On June 5, 2015, we drove out of Austin with a couple hundred dollars in the bank, an SUV full of camping equipment and exactly zero jobs lined up. We had no backup plan, no reservations. Hell, we had never even tried setting up our tent. (The tent we were planning to live in for six months!) Looking back now, I realize what a huge risk we were taking. But at the time, it just felt right.
Have you ever reached your breaking point? You know, the point where you just can’t take it anymore. Where you can’t handle your shitty job, your broken relationships or your boredom with life for another second? I can tell you the exact moment I reached that point. I was in the bathtub, reading a book. I loved long baths and would sometimes soak for so long, I’d have to drain and refill the tub because the water had gotten cold. That night I was reading a book about how to grow your business by taking bold risks. I’d been running a successful wedding photography business for almost ten years at that point, but was more than a little bit burned out. I was making a decent amount of money and had a flexible schedule. Our kids had all the toys and clothes and snacks they wanted. We took vacations a couple of times a year and everybody was generally happy and healthy. But I was so bored. If you had asked me what my biggest goal was that day, I would have said “to lose weight.” Not to climb a mountain. Not to see glaciers in Alaska or whale sharks in Mexico. Not to become a published author or famous actress. Not to run a marathon or become a millionaire. MY BIGGEST GOAL WAS TO LOSE WEIGHT. That’s how low my expectations were.
So I was in the tub, reading a book about taking risks and for whatever reason, one line almost moved me to tears. Not because it was so profound or beautifully written. No. To be honest, this line is cliché as heck. You could go to Pinterest right now, search for it and find a hundred inspirational posters with these exact words. But these words found me at the exact moment I needed to read them :
Fortune favors the bold.
If you had asked me to describe myself at 21, I would have said bold. When I was younger, I had such a grand vision for my life. But 14 years later, I was a 35 year old fat lady soaking in a tub of room temperature water, crying about how boring my life was. That was my breaking point. Something had to change.
Less than a year later, I woke up early and looked out the window. There was a line of people from our doorstep, all the way down the sidewalk past the neighbor’s house. A few days before, I had put an ad in the Craigslist’s yard sale section that said we were opening doors at 8:00am and everything we had left was free to whoever grabbed it first. We’d already had three huge yard sales that month, but our living room was still full of clothes, shoes, books, toys and picture frames. When we opened the door, people flooded in like Walmart on Black Friday and within 15 minutes, everything was gone. We had sold or given away nearly everything we owned and were making plans to be a traveling family of five, living and working from the road for as long as we could make it work.
How’s that for bold?
Driving out of Austin that day in June wasn’t scary. It was exciting. I knew it was the beginning of something big, something bold. Most people don’t realize they’re in the best years of their lives until after they’ve lived them. One day they look back and think “those were the good ol’ days.” It’s very rare to recognize those moments as they’re happening. I recognized it that day. I felt it. We were finally living the stories we would tell our grandkids one day.
At the end of 2015, after six months of camping, we bought an old school bus and turned it into an RV, complete with water tanks, solar electricity and a very high tech composting toilet made from a bucket and a toilet seat. (JEALOUS?!) For the next two years, we lived and traveled the country in our big, blue bus, criss-crossing the United States from California to Alaska, all the way across Canada to Maine, back down to Florida and Texas, passing through and meeting families in just about every single state. In June of 2019, we celebrated four years of full-time travel. Four years of hiking, swimming and exploring with our kids. Four years of campfires, beach days, mountain lakes, big cities and small towns. Four years of experiences and adventures. Four years of being bold. And four blissful years of not giving a single fuck about weight loss.
In 2018, we sold the bus, bought an old Volkswagen van and headed south into Mexico. After four months of blue-green water and cheap margaritas, we came back with a few souvenirs : some Mexican coins, a few small toys … oh, and baby number four, our little adventure baby, Fitz. Fortune really does favor the bold.
Living and working from the road is not always easy. Both our minds and our vehicles have had their fair share of breakdowns. We’ve gotten stuck. We’ve run out of money. We’ve “camped” in more Walmart parking lots than I’d like to admit. The kids still complain.
My life isn’t perfect these days, but it’s far from boring.
This website was created for me to share these stories with you, along with the stories of all the families I meet and photograph along the way, and I’m so excited to start doing just that. Please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you’re notified whenever I post something new. I absolutely love meeting new people and would love to meet you, too. So book a family session, leave me a comment, drop me an email or just say hello if you happen to bump into us on the road.
And if you’re getting close to your breaking point, don’t be afraid. Sometimes breaking is exactly what we need.