On the road again

by Kim on March 23, 2014 · 53 comments

On Saturday morning Brian and I set out on our new adventure as Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out More Tour Ambassadors. If you aren’t up to date on the blog, we’ll be traveling around the U.S.A. for 7 months, living out of a tent, and stopping in almost 40 states to deliver a presentation about backpacking skills and gear and to hopefully inspire people to get out more and live their biggest adventures.

Saturday was a beautiful day for leaving. The sun was bright and the sky was cloudless blue. As we packed up the car a V of honking geese flew over our heads and I thought of the Mary Oliver poem Wild Geese (which gets a nod in my blog logo- take a peek). The poem goes, “You do not have to be good./ You do not have to walk on your knees/ For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting./ You only have to let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves.” It seemed a bit like a sign, a subtle nod of confirmation that we are right to keep trying to live life on our own terms.

We took a photo. I love new-beginning photos. The new-beginning photo snapped of Brian and me on the way to the airport to catch our one-way flight to Ecuador is one of my all-time favorites. The fear and excitement (mostly fear) in our eyes in that photo makes me smile each time I see it. I always look at it and think, man, you don’t know it now, but your lives will never be the same. Maybe someday I will look back on this new new-beginning photo and think the same thing?

Our new beginning photo

Our new-beginning photo. I guarantee we will not be so clean for the next 7 months.

We said our goodbyes to our families and our dogs. We shed a few tears. And then we started driving, driving, driving, driving. We camped last night in Missouri. We set up the tent and rolled out our sleeping bags and then we went for a short hike. “Hey,” Brian said, “we’re working right now!” And we were. And even though we shivered like wet dogs for the rest of the night we did not complain because this is our JOB and that is amazing.

On the road again

On the road again.

Buddha is my co-pilot

Buddha is my co-pilot.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home.

evening hike

Just doing a little work in the evening.

Camp dinner

Camp dinner.

cold morning

Bitter cold morning after a bitter cold night.

Kansas

Headed towards the Rockies.

Tomorrow we will arrive in Moab where we will take a break from driving so that we can stretch our legs and do some hiking.

Life On Fire footer

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin Thomas March 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm

So jealous! We visited Moab last year and I was blown away by its beauty! I would go back in a heart beat.
Kristin Thomas recently posted..The Northeast

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

I love Moab and this part of Utah. So, so beautiful.

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Patti March 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm

You’ve probably already figured out that I “love” road trips. I know people say they get bored riding in the car, and sometimes that can be true – I’m thinking of our marathon day of driving from across western Texas – but for the most part, car trips are amazing. There is SO much to experience in this vast country of ours, it seems as if around every corner you see something new. You’ll be driving along and all of a sudden a canyon will open up before you, or a mighty river or a scary-ass suspension bridge, there’s just always something. Pay attention to billboards and roadside signs, especially through the midwest. That was my one regret in that we couldn’t STOP! to capture a crazy billboard message. Take it all in and have a blast!
Patti recently posted..Cajun Ketchup ~

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Ha, I love it. It is so fun to see the country from the car. I think the only thing better would be walking! But I too am a fan of the great American road trip.

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Cheryl Dinan March 23, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Kim and Brian, The big adventure (round two) has begun. I wish you well and hope you experience all that is expected from your travels. I am so happy you both will be home to visit at the end of April. I was just getting to really enjoy both of you being in town. Take care and stay safe. Love you always, Mom

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Thanks Mom. See you in April :)

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Cheryl Dinan March 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Kim and Brian, Best of luck with your newest adventure. Stay safe and take care. I look forward to seeing you both in April. Love, Mom

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Ian March 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm

^_^ Wow can’t believe it’s been almost 2 years since. Keep it up you two :) And i’ve been procrastinating that long telling myself to go do it already and see the world.
Ian recently posted..Te Anau – Milford Sound Highway : Road to the Milford Sound New Zealand

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I can’t believe it either- 2 years in May! It took us three years of saving and planning (and stressing) so this whole journey has been a long time in the making.

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Emily March 23, 2014 at 7:28 pm

How exciting! And I love new beginnings photos too – they’re fun to look back on and reflect on your headspace then versus now (after all the adventures!).
Emily recently posted..‘The Poor Man’s Galapagos’

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Absolutely. I still have my new-beginning photo from my first day of college. I love it.

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Carmel March 23, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I feel like I’M going to camping with you guys. I’m so excited. I love camping…but not as much as you, which is why you have this awesome job. :) Good luck and watch out for bears.
Carmel recently posted..ANGKOR WAT IN PHOTOS

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Hey, I wish you were coming camping with us! And you know we will watch out for bears ;)

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Danielle Withrow March 24, 2014 at 4:15 am

I noticed your camp car is a Subaru. I just bought a 2009 Subaru Outback specifically for my upcoming car camping days. I love nothing better than months on the road. I’ve named my Subaru “Caballo de la Carga Marron” – Brown Pack horse. Hope you are coming to North Carolina among those 40 states – I’ll come hear your talk! Hopefully ya’ll will head east before late September – I’m heading to India/SE Asia for 6 months in September. Brown Pack Horse is taking a break then. By the way, I loved your auto rigshaw and Camino de Santiago posts. Have fun!!!

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Our Subaru is named ‘Amy’ and she is wonderful. And we will be in NC for sure- and before September! Bring your Subaru and we can introduce them ;)

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adelicia March 24, 2014 at 6:16 am

I love your idea of a new-beginning photo! I had never thought of that but will definitely start. I’m sure it’s a great way to reflect and to see how far you come. In fact, the difference between the two you’ve shared in this post is amazing. In the first you do look a little scared, but in this one, you both look more confident and happy and sure it’s the right direction for you, even if you don’t know all the details yet. I can also relate to that initial fear… the fear of the unknown. So perhaps you are both more comfortable with the unknown and going with the flow? Again, good luck on your new adventure and looking forward to meeting you in MA!
adelicia recently posted..Wherever the wind blows

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm

We are so much more confident this time around. We’ve got this traveling thing down. It is amazing the difference to be honest.

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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures March 24, 2014 at 7:02 am

How much fun!

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Yes, lots of fun!

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Angie Mattson March 24, 2014 at 7:17 am

Thank you for sharing your new beginnings with us as we make headway towards our own new beginnings, too! :-)
Angie Mattson recently posted..Then I will vs. Now I will (a.k.a. Making a decision)

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Thank you for reading and being a part of the new beginning :)

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Tyrhone March 24, 2014 at 7:43 am

Congratulations on not settling into the coolness that was your previous travels and trying something new. I am sure it will be just as rewarding. Have fun fellow road warriors!
Tyrhone recently posted..Playa del Carmen to Antigua, Guatemala. The drive!

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Hey, we are on the road at the same time. That’s fun! Looking forward to reading about life in Guatemala.

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Steve C March 24, 2014 at 8:34 am

I love camping, but I don’t know that I could do it continuously for 7 months. Although backpacker hotels can have relatively hard beds at times, the ground can get pretty hard, and cold too. I hope they gave you good air mattresses to test out. And, I hope you don’t get burned out tent camping, but hey, it’s all part of your new job. Maybe getting paid to camp will make all the difference.

Too bad there won’t be a TV crew following you. lol You’d be breaking new ground with the marriage of travel and reality TV! Good luck with your first “Dog and Pony Show” (sadly without either a dog or pony). Break a leg!

PS: Love your Buddha on the dash. It’s kinda like a St. Christopher, only after you’ve traveled Southeast Asia. You can never have too much Good Luck!

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Yep, we have great air pads and cots too. It’s pretty nice all things considered :) And we do have a budget for a few hotels now and then!

And thanks for the luck on our first dog and pony show (without the dog :()

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Jade March 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Congratulations and good luck on the new adventure! I can’t wait to follow along and see all the gorgeous pictures of the states :)
Jade recently posted..Comment on GoPro: A Wonderful Winter Hike in Jirisan National Park by Kate parker

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Thanks Jade!

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Oliver March 25, 2014 at 9:00 am

Wishing you trunkloads of luck, fun and passion and may your road be paved with wonderful encounters and experiences that already turn into marvellous memories once you see them in the rear mirror… ;)
Here’s a wee “present” from me for your new start, a quote of Hermann Hesse from the poem steps:
“A magic dwells in each beginning, protecting us, telling us how to live.”
Take care and may you spread and find plenty of inspiration along the way!
Oliver recently posted..Sparkling twigs

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Thank you Oliver. And I love that quote. Perfect! I’m putting it in my quote book.

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Ashlie March 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

You know how some things are even better when you look back at them a year later? I think freezing my booty off in a tent would definitely fall into that category for me! I’d have to be giving myself lots of little pep talks :) *Cheers* to the next new beginning!
Ashlie recently posted..Everyone Starts Somewhere

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Haha, I’ve had that thought a time or two. But actually it hasn’t been so bad! So far it has been fun. And we have really great gear so that helps!

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Carey March 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm

You shivered all night? Where is that at? That means your gear needs an upgrade. Also, did you have a fire? A couple of 2-liter soda bottles, or those square juice bottles, filled with hot (not boiling) water will really help with your comfort. Not good to be cold all night! I’m thinking your job is to teach comfort in the outdoors, so be sure to start with yourselves.

All good wishes.

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm

It was in Missouri and it was COLD. Our gear is great so we definitely do not need a gear upgrade- I think that sometimes you just can’t avoid the freezing cold temps no matter the gear.

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Sarah Somewhere March 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

Wishing you guys all the best for this upcoming adventure! Remember, the hard stuff is usually the good stuff xxx
Sarah Somewhere recently posted..Helping Jorge: What a journey it’s been

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Thanks Sarah. Ditto to you :)

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Miel March 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

So excited for you guys! What a fabulous adventure!

Miel
Miel recently posted..Grounded

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Thanks Miel. So far so good- we’re having a blast.

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Charlie March 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

Seriously, what an amazing job! 7 months in a tent though . Ouch! There’s no way I could do it. Anyway, here’s to new beginnings!
Charlie recently posted..I’m a writer who’s scared of writing

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Ha, it will be an adventure. We’ll see how we feel about it after 7 months!

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Dalene April 2, 2014 at 8:14 am

That’s exactly the comment that I came to leave. 7 months! 7 days is pushing it for me. :) But the job is pretty amazing!
Dalene recently posted..The Beauty of Routine

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Kim April 2, 2014 at 8:17 am

Hahaha. 7 months is a long time no doubt! We’ll see how we feel about the whole thing a few months from now ;) But it is an adventure.

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TammyOnTheMove March 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

So exciting. Good luck guys!
TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Oruro carnival – Fun, Frivolity, and lots of Foam Fights

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Kim March 28, 2014 at 7:51 am

Thanks Tammy. Today is the big day so we need the luck!

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) March 27, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Wonderful post, Kim! I agree that new beginnings are always so exciting (and stressful… but mostly exciting) and one of the reasons I’m so glad we started our site is because it gives us the perfect space to document the very many new beginnings life sends our way.

I’ve been so interested to watch you deal with the return home and the excitement and anticipation you’ve felt leading up to this moment of departing once more. There are times to be still and there are times to move… you and Brian may be back in a car, but I know that right now is your moment to chase those geese and soar! Enjoy these moments, I have a feeling these 7 months are going to fly.
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..How to Travel from Hue to Savannakhet by Bus

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Kim March 28, 2014 at 7:52 am

Right now I have a feeling that these 7 months are going to fly by. If nothing else this will be a great experience and a fun adventure. Our first presentation is tonight! Once we have that out of the way I think our nerves will calm a lot :)

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) March 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Yaaaay! I’m sure the talk was wonderful & enjoyed by all. The first time is always the hardest (did you ever get the chance to practice in front of any family or friends before leaving? I always found a few practice sessions among a sympathetic audience to be so helpful!) but soon you will hit your stride and really get into the zone with this. To new adventures!
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Chewing the Fat with NZ Muse!

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Kim April 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm

We did practice in front of family before leaving. It did help, but not enough to completely calm the nerves before a big audience. Our next presentation is tonight so hopefully it goes smoothly!

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Karyn @ Not Done Travelling March 28, 2014 at 1:11 am

Love your little Buddha on the dashboard! Have a blast!
Karyn @ Not Done Travelling recently posted..How To Avoid Temple Fatigue In Siem Reap

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Kim March 28, 2014 at 7:53 am

We talk to Buddha like he is our dog.

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Maddie March 31, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I can’t tell you how excited I am to read about these next 7 months. I can’t wait for you to show to all of your readers what an amazing country the U.S is for exploring – also unbelievably envious that you’ve just been to my favourite town in Utah, love Moab! Bon voyage guys :-)
Maddie recently posted..Tips for finding a job after long term travel

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Kim April 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Isn’t Moab such a great town? Love that place! I know you love exploring the U.S. as much as I do Maddie so I’m glad you’re excited to follow along. Sometimes domestic travel doesn’t seem as exciting as international but there are so many great places in the U.S. to explore.

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Corinne April 1, 2014 at 2:01 am

I love the feeling of starting a trip. I love being on the road. I love camping, and going to new places. So.Much.Fun.
Corinne recently posted..Troy – The World Heritage Site That Almost Wasn’t

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Kim April 1, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Totally agree. So. Much. Fun.

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