On the Road

“because there was nowhere to go but everywhere”

– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

road w cam

There is something so deliciously appealing about an empty stretch of road and heading down that path.  Whether there is an end destination or not, the road is intoxicating.  And also full of bumps.

living out of the van

On the road you have to compromise a bit on your standard of living and work with what you’ve got.  Sometimes all you have is a hodgepodge of camping equipment, blankets, and some squished peanut butter Clif Bars.  You really have to channel your inner MacGyver–for instance by making a sun shade out of nothing but a tarp, some duct tape, and a few strategically placed 2x4s.

shady characters

You meet some shady characters along the way.  It can be hard to tell if they’re rough mannered but generally well meaning or if they’re really scumbags who’ll steal your squished Clif Bars and leave your camp smelling like cigarettes.  Sometimes they’re a bit of both and for some unknown reason you end up loving them anyways.

working so hard for a cup of coffee

And suddenly creature comforts like that morning cup of coffee become luxuries that you have to bust your ass to get.  Minor burns and assorted injuries come with the territory.

So why in God’s name try to live on the road?  What’s so great that could make up for living between the back of your car and a tent, eating a steady diet of cold non-perishables, and mingling with might-be-crazy strangers?  What happens to you while you do?  What happens if you never left and stayed home instead?

For this capstone project–the culmination of four years of higher learning and a lifetime of asking, “Why?”–I’ve decided to tackle those questions that have been eating at me for years.  Why adventure for months or years at a time?  Where do adventurers go, what do they eat, what do they listen to, how do they get by, and what do they know now for having adventured that I don’t?  I’m going to use this project as an opportunity to explore those questions and move towards what I expect will be numerous different answers.  Call me Ishmael, and call adventure my whale.  I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn along the way.