VLOG: Teton Talkin’

Posted In: Airstream, Blog, Dry Camping, Motivational, National Parks, Video, Vlog, Wildlife, Yellowstone

Here’s a brief update from the road — specifically, from gorgeous Grand Teton National Park.

I’m in LOVE with our current campsite. This is the finest camping locale we’ve enjoyed all year. We are surrounded by wilderness. We have a tremendous view of some of the most beautiful mountains in North America while LYING IN BED. This area is frequented by bison, moose, elk, and the occasional bear. Seriously, if this campsite was a piece of privately owned land for sale, the lot would cost at least a half million bucks. Sure, there are NO HOOKUPS OF ANY KIND and overnight temperatures are dropping into the low 30s. But in a way, that’s what makes it fun. We’re roughin’ it Airstream-style in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Like salmon, every few years we migrate back to the Yellowstone/Teton area. (Hopefully the local bears won’t treat us like salmon.) In our video I discuss Sean & Kristy’s first camping experience TOGETHER. It happened in Yellowstone National Park. We didn’t have a fancy Airstream or any RV. We had a TENT, a leaky air mattress, and a couple of thin sleeping bags. We experienced a few hardships, but we had a BLAST. That sort of adventure is what it’s all about.

That’s the ultimate point of this website. Life is a collection of experiences. Most of the best have NOTHING to do with the gear you own. Adventure is out there for you to find, and you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment or a fat bank account to find it.

Let me draw upon a couple of life experiences to explore this point.

First, here’s a counter-intuitive trek that has little to do with camping. Back in the early 1990s, I taught English to schoolchildren in Czechoslovakia. From late summer 1992 to spring 1993 I lived in the land of cheap (but FANTASTIC) beer and pork dumplings. That was the year the country split apart politically, and Czechoslovakia became the Czech Republic & Slovakia. Sounds scary, but it wasn’t. The so-called “Velvet Divorce” took place without a shot being fired.

My employer was the Bratislava, Slovakia city school system. Monthly salary? Around $120, give or take. Yes, $120 a MONTH. My net worth hovered around zero and my luxuries were limited (although I did own about $20 worth of bootleg Polish music tapes).

In Europe, I had the time of my life! No money whatsoever, but the time of my life. Somehow I managed to see not only Czechoslovakia, but most of Europe — Hungary, Poland, Austria, Italy, Sweden, and Germany, to name a few. How did I do it? Money went to the absolute necessities — train tickets, hostels, and inexpensive food. Somehow I managed to make ends meet. Note that the dollar went a LONG way in my preferred haunts in Eastern Europe. When you can buy a tall glass of brew for 30 cents, what more do you need? Those months spent abroad were enormously influential, and I still reference them daily.

I’ve since returned to Europe many times. As an adult traveling to Europe, I’m staying in better places and eating in better restaurants. Am I having a better time? Nah. If anything, I’ve discovered that travel is like an addictive drug; what gave you a “buzz” the first time around isn’t as likely to do it when you take your second hit. You’ve got to move forward in search of the next thrill. Yes, money helps, but if you’re not careful it can also insulate you from the adventure. Satellite TV and room service are not what makes Paris great. Granite counter tops are lovely, but they have little to do with camping.

My second “mind over money” life experience happened in Yellowstone National Park. I worked in the Park in 1991 (and later in 1994). My first job was”kitchen helper.” Later I moved on to my favorite role — that of “ice cream scooper.” Again, I made no real money (although I scored some nice tips for scooping up huge amounts of ice cream!). NO ONE works in the Park for money (at least no one stuck in the bowels of the kitchen ;-)). You work there for the experience. Yellowstone is like a different planet, one with clearer skies, crisper air, and natural wonder (including the occasional grizzly bear) lurking around every corner. Yes, there really are more stars in the sky at night. Until you’ve experienced life in this magical place, no amount of verbal description will do it justice.

This brings me back to our video, and the topic at hand — GEAR and how it relates to adventure. We all obsess about gear, and I am as guilty as the next guy. Sure, it’s nice to have an Airstream, a diesel truck, and a generator. Maybe you want a Prevost, or a Winnebago, or a Tiffin. Yes, it’s a luxury to be able to travel with these sorts of material possessions and creature comforts at our disposal.

But this stuff costs money, sometimes lots of it. As the great philosopher Jagger once said, you can’t always get what you want. If you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

You don’t “need” an expensive rig to go out and have a good time. You just need the spirit to get out there and do it. A talented photographer can take stunning photos with an iPhone. An amateur will take clunkers with a Canon 5D. You can have a wonderful time with a cheap Kmart tent and a couple of sleeping bags. It’s never about the gear; it’s about the person.

Kristy and I are certainly fortunate to have the time, good health, and resources to travel to the extent we have. I am appreciative of these opportunities and experiences.

“Do it while you’re young,” senior citizens repeatedly tell us. We’ve taken their advice to heart.

I say, whether you are young or old, rich or poor, have a Prevost or a tent, it doesn’t really matter.

Do it.

Get hitched — and carpe diem.

And by the way, I know the audio/video sync is off in the video. I’ll fix it when I have the time, not to mention the electricity!


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Essential RV Camping Gear

Scout365 – Our Inflatable Boat!
Counter Assault Bear Spray
Oxygenics shower head
Antisway bar

Inverter generator
LED spotlight
Sean’s Tilley hat
Merrell Jungle Moc shoes
Walkie talkies
Boeshield T-9 lubricant
Weber portable grill
Air-Dryr
OBDII code reader
Water “jerry can”
Eye masks for sleep
Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries
RV water filter
Dry shampoo
The Next Exit book

Airstream Essentials
Trailer Aid tire changing ramp
Britta Bella water pitcher
Pink flamingos

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