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On the Road

Vol. 1-9

On the Road

Vol. 1-9

The Other Side of the Breaking Point

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Hat with glasses illustration | On the Road by Moon

The money isn't worth it. The lifestyle wasn't worth it. I mean, we had a beautiful apartment downtown Denver. We had new cars. But for what, so we could not see each other all the time?

— Brittani and Adam Fenimore

Filmmakers’ Notes

The Fenimores have been a fundamental part of Moon since early in the company’s conception, and they were the first people that we ever gifted a MoonShade to. We connected with them in Joshua Tree on the same day that we had our conversation with Jupiter, where they were the de facto hosts of the camp where we’d all gathered. That day, Richard followed them around shooting b-roll on a trip to the grocery store, the gas station where they loaded up on water, and to dump the toilet tank – essentially, the unsexy parts of living in a van. Richard was with them long enough in the day that he felt like a fly on the wall, and got a genuine glimpse of what it was like to be a full-time van life couple.

Read the Interview

Henry:
So does this (van) feel like home now? When did you guys feel settled in?

Adam:
I would say six months in, right? I think we can both agree that the timeline got kind of screwed up, it could have been different if it wasn't for COVID...things got drastically changed. We got kicked off of a small patch of grass in a park for working out. Like “parks closed, you can't be here”. We were like, what do you mean? We're just using grass? No equipment just trying to get some exercise. We can't be here?

So we were in Florida for five weeks, quarantined in a condo, so the timeline kind of got thrown off with finding our groove, and getting comfortable with the lifestyle and adjusting to it. It's a huge adjustment. We've known each other for 12 years, and there were things we didn't really know about each other, until living together in a very small space.

Brittani:
When all your private stuff is not private anymore, it turns out there’s still things to learn about each other (laughs). But yeah, six months. We’re a year into this now, and we just got an oven. I think part of that comes from living van life, you want to continue to grow and change and do new things. Part of it is just, it's a hard lifestyle. So you're never really done figuring it out.

We've known each other for 12 years, and there were things we didn't really know about each other, until living together in a very small space.

Henry:
So basically you just set sail, no turning back.

Brittani:
The last year we held keys to anything but this van was January 31st of 2020.

Adam:
We sold our cars and sold everything we owned.

The Fenimores | On the Road by Moon Van 1

The Fenimores | On the Road by Moon Van 2

The Fenimores | On the Road by Moon Van 3

Henry:
So if you had known everything that was gonna happen with COVID, would you do it the same?

Brittani:
We asked ourselves that, but we had no choice. We were strapped in, we’d already sold everything, we’re not turning around now. Full steam ahead.
But I don’t know – I’d like to say yes. But we didn’t think we’d be here a year later.

Adam and Brittani Fenimore | On the Road by Moon

Henry:
Take me back to before then – how did you decide to sell everything and move into a van?

Brittani:
I was working as a travel nurse, and I would cry on my way to work every freaking day. And I'm like, something's got to give, I’ve had a successful career, whatever that means. I make good money. I have good job security.

Adam:
It’s all those things, you know, the cushy lifestyle. And there’s still not fulfillment. We were like two trains passing, she was working at night and sleeping during the day. And I was working from, like, 10 to 12 hours a day, and tired all day. Now looking back, I would have liked to do the gesture of bringing her dinner at the hospital, but none of that stuff was happening because we were exhausted. So we quit our day jobs.

The money isn't worth it. The lifestyle wasn't worth it. I mean, we had a beautiful apartment downtown Denver. We had new cars.

Brittani:
But for what, so we could not see each other all the time?

Adam:
That’s a roommate situation, that’s not a marriage.

Adam and Brittani Fenimore | On the Road by Moon
Adam and Brittani Fenimore in the van | On the Road by Moon

Brittani:
So it’s not to say that van life takes away the hard stuff, we’re still two humans that live in 80 square feet now so there’s other challenges, but it feels–

Adam:
-more healthy.

Brittani:
Yeah, it’s more healthy. We have our quarrels and drive each other nuts sometimes, but I’d rather have that than not seeing you for a week.

And yeah, for the first couple of weeks we felt we were getting duped into a lifestyle that wasn’t actually a thing.

Henry:
What were some of your expectations, or some things you never expected?

Adam:
The expectations... like anything you see behind a phone or computer screen, you see what you want to see. We never really knew that most people on those (online) platforms don’t actually live in their vehicles. And yeah, for the first couple of weeks we felt we were getting duped into a lifestyle that wasn’t actually a thing.

Adam and Brittani Fenimore at Joshua Tree | On the Road by Moon
Adam and Brittani Fenimore Joshua Tree Vanlife | On the Road by Moon

Henry:
In your experience, what percentage of people are out here doing this full-time?

Adam:
People are out here doing it. They're out here. There's no doubt about it. But there's a different reality on social media.

Brittani:
I would agree with that.

Adam:
It's like on social media, you would think all those people are going out... but it’s a small percentage.

Brittani:
But there's definitely people out here who don't maybe have a social media presence, who just do it and don't care if the world sees it. And then there's people who are on the opposite end of the spectrum who want to do it, and they portray that they are, but it's more for the social platform.

We really like community, and that was kind of a reason we wanted to do this again, we attached ourselves to van life for the community that it can bring.

Henry:
So there’s a range - aspirational, social media on one hand, and then there's people actually living the life that don't give a fuck about social media.

Brittani:
Totally. People who almost frown upon even utilizing it because it's like, basically tying yourself back into the normal societal world, if you will. So there's that end of people, and then I feel like we're somewhere in the middle - we like to share, we like to inspire people, and we're out here doing it.

The common thread that I see with van-lifers and people who live on the road, would be a breaking point of happiness just in general in their life, whether that was through work, or family or whatever, something that wasn't bringing anything for them.

I don't think I don't know if we would have the social media following that we do without COVID, which sounds kind of weird. We really like community, and that was kind of a reason we wanted to do this again, we attached ourselves to van life for the community that it can bring. And that was stripped away from us pretty much immediately when we moved in our van, so, really, we turned to social media to try and build that sense of community that we were missing that we really longed to have. Not to say that we didn't put work in, to build anything you have to put in work. We were trying to connect with people.

Vanlife dog | On the Road by Moon

Vanlife cute dog | On the Road by Moon

One of the things we did when we first started is we just started taking tequila shots during quarantine and celebrating milestones of followers, thanking people for joining our community by taking a tequila shot. I don't really know why that was so exciting for others but it was, and people would do it with us, which is so funny.

Adam:
Yeah, we met all these people on Instagram, from different parts of the country, in different walks of life from Kansas to California. People all over that we would have never connected with unless we would have just ran into them out here.

Henry:
Do you feel like there’s a kind of common thread that you see among people you connect with?

Adam:
The common thread that I see with van-lifers and people who live on the road, would be the breaking point of happiness just in general in their life, whether that was through work, or family or whatever, something that wasn't bringing anything for them, and they figured, even if it was for six months or five years, that living on the road, living more simply would bring them that happiness.

Brittani and Adam Fenimore Vanlifing | On the Road by Moon

Brittani:
I agree with that. And I also think people are starting to flip the switch on when you retire. It's not forever, we couldn't live like this till the day we die. But why not do it now when our bodies are able, we can hike those 10 to 12 mile hikes, and we can sleep in a bed that's maybe a little bit too short? And to do so at a younger age versus the retired age, which is kind of where I think van life started – I think, retirees would move into a C class or a camper van and travel after they retired, and now we're just doing that before the age of 65. But I would say that social media is a proponent of that mentality of wanting to do that early.

But also, it's okay to fail. Like, it's okay. We didn't do this on our exact timeline. We still fumble and fall. No one's a seasoned vet in this lifestyle because it is so challenging and so different.

Henry:
So, one of my last questions, if there's another Brittani and Adam in Denver or some other city that are dreaming about this life, what would you say to them?

Brittani:
So for someone considering doing this, wondering what's on the other side. First of all, you can do anything you put your mind to. But also, it's okay to fail. Like, it's okay. We didn't do this on our exact timeline. We still fumble and fall. No one's a seasoned vet in this lifestyle because it is so challenging and so different. But just believe that you have what it takes and you will find your flow. And you're gonna have the fucking time of your life.

Adam:
To piggyback off of that, yeah, I definitely think you can do whatever it is you want. But maybe start with baby steps (laughing)-

Brittani:
-I mean, you can if you want, but jumping is way cooler, because then you have no choice.

Boots Illustration | On the Road by Moon

Looking back at the Joshua Tree portion of our road trip, I realize now that in those few days there we had started to understand what “On the Road” was going to be. When we’d set out from Austin almost two weeks before, we knew we’d have a whirlwind of driving, filming, and interviewing people ahead of us, but after meeting eight out of the twelve subjects of this series, we recognized a pattern in all of our conversations. Maybe it was the timing, coming off of a pandemic that had interrupted so many routines and spurred a lot of people to think more deeply about life – we found ourselves asking less surface-level, vague questions about outdoor activities, and instead launching headlong into questions of meaning and identity and connection. We were feeling more confident that we were making something that had value, and most importantly, we were enjoying ourselves. We rolled out of Joshua Tree that evening, towards Nevada. As we left the desert it felt like we had learned things that we’d bring along with us. There were a few more stories to tell before the trip was finished, and some welcome long miles still ahead.