As I write this, my husband, four-year-old son, and I are two weeks into a six-week road trip around the American West, towing our tiny forty-year-old camper trailer with our twenty-year-old SUV.
We started in early May, driving from our home in Vancouver, Canada, through Washington State (where we can go any time, so we drove straight through) to Portland, OR. Then we meandered down the coast from the sand dunes through the Redwoods to San Francisco, then further down the coast to Southern California and its myriad theme parks. From here we’ll head east to Arizona then New Mexico, then back north through eastern Utah to Yellowstone, then home via Montana.
Along the way, I’m keeping track of our travels in two ways: one a time-consuming labour of love, and the other through social media.
I brought three cameras with me on our trip: my decade-old digital SLR, a Fuji Instax 8, and my iPhone 5S. (At the time I’m writing this, two weeks into our trip, I haven’t taken out the DSLR once.)
The labour-intensive way I’m keeping track of the trip is by gluing instant photos from the Instax into tiny Field Notes books with notes about where we’ve been each day and what we did. After we get back home, I have it in mind to cut up those little notebooks to create a more durable scrapbook of our adventures. This is the more private, family-focused project.
It’s the public, social media part of our adventure that’s been a surprisingly lovely addition to our experience. (Not to imply that social media isn’t usually lovely; it totally is. It’s how rich it’s made certain parts of the trip that’s been a surprise.)
Lately, as I wrote about in my last post here at CreativeLive, Instagram has been the central focus of my time on social media. I push photos out from there to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, but it’s on Instagram itself that I have the most fun, because it’s the place where the most people hang out and chat.
Usually, when I’m home, I mostly post about things I make or try to make or fail epically at making. On the road, though, I’ve been sharing photos and stories about my kid’s first time on a roller coaster, and getting our brakes replaced after driving down the steep and winding coastal Highway 1, or how exhausting it is to climb a huge sand dune.
I admit that I wasn’t sure how all this family-holiday posting would go over with the people in my online community; it’s a pretty far cry from what I usually talk about online. (And my work is about creativity and making things, so I had some mild concern that six weeks of not posting work-related things so much might, I don’t know, cause my online universe to implode or something.)
Of course, as with most worrying we do about such things, it’s totally not been a big deal.
And as a major bonus, I’ve been having some truly awesome chats about travels and kids and road trips and weather and sights. People have told me which rides at Legoland and Disneyland they and their kids loved the most. They’ve told me about how the Redwoods make them feel in relation to the grand scheme of the universe. They’ve given me advice about what to do in particular places. They’ve told me stories of their own travels.
We’ve been relating to each other about things other than craft and art and creative life. And though I absolutely love talking with people about those things, it’s been an unexpected delight to talk to them about more personal things, too.
I feel like we’re getting to know each other beyond the usual. It’s served to remind me how important it is to share tales of disconnecting from work, and to just talk about other adventures for a while. I feel like, once I return to work in a few weeks, I’ll know some people more intimately. We’ll have a stronger bond. That might potentially be great for my work, but it’s certainly great for my soul.
Have you taken your online community with you on any out-of-the-ordinary adventures? I’d love to know what your experience was like!