We talk a lot about writing more but this last year I felt like we didn’t have much to say.
“We’ll write again when we’re back on the road, when we’re done working, when we are actually living how we want to be again and not working in the background. When we are truly living free and on the road, then we’ll have something worth saying.”
There were a lot of things we said we were going to do back on the road. Take more photos, experiment with our work, immerse ourselves in a life thats lived to only create, explore and improve. You can do that on the road, free of the distractions of the comforts of a home, a solid internet connection, a warm bed. We left December 7th. Exactly one week later, after making it to California, through the snow and mountain passes of the North West, we felt calm and ready. We parked in the Salton Sea and immediately got to work, manically throwing ideas at each other, pulling all our equipment out and getting down to it. We felt inspired, frantic and excited. We were doing exactly what we promised ourselves we would do. We slept soundly that night knowing that we were finally building back what we felt we had lost creatively, everything from here on out was going to go as we had planned, it just took that one perfect night to get it back.
How long ago was the trip? I started in August 2013 and finished in late December 2014. I’ve since spent this year working on the book and launching a magazine called Wilderness with a couple buddies. It has been so fun.
And you did a Kickstarter campaign, too? Yes, I did a Kickstarter campaign for the book, which is how I’ve survived this year. I did that because, A, I ran out of money on the trip and, B, I was afraid that because I had run out of money, I would have to make a book proposal before I had written anything or had time to let all of my thoughts and experiences from the trip settle and distill into something meaningful. I knew that if that was the case, I’d have to guess at what the book was going to be about and sell it to a publisher, who would then own me and say, “We want you to write the next Eat, Pray, Love or the next Wild!” I like those books, but I don’t think my book is going to be exactly like that. I was terrified of being muscled into writing a book I didn’t want to write because I was broke, so I asked the community that trusts my voice to help me get there. They did, and it has been the most incredible commission to excellence to have such a community of people expecting greatness.
Going back to your childhood, was creativity cultivated in your family? Yes, big-time, and I had the distinct luxury of parents who didn’t live vicariously through me. They’d say, “Oh, you like drawing comic books and being a nerd and playing in the woods? That sounds great. Go do that.” Me not being good at a lot of the traditional Johnny-High-School things led me to explore identity in other ways.
Your family has a legacy of adventure. Did you ever imagine yourself going on an adventure like your parents did? I didn’t think I’d follow in my parents’ footsteps at all. Going on this trip and becoming a writer felt totally original to me. For a long time, I didn’t see my parents as real human beings who were young once and made risky decisions and went on adventures—it didn’t cross my mind that it could have come to them as spontaneously as it came to me. I’m glad my parents never projected their dreams onto me, because there’s something to letting people flourish to become what they are: a lot of times, they become the very thing you hoped they would become.
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