A story of four friends

{Photo of the day: Camping with Claire & Brandon, Almo, ID.}

I can’t let our time with Claire & Brandon pass by without telling the story of how our friendship began. I love it too much to not share.

Claire & I met at a yoga studio in Nampa, Idaho. I was 6 months in to living in Idaho, was struggling with the lack of access to public lands for exercise and was at a total loss as to how to make friends. I’d never been to a yoga studio before but figured it was worth a shot, though the idea of walking in to such a community was wildly intimidating. The first person I saw when I walked in the door was Claire. She greeted me enthusiastically and immediately put me at ease. I was so grateful to feel welcomed in to this new space. After our class Claire suggested getting coffee together one day so we exchanged numbers and I texted her that afternoon. I was in dire need of a friend.

We met for coffee a few days later and talked for hours. She told me about her and Brandon’s plan to hopefully start a family soon and I told her about how Mark and I had spent all of the previous year living on the road in our RV in search of what was next for us. We had many things in common, as well as many curiosities about each other’s lives and perspectives. Claire’s energy was like a breath of fresh air. Her kindness, humor, curiosity and introspective nature left me hoping that we would become friends. Not to mention, we had an inclination that our husband’s also had a lot in common.

We saw each other regularly at yoga and would follow class with a tea date at Flying M Coffee shop when time allowed. I will never forget Claire telling me that her and her husband were inspired by Mark & I’s time living on the road and that they’d decided to sell their house, buy an RV and hit the road sometime in the next year. I didn’t know Claire well enough at the time to know how serious she was. She was dead serious.

Over the course of the next nine months Mark & I watched Claire & Brandon diligently work towards their goal. Even though both Mark & Brandon worked long hours, we found time when we could for the four of us to get together. As we suspected, Mark & Brandon hit it off from day one, the same as Claire & I had.

Witnessing their preparations had me just as excited for them as I was jealous. Selfishly, what struck me the most though was that I was losing the one friend I’d made since moving to Idaho. While we were bummed to see them go, I knew we would see them somewhere down the road.

In February (one year after we’d met) Claire & Brandon’s house was under contract and they were ready to hitch up their newly renovated home on wheels and hit the road. Mark & I were in Nevada at the time, at the tail end of our 2 month long winter road trip, and it turned out that our trajectory back North would intersect with their trajectory South. For four days we camped together on the shoreline of Lake Mead. I couldn’t think of a better way for us to celebrate our new friends embarking on this incredible lifestyle that we somehow inspired them to pursue. When we parted ways I was wildly curious to see when and where we would cross paths again.

Fast forward to last week and we serendipitously came together in Eastern Oregon. Since seeing them in February, we too sold our house and returned to full-time RV living. Needless to say, we’ve had a lot to talk about, hence the fact that we’re now on day 5 of camping together.

As an introvert, friends don’t come easily for me. Therefore, the friends I do have are people I connect with, respect and cherish deeply. Claire & Brandon are constantly opening my eyes to new perspectives and I absolutely love that about them. They challenge themselves and those around them to be better, more open-minded and understanding individuals. All while having a great sense of humor and appetite for adventure.

Camping with them has undoubtedly been a highlight of this wild and crazy year. I can’t wait to see when and where we get to do it again.


By Michele


Hi, I'm Michele, a nomadic wedding photographer and lover of the great outdoors. I live on the road full-time and document my adventures daily. This is my personal blog where I share and record my thoughts on living simply and intentionally with less stress and more joy. Check out my wedding and portrait photography at http://www.oncwest.com


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