N O M A D // no 3

There are so many places to see! I get so excited when I’m on the road! It gives me life!”

We met Josephine (@josie.may17) out at Croton Spring in @bigbendnps. She was our camp neighbor. We hit it off immediately because her sweet rescue dog Shasta took to our crazy girls right away, and vice versa. She’s from Minnesota, and she was doing the snow bird thing this winter… she didn’t expect to get snow and freezing temps in Texas, but that’s Texas for you.

She had been traveling solo cross country for a little over three months in a 17’ travel trailer. All in all about 80 sq ft of livable space.

Josephine with Shasta and their home in Big Bend. 

Her journey is about freedom and seeing the beautiful world around her. “Well I️ told myself I️ had a year when I️ left and budgeted for that but the more I’m doing this I️ don’t know how I️ can go back! This is the life!”

She sews patches on to her favorite jacket to remember all of the places she’s seen.

“There are so many places to see! I get so excited when I’m on the road! It gives me life! I️ also learn so much about myself! And I’m falling more in love with who I️ am everyday!”


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, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. 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 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2018 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
GRAND TETON // SUMMER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
REMOTE WYOMING // ADVENTURE + LANDSCAPE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLORS + LANDSCAPE
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. 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 R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018

N O M A D // no 2

I am pursuing a greater version of myself.”

A few months back, we met up with a friend we made in the Tetons this summer for the eclipse, Heather Grow (@grow_explore). Back in September/October, we had the pleasure of rendezvousing with her in Telluride, and again in November in White Sands, NM.

Heather Grow, 28, like NOMAD 1 is originally from Virginia, and she’s been on the road full time for 4 months. She lives out of a ’03 Ford F-350 conversion van in around 72 sq ft. She built out the inside on her own.

Heather loving on her travel companions, Tripp and Sadie, inside her cozy home.

A defining moment of her life was her mother’s untimely passing when Heather was only 13. “I wear my mothers high school ring every single day. It helps me appreciate life and all that I’m able to do. Everyday out on the road makes me feel like I’m living for her, going places she never got the chance to. Her absence of life keeps me grounded and connected to each moment,” she told me. “I am pursuing a greater version of myself. Sure, I’m trying to find avenues to propel my passion of photography and i want to have work that can give me even more financial freedom.

But all of that is nothing in comparison to my drive to work each day to become a better woman. With each passing day on the road i find more clarity, my mind declutters, and I’m able to focus on things that have true substance and meaning. Slowly I’m stripping away old bad habits and ways of thinking, I’m living in the moment, and avoid dwelling on past mistakes or the future’s unknowns.”

“My mental, emotional, and physical freedom is the greatest and most beneficial pursuit I’ve ever had the privilege of taking on.”

Her mother’s high school ring is an ever present reminder for Heather that “life is for the living.”

“The only constant in life is change. I don’t know what next week, month, or year will bring. What I do know is I love traveling, the lifestyle that I’m settling in to, and I’m going to do it as long as it feels like the best path for life.”


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, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. 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 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2018 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
GRAND TETON // SUMMER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
REMOTE WYOMING // ADVENTURE + LANDSCAPE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLORS + LANDSCAPE
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. 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 R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018

PARK PEEK // CONGAREE

We are quickly approaching 30 National Parks visited since we began our quest in June 2016. And this year, we’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few for the first time. All 59 National Parks are special and unique, and here’s one that stood out to me as interesting and in need of a return visit: Congaree National Park in South Carolina.

Less than an hour outside Columbia, SC, Congaree contains the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States and it has an incredibly diverse ecosystem. Unfortunately, the timing of my visit was pretty bad and we had two nights of freezing temps. The morning fog was epic, but much of the fauna was not visible because of the cold weather.

This park is known mostly for its water activities. Canoeing and kayaking is spectacular here as visitors can paddle the beautiful Congaree River and its many tributaries.

From the dozens of miles of boardwalk and trails, the landscapes are pretty otherworldly. Cypress knees abound, as well as giant and microscopic flora. Everywhere you look, there are interesting plants and fungi to examine.

Another bonus, for all you pet lovers out there; dogs are allowed on the trails! If you’ve visited many National Parks like me, you know that it can be tough if you have your beloved dogs with you. They typically can’t go on any of the trails. Well, not so at Congaree.

I only had about 36 total hours this early spring to explore Congaree… in truth, not nearly enough. I will certainly return later in the season to give this park a proper visit.

— Andrew


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, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. 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 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2018 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
GRAND TETON // SUMMER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
REMOTE WYOMING // ADVENTURE + LANDSCAPE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLORS + LANDSCAPE
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. 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 R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018

 

N O M A D // no 1

I’ve started a new portrait series/ photo essay focused on sharing the faces and stories of our fellow nomads. They are tiny vignettes of big characters that we meet along the way. The idea is to show a wide array of people, and each of their varied reasons for choosing this unique way of life.

So let’s kick it off with my first subject…

Meet Steven Donovan (@es_dons). We met up at the Courthouse Butte Loop trailhead near Sedona, AZ to have a beer and hang for a bit. Originally from Virginia, he’s been all over and worked for a stint in Glacier National Park. He’s 24 and what you might call a “connector”. Great at creating a community of like-minded wanderers and adventurers wherever he goes. And he’s a fantastic photographer to round it all off. He lives out of a ’96 2 wheel drive Tacoma truck in less than 30 sq ft.

Steven muses about the freedom of his new lifestyle, and the pursuit of his passions.

One of his few possessions, climbing ropes. He meets up with new and old friends to climb, cliff jump, base jump… really whatever gets the adrenaline pumping.

“I’m pursuing my art and having it be shaped by the adventurous and raw lifestyle I’ve been living but ultimately I’m pursuing life. Being the youngest in a family of 9 all of whom are married with kids leaves me as the oddball with how I chose to live my life. They all like to tell me some of the choices I make are risky but I think the choices they’ve made are even riskier. Having kids, school debt, a career and responsibilities isn’t freedom at all and that to me seems to be the scariest risk of all. You’re risking your entire life.”


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, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. 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 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2018 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
GRAND TETON // SUMMER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
REMOTE WYOMING // ADVENTURE + LANDSCAPE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLORS + LANDSCAPE
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. 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 R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018

On The Road… Year 2

Before the year end, I always like to make a “highlight reel” of the year.

It is by no means comprehensive, but it gives the viewer a small peek into our world.

So here are a few of the highlights from our second year on the road… I hope you all enjoy!

— Andrew


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING // 2017 – ONLY 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2017-18 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
EVERGLADES // LANDSCAPE + NATURE // 2018 – SNOW BIRDS UNITE
SEE THE REST OF MY EXCITING DESTINATION WORKSHOPS
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. 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 R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2017

The Next 20K Miles // Reflections From a Year on The Road (Part 1)

Most everything means nothing, except some things that mean everything.” ~ Patty Griffin

Our journey from June ’16 to June ’17, took us over 30,000 miles of zig zagging our way across the beautiful USA and Scotland. Go ahead, check out the interactive map below to see our route(s).

Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho. 12 states down, 38 to go. Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Arches, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Black Canyon of The Gunnison, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, Everglades, Biscayne, Big Bend, Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Rocky Mountain. 19 National Parks explored (plus a few in Scotland… Cairngorms, Loch Lomond and the Trosachs), 40 to go.

The first year is over… but we have so much more we want to do.

I find myself continually evaluating; why are we doing this? I’m not sure the answers are as simple as I once thought they were.

Originally, when we set out, the answer to the existential question “why” was because we wanted to see everything our beautiful home country has to offer. Simple as that.

But as we’ve been on the road, answers to big questions sometimes get lost in the mud. Our character and resolve have been tested. Our dreams have also been put to the test. Our feet to the fire.

Much of the first year was a bit idyllic. Yes, there were problems. Some, really gross problems (see The First 10K Miles {Part 1}). But overall, we were shown vast amounts of grace and mercy, which effectively helped get our “road legs” under us.

The First 10,000 Miles was full of wonder and growth.

The next 20k+ miles, was filled with intense struggle.

We returned home for the holidays on fumes. Financially and emotionally. You see, when you give up 60% of your business by hitting the road, it takes a bit of time to build back the clientele and income you need to make it all work. And when we got back, we took Islay in to our vet for a persistent limp. The vet found what she believed to be either bone cancer or a fungal infection in the pelvis. It was in such a place that they couldn’t amputate. After taking her over to the specialist, Islay was given two months to live. She wouldn’t even make it to her first birthday.

Islay was our mascot, our cheerleader, our friend. She made the first leg of the journey so special and at times she was one of the only things that brought us temporal happiness. We were devastated.

Back in Dallas though, the work came pouring in. I’m so thankful for all of my old clients. They were all glad to have us back, and I was so glad to have some work.

Our 2 month stint back home set us up financially for the next few months…. we were going to Florida for the winter!

I’ve mentioned it before… Ellen is a beach girl. So, since she gives me all summer and fall to enjoy the mountains, the least I could do is try to give her a season at the ocean.

But first, we made the difficult decision to go get another “mascot” for the next leg of the journey. We also laid up a “hail Mary” with an anti-fungal medication for Islay… and we knew it would be a long road before we even saw any results. She was lethargic and limping. Not her usual self at all.

Enter Skye Blue. She is Islay’s sister from a different litter. So now let’s do the math… that’s two humans, two dogs, and a cat living in a 175 square foot travel trailer.

It took a bit of adjustment to have another high energy dog, but thankfully, from day one, Islay and Skye were best friends. So in many ways, they now occupy each other’s attention and play like crazy together.

We worked our way across the Gulf Coast, visiting friends in New Orleans, exploring Mississippi and Alabama beaches, eventually landing in the panhandle of Florida.

We learned pretty quickly why everyone wants to be in Florida for the winter. And also what we should’ve already known; it is crazy expensive.

Typically, when we stay at an RV park, we spend between $10-40 a night. In Florida, the rates were $50-120 per night! Something had to give. We did well back in Dallas over the holidays, but not that well. Also, out west, there are millions of acres of public land. And public land equals free to low cost camping. In the east, public land is not so readily available.

The first important thing we learned was to lean heavily on the Florida State Parks system. We love our state parks back home in Texas, but I’ve got to say that Florida’s parks could rival any of our favorites back home. Average per night at the state parks was only $30, and they are beautiful and very well maintained.

The biggest problem was availability.

Chatting with a neighbor one day, I learned the most valuable piece of information I probably learned on our whole time in Florida. A little website called Wandering Labs. So, wanderinglabs.com uses an algorithm to constantly search for availability at the parks of your choice on the dates of your choice, and then it sends you an email when it gets a match, so you can immediately book it.

It saved our butts at least a dozen times. And it allowed us to stay at some of the most coveted parks in Florida…

We got some good camping and beach time in, before moving down the Gulf and across Alligator Alley to the Everglades.

Ellen had never been, and it’s one of my favorite parks, so we spent a good bit of time exploring and re-exploring this unique ecosystem.

As a bonus, Biscayne National Park is really close, so we got to check out another park while in the area.

It was time to explore the Keys. Again, Wandering Labs was crucial to us getting reservations all throughout the keys.

We stayed at John Pennekamp Coral Reef, Curry Hammock, Long Key, and Bahia Honda State Parks. It was absolutely idyllic.

Even Skye quickly learned the beach bum lifestyle.

Our time in Florida really felt too short. I had a workshop in Big Bend later in March, so we had to start the long journey back to Texas and all the way across the Lone Star State.

It’s hard to believe, but this was our first time with Gertie (our trailer) in Big Bend. We’ve been tent camping in the park for 15 years or so. As much as I love primitive camping, I’ll admit that it’s really nice to have a kitchen, bathroom, and bed everywhere you go…

The workshop, Big Bend // Wildflowers + Stars, went really well, and remains my signature workshop. Despite working when there, our time in Big Bend is always rejuvenating and restorative. And Islay was doing better. Her limp had gone away, and was back to her usual…. mmm let’s just say energetic, self. But the anifungals she was on can destroy the liver and kidneys, so we knew we couldn’t keep her on it forever. We were just praying that we could get her back up to Wyoming in June before things got worse.

Islay was excited to be back at her first National Park. If you recall, we picked Islay up from the breeders at 6 weeks old and immediately took her on a  month long camping road trip to Big Bend. This was just a few months before we would get Gertie and hit the road for good.

She spent her most formative weeks smelling creosote and getting pricked by all the cacti and spiny desert plants. But Skye was with us this time, and she took to it just as Islay had exactly a year prior.

We were a bit unsure about the next leg of the journey. I had an ambitious plan, as I always do, but money was becoming tight yet again. We had no idea if we could afford to go the route we wanted. Our plan B would be just to go back to Dallas, and I assure you, we did not want to do that.

We prayed and decided to simply move forward. It’s so simple, yet feels so reckless.

But isn’t that what faith is?

That’s another big takeaway from our first year on the road. Intellectually, I know that I’m in control of very little in this life. But on a practical level, it doesn’t always sink in the way I know it should all the time.

A few years ago when living in Dallas, on one of our monthly visits with Ellen’s grandparents, her Grandy told us how she and Papa will make their plans. They discuss and dream big, then they pray that the Lord bless the plans, and if it’s not His will, that He would stop them from going astray. Then they simply move forward. She said, “sometimes He will close the doors, and then we know to change direction… other times, He provides everything you need. But either way, pray that His will be done.”

So we’ve started doing that. He has never failed us. And we did this very thing for our great southwest trip that we were thinking about embarking upon. We decided to move forward. And He provided.

Seemingly against all odds.

— Andrew

NEXT: How we toured the southwest for six weeks and ended up in Scotland…. stay tuned!


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING // 2017 – ONLY 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2017-18 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
EVERGLADES // LANDSCAPE + NATURE // 2018 – SNOW BIRDS UNITE!
SEE THE REST OF MY EXCITING DESTINATION WORKSHOPS
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. 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 R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2017

PARK PEEK // CAPITOL REEF

We had the pleasure of visiting a few new National Parks this year, and one in particular stood out to me as one of the most photogenic and interesting; Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.

Here’s a quick peek at what I found, and why we’ll be returning as soon as possible.

For me, it was a mixture of Big Bend, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks, with one big distinction; it is a geologic monocline (a wrinkle in the earth) that extends nearly 100 miles. Needless to say, it is a special place.

And as if that weren’t enough… it is a designated Gold Tier “International Dark Sky Park”, so one of the best places to practice astrophotography.

The landscapes are really quite otherworldly as well. Many of you already know that I love backroads. And Capitol Reef does not disappoint in that department. There are about 100 miles of 4×4 roads to explore deep in and around the park, full of gorgeous scenery and comparative solitude.

We only had 4 or 5 days this spring to explore this lesser-known park, but it is definitely in my top 10, maybe even my top 5 National Parks. Be on the lookout for a night sky photography workshop in Cap Reef I will inevitably host in the coming years… And I hope you have the chance to see this American gem!

— Andrew


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! Help us on our mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside by checking out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 2-4 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING // 2017 – ONLY 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
EVERGLADES // LANDSCAPE + NATURE // 2018 – SNOW BIRDS UNITE!
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2017-18 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
SCOTLAND // SKYE + THE HIGHLANDS // 2018 – ONLY 4 SPOTS
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. 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 R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2017