Downsizing for up livin! with photographer Lucy Laucht
We take an adventure across America bound to make you want to pack your life up and just go!
A Brit living in New York by way of Australia, Lucy is a writer and photographer who is always in motion. She left the rainy shores of England some nine years ago for a year long, round-the-world backpacking adventure where she met her soul mate along the way and never looked back.
Lucy shares her story…
This past June my husband Paul and I got married, quit our successful jobs in New York City, packed up our apartment and moved into a 1985 Volkswagen Westfalia camper, determined to see a country we’d called home for six years but knew precious little about.
Sunset at Big Sur, California.
We traveled from New York via Maine to the tip of Newfoundland, Canada, before swinging west and dipping into New Mexico, we hauled north through the Rocky Mountains covering Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. From there we headed south through the PNW (literally, the Pacific North Wet as we called it) — Washington and Oregon and finally concluded our adventure in sunny California.
Swell on the horizon, Big Sur.
Golden hour at Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur.
Downsizing from a tiny Brooklyn apartment to an 80 square foot van was actually surprisingly easy— a lesson in how few possessions one actually needs to get by. It was our books that seemed to take up the most room (and Paul’s numerous surfboards, fishing rods etc..!) but looking back we both accepted the lack of space was a small trade for the adventure we were about to have. Away from the cities and in wild places the showers were often few and far between, but that’s life in a van and I thought of a quote by John Muir “These spaces wash your soul clean”. And they did. In the National Parks I was in awe of the great American wilderness and of the battles people have fought to protect it. Oftentimes I was struck by how urgent it is that we protect the vast natural riches and wild places which are disappearing quickly to oil and climate change.
Making friends in California
Our little bus (we named her La Guaguita, which translates as ‘little bus’ in Cuban Spanish) had a few major breakdowns along the way, notably one serious transmission failure high up in the Canadian Rockies. We were stranded for three days waiting for a tow, but the upshot was that we ground to a halt outside a four-star lodge complete with a roaring fire and an excellent wine list.We always lucked out on breaking down in good places.
Paul & La Guaguita saluting the sun
My favorite time of day
Sunset at El Matador beach
Taft Point, Yosemite National Park
Home among the Redwoods, Nor Cal
Paul photographing the giants, Redwood National Park
Elk spotting, Northern California
Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island. The farthest northern point on our trip
We spent an amazing few days at the Zapata Ranch in Colorado. Here a quiet moment before herding cattle
Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Taking a break on the Highline Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana
Recharging (and showering!) at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon
Paul catching dinner at Trillium Lake, Oregon
Paul watching sunrise, Canyonlands, Utah
La Guaguita dwarfed by red rock in Utah
Cannon Beach, Oregon
The Tetons, and probably one of my favorite places of the trip. Wyoming
It was a life changing trip, there’s no other way to describe it. But all good things must come to an end and we sold La Guaguita in California this past month. We both felt incredibly sad. She had become our home, our identity, our only constant in a sea of change.
People ask which places we loved most. There’s too many to list! I loved everywhere we went, and I suffer from the worst nostalgia! But what I do know is that my favorite moments were the quiet ones; parked up with nothing but wilderness outside, candle flickering, pop top up, a good book and a glass of wine in hand.