Setting off on The Great American Road Trip
Growing up, I was never one for road trips. A four-hour drive for our annual family vacation felt like absolute torture. Then again, what kid does love road trips?
Many years later, my husband, Greg, suggested we accompany his grandparents on a road trip to Yosemite with their Model A (we trailered it up from San Diego). I had just left my corporate job the week before and a mental break was most certainly in order before I dove head first into growing Westway. The trip was absolutely incredible — we saw beautiful new places, spent quality time with each other and our family, had meaningful conversations, and created memories we’ll never forget.
And so began our love of road trips.
For years, our family vacations happened within a two-day’s drive from San Diego so our pup, Roxy, could come, too. Yellowstone became our favorite place but at 20 hours, it was not an easy journey. It was one hundred million percent worth it, though. We have memories of seeing incredible wildlife and scenery along with the feel-good memories, like cooking soup and sandwich lunches on picnic tables beside rivers with our single-burner camp stove. One of my favorite memories is when Roxy — safe inside the car — growled at the alpha female wolf of the Lamar Canyon pack while I was outside taking photos from a safe distance with a very long lens (we told her that wasn’t a great idea but thanked her for always protecting her mama). Here’s a video of me photographing the wolf (Roxy’s growl not heard):
As our love of road trips and wild places grew, a spark was ignited. Greg began watching YouTube channels of people who traveled the country in their RVs. He quickly got me hooked on them, too. Gone with the Wynns, Expedition Overland, Keep Your Daydream, Chris and G, and Nomadic Fanatic became our weekly must-watch shows (many still are). We started dreaming the big “what if…” dream.
That dream always seemed a million years away, though.
Fast forward to March 2020. The world stopped. My businesses lost the ability to produce income when non-essential businesses were told to close. We were grateful for Greg’s job and that he could easily work from home. It would be six months before my business was able to get back on its feet and experience some semblance of normalcy.
All through 2020 and 2021, we found that we continued to gravitate toward the YouTube channels with people who traveled in their RVs and our big dream became all-encompassing. We talked about the places we would go, the things we would see, the people we would visit, and the quality time we would have with my family (whom I hadn’t seen in over two years).
And then, in mid-2021, we made a life-altering decision: we purchased our dream Airstream travel trailer. We had this overwhelming sense that life was simply too short and too precious to waste dreaming. It was time to take action and live a life of adventure and exploration with days that aren’t spent doing the same thing over and over again.
In May 2022, Greg, Roxy, and I got the call: our Airstream was ready! We wrapped things up in San Diego, said goodbye to friends and family, and loaded up the truck with the bare necessities. We took off on a week-long drive across the country to Tampa, FL, where we would see our new home-on-wheels for the very first time and begin our six-month journey.
Our Airstream had taken nine months in production and we had never actually seen one exactly like her in person due to the shortages in travel trailers. Talk about a leap of faith making that purchase! Thankfully, she is everything we had imagined and more.
So, what’s our plan now? Good question.
Everyone asks “when will you be in _______?” The answer, I believe, is often rather frustrating to them. I simply don’t know. We know we’ll be heading up the east coast to New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine but we’re keeping things super flexible so if we want to stay somewhere a little longer, we can. Or, if we want to take a detour and visit a special place, we can do that, too. We’ve actually already done both and we’re only a few weeks in! It’s an entirely new way to think about life and travel and we’re very, very excited for it.
So now, as I sit here cozily alongside this gorgeous Virginia creek, under the cottonwood trees, watching their seed fluffs float down like summertime snow in the warm breeze, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. This life may not be for everyone but right now, adventure and exploration mean more to me than the creature comforts of a solid-standing structure.
The definition of home has changed: it’s wherever Greg, Roxy, and I decide to park it.
Don’t be confused, though: we’re not on a six-month vacation. We are absolutely here to see and experience new places but Westway is at the heart of it all. Photographing dogs is our passion and we wouldn’t dream of stopping!
We have three incredible trip sponsors who are helping make all of this possible: Wellness Pet Company, dooloop, and P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You. We will be creating new content for them every month by doing photo shoots all around the country. Pretty amazing, right? We’ve already done a few beachy Florida shoots and I can’t wait to see the images out in the world!
We’re available for commercial photo shoots anywhere along our route (or even places not on our route).
We’ll also be doing private mentoring for aspiring pet photographers and pet photographers who want to take their businesses to the next level.
And don’t write off private family pet photo shoots! We’d love to work with people who want to capture special memories of their pups all around the country, too!
If you want to follow along with our Great American Road Trip, I will be posting lots of photos and stories on the Westway Studio Instagram & Facebook along with monthly blog posts right here on my website. If you want to receive our monthly email newsletter so you never miss a blog post, sign up right here:
P.S. If you are on our basic route (NY, VT, NH, MA, ME > San Diego) and are interested in a portrait session, commercial project, private mentoring, or are interested in modeling for one of our monthly commercial shoots, reach out!
If you’re in San Diego and would like to get on my late 2022/early 2023 waiting list, reach out, too!
Please leave a comment below! I’d love to know if you recommend any don’t-miss spots or even if you’re just excited to follow along on our big adventure! It’s nice to know when people are enjoying what I’m putting out there! :)