Eight Months Later

1300 hikers in two months, dragging out fourth grade homeschooling for almost a year, battling what to do with our photography and how to fulfill our need to create, working on our marriage and ourselves as individuals and being thankful for the opportunities we have created for our family. And a kitten…we have a kitten now too.

Why has Jesus placed us in a small town off of the Appalachian Trail for over eight months? We built a home out of a school bus but we have stayed in one location for months. Why?

We have met people from all over the world being here in Pearisburg, Virginia. Working at a hiker hostel has provided the perfect opportunity to learn how to love people without judgment. People from all walks of life, countries and beliefs hiked hundreds of miles to find some rest and to recharge here and we took the opportunity to love on them all.

When we decided to build the bus into our tiny house we had no idea what experiences we would have. We knew that we obviously would travel across the country and with that we would meet different people and see different cultures. We absolutely had no idea that we would then park our home in a Southern town that has rich civil war history and is where we would fall in love with the long-term hiking lifestyle. We have the gear and did a practice trip so it is in our future, at some point.

What have we learned so far:

1) Don't judge people based on their appearance.

2) The bus hatches are still leaking and there are several other leaks.

that we need to seal.

3) Hikers smell bad. Really bad.

4) Cold weather is much better than the nine months of the Florida heat.

5) People are broken. We are broken. And that’s okay, because Jesus is enough.

6) People handle (or deny) their brokenness in so many negative ways. Others, hike or focus on tackling their demons.

7) Stressful situations can either be dealt with humor OR fear. Humor has a better outcome.

8) This lifestyle is very challenging and doubt creeps in daily.

9) We consume too much food everyday. We are emotional eaters.

10) Small town folks are extremely friendly.

11) Laugh, laugh and then laugh some more. At yourself especially. And others, like your spouse.

I could go on and on. The most important part is that we have experienced all of this together as a family. We have absolutely grown as individuals and as a family of three.

It was exciting to see how Bryce interacted with all of the hikers and how age or race or gender or nationality didn’t sway him from having a conversation. He taught us that all of those common (and unfortunate) “guidelines” or “standards” that all of us use to determine who we should talk to or help were not obstacles for him. Instead, I would witness him talking to a 78 year old man from Germany, a middle aged man from China, a twenty-something year old college student and a transient man with dreads without hesitation.

If only the “real” world worked this way.

We had tons of laughs and connected with several hikers who we now check up on as they are back in their “normal” or off-trail lives and they do the same with us.

We were unknowingly looking for a community to be a part of that had similar beliefs and could understand our alternative lifestyle. Parking and helping out at a hiker hostel in a small town definitely provided that.

So, what’s next? We will be in Georgia and Florida in October for several weddings and shoots we have and then back to Virginia to prepare the bus for our next chapter. We will start fifth grade and our first stop will tie into our first history lesson about the first settlements in America.

Then we hope to find a Workaway host out west, possibly Utah or Arizona since we really love that part of the States. We are hopefully going to find a host with kids so Bryce can enjoy being around kids a little more than just periodically like in Virginia. (I know, that’s the big concern…what about Bryce and having friends and playing with kids. Well, he is thankfully a very social kid and has met several boys who live down the street from the hostel and had no problem making immediate friends with them. It’s amazing how he does that!).

I want to either start the YouTube channel again (it just wasn’t the right time for us to continue it and we both felt like we were forcing the content) OR maybe we will start a Podcast. Either way, we will continue to share our journey on Instagram and through this blog.

We also would LOVE to focus on shooting small, intimate destination weddings and elopements with couples who love the outdoors and are not afraid to start new wedding traditions (i.e. being with each other all day, traveling to their favorite place on Earth and having an intimate ceremony, etc.).

Thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout the year through social media and with personal interactions here at the hostel and around the country. It is our hope to meet many diverse people and to have real and honest connections all across this nation and beyond. We know not everyone understands what we are doing and cannot accept our way of living and that’s okay. We don’t judge or condemn and we can only hope for the same.

Be Bold and Seek Adventure,

Liz, Mike and Bryce

Like a Weed

When you travel, you grow. You are learning from the people you meet and the situations you are forced to deal with. Complacency killed the cat. Or camel or something.

Our journey and choice to change our lifestyle, so far, has forced all of us to not only examine the choices we have made and are making, but to look internally at who we are and who we want to be.

I am working on being still. Allowing myself to not work or think of what I need to be doing. I think it all stems from not wanting to waste time and the need to squeeze the most out of each day. I want to be still, God speaks to us in the chaos and darkness but he also reaches out when we are in stillness and calm.

Mike has to tell me to stop, or sit, or put my brain on hold constantly. Sometimes I can turn it off and just relax, other times I just have to keep my brain and body stimulated all day long.

Mike is working on being more compassionate. He wants to learn to love people without gaining anything and without worrying about what their motive is. Just to love. He wants to focus not only on his needs and wants but also on the needs and wants of those around him, including those he knows intimately and deeply and also those who he may just meet in passing.

Bryce is a like a sponge and so he is learning so much about EVERYTHING. He is working on being helpful and understanding that working as a team is important and beneficial for all. He walks Riley, feeds her, helps clean up after dinner, carries wood. And all not to gain anything. He doesn't earn an allowance because he took the trash out. You know why? Because he is a part of this team and he needs to pull his wait.

He is also working on being aware of the resources around us that we use everyday. Water and electricity are limited when we are off the grid and so he has to be fully conscious of what is plugged in or how long he is running the water to brush his teeth or wash his hands.

We are all learning to adapt to this new lifestyle all together. We have to be considerate of each other and the space we all occupy. 175 square feet of living space means we are always around each other and so it is imperative to be thoughtful and aware of how we are each feeling.

It's not all roses and sometimes it's lots of flies buzzing around. We eat what we have and make it work. We use a toilet that doesn't flush and has to be churned when you go poo. We are cold at night if it is cold outside and we may have smelly hair and dirty pants on half the week. Eating at a restaurant or driving thru for fast food is a luxury now and drinking a hot cup of coffee is very rare. Dirty finger nails and runny noses, dry skin and chapped lips.

So WHY? Why do we do it then?

Sunsets with 360 views of the Badlands. Photographing the Milky Way because you are camping in one of the darkest places in North America. Spending more time together and having the option to make each day exactly what we want it to be. Not worrying about pleasing everyone else but instead, living with intention and making decisions that make us happy and fulfilled. Being photographers...ALL THE TIME, not just when we are shooting a wedding or event. Sharing our story with so many people who feel inspired and motivated to make changes to make their lives look and feel the way they want it to, and hopefully the way God wants them too. Growing as individuals and as a family. Hell, we even find happiness when Riley is able to run around without worrying about her getting hit by a car.

Need more reasons?

Where are we? Man, it's been quiet on here...

Two months. How has it already been two months since we sold our house and all of our things and crammed what was left into our 175 square foot bus-house?

Has it been awesome and full of wanderlust? Yes. Has it been extremely difficult some days? Yes. Do we have to adapt constantly and communicate completely and learn how to make daily life what we want it be? YES, YES, YES. And we get through the stressful times by arguing and spewing foul language and then we come up with a new plan and solution and hug and move the hell on.

We have shared our story with so many people (even filming with Living Big in a Tiny House and also doing a podcast interview with Brian Hosan of Launching Out...let you know when both are released) and have received so much support which makes our hearts both happy and heavy. It is upsetting to hear how many people feel stuck. Stuck in a job they hate, an unhealthy lifestyle, an unhappy relationship or an unfulfilling life overall.

Change is possible and change means growth. Growth means something new, something different and possibly something much better. Making intentional decisions to change our lifestyle was mandatory to free us from the lifestyle we thought we were expected to have, but didn't actually want.

We hope that our story and our decisions to create a lifestyle that is not based on what everyone else is doing or what the "norm" may be, will encourage others to be bold in their decisions and ideas about how they want to live daily life and to seek adventure in all that they do. God knows what He is doing with us...one day, if we keep our hearts open, we will figure that out too.

So driving and living in a bus full time may not be for everyone. We are making it work for us and we are enjoying have both old friends and new ones hang out with us and "do life" with us on the bus. If you will be in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, possibly New Mexico and Texas within the next month, hit us up and let's hang out!

**********

We are also running our photography company on the road and are so excited to continue to shoot weddings all over the world! WE ARE BOOKING into 2018 and would love to hear from you. Check out our About Us page first and then if you think it would be fun to collaborate, fill out our Contact page.

For those who refer awesome couples to us and they book us, some cash money will be thrown your way.

Here are just a few of the quadrillion photos we have taken over the last couple months. We have so many but these will give you a glimpse into what life has been like living in our sweet Georgia. You can also follow along daily on our bebold_seekadventure Instagram page.