2020 Boldt 70KL

A Bit About Us

We are adventurers. We are long distance backpackers and cyclists. We have travelled this globe separately and together. Now we want to explore the best of North America and where we live, here in Western North Carolina. We will do this in our camper van, a class B RV that we call our “Escape Capsule” (you must use a posh British accent when you say it).

I am a passionate Nature lover and explorer, outdoor adventurer. Since a child I have always played in the woods and travelled worldwide. In the 90’s I lived in England for 6 years. In 2007, I hiked from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian trail. These two decisions were epic and the best I have ever made, they changed my life in unimaginable ways.

Since my thru hike I have dedicated my life to hiking and backpacking. I have hiked long distance on many trails: West Highlands Way in Scotland; the Long Trail, Yosemite NP, Glacier NP, sections of the PCT, the Foothills Trail, Art Loeb… I have worked for Outfitters; as a Leave No Trace Awareness Instructor and as a hiking guide with Blue Ridge Hiking Company. I had a professional career as a Social worker and Counselor for 20 plus years. Traveling in a campervan is a natural progression for me. #hikertrashinacampervan.

I still love backpacking, but the campervan provides the comfort and conveniences of a tiny home on wheels. This makes outdoor adventures even more accessible. It enables us to be in the woods for longer because we have our supplies and facilities. We can reach even more remote areas and take our base camp with us.

Both Ralph and I had thought about the “camper van/ RV life” before we met, “ one day”. For the three plus years we have been together we have day dreamed and talked about this ideal; our bucket list, our one last hoorah! But, there was never a good time due to work commitments; family obligations; needing to plan for retirement; and work- life balance. I had five jobs with four employers as an independent contractor. Ralph has many obligations and projects. He has built up a successful business as a travel journalist.

We have had many fears about how to make it all work and knowing just when is the right time. Then out of the blue, the pandemic Corona Virus caused by Covid -19 shook the globe and shifted our lives, economics, commitments and our perspectives.

I had lost quite alot due to Covid-19: all employment; my living accommodation connected to my employment; my track, my stability; my “ compass and map”. I had a cozy little living set up prior to the pandemic with my belongings and memories snuggled around me. Within one week I had to get rid of my furniture, many possessions and move out. I had to give them away. The rest were put in boxes in a basement.

I have been here before, in a way. It took me seven months to hike the Appalachian Trail. I left the comforts of conventional life. My world and everything I needed to survive was on my back, in my pack, like a big tortoise.

Heading North on the AT toward Hump Mtn. NC/TN

After shock and lock down, I find I am on a new path, a blank map. Where am I now?, what do I do, how do I proceed and safely? Ralph and I decided. After all our talk about when and How? Together and now we are hitting the road and the trails (hiking and biking), in our Class B Rv camper van.

We want to scrape off the veneer of the mass produced commercial sameness that one sees at first glance and can find anywhere and everywhere. We seek to immerse ourselves in a Place and get to know it intimately, to experience it in its context. Its history and its culture. We want to understand the landscape, geology, the flora and fauna and the cycles and seasons of it’s Wilderness and Wildness. We feel we are lucky and privileged here in North America to have access to such rich and beautiful biodiversity. Wilderness is a treasure and an asset in this overcrowded, overdeveloped, tamed, shrinking world. North Americans can be proud of our Wilderness areas and Wildlife.

Who knows how much longer we would have been stuck in the “ when is the right time?” mode. The effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic answered it for us. Our ‘Escape Capsule’ is the answer to the “How.”

Ralph, age 25 in 1982, bicycling across Canada.