After 9 months of carrying our baby, we finally made it out west. ‘Carrying our baby’ is slang for ‘Driving our Bus’. We’ve been waiting for this part of our travels. We've been in New Mexico now for a month due to COVID-19. It's okay though because we love where we're parked.
As full-time digital nomads our bus is our home. We live in a converted shuttle bus. We sleep in it. We eat in it. We pee and poop in it too. Not on the floor or anything. We have a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet. It’s the shit.
Parking in the desert has already proved to be unique. Just the other day we met someone who was upset with us for riding our mountain bikes off trail. We disturbed the sand. Apparently it ruins the desert lands. We get it. People want to protect the planet. We have followed the rules of the BLM land here which states, "no motorized cross-country travel". We don’t litter. We dispose of our waste and trash properly. We follow the 'Leave No Trace Principles'. We do what we can to be mindful of this land and of others, without sacrificing our own mental and physical well-being. We can’t (and won’t) do it all. We believe in balance, and frankly, being O.T.T. (over the top) about things just isn’t good for anyone’s mental health. Trust me, I know. We did however learn from this interaction. While it may have seemed like we were being verbally attacked, we were not. It allowed us to take a moment to reflect on the needs and beliefs of other people living this lifestyle.
We also made friends with a pro-gun Republican. I mean no harm with that label. The dude was driving around with his wife, son, and three chihuahuas. He wanted to know if we had seen any pigs running around. He was looking for his next breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An hour later, I walked away knowing more about guns than ever before. My wife always impresses me. I said maybe three words the whole time. When people meet us, I think they’re so taken aback by what my wife knows that they want to keep talking. Not many lesbian women can carry on a conversation with a staunch Republican about guns and pigs. That, or they’re trying to figure out if I’m mute. It was unique. In all honesty, the guy showed concern and made sure we were aware of the dangers in the desert.
Recently, we were met with a different kind of friend: desert wind. We have a Quick Set Portable Outdoor Gazebo Canopy. We soon realized our canopy was just a hot air balloon waiting to take off. Sort of like The Wizard prematurely launching and failing to take Dorothy home. Luckily, my wife and I make a great team and we got that sucker all packed away.
What also matters is the heat. Among the many desert hazards, heat is at the top of the list. We are desert rookies so right now I am trying to be cautious (maybe O.T.T.) about our safety out here. We have two dogs. It’s important for them to stay cool and comfortable. We need to drink a lot of water, wear hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and watch out for rattlesnakes. My wife is so afraid of snakes. It's pretty entertaining to see her scream and run in the other direction.
With all these scary things in the desert, the last thing we want is to be featured in an episode of My Favorite Murder. It’s a podcast in case you’re not familiar. Crime Junkie alert! That’s what I listen to on our long drives. I get myself all primed up, ready to face my fears.
We are grown ass women. We take responsibility for our decisions and we are fully aware of the risks we take with full-time travel. We knew that in 2018 when we bought our bus. We knew that when we sold our things and our house and set off on this unforgettable adventure. We are going to meet tons of people that are different from us. We’ll have to battle the weather and all sorts of unexpected visitors. I’m sure we’ll see lots of poisonous snakes. Probably some big scary bears. We might get sick, injured, or we might die. We sure hope we don’t die, but my point is this: with adventure comes risk. We understand that what we’re doing isn’t something that works for everyone. We do what we can to protect ourselves, and that those measures align with our beliefs about humanity, love, and happiness. One cannot protect themselves from all dangers. We research our locations. We stock up on food, water, and emergency supplies. We wear appropriately clothing and gear for our activities. There will be times when we’re unprepared. We hope that involves something like a cute little moose trying to climb on our deck at 2 a.m. or our composting toilet getting stinky. Whatever the case, we do what we do with intention.
We hope that everyone finds comfort & peace during this uncertain time. COVID-19 has changed the way we do things. Do what you can to show kindness to others as we all find ways to manage our lives.
Stephanie + Sarah