I shared a few photos and videos on Instagram, and the guys at Escape liked them enough that they decided to invite me to do another trip with them in exchange for some more content.
Crazy, right? I couldn’t believe it, but of course I was stoked and accepted the challenge.
I was given 14 days to drive the van around any US location of my choice.
Having been over there about 6 times over the years, I’ve managed to explore a decent amount of the country.
From the depths of Indiana and Ohio, across to the east coast, all the way down to south Florida and everything in between.
My time in the Southwest last year was the furthest west I’ve explored, despite having flown into California numerous times in transit.
I wanted to change that, so decided to use this trip to explore the west coast – and thus began an epic adventure.
Here are two weeks in a nutshell;
I picked up my van in LA and headed straight towards Sequoia National Park. I spent the next few days exploring there, as well as Kings Canyon and Yosemite.
Leaving the mountains, I headed through Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Ukiah to the coast. After exploring the beautiful salty town of Mendocino, I travelled up Highway 1 to the Redwoods and spent a few days marvelling at their wisdom and looming presence.
I observed Sea lions on a pier at Crescent City, crossed the border into Oregon, fed grapes to bears at a wildlife safari park, got snowed on at Crater Lake, and stumbled back into civilisation at a coffee shop in the town of Bend.
I channeled Cheryl Strayed at Smith Rock State Park, discovered salamanders in Trillium Lake, ate vegan pizza in Portland, and saw Puffins nesting on sea stacks at Cannon Beach.
I drove across the border into Washington, had a bonfire on an empty, remote beach in Olympic National Park, trudged through the lush rainforests that bordered the coast, and rounded out the journey in the foothills of Mt Rainier before returning my van in Seattle and flying home to Australia.
Each and every journey is unique to the individual, whether they’re alone or travelling with others, and even in areas that are visited by millions of people each year.
Many outdoor journeys are surprisingly introspective, and different people remember different features about the same landscapes. One could travel the same route repeatedly and notice something new each time.
I could tell you a story with animated enthusiasm and you’d never fully quite understand what it was like to be there. That’s the beauty of travel – it’s subjective and personal.
I love sharing travel stories, but certain moments simply can’t be transcribed or communicated, because the meaning was in a thought or feeling rather than a landmark or experience. Photographs and videos can somewhat preserve memories and places, but the lessons and sentiments will always be immortalised within the individual.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked what my favourite place or part of this trip was, and I can never really answer the question. I usually just blurt out the first fond memory that comes to mind and comment on how pretty said place was.
For me, this journey was transformative and something I’ll hold dear forever.
I decided to put together a little highlights video with random moments I captured along the way and share it here in hopes it will inspire even just one person to take a journey they’ve been wanting to do.
Leave a comment below and let me know where you want to travel to next xx