What is our life like on the road, you ask?
This is for Hanna,
Her question: What is life like on the road?
Hey Hanna, thanks for asking such a great question!!
I wish it was as simple as saying AMAZING!!!! Which it is definitely that and so very much more.
Our life on the road has been filled with nothing but excitement, whether that is excitement from joy, fear or just the unknown it is excitement none the less. These experiences and the ability to stay open minded through them is what makes this journey such a phenomenal one.
Let's start at the beginning of this journey, I (Ty) started out in the old van (a 93 Chevy G20)
In August of 2017 directly after spending some time on the road without a vehicle jumping from train to car, to truck from festival to festival. I quickly had the idea that if I could schedule enough paid festival gigs to get me through the bills each month I'd be able to support the monthly van bills that consist of a few simple things (at that time it was pretty minimal)
1. Car Insurance
2. Cell phone (unlimited internet)
3. Gas (vehicle and cooking)
4. Food (including dog food)
5. Water (refillable tank)
6. 2 small credit card bills ($50/month combined)
= roughly $200 a month ( singly I was living very minimally)
Being alone in my van for the first 7 months was far different than I ever really imagined. I learned the most about myself, while people always told me I was so out going and somewhat of an extremist in terms of just being wild, I found myself to actually be more introverted than ever before. That alone time really started helping me break down the parts of me that I've always been afraid of and just time for myself. Especially in terms of my Art form, being an artist on the road has possibly been the best experience of my life. I pull most of my inspiration from nature.
The road life really gives way to seeing things that the television never really show. The wide open spaces of green, the GIANT trees of Northern California, the turquoise waters
of the North West coast line, it was pure fucking magic!
Let's fast forward 7 months later, several of the most amazing festivals including The Oregon Eclipse
Outside Lands and a few others led me to a magical show in Tuscon called Gem and Jam. Where I would inevitably meet the most amazing person I have ever come to know.
After the ultimate question was asked, "you should just hop in my van and come with me?" She said "Okay (with a smile)" and just like that it was no longer the solo journey that I thought it would always be. We proceeded to figure out how we could fit her lifestyle in with mine, since I work for numerous harm reduction companies generally as a freelance employee. We thought, "how are we going to get you into all the shows that I have scheduled for the next 8 months?" But then it dawned on us, just apply for all the same companies and we'll just see what happens. Low and behold she was able to jump in without a hitch. We were now officially on the road together!
Once Emily joined in on the fun, things immediately changed. Now each sunset meant more than "welp I guess it's time to turn in" to "let's stare at the stars from the top of the van on the edge of a mountain." Life has been an absolute dream together since that day in the winter desert.
But just like any other "normal" couple or relationship in America we had to figure out some things, and eventually would have to deal with some pretty serious situations that the unforeseen road always holds. One thing we both know is that we both really enjoy minimalism and really never see ourselves leaving this kind of lifestyle.
Not for some time anyway, while we may expand to a space for our business, living a typical lifestyle is rather hard for us, we look at typical living styles and situations as more of a vacation from the road than anything else.
Our first BIG break down in the old G20 her name was "Le Chateau Majic" and she was definitely that. That van was full of magic that was passed to me by a great friend of mine, It was full of prairie magic from the eclipse and all of the dreams we created through our travels until that fateful day in Silverthorne Colorado.
We were on a long journey from the west coast of southern California heading to Michigan for Electric forest. We had just done one of the hardest festival lineups of our season bouncing from 6 back to back festivals from SoCal in the Desert to LIB in Bradly which is more central Cal. We finally had a bit of a break, so we decided to take a 15 day mini vacation in Colorado to see Emily's family and take a much needed break from the world of Harm Reduction and driving.
Just when we thought we were finally going to get some much needed rest, the worst feeling in the world happened. Heading up the last and highest peak to decent in to Denver, I noticed the van wasn't driving the same as it had for all those thousands of miles across the nation. When I realized what was happening all I could do was look over at Emily and say "I think were going backwards" she looked at me with the calmest face and says "I can see that!" We were going backwards while trying to drive upwards, and it was then that I realized we were in serious trouble. Luckily traffic was light that day and we had just passed a shoulder, so I just rolled backwards and parallel parked hoping that at least the parking brake still worked, it did.
Once parked we had to really figure out what to do, that 15 day vacation very quickly dwindled down to a panic situation. Dealing with parents who absolutely hate our lifestyle and were the least amount helpful in figuring all of this out, it was up to us to decide the next step. All we could honestly do was reach out to our friends, the best community of nomads and festival friends we would ever know and would soon realize who our chosen family really is. After some amazing fundraising and paychecks coming in we finally had just enough to buy something, anything to allow us to finish our journey back to the south where I had considerably more resources to things.
The new van emerged, based on nothing but our WONDERFUL friends help (whom we really owe a tremendous amount of gratitude), prayers to the universe through tons of meditation and just plain old luck we were able to find another van, just like ours, a year newer and in much better shape. But this van changed a ton of our perspective.
Because now we had to register the new van, and get insurance for both of us since it was in both of our names. Then it dawned on us that we had just purchased our first home together lol!
Our new Van "Majic Rally" emerged, it is a 94 GMC Vandura Rally. Pretty suiting to name it this way since this van would rally us together to get through our next adventures through the rest of the country and back down south to Louisiana where I hadn't actually been in almost a year at this point. But our bills seriously adjusted.
1. Insurance for a both of us (33 and 25 years old)
3. New tag
5. some minor engine issues
6. groceries for 2 (since she was completely vegan I started eating better when she moved in causing food bills to rise pretty heavily)
8. gas (van and cooking)
9. cell phones for 2 (doubled the bill)
= about $600 that's more than double the cost of monthly bills in the old van
Putting everything into those perspectives is what made us realize that we still absolutely love this lifestyle and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Yes we would LOVE to have a shower everyday, and we'd love to have a TV or just simply be able to plop on the couch. But at the end of the day, the universe has blessed us all with nature and its unbounded beauty. We live outside each day, soaking up the sun and living our best lives through and through. We volunteer so much time to helping others and we value that opportunity more than taking a hot shower at any moment we choose. We value figuring out our food options from local vendors, eliminating our need to shop at mega food chains like Walmart. We are healthier than ever before, growing more than most could ever imagine, and we are just down right happy.
When putting in to perspective the difference between a "typical american lifestyle" and our life on the road, is that most people do all the things they do because they think they have to, to survive. But that is just not the case, we live because were born to, we re-use, reduce and recycle at every given moment, we pick up trash that others leave behind because we are the hands of the earth capable of doing so. We are grateful for the opportunities that arise and very rarely say no to a new experience, even when the outcome is completely unknown to us. Life on the road is as magical as you allow it to be, if your wallowing in your van all day, it definitely won't be wonderful unless you feel wonderful about it.