-half I’ve called “home” for 30ish years of my life.
The reason I bring all of this up is simply that as I reflect on the last leg of our nearly four year journey, this theme keeps surfacing: city vs. open country. The change seems inevitable for us.
Life on the road is not as romantic as you might think. I was criticized by one reader of this blog early on that I focused too much on the trials and disappointments of our new, transient life. Fair denunciation. Maybe I focus too much on the negative. Perhaps the struggle is a bit more interesting to some of us than the vapid mountaintops. I tend to think we learn more from failures than successes.
But it is abundantly accurate to say that the highs we experience on the road serve to inspire us and remind us that life does, in fact, grant us beauty and reprieve as well as truth and trial. So let me give you a little of both.
Snow was falling in Wyoming last May when I wrote my previous installment. Spring is basically a more dramatic yo-yo-ing version of winter and it lasts through June. We agreed to manage (with the option to buy) a small tourist shuttle business for a friend this summer.
Great Outdoor Transportation Company (GOTCO) has been servicing our little area of Wyoming since ’97, shuttling people and their vehicles throughout the Wind River mountains, anglers up and down the Green and New Fork Rivers, and tourists and locals alike to and from Wyoming airports.
There was a ton of work to do to get ready for the season. Vehicles to buy, insurance to set up, employees to hire, marketing/ social media strategy, not to mention just learning a new business. It was a wee bit stressful for us, mostly because we weren’t used to moving at any pace other than our own.
But Ellen and I also had to learn how to be business partners, which created challenges of its own. I also realized I would have to set my own photography business aside for a time to focus on this new venture. What happened next gave us a whole new skill set and was far more rewarding than we ever thought possible. [To Be Continued in Part 2.]
Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 60 National Parks in 3-5 years. We are currently in year 4 and half way thru the Parks. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE
N O M A D Magazine // Issue 1 Order your copy today and receive this 100 page full color travelgasm at your door! Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates: EVERGLADES // LANDSCAPE + WILDLIFE BIG BEND // WILDFLOWERS + STARS GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES I’m excited to announce “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks: Rocky Mountain National Park Grand Teton National Park If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request: Andrew Slaton // prints from the road If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency: Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton For assignment work requests, please email me: email@example.com Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com! All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2019