Over a ten year career, photographer and filmmaker Andy Best has documented almost all of his outdoor adventures through his lens. As his skills progressed, his photos began to invoke a “Wish I was there” feeling among the people who found them. Every road trip, Best continued to share his photography with anyone who would look. It turned out, people were looking, and these days, Best’s large Instagram followers enjoy daily photos of his present and past excursions. Recently, Best decided to raise the stakes and make every single day an adventure.
Living in Portland, Best decided that he was at his creative peak while on the road, producing his wilderness focused adventure photos and films. So why even have a home at all? Best decided to take a leap of faith. He gave up his home and most of his belongings and moved into a custom made camper, living out everyday as a never-ending road trip adventure. I recently sat down with Best to dig into the decision and learn about what inspires him to continue the nomadic lifestyle in the name of adventure.
But before we get to the interview, let’s get to know Best through some of his images.
Resource Travel: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and how your life on the road came to be?
My name is Andy Best and I live fulltime in a camper, seriously. I’ve been in the film/commercial industry for about 10 years now. I grew up shooting photography alongside my Father and Grandfather. It was never pushed on me, but it was just something that came to be. It was never something I wanted to pursue professionally, but as I started developing my content company, I notice how great of a tool it could be to help support my overall business as a content producer for brands. As my career started to take a turn towards the adventure filmmaking & photography space I started noticing a shift in myself and work. I noticed, there’s nothing really keeping me in one place and it could be the perfect time to embrace a new lifestyle and pursue and maintain a perspective I was addicted to. A perspective of living outside the norm and allowing a little discomfort in the unknown to keep me feeling ‘awake’. Ultimately I had an opportunity to start living what I preached, simplify life and share the all the beauty that I find in this world with the hopes that others get out and enjoy nature. In turn these people become advocates of the land. Therefore, I saw a window to get rid of all my belongings, get out on the road, and get living.
Tell us about your home on wheels. What makes it perfect for your line of work?
I have a 2016 Toyota Tacoma w/ a Treeline Outdoors rooftop tent and I pull a 20’ RPod. Made in Oregon and ultra energy efficient. It’s solar ready, sits high, and rolls on mud terrain tires. As for the amenities, the “Taco” sleeps two internally and two in the rooftop tent. The RPod has two full queen size beds and one turns into a breakfast nook. There is a shower and a toilet. It also has a Bluetooth entertainment system with indoor/outdoor speakers and a flatscreen TV for those lonely nights in a random RV park. It’s also equipped with full econ climate control, lots of storage for all my gear, and plenty of power to recharge equipment and run my computers for editing. This setup is perfect for me, as my goal is to park it at different locations for three or four months at a time. This is to really help me immerse myself in an activity like technical mountaineering, to surfing, etc. As well as to allow me to really nail the shot and never be upset by weather, because there’s always another day.
What keeps you inspired to maintain this lifestyle? Don’t you ever want to go “home”?
The road is my home, I truly believe. At least at this point in my life. Sure, the lifestyle at times can be tiring, but knowing that I can go anywhere, do anything, and most importantly, take photographs of the thousands of beautiful locations I visit keeps me inspired to keep going. There is so much out there to see, and life is too short. For me, I have found a way to live my normal life in regards with keeping up with work, commitments, etc, but doing it lakeside, looking over crystal blue water as I wait for the sun to set so I can photograph it and share the beauty I see with the world.
And who is your little companion?
Ah, Sequoia! I adopted her when she was just 4 weeks old while I was exploring the Sequoia National Forest from a family that were taking the puppies to the pound. That was almost a year ago. She’s been on the road with me ever since. She is living a pretty good life right now. Always outside being active, immersing herself in nature everyday. I can’t imagine living this adventure without her by my side.
Could you offer 10 tips for the aspiring traveling creative that speaks to your daily routine, tricks of the trade or secrets that make living and working on the road enjoyable and inspirational?
- See this as a lifestyle change rather than a trip, thinking this way has really helped me gain a different perspective of the ‘why’ I’m doing this.
- If you’re afraid of managing your own sewage, the daily thought of, “Where am I sleeping tonight?”, and literally all aspects of your life that most people might think to be the norm, this life isn’t for you. If that excites you, what are you waiting for?!
- If you have nowhere to be, constantly take the wrong turn.
- Whatever you downsize and go on the road with, know that’s still way to much and you’ll constantly be ditching stuff.
- Inherently we as a species enjoy some routine. Therefore, find one thing that never changes for you and include that in your travels. Whether it’s the same soundtrack to go to sleep to, foods, smells (candles, incense), or like for me it’s exercise. Keeping one thing constant really allows you to feel like the road is home.
- Take the time to eat healthy and get the rest you need. Living on the road isn’t all peaches. It’s a lot of work. If you don’t eat right and keep yourself healthy it could be a miserable experiences.
- Talk to people! When you’re out there the whole goal is to gain a different perspective on the world you’ve been living, talk to everyone you see. Stories come from everywhere.
- I feel that it’s more invigorating to not have a timeline on this endeavour. Who knows, this lifestyle could lead you to the most rewarding places on this planet, don’t limit yourself with timing.
- Put down your camera, phone, book and just exist in the moment every once and awhile. This is a unique experience that is important squeeze all the juice out of.
- Keep a journal.
- I will even add one more, and to me, this is the most important of them all. Leave a better trace.