I awoke in a tent mashed near the top of California’s Ebbett’s Pass, yellow-filtered sunlight streaming through the small pockets of mesh covering the rainfly. Before opening my eyes, I could hear the excited Liliana giggles as she plowed through our tent with reckless abandon, investigating, chewing, and eventually discarding everything in her path. Some babies get toys but ours prefers random paraphernalia that can be found in any roadside convenience store. Yogurt containers, plastic cutlery, and crinkly wrapping? Sign her up. Rocks are a good time, too, as are pinecones and long blades of tufted grass. Guess that’s the byproduct of spending a chunk of your first year living out of a car.

Life on the road isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds, especially when you’re traveling with an infant. I never once sat in the front seat of our F-150; my passenger seat became the defacto storage space for valuable gear like our cameras and laptops, as well as the omnipresent diaper bag. But, it’s a tradeoff we were willing to accept: I kept the peace and provided backseat entertainment for our ever-curious daughter and she allowed us to tackle 9 hours of driving in a single day with nary a complaint.

I often wonder how Liliana will view this period of her life. Of course, she won’t remember a thing and we frequently laugh about how we’ll show her photos of all the places she’s been since she won’t have any of her own memories. I envision her taking a box of photos into Show-and-Tell one day: “When I was a baby, my parents made me live in a tent and all I have to show for it is this collection of pictures….”

But regardless of whether she remembers it or not, I’m positive our trip formed who she will grew into as an adult.

Baby girl grew up on the roads of the American West. She spent her first night in a tent in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. She endured her first-ever backpacking trip outside of Sedona, Arizona, an experience that will forever live on in the minds of her parents {She was SO LIT once she get inside our tiny two-man backpacking tent that we ended up playing with toggles and sleeping pad valves until 10pm when she abruptly fell over and passed out from sheer exhaustion at the day’s excitement.} She figured out how to sit upright while playing in the living room of our Maui AirBnB. She crawled in San Diego. She got her first head cold in the Channel Islands National Park {and witnessed her mama get outsmarted by some cunning foxes}. She thrived during her first multi-night backpacking trip in Ansel Adams Wilderness, battling mosquitoes through her giggles and backpack snoozes.

I could go and on, but I won’t. At least, not here and not just yet. Suffice to say, I have a treasure trove of memories that will be forever entwined with various nooks and crannies of the western USA. Those memories are special; they’re enduring; and hot damn if they don’t bring literal tears to my eyes.

But now, we’re home. Back in Colorado, back in Denver, and back to real life. Will is back at the office and I’m back in my home office, feverishly working on my book with a deadline looming in a mere 30 days. It’s amazing how easily we’ve slipped back into our “normal” lives: washing machines, dog walks, post-dawn 24Hour Fitness workouts, and everything else that comes with life in the ‘burbs. And at times, I feel so nostalgic for life on the road: for living in a tent; for not having any real responsibilities; for waking up surrounded by nylon walls and baby giggles; for living in the dirt with blue skies and chirping birds overhead; for pointing our car in any single direction on any single day and finding a new adventure; for exploring new trails on the daily; for spending every waking hour with my two greatest loves on this planet.

But I’m also psyched to be home, in our home, with Tally and our newly-landscaped backyard that I personally designed. Sure, we’re back at work with projects and deadlines and pitches and responsibilities. But you know, that’s okay. I’m okay with it, which I figure is a good indicator of how content I am with my space in this world. Life is good.

‘Til the next adventure.


I have so many stories to share but, tell me: Is there anything you particularly want to hear about?



  • Reply Liz at

    Would love to hear about how you all managed this fitness-wise – it must have been hard work toting a heavy baby around at high elevation! It sounds so daunting that I would love any tips you have for training and/or managing the load. Would also love to hear any tips or tricks you have for avoiding crowds in the High Sierra.

    • Reply Heather at

      Posts to come!

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