One night in December, Serenity announced “you know how I’ve always wanted to travel the country in a camper with my dog? Well I want to do it.”
Huh, that’s cute.
The brief history of her story. Young, 18-year-old Serenity dreamed she was going to buy an old camper van and drive across country with her dog, Indy. She went to college instead. And didn’t stop going until she finished her PhD. Technically, she is still going; just now as a professor of digital media. Actually, it was her work as a professor teaching classes on Integrated Media that served as an impetus for this trip. What if we created an Integrated Media Project that modeled to students how you might combine photo, video, social media, web publishing and a good story? She also began preparing a new class called “Communicating the National Parks” about the messages we send as a society about the value of our parks (our “Best Idea,” our “Crown Jewels,” how much tax money should we spend on park preservation, etc…). This seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine these two goals: a two-month long project documenting the national parks and preparing integrated media material.
Back to the trip…
I suggested we start out small, perhaps try borrowing her father’s camper for the 2nd time and hope it goes better than the 1st time. The first time, we camped in my brother’s back yard for his wedding. To give an idea of how it went: the first morning, a half awake Serenity declared “I HATE CAMPING! IT’S COLD AND IT’S LOUD AND IT STINKS WHEN YOU POOP!” Previous to this experience, our idea of camping was staying at the Ramada overlooking some trees. (If you’re still reading this, it means Serenity hasn’t read my post and instructed me to remove it…)
But she was serious. After extending my idea of a 1 week camping trip, it turned into 4+ week of traveling with a camper, seeing the United States of America from coast to coast. With all 3 of our dogs. After my cold sweats and panic subsided, I started to imagine a summer on the road. It sounded pretty neat. So I did what I did best, start scouring the internet to buy a vehicle. Three weeks later, a 27 foot fifth wheel camper was ours. (More on this later.)
So, this is going to happen.