We have the travel bug. As a generation there is no greater unanimous desire than to just go. The fact roaming has become a viable career via social media has only increased our need to set out. It is no longer a lifestyle reserved for the daydreamers and jobless youth. Seemingly anyone, can and is, in the process of leaving it all behind for a life on the road. But, I am wondering does travel being more accessible make it less memorable?
I’ve been interested in Scarlet Mann’s work for years now. Her 2014 exhibit, LA Odyssey: Reverie married together surreal spaces and larger life questions to make my wheels rotate. The images here are a collection from a two-month long road trip taken with her husband Richard Knapp – a phenomenal photographer – and two young sons. They lived the roamers dream: van life, camp out, see the unseen.
We’ve compiled the photographs from their journey here with excerpts from Mann’s travel journal. She visits in her memory the very things which planted this dream seed in her as a young woman. Her thoughts come alive with the magic of her destinations. They capture their sons in intimate portraits and the world around them in startling honesty. Some of the most profound images are taken in the in-between-space of national parks and destinations – making the nowhere’s the most spectacular somewhere’s of the entire trip.
She makes me think a lot on the nature of travel these days. How can we keep the dream alive? Is our need to go coming from a place of true curiosity? Is it possible we have we been led to believe, as of late, that to stay is to fail? I am wondering what truly draws us out in the early morning hours, and tugs on us at night. What is the whisper in your ear that says, go? And is it honest? And I am wondering above all else how we can, like Mann has, keep it sacred and earth shifting.
“Long before we had the children, we had the dream. The dream to live on the road, to leave it all behind, run away, and live on the road. Though that pull was always deep in our souls, we knew that we loved our routine lives too much to check out completely. So we travel to get away, to leave all of the wreckage behind that we seem to accumulate in our daily lives. We travel to keep the dream alive. We travel to challenge our souls, to raise our cultural intelligence. We travel for inspiration, to give us a reason to wake up in the mornings. We travel to remind ourselves that there is life outside of the big city.”
“We wanted to raise our boys with a desire to lust after adventure, discovering new places, getting to know new character worthy people, devouring books, exploring the mountains, lakes and rivers of our land. We wanted them to realize that there was life before them and around them. So many lessons are learned on the road. The lesson that you can do whatever you put your mind to, the lesson that it’s up to us to take care of this planet which is our home, the lesson that the people that make up our country can actually be really deep and informative and positive if you just reserve all judgments.”
“I first realized I was in a love affair with nature when I was seventeen, sitting on the edge of a black lake curiously watching it’s subtle ripples as the moon’s soft light exposed the darkness of its secret night life and lit up my soul.”
“The golden sun is setting across from me over red cliff mountain at calf creek. My long black skirt is blowing in the wind, drying from earlier’s waterfall excursion. The violin and piano from the most amazing riff from Howl’s Moving Castle are unfolding grand notes of eternity in my ear as I methodically slice the mushrooms, onions and potatoes from tonight’s dinner. The onion and chive cream cheese is forming perfect waves on the vista grain and seed cracker. I’ve just started to relax from today’s six mile hike to the 150’ waterfall. Living on the road in the dirt, sun & heat is starting to take a toll on the perfect order of my material things, but that’s okay because life couldn’t be more nostalgic, artistic and alive.”
“In the summer, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt, creeks & campfires.”
“He was the kind of boy who took me places I couldn’t even imagine up. He pierced a spot in my soul deeper than I ever knew existed as we would drive and drive and drive through untamed land, dirt roads and fairy rides with views more spectacular than the world itself, like we had hit another planet.”
“When I first drove in to the Mesa, there was a thunderstorm with gentle rain drops and brisk summer air. It was the perfect welcome.”