Feb 18, 2016 - Jun 17, 2016

This year has been extremely busy for Katie and I as we prepare for the "Next Big Thing®." (See below for more details). Because of that, my excursions with the camera have been curtailed quite a bit, but I tried to get out to Discovery Park on every sunny morning I could manage. If anything, just to preserve my sanity.

Luckily, I was still able to find critters to photograph and below are highlights for this spring.

New Lands, New Roads

As some of you know, Katie and I are preparing to travel around the Western United States in a truck and travel trailer for about a year starting this September. Our plan is to get rid of the majority of our stuff, rent the house, and only store what we consider important. Katie is taking a sabbatical from work, but I am planning to continue my work with Little Green Light while on the road. What happens after a year is still up in the air, but we are considering this whole process as a way to kickstart the next phase of our life together.

Some have wondered if we are running away from something. Maybe. But the truth is that both of us enjoy our work, so we aren't running away from that. We like our neighborhood and love our neighbors, so it doesn't feel like we are running away from that. We don't see enough of family as it is, so we aren't running away from that.

What I do know is that I increasingly feel that I need to break out of the rather insular world that I have built up around myself. It is a very comfortable life, but my world continues to narrow instead of expand. Both of us are interested in learning how to live smaller, utilizing fewer resources on a day-to-day basis. We are also both interested in being in closer contact with nature without having to get in the car to go find it each day.

Many factors have led us to this plan. Over a year ago I warned Katie that this fall would be five years since my last sabbatical. Something significant always seems to happen every five to six years for me. We also discussed that Katie has always had dreams of selling everything and living smaller. Having grown up on a farm, she also continually feels the pull to find land that she could bond with and have a closer relationship to than we have currently.

I never knew how either of these desires fit into my world and I was perplexed about how we would proceed. I did know that I was less and less interested in long-distance round-trip jaunts out and back to places I wanted to do my photography. At some point I suggested we just needed to buy a motorhome, travel around and see if we fell in love with someplace new. That was the seed that eventually grew into the current plan.

Ultimately, we have constructed a pilgrimage in which we are seeking wildlife as well as those that are living in communion with it. We are interested in conservation, but even more so we are hoping to learn about sustainability. The trip feels like some kind of intermediate phase between where we are and where we will end up. It does not feel like the end in itself.

To make up for the much lower gas mileage in our new vehicle, we have given ourselves a gasoline budget that is equivalent to our average yearly usage in our Honda Civic over the last three years. It is an artificial restriction, but it will force us to spend more time in one spot and not rush off to the next big thing, like we too often do on road trips.

While this trip isn’t a world tour that will take us to exotic places, I think it is safe to say that we have already learned so much just in going through the process of preparing for it. I can only imagine what a year on the road will bring.
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