Starlit Rambler - Adventure Travel Our Way
It all began on a beautiful simple 38 acre farm in a small mountain town in the NorthWest of South Carolina, where the animals outnumber the people and all food is harvested fresh from the gardens. Here is where I, Rachelle, started dreaming of travel, culture, and the freedom to choose. My parents stories of their adventures filled my head and my imagination ran free. Here is where I fell in love with the great outdoors. Scaling waterfalls, rock jumping, hiking, camping, repelling off bridges, and discovering the essence of hard work with my dad. Completing farm chores, frustrations and joys of home schooling, running the horses down the road to the river and throughout the national forests with my mom. Later to discover whitewater rafting and kayaking on the wild and scenic Chattooga River. There was never a dull moment without some sort of daily life defying moment among my family members. Yes, here is where my heart, my childhood, and many harsh and brilliant moments occurred which have led to the discover of who I am today.
After completing two bachelor degrees at the College of Charleston, unable to obtain an U.S. Passport, due to my home birth, hippie parents, and lack of documentation of my existence, I settled on exploring the great "Out West." After another summer of raft guiding, I packed up my car and hit the open road with my dog in the direction of which the sun always sets. Exploration of Colorado led me desiring to keep on going, upon arriving in Park City, UT I felt the sensation of home, at least for the winter. It was the old town western feeling of Main St, the dramatic rock faces of the Wasatch Mountain Range, and knowing no one.
After my first winter in Park City I had met some good friends who talked me into a month long road trip throughout the SouthWest of the states. We completed extensive hiking, up to 25 miles a day with most leading to 9,000+ feet vertical gains in several national parks, including Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite. These adventures were concluded with an open air Grateful Dead concert in San Francisco and next day one way ticket flight to Maui, HI.
Living on Maui was nothing like I could have imagined, even from the stories my parents had told me of Oahu. Let's just say I planned on staying for two months and I ended up staying closer to a year. The year was followed by a two month road trip, with a friend from Maui, throughout the NorthWest of the "mainland" including extensive camping and backpacking in the Northern Cascades, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Tetons National Parks. First time camping in feet of snow with temperatures reaching lows of 9 degrees Fahrenheit was quite the experience, nonetheless, all the unforeseen beauty and wildlife. The trip concluded with a journey back East with stops visiting family along the way.
Again I found myself being pulled back to Park City and this time with a higher mission involved of completing an accelerated bachelors program in Nursing. I am now in the midst of my seventh winter in Park City. The years have been broken up by a great amount of travel, outdoor adventures, amazing friends, obtaining nursing experience, and further exploration of my existence in this world. Now with our Sprinter Van on its way from New Hampshire, a new adventure begins, one that was a part of my original childhood dreams.
Looking back, ironically a month into nursing school several years ago, the Passport Agency requested DNA proof of my being the child of my parents, which I promptly completed testing to prove so. Without a single word of acknowledgement I received my U.S. Passport in the mail, five years later from my original application. Excited to finally have such freedom, I was able to convince my professors during my last semester of Nursing School to allow me the privilege of completing a month worth of Nursing research and exploration in Peru. Less then a year later I convinced my manager on the Oncology Surgical Unit that I worked as a Registered Nurse to allow me several weeks to ride a motorcycle throughout the Northern half of Vietnam.
Now the journey continues and begins. Jeremy and I, who have been partners for the past four years and share similar dreams, upon its hopeful arrival this Friday, will be outfitting our Sprinter Van for the next three months in preparation for one of our greatest adventures. We plan on making it worthy of carrying our whitewater kayaks, paragliders, mountain bikes, climbing rack, canyoneering, and backpacking gear inside as well as creating an elevated space for sleeping, clothing, food, and water storage. After the winter snowboarding and skiing season comes to a close in Park City, we will head South, East, and NorthWest (including Canada) for all sorts of other adventures. From this point we will decide if our journey takes us South into Mexico and South America or on an airplane to New Zealand and much more. The coolest part is we will work along the way with the skills we have or obtain new skills, fundraise to contribute to The Starlit Foundation (more about the Foundation to come) through our stories and adventures, and explore life without a time limit.
For now, we will focus on updating you with photos and words of our progress and aggravations in `doing it ourselves' Sprinter Van and current adventures. And maybe Jeremy will add his story of How It All Began for him. Stay tuned!
Author: Rachelle McEwen
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