We sat on the Ecuadorian side of the Colombia/Ecuador border, probably the most beautiful of our trip: lush trees and an old, stonework bridge spanned a dramatic gulch, a small tumbling river churned at its bottommost point. I wasn’t looking at that, though. I actually couldn’t see anything around me. My head was between my legs, and I stared at the faded corduroy of our van’s seats, numb to most everything.
Living and working out of the van has lived up to all the challenges anyone would expect from the road warrior lifestyle, but some of the hardest things we’ve encountered have nothing to do with our vehicle; simply being in a foreign country can be straining.
We sacrificed all personal space and any thought of privacy when the four of us — all photographers and close friends —moved into the van. On July 5th, 2014, still a little wobbly from the festivities the day before, we said our goodbyes and started our cramped voyage from Montana, bound for Ecuador.
It was Friday afternoon. The sun was out and our spirits were high as we were just a few short clicks away from the Ecuadorian border — our final destination after six months of driving, when our engine died.
Just when we think we've got the hang of things, the script gets flipped. Movement gives way to stasis as circumstances beyond our control leave us dealing with perhaps the most difficult aspect of the trip so far: waiting.
Creative work is what we love, but this project that we’d fashioned was creating more questions than confidence. We had the brains, we had the gear. But what do you do when a project is not quite coming together like you thought it might?
Through unexpected trials and unexpected delights, the road showed us what we can depend on: an ever-changing cultural backdrop, adventure and anxiety as constant companions, and a new vista every morning that we open the sliding door.