Road Trip 2015: Beginning on a Different Note

One thing I’ve always loved about road trips is that you never really know what to expect. Rain or shine, good food or gas station gourmet, you can try and plan it out as much as you want but things will always change. And as a group, we embrace that! We leave room for serendipity—and so far it’s always worked out in the end.

Today we began our fifth major road trip, wherein we plan to experience parts of the south none of us have ever been to before: Hilton Head, Savannah, Atlanta, Nashville. So we’re excited, to say the least! However thanks to flight delays, missed connections and a missing babe, the trip is already off to a very different start than any of us expected.

And of all places we could have chosen to begin our trip in, we chose Charleston. I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but in the past two days things have taken a pretty serious turn down here.

How someone the exact same age as me could kill nine people in cold blood amazes me, although I know things like this happen far more than we’d like to admit. Doesn’t matter how much we proclaim we’ve achieved equality, try to diversify the media or be fair about the way people get jobs—racism has always existed and continues to exist today.

As a college student in a good part of a big northeastern city, obviously I knew this and saw clear examples of racism every now again, but never so blatantly as this March when we went down to Oklahoma for Alternative Spring Break. Hearing kids use racial phrases that haven’t been around for two hundred years, seeing swastikas on walls and how segregated everyone in town kept themselves without actually enforcing segregation was horrifying. Nothing I studied in any book could have prepared me for that. For seeing just how normal it is for some to treat others as less of a person simply because of the color of their skin.

They still fly the confederate flag over their capital here. When all other flags had been brought half-mast, that one remained high as ever, and that in itself sickens me. I understand it is a big part of their history, but today that symbol has such a radically different connotation than it did 20, even 10 years ago, that it cannot continue to be treated as it was in the past. What does it really stand for anyway? Passionate people who fought to keep their slaves? Maybe I don’t have all the information, but from my perspective at this moment that’s what it seems like.

What’s more, if any of you are familiar with Snapchat, you know there tend to be Geotags representing the area you’re in you can overlay onto the pictures you take before sending. Right now, in addition to what I’m assuming are the standard ones they have (“Greetings from Charleston” and “Charleston, SC”), they have a Charleston Strong one with the image of a church next to it. Boston Strong was and remains our slogan of hope and perseverance after the Boston Marathon Bombing of 2013, and having been at the finish line and seen all that came of it, the fact that they feel the need to use it in this context breaks my heart more than words can say. I wouldn’t wish understanding what that felt like on my worst enemy.

Charleston, our hearts are with you. We look forward to experiencing your city in the morning and hope that you find some comfort in knowing there are others out there who are ready to support you just as we were supported in our time of need. #CharlestonStrong today and always.

One thing’s for sure: this trip is going to be unlike any other. And all that being said, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be on the road again. To be finding purpose in doing what we love, traveling the world and experiencing all it has to offer. Because in experiencing we find understanding, and in understanding we find we’re not so different after all.

Love always,

Road Trips in One Word

How to describe all of the feelings and wonders of road trips in one word? I think it’s different for each person. What’s the one thing that stands out? The essence you’re left with at the end of a road trip or the feeling your overcome with during a road trip? It’s a difficult task because there are so many amazing reasons to love road trips, which we talk about endlessly to each other, here on our blog, and to others when we passionately share the stories of our adventures. Can you capture a road trip in one word?

For me, it’s refreshing. Road trips are refreshing. They take you out of your daily routine, out of what is normal and familiar, and let you spend your days enjoying people’s company, your fellow travelers and the people you meet along the way. They refocus my life on what I think is important, which is relationships between humans, from short, friendly interactions with strangers to deep conversations where strangers share with you their voice, passion, or life story, from making new friends and hearing their stories to visiting already friends where you hear new stories and gain a better understanding of them through their home.

I’m unplugged from the Internet world when I’m on a road trip. I’m not wondering about the life that’s happening on my screen; I’m wondering about the life that’s happening right in front of me, in every moment, with every passing landscape, with every curious thing, with every new idea, with every interaction.

It creates days of learning so much about the world and people, from different ways of life and new places to learning about yourself, who you are, who you want to be. Road trips are an excellent place for thinking and developing your own ideas about life and values. It’s a place to implement them as well, and rethink any habits or ways of thinking that you want to change.

Whenever I come back from a road trip, I am always refreshed. It’s spending days on end with the freedom to go and do whatever my friends and I want, constantly learning and exploring new places. Long drives looking out the window create the perfect environment for pondering, appreciating, and gaining perspective on your life. It’s the new, the exploration, and all the good things that come with it that make road trips so refreshing. It’s even better than a glass of ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day. Way better.


Q+A with Mirae Campbell

If someday we become half as cool as Mirae Campbell, it would be a miracle. Not only does the girl travel and find new adventures to go on like it’s her job, but she documents it all on one of the coolest adventure feeds on Instagram. Enjoy our fun Q+A together, and be sure to check out more of her work at @miraecampbell!

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
I dig adventure, numb fingers while taking photos of the night sky, kind souls, chai lattes and the feeling of doing up my bindings at the top of a line. 

Q: Why Instagram?
Why not?

Q: One thing you’d never travel without.
A stoked and open mind. Maybe a GoPro.

Q: How would you describe your feed?
Instills a sense of wanderlust.

Q: Coolest place you’ve been to yet.
I can’t pinpoint anywhere as the coolest place, it changes with every adventure and every traveling experience I get the privilege of doing.

Q: Favorite editing app?

Q: One thing most people don’t know about you.
I get anxious over silly things and the way I deal with it is yelling out ‘ANXIETY!’.

Q: Checked anything off your bucket list lately?
A: Let’s seeeeeeee! This past weekend was the first time I had ever hiked to the peak of a mountain solely for the purpose of riding down it on my snowboard. That was rad.

Q: What’s next?
I’m still in uni for a couple more years, but I’m taking my courses online next semester because I want to spend as much time as a I can on the mountain for the season since I work at one of our local hills. I’ll be doing lots of traveling for work and pleasure starting in March so currently just working heaps and sticking to local adventures!

The In-Between: The Joy Of Gas Stations

Some of my favorite moments on our road trips have happened at gas stations. Gas stations are an inevitable part of all road trips. They exist in what I like to call the in-between, which are the locations between our starting point and final destination. Being on the road brings to light numerous aspects of life that I do try to recognize, but often overlook when I am in the flow of my daily routines. I love being fascinated by the little, mundane aspects of road trips that I generally don’t appreciate or find interesting when I am at home. 

This brings me to the joy and fascination I experience when stopping at gas stations on our road trips. Gas stations allow us to stretch our bodies and see what awaits us at this random point in the world. It makes me feel small, but oh so big as numerous people have stopped at this gas station, but many less have gotten to step foot at this spot on earth. It’s a really special and cool thing that I get to know this little area of the world. Many people have visited and walked on the Great Wall of China for instance, but so many less have gotten to stop at this gas station or stand on this part of the world. I am one of the relatively few that have seen this area and get to take it into my memory. This feeling is at an even greater level when you travel on rough roads or even no roads that you know many people haven’t stepped foot on, such as the three men that ran across the Sahara desert in Running the Sahara or Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman who motorcycled around the world in Long Way Around. Most of the time spent on these adventures is in the in-between, and it’s almost like a meditation. Being on the road gets me thinking about life, and helps me appreciate aspects of my life that I can overlook when I am in the habits of my daily life. 

Driving from one point to another, staying alert and observant of my surroundings, appreciating the amazing life around me and trying to see everything, so it is more of the world that influences me and that I get to touch and influence. I always try to learn from my surroundings and the people in it. Being on the road brings a fresh perspective to my life, leaving me feeling refreshed and happier when I return home to look at my life in the bigger picture and be more appreciative of all the people and moments of life and love that exist everywhere.Here are my last few notes on the joy I find in gas stations on the road…

  1. If I flew to my destination, I would not know a certain gas station exists and wouldn’t get to say that I danced at it or took silly photos at it on the way to Denver, CO for instance. I think it’s more so that I love that I danced in this spot of the world where I don’t think anyone has danced before. We were the first.
  2. I love the surprise of gas station bathrooms too. Will this gas station have a really disgusting bathroom or will it be a cleaner one? I like trying to guess based on the outside appearance of the gas station.
  3. I look forward to seeing the souvenir selection if there even is one, or other random trinkets or items the gas station might have.
  4. I love looking at the scenery around the gas station. Many of our most scenic photos have been taken at gas stations.
  5. One of my favorite moments was when our car broke down at a gas station in the middle of nowhere Wyoming where we had to wait an hour for triple A. Instead of getting stressed out or complaining, we welcomed the break by having a picnic of snack foods, singing songs, and laughing while letting the sun warm our skin and the fresh air lighten our hearts.

So thank you to all gas stations that exist on long roads in the middle of nowhere because you have made my travels in the in-between more exciting and helped me realize aspects of road trips and life that I adore.


The 21 Best Gifts for Travelers

With the holidays around the corner, everyone’s in a scramble for what to get their friends and loved ones on their list. And while we can’t really help you find your brother the perfect video game or the best cooking tool for Mom, if they love to travel we’ve got you covered.

GoPro1. A GoPro.
If you haven’t thought of this already, you must have been living under a rock for the past few years. It’s a bit of a splurge, but if they mean a lot to you it will definitely make their year. ($400)

2. This backpack.
Hershel Supply & Co. have some of the best looking gear on the market for the adventurer in your life. ($60)

3. A Swiss Army Knife.
Trust us, this comes in handy way more than you think. ($25)

4. This book.
Katherine Belarmino of Travel the World says,”When I’m not traveling I like to daydream and plan for our next trip.  To get ideas of where to travel next, I like to leaf through the pages of The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet.”

Fun fact: Even our very own Carisa got this for Hannah one year! Obviously she loved it. ($35)

5. A portable charger.
Staying powered-up is a necessity in today’s culture. Help your loved one whether they’re out on the road or in the middle of the jungle with this lipstick-sized charger. ($17)

6. This flashlight.
Waterproof. Solar-powered. Hand-powered. If the person you love is always on the go, this is a great essential for wherever the adventure takes them. ($20)

7. A solar charger.
Juice your phone up with the power of the sun in just a few hours or use it to keep a light going for more than 60 hours. And the best part? For every charger purchased the company donates one to the typhoon relief effort in the Philippines. ($80)

8. This water bottle.
It purifies as you drink, so your traveler can stay hydrated even if they find themselves in the middle of nowhere with little more than a stream. ($30)

9. A scroll pen.
So when they’re writing down notes or directions they never have to dig for pen and paper again. ($35)

10. This 4-in-1 adapter.
adapterThis Lego-like gadget snaps together four plugs and one adapter to power you up in over 150 countries. ($25)

11. A waterproof speaker.
Because what is an adventure without great tunes? A two-hour charge on this bad boy will give you eight hours of music at full volume, and it’s tail can be looped onto surfaces, act as a stand, or even removed to reveal a suction cup to stick to flat surfaces. ($60)

12. These postcards.
Make sure they keep in touch wherever they go with this easy gift. And if you want to make it even more special, use their own travel pics! ($30)

13. A scratch map.
To visually mark off places as they travel the world. This one’s even in the shape of a globe. ($25)

14. This luggage freshener.
To keep things fresh in between washes in the most beautiful way. ($45)

15. A print of their favorite city.
Because no matter how many miles they travel, this one’s still it. ($18)

16. Their own Fujifilm Instax.
So they can capture every new place they go and person they meet in a fun + instant way. ($100)

17. A wrinkle-proof shirt.
Because wrinkles are so 2013 ($80)

18. Bentgo Containers.
Maybe not the most glamorous gift but incredibly handy for food on the go. ($15)

19. This cork globe.
To mark where they’ve been and where they’re dying to go next! ($129)

20. A flask set.
For the nights that demand celebrating. ($64)

21. This double-layered, shock-absorbent wine protector.
Because there’s nothing more disappointing than carrying bottles around for an entire trip to come
home to a suitcase full of stained clothes. ($22)

Uncommon Goods
Katherine Belarmino
The Huffington Post

Road Trip 101: The Art of Having Fun

We know what you’re thinking: Please ladies, I know how to have fun. But having fun isn’t just about how many things you can do to brag about on social media or check off your bucket list—to us, it’s an art.

If one thing in life is true, it’s that you can’t force anyone to do anything, and having fun is no exception! Whether you’re traveling with friends, kids, a significant other or even just yourself, having a good time means following a few basic principles no matter where the adventure takes you.

It’s simple, really.

1. Do what you want, when you want it. Seriously, this is key. If you want to go somewhere, do it. If you want to try something new, try it. If you need to say something, say it. You only have one life. If you’re not spending it doing what you love, what are you doing?

2. Surround yourself with amazing people. We’ve said it before and will say it again—find people to travel with and meet along the way who will love you, respect you, support you, challenge + inspire you and you’ll never be sorry. When the focus is on doing what you love while building relationships, old, new, + with yourself, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

3. Speak up when things are important to you. How can anyone know how much something means to you if you never tell them? No matter how silly it may seem, if going to that place or taking a picture with that sign would mean a lot to you, just say it! That’s the only way your travel buddies will be able help you along the way to make it the best experience possible.

4. Appreciate the moment. No matter how hard you try, there will never be another one like it. So don’t let the little setbacks get to you—enjoy it, thank your lucky stars for it, and if nothing else pretend like you’re 99 years old + just time traveled back to relive your youth.

5. Stop caring about what other people think. If you’re happy with yourself, that’s all that matters. So dance at rest stops, wear what makes you happy, say ridiculous things, and don’t worry about what it all makes you seem like in society’s eye. This is your life and it’s about time you started acting like it.

What do you all think is key to having fun on the road?

The Babes

Why Travel: The Big Picture

When thinking about travel, we tend to get caught up in the excitement of it all instead of thinking about what it really means to be going somewhere new. You see each time you travel, if you do it right, you have the unique opportunity to come back with more than a few cheap souvenirs and  memories—if you do it right, you’ll come back with more respect for others and in turn, a greater world view.

Not to be cheesy, but I think Maya Angelou put it best when she said:

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.

Seeing the world from other people’s perspectives, experiencing life in their shoes not only gives you a better understanding of why they are the way that they are, but also a greater appreciation for your own life and the opportunities you’ve had along the way.

One of my favorite moments from all our trips so far was when we stayed with our long time family friends, the Johnsons in Bozeman, Montana. The Johnsons are a family of five who adopted a family of five and moved from Florida to Montana along the way. And yet somehow they make raising kids look easy, when clearly it’s an incredible undertaking on any scale let alone the one they’re operating on. But what we found was that it’s the commitment to their values and trust in a higher purpose that gets them through each day, as well as sheer patience and natural talent on Bruce and Penny, the parents’ part. To hear more of their story, check out our interview with Bruce. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Their way of life is so completely different than any of our own, I think it changed each of us a little seeing what everyday life is like for them. I know personally it’s made me rethink what it means to be from a big family, and I now have so much more respect for all parents because of it.

In short, seeing life from their perspective is just another reason why we will never stop finding new road trips to go on. New people to meet. Why we will never stop exploring. Just another reason why we are the Yolo Babes.


Photographer Spotlight: Philip Anderson Edsel

This week’s spotlight goes out to Philip Anderson Edsel, an artist born and raised in Austin, Texas. Not only are we infinitely jealous of his hometown, but turns out he’s also an incredibly talented photographer, a writer, and a musician. We’re pretty obsessed with his feed so we reached out to him to see why he uses Instagram among other things. So read on and make sure to check his work out @philipandersonedsel!

Q: Why do you Instagram?
A: I use Instagram because it adds a communal aspect to the art of photography. It’s instant sharing with instant feedback, which photography has never had in its entire history before social media. This accessibility and instantaneous interaction of Instagram inherently gives value to the everyday; the beautiful, little moments you would never think twice about.

Q: What inspires you most?
A: Inspiration can come from about anywhere. One of the things that I love about art is that it is a never-ending cycle of inspiration, which usually jumps from one medium to another. You see a film that inspired you so you write a poem, which gives someone an idea for a song, which inspires a film. I’m inspired by art, but also by faith and the events of everyday life.

Q: What’s one of your favorite shots and why?
A: It feels weird to define my favorite shot. There’s a saying that your favorite shot, or your best image, is always the next one you take. When I’m shooting, I sometimes think, this is the best shot I’ve ever taken. But then three months down the road, I’ll feel uninspired by it. I’m always thinking my best work is ahead of me. It’s what drive me to keep creating.

Q: The best or worst place you’ve been to (and why).
A: One of my favorite cities in the world is Bath, in the UK. I have sort of a romantic, idealistic view of Europe, as if everything was frozen in time from an Austen novel. But I love New York too, and hope one day to live there for a little bit.

Q: One thing most people don’t know about you.
A: Most people that find me on Instagram think of me as a photographer, which I am. But I’m also a full-time musician in a band called Courrier. I’ve been doing that longer than photography, and get to travel all over the country playing music, which is an amazing thing.

Q: Any advice for college kids looking to travel the world?
A: Do it!

Q: What’s next?
A: Working on a new record, our third. Also, looking to shoot some more! If you’re ever in Austin, hit me up and let’s go shoot!

Road Trip 101: 8 Ways to Thank Your Host

One of the most important reasons we road trip is for the relationships we build along the way. First and foremost, this means the people kind enough to open their doors and give you a place to sleep for the night. They may be a family member, distant friend, or complete stranger—either way, your job (if you want to be a kind and decent person and/or have any hope of staying there again) is to show them the utmost gratitude and respect from the beginning to end of your stay.

So how can you make sure you do that in all the excitement?
Here are our top eight tips and tricks.

1. Come bearing gifts. The golden standard. Although we don’t always come bearing gifts, we almost always leave them on our way out.

2. Respect their space. Treat it better than your own. Remember, you are a guest. They have every right to kick you out if you make them unhappy.

3. Talk to them. Wait, what? Believe it or not, it’s actually a huge sign of respect if you take the time to engage them in conversation and really get to know them while you’re there. Everyone you meet is interesting if you understand their story. Use your stay as an opportunity to discover what makes them tick.

4. Cook for them. Now we can’t say that we’ve ever been able to do this, but it’s definitely a great idea if you want to show your host how much you appreciate them. Appetizers, meals, dessert—you know your strong suit. Here’s the perfect chance to show it.

5. Immerse yourself in their culture. If they go to bed at a certain time, you go to bed at that time. If they only eat dessert for breakfast, you eat dessert for breakfast. With people you’re closer with, this may be less of an issue, but when in doubt always follow their lead.

6. Leave the place cleaner than when you got there. Is that even possible? Yes. Yes it is. Even if you can’t straighten out the space you were staying in back to perfection, helping out in other, unexpected ways will leave them with nothing but the rosiest memories of you when you’re gone.

7. Send a thank you note from the road. Show them how much you appreciate them while you’re there, thank them genuinely and profusely before leaving, and after you’ve gone, go as far as sending a thank you note from the road if you can.

8. Offer to return the favor if they’re ever in your area! We love this one because it encourages more people to travel by taking the stress of finding somewhere to stay off their shoulders. Offering up your place is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to thank your host for letting you stay on your journey.

What do you usually do to thank someone when you stay with them?