Kelcie is usually the one to be waiting on me but this was not the case on this particular morning. I showed up to her place welcomed by an abundance of gear strewn all over the living room. Walking around in her Fairly Casual bucket cap you could tell she was highly absentminded but keen on adventure. She had just finished her summer term at the university and had a two-week gap before classes were to start up in the fall. She had called me the week earlier and asked if I would like to road trip out to Seattle, naturally hearing Seattle I was sold on the idea.

We loaded up my Xterra. Per usual this was a frontline foxhole for the barrage of comments peppering my inabilities to perfect the minimalism lifestyle. I kept my head down and made a sacrificial offering; leaving a couple items to reside in Kelcie’s garage for the duration of the trip. I hoped it was nothing I would need. I never really mind though as I wouldn’t be nearly the minimalist I am today without ducking the sniper fire.

With the Xterra loaded we headed in the direction of adventure, west on I-80. During my last road trip I acquired a liking for a lack of preparation or knowledge of where I will stop or sleep. I think it adds a lighthearted element and lack of stress to the trip. It’s kind of like Alan Watts logic- by giving away all of the plans you gain one giant plan, to embrace your trip. So we didn’t really know where this first day would take us.

As golden hour approached, so did the Badlands National Park. This was destined to be the first stop on this carefree expedition. We took the remote exit marked by the promise of a brown sign. Kelcie was miles beyond beaming by the time we got to the park gate.

In the distance, a lethargic storm crawled its way through the flatlands of South Dakota. It sat too far in the distance to warrant attention and played lavishly into the moody images taken that evening. As the light started to fade in the canyons we sought our nightly refuge. We spent the night at a campsite on the far side of the park and woke to a glorious grapefruit sun radiating above the interstellar landscape.