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Home, Home on the Road

Words by Rachel Goldfarb. Photography by James Campbell.

By: IdleTheoryBus + Save to a List

Our home is a 1976 VW bus. We call her Sunshine. Our neighborhood is the open wild space of North America. The road. Anywhere we happen to be. We live out amidst the tough elements of our atmosphere, exposed to an America we used to dream of but didn’t know at all.

We left San Diego winter of 2012. We abandoned certain dreams and plans, possible futures and a track to conventional success. Many people ask why we left, why we began to move around, why we don’t settle down. Only real answer is that this was the only thing to do.

We were 24 years old and jaded when we hit the road fulltime. Who knows what we thought we’d find out here. College spat us out into a world that seemed monotonous and uncertain. It was difficult to believe that we’d ever be happy within the neat, paved, orderly roads of societal success. We craved something more than the pursuit of money, comfort, and mindless entertainment.

Without plans, we took the road north. We had a little cash saved and all the time in the world. That hasn’t changed in these two years. It’s something we work on, a balance of work and leisure.

Most of our days are spent in wild places, where human development hasn’t encroached. We sleep under a wild, bowled sky with only a thin layer of canvas between our bodies and the outside world. We go weeks at a time without seeing other humans.

We see faint tire tracks that trace their crooked way across miles of sparse desert. We find paths without footsteps marring their beauty and we follow them to places that we love the best, the ones we seem to discover; explorers in an America untouched. These are places we’d never heard about before stumbling upon, ones that elude maps and road signs and destinations of any sort. What you learn on the road is that destinations are an illusion. There is no there.Living nomadically and more primitively is not comfortable. We shiver when temperatures plummet in the mountains and sweat in the long heat of summer. We nurse blisters from long distance hikes and pull ticks from our scalps in the foothills. We work farm jobs that are tough on the body and pass out in bed at 7 pm. What we’ve learned, however, is that comfort does not bring joy. The more we’ve opened ourselves to life outside, the more alive we’ve become. We are electrified in the stark enormity of our planet. We see the world from peaks.

Sometimes I wonder how it is back there in civilization. I think of where I could be within that world. But that doesn’t mean I have any regrets. Society, I left you behind and I’m not coming back.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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