Our adventure-seeking friends from The Longest Hello, Nick and Laura Ocean, recently returned home from months on the road. Nick was kind enough to sit down and share his thoughts about what life looks like post-adventure in a new home.
It’s the same feeling that I had the week after summer camp every year. I made amazing friends, learned how to make dreadlocks with glue, tried to look cool whenever a camera was out and wore the same t-shirt for four days in a row. The end of camp also marked the end of summer and it was time to buy school supplies and mourn the loss of long days filled with adventure. Time to grow up again.
Now that our road trip is over, the only differences are that I didn’t attempt the dreadlocks with glue and office supplies have replaced school supplies. Sometimes I look at the pictures of our trip and remember with a start that we were those people; it was the two of us in that camper. It’s only been a few months since we left the life of the full-time road trippers, adventure-seekers, and the so-called wanderlusters.
Now we’re creating a home in Oregon and putting into practice all the things we learned on the road, things like continuing our tradition of exploration and making the most of our time and place. We're now looking forward to long, local weekends full of possibility.
Searching for weekend adventures begins with choosing a different perspective; rather than wishing to be full-time road trippers, we are focusing on creating the best weekends ever. Our lifestyle change includes a location where it is easy to leave work on a Friday and be out in the woods or beside a river by nightfall. Fortunately, we are finding that Oregon is as beautiful and spacious as we’d hoped, and extremely conducive to the weekend adventure.
The Oregon Coast is, without a doubt, one of the more beautiful places I’ve been. The water is wild and the coastline is rugged. The colors are ruddy with sandy browns, green-blues and blue-grays. There is effort required to really explore it and the payoff is a feeling of being small in the midst of a powerful ocean and the graceful sea mist.
The long days of summer come early to the Northwest and twilight is extended bringing with it warm breezes and late evenings. The Willamette runs through the city of Portland cutting it into East and West sides and providing plenty of hidden spaces to gather with friends or enjoy a small fire while waiting for the sun to set.
No reservations? No problem. It may have been the busiest camping weekend of the year, Memorial Day, but we weren’t worried as we drove out to Mt. Hood National Forest. We knew of a few secret camping spots where we’d be off grid and able to enjoy the sun going down, sending an hours worth of color across the horizon. We found a few pieces of leftover trash from campers before us; packing that out with our garbage is an easy way to respect these beautiful places.
Rain or shine, a busy work week or job hunting, going with friends or going solo–there is always time and space to get out of the daily routine and seek refreshment, to remind ourselves that we’re part of a beautiful landscape that needs our respect and care, to feel small but empowered.
“Where do we belong” was the question that drew us out on the road in the first place, but the answer wasn’t in a specific city or town. The answer of where we belong is anywhere, as long as we are living honestly and intentionally while being there. We fit into the world in the same way we did before. Finding our place in serving this beautiful world will always be our chosen adventure.
Nick and Laura Ocean are a couple of artist-adventure seekers driving their truck and pop-up camper off the beaten path, down those forest service roads that lead into the woods, up the mountains and next to rivers. You can read their blog, The Longest Hello, here.