got unlazy and and edited up a quick lil video of some of the video clips i took. The song is “Pretty Bird” by Jenny Lewis. Enjoy!!!
Journey Complete….for now.
After 9 months i started the decent back into reality and back to Florida. I spent a few weeks in the desert states freezing at night, missing the southern warmth. I arrived in Pensacola in late February and right back to work as a carpet cleaning tech for my family business. It was like a dream. Everything faded into memories and i felt as if i was only gone for a few weeks instead of nearly 10 months. Its now been a month and im breaking out of the post trip depression and starting to focus on the projects ive though about from this journey. Over the next few months I will be putting together a number of presentations of my photo work. After that i will focus on a photo book. Its going to be all Infrared. My color photos may make it into the book as an afterthought. I am always happy to answer any question about my trip so contact me at info@justingillisdotcom
Traveling to all 50 states; how and why.
A few years back after I returned from living in Costa Rica, I took the Amtrak for two weeks to visit friends and because I’ve never been on a long train trip and the price was great. The trip that went like this: New Orleans > New York > Chicago > Denver > Chicago > Austin proved to be very comfortable and became my favorite way to travel. I saw a lot of back country that made me want to stop often and photograph but as you know the train is on a time schedule. I thought to myself, “Hey, I should see the whole country one day”. But how? Well, initially i thought motorcycle all the way. Feeling the road close, the air, everything being right there with no glass separating nature and my eyes. I liked the idea a lot. But, after a year or so of thinking about it, many factors pushed me into getting a larger transport vehicle. I wanted to surf every state that allowed it. I also wanted a roof over my head instead of it being mandatory to make a camp. And lastly, security from both vehicles and theft.
I was seriously going to do this. I had a little bit of money saved and i just needed a plan of direction, destination, time and motion. Going to Alaska was going to be the halfway point and if Im surfing Alaska, I need to do it in the summer. So right then i just created my pivot point in timing. Downloading an app that helps map out trips ultimately planned my direction to capture all 50 states starting with the east coast, then snaking around the eastern interior states and great plains, north western to Alaska, western states to California, out to Hawaii an finally the southern U.S. back to Florida. With direction, destination and time taken care of, I just needed to find motion. I needed a lower mileage reliable pickup with a long bed to convert to a camping living storage box on wheels. My condo on wheels.
I shopped for months on Craigslist, Autotrader and Ebay before finding the diamond in the rough. Trucks are overpriced in NW Florida, so i went to south Florida to look. I found a 2003 Nissan Frontier Ext Cab 2.4. that i call Shadofax after the lord of horses that Gandalf rides in The Lord of The Rings.
With motion now accounted for, I began the customization of Shadofax for living a year on the road. Secondary battery, power inverter and security cages are just a few of the adaptions i will make. I’ve planned on crock pot cooking and sprouting/seed germination for my live food options. The next three months will be crucial. I estimate a 20,000 mile, 9 month journey that you can travel along through my writings, photographs and video diary entries. I leave April 28th, Sea You Soon – JKG
I shot video time lapse before i left of the assembly of Shadowfax
Here is the transformation in photos