Keeping It On the Road
A little over two years ago, Emily and Jeremiah divided their lives into three piles: sell, donate, and keep. Having called Charlotte, NC home for five years, they aimed to get away from the monotony of 50+ hour work weeks. Weekend getaways just weren’t cutting it anymore so they sold their townhouse and hopped in their Expedition, with a camper in tow, and started a new nomadic lifestyle. Jeremiah would be working remotely, while Emily documented their travels. An opportunity that many dream of, but few follow.
Emily first fell in love with photography on their hiking and backpacking trips in the North Carolina mountains. “I didn’t have a real camera so I used my iPhone to capture photos,” she said. She was drawn to landscape photography and gathered inspiration from artists such as Ansel Adams and Max Rive. Her favorite photos seem to have a theme of giant world and tiny subject. “I love how nature reminds us of how small we are. My husband and I hike at different speeds so I would look up and see a moment that I wanted to capture. I always have my iPhone at the ready and used it more as a camera than a phone,” she said. The more Emily shot, the more she began to see the limitations of the iPhone’s camera. She knew it was time to purchase a DSLR and delve deeper into photography, so after extensive research, she found a used Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-70mm in perfect condition. For the past several months Emily has been learning the ins and outs of her new setup, but loving the results so far.
At the onset of the adventure, Emily and Jeremiah faced their first dilemma. They knew they wanted to chronicle their trip in a blog for their family and friends to follow, but they couldn’t come up with a name that they both loved. While driving outside of Palouse Falls Washington, Emily swerved a bit causing the camper to sway. In that moment she shouted, “keep it on the road!” At that point, they both knew they had the name of their blog. “I’m the driver and I am constantly reminding myself to just ‘keep it on the road,’” she said. Emily explained her second job (after driving, while Jeremiah works) on the trip is to share their (mis)adventures and photos for the blog.
Jeremiah typically travels once or twice a month for work. Depending on the distance, he and Emily will either drive or fly to their destination. “He books a flight a month or so in advance, then we will check the map, see what route we want to take, and head off, stopping along the way, and the rest of the time he works from home.”
This adventure for Emily and Jeremiah is full of new experiences, and nothing captures that better than her 5D Mark II. “The right photo can take me back to when I pushed the shutter. I can feel the crisp mountain air, smell the alpine forest, or remember how I felt in that very moment.” she said. “Photography offers a way for me to share my point of view of our nomadic life.” The freedom to live a life with very little scheduling has quickly become one of the best parts about full-time travel for the couple.
“We choose to move quickly but after a month of staying in four to five different towns, places can start to blur and merge together.” She offers some advice to others thinking of living the nomadic lifestyle and documenting the travels through pictures, “If I could go back in time and offer myself some advice, it would be to create a workflow and organize my photos daily.”
In two years, 14 days is the longest that the couple has stayed in one place. Emily said, “We typically move every three to five days to a different town and we also try to visit new places and hike new trails if we return to an area.” They have visited 40 states, with plans to finish the last eight of the lower 48 this fall, countless monuments, State Parks, and National Parks along the way. They’ve fallen in love with places that they never knew existed and met strangers that have become friends. “I’m glad we will have so many photos to look back on our travels when we are old and gray.”
Images used with permission of Emily Clever.