Alabama couple travel US in vintage camper
By Lauren Lane | Staff ReporterBy Lauren Lane | 11/12/2015 8:16am
Kyle Brady and Olivia Gould pose together while on their road trip around the United States. Photo courtesy of Kyle Brady
“I guess we were mainly inspired [by] a lot from people we follow on Instagram,” Gould said. “We had friends traveling for a few weeks at a time, and it looked really awesome. But then we saw that some of these people on Instagram do it every day, full time, for their livelihood. All of these people make excuses for why they can’t do that, and we were just like, what’s our excuse?”
Brady was working as a musician and Gould as a waitress at the time, and after a year of planning, saving and hunting for just the right camper, Brady and Gould quit their jobs to set out on an unclear but exciting journey.
“We didn’t have any reason to stick around for our jobs, and we had an Etsy store which was successful, and we knew that it could support us if we were on the road,” Brady said.
The couple’s Etsy store, The Wooden Earth, sells vintage prints that they have mostly collected from flea markets in south Alabama.
Life in a camper has been an adjustment for the pair, but they said it is much easier and more enjoyable than they expected. Storage was their biggest concern, but Brady said even though he eliminated about 80 percent of his clothes, he still finds himself only wearing half of those.
“I keep seeing I brought too much stuff even though we condensed it all, but it’s just stuff to us now,” Gould said. “What we are really striving for is to cultivate an experience, not things.”
That being said, the couple has not spent much time looking for new prints to sell quite yet, but have been focusing on enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful sights they have come across along the way.
“In the beginning, we just had a list of national parks we wanted to go to and let that dictate where we were going to go,” Brady said. “We don’t plan more than a week in advance and travel no more than an hour and a half a day so we spend a lot of time camping and seeing the sights we want.”
The couple has taken advantage of apps and government programs that have helped them find out how to get free or cheap camping.
“If you really utilize the resources out there, it is so easy to travel,” Gould said. “You can work and get paid or free camping-using programs. You can lead a canoe trip for a half a day and get paid by the national park.”
Their favorite place to visit so far has been Colorado, and they have enjoyed discovering both traditional monuments and eclectic small towns.
“The most interesting place was this town we really liked called Fruita,” Brady said. “We stayed at a state park and weren’t really sure about it, but the Colorado Monument was nearby, and we found that the town was really hip. We learned it was one of the leading bicycling towns in the country and there were pizzas delivered on bikes and all of these organic, earthy people.”
Brady and Gould told family and friends that they would be gone for a year, but the pair plans to take each day as it comes. They have a goal of making it to Alaska by next summer but are focusing on personal growth.
“We really love being on the road and want to make it more of a lifestyle,” Brady said. “We are doing this to live freely and deliberately, and a lot of people can’t really grasp the freedom and simplicity of it.”
Brady and Gould keep in touch with their family and friends through a blog. To learn more about the couple’s cross country travels, visit drivinandvibin.wordpress.com.