Tyler and I have often noted how different this experience would be without Noel. When we shared the tour with our families, one of their responses was wondering what we were going to do with “the cat.”
We stopped at a Walmart in Plymouth for the night where I, um, well I had a moment. The next day was my birthday and it was the first time spending it away from my family. I found myself crying in bed while blowing up said balloons. The next day I was able to look back on the hilarity of it, crying in a Walmart parking lot…
After spending a couple nights in a holding pattern in parking lots at a Cabela’s in Maine then a Walmart in New Hampshire, we finally packed up the car with drinks and snacks for the road and a hour or so drive later, we found ourselves already in Portsmouth – 68 miles later! We didn’t even get a chance to start eating our Peanut Butter m&m’s. Sad, I know.
After leaving Vermont, we headed east and rolled into White Mountain National Forest near Gilead, Maine. We stopped along the Wild River and immediately became aware of our surroundings: birds singing, not another person or car in sight, the freshest air we’ve ever smelled, the cool shade of the trees with sun occasionally poking through, and the peaceful sound of the flowing water.
After over a year of planning, countless emails, pitches, grant applications, conference calls, and meetings, the day to hook up the Airstream and hit the road arrived. Our journey to our first state project in Vermont included a pit stop at Niagara Falls to kickstart our new nomadic life on the road.
One day while we stayed in a Target parking lot between state stops, Kendra bought a faux pumpkin along with some acrylic paints and brushes to bring a little Fall feeling to our Airstream — [HAS HEART] edition, of course!
As amazing as it is living and working on the road, it can be quite exhausting. Living in an Airstream makes you think about things you may have taken for granted previously: location to sleep/where to park the trailer, water consumption, water waste, electricity, waste disposal – aka the stinky stuff. One thing we don’t have to worry about anymore is if we’ll be getting a good night’s sleep.
Planning and executing a fifty-state tour doesn’t just happen overnight. This concept was brewing for almost two years and required a handful of life changes to prepare for this dramatic lifestyle change. And even then, it came together last minute with a few miracles and a handful of incredible people making it possible along the way.
When Tyler approached me about the 50 States: Veterans + Artists United tour, I was a little hesitant. The thought of leaving my family for two years while living in a 200 square-foot box obviously was intimidating.