Erik and Amelia

photo by parker hilton

“Why would we go back to Jersey? Nothing against it, but I’ve found my place here. I have a job and the van. Things are good. On top of all that, I have her, why would I change any of that?”

From the very beginning of Vanajeros Parker’s friend Erik suggested that we swing through his new apartment in St. Helena. So once the journey actually started that’s one of the first things we did. As we made our way south through the Pacific Northwest there was talk of wine and a barbeque, and building excitement from Parker who hadn’t seen Erik, his childhood neighbor from back in New Jersey, for the better part of a decade. There was also a fair amount of speculation as to what St. Helena would be like because none of us had ever been there (or heard of it, for that matter).

But from the moment Erik pulled up in his tintop Vanagon to show us the way to his house on the outskirts of town, we knew all of the talk would not be undermined.

There was, in fact, wine (really good wine), and great barbecue, and catching up on the last six years of everyone’s lives, which included trading good music and hearing the story of Eric and Amelia meeting. It was an enchanting tale that involved giving her a tour of the vineyard/farm he works on and then chasing down her car as she drove away, giving her his number in case he never saw her again. Coincidently, it happened exactly one year and one day before we arrived.

Amelia showed us around their apartment and told us about life in St. Helena. She also told us stories about growing up in Half Moon Bay, and about concerts she and Erik had seen over the last year.

St. Helena turned out to be an amazing experience shared with two people who live a very pleasant life.  Driving away from that town it was hard not to wonder if maybe we had it all wrong. We may be living the nomad life for now, but when it’s all over the most we could wish for is to be a fraction as happy as these two are.

photo by parker hilton