While the details are a little shaky, I’m still left with the ring from it all. I was 19 at the time, struggling with the concept of staying in school to pursue a degree I wasn’t passionate about. I eventually dropped out to jump into photography full time, eager to embrace change. My brother and I passed this old bus sitting on the side of the road rusting away, which we instantly jumped on. Seeing that bus was a weir “deja vu” moment, where in my head I saw all of the places that would take us, and all of the memories we would have in it.
The goal was to work on it for the next year, and then fill it with friends, skateboards, cameras, and b-line it across the country. No itineracy in particular – just head west. It was some of the best months of my life thus far, and I can’t imagine where I’d be as a photographer, person, and friend without that trip.
We broke down in forgotten Dakota towns, scenic rest stops, middle of nowhere Minnesota, all over California, and eventually even shore a flywheel gland-nut off in southern Oregon. Each time we were faced with an obstacle, we came together as friends to solve a problem. The people we met during those set-backs also deserve all the credit in the world. You just don’t meet shitty people broken down on the side of the road.
Although I consider my bus to be a freedom vessel, for me the vanlife isn’t just about escaping to a far off place, but about applying all it’s taught me to my daily life, and photography work too. Old Volkswagens require patience, meticulous work, and an incredible amount of dedication. It’s honest; it’s pure; it’s rewarding.
It’s been a great gift to gain the knowledge I now know about these vintage cars, the community that’s helped me along the way, and the introspection that the object itself has encouraged. I never imagined myself becoming so immersed in a culture of “junk,” but then again, I’m not one to ever look back. Cus who knows what comes next?