There was this stigma that to be successful you must land the job, work hard to prove yourself in order to move up, make the money, buy the things, wear the clothes, look the look, talk the talk and walk the walk. This is the American Dream. This is what we’re made of and why we are in the eyes of so many, the best nation in the world. If you live outside of this system, you’re not really living. And to chase your own dreams to many is not even an option.
There’s another perception that those living life freely – traveling, exploring, defying the norms by following one’s heart and living on their own terms are either spoon feed privileged trust fund kids or hippies who are disconnected from the reality of how to manage real responsibilities.
But what if there’s dishonesty in both extremes? What if the truth of it all, is that somehow along the way, over time, there has been an increase in awareness and a tribe of fearless passion pursuers who have decided that this lifetime is meant to be fully lived, by the freedom as you define it. Felt deeply, explored endlessly. That accomplishments are not only limited to the jobs taken, the places you live or how much money you make. That in this lifetime, on their own terms, in their own ways, they would be the leaders who bent and redefined the understanding of what living the American Dream really means.
I began pursuing my freedom path 2 years ago. Swinging from one extreme to the other. Pounding the punch clock and pushing work weeks that teetered on the triple digits worth of hours to appease everyone around me. Slowly, dying a little more inside each day as I ignored my calling to be in nature, genuinely connect to the people I meet each day and to expand my creativity through the new relationships I discovered through connections made with and in travel and the outdoors. Feeling fed up and overwhelmed, I set off on my own unpredictable exploration which unveiled a whole world of passion pursuers living life, building dreams into successes and creating their own definition of the American Dream to inspire and show others that they could too.
A variety personal experiences left me to conclude that this community of people possess everything and more of what the original America Dream was created for. And they are finding ways to live every day in appreciation of the greatest privilege as citizens of this nation: A life lived for freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Some are balancing the complexities of things left in the past: family, friends, careers, judgments from their peers and new encounters. Others are running away to search for something deeper than what they have previously felt. And then there are others, simply on the journey for the sake of seeing and knowing the place that they are proud to call home.
No matter the reason, the American Dream is being reconnected to it’s original roots by those who have faced fears tied to traditional securities and have set out to pursue freedom and happiness above all else. This flee for freedom is most prominently seen in the #vanlife culture + community, but is an act that is positively infecting nearly everything they’re 4-wheels roll up on.
I first met Frank + Ty, the fellas behind Two Guys Good Buys and the curators of the Wayward Bound zine during our first Outdoor Innovators event and immediately, I was in love. Their humble attitude, genuine heart-filled smiles and warm, everyone’s welcome deminer is something shared unlimitedly with everyone they meet. We spent this afternoon snapping photos, swapping stories and revealing the truths of the passions pursued and the whys behind it all. The commonality I’ve discovered that connects those wandering without a fixed place that they call home is the spirit of the nomad soul.
The life of a nomad often means you never have a true place that really feels home. Sometimes nomadism is in action, sometimes it’s in spirit, but the place you find peace + grow roots in is the people you meet along the road called life. You learn to love deeply and that connections are priority, because moments are limited. You meet people who you’ll never remember, some you build an instant relationship that will last your whole lifetime.
This is the nomad soul. And where the true American Dream is planted. In the ability to connect fully in each moment, follow the path and passions you’re called to and openly supporting the path and pursuit of happiness as it’s outlined for every individual that you meet along the way if where freedom really lives.
Frank + Ty together make up Two Guys Good Buys, but each have their own story, their own path and their own passions. Spending days with them as they camped out in San Diego for a few weeks allowed me to not only better understand the why someone would commit to living in a van with their best friend for an un-definite time frame. But also reminded me of the simplicities and authenticity that sometimes is masked in day-to-day connections with business, careers and chasing the American Dream as defined by the corporate man.
I’ve never shared the sentiments that some do in the pride for our country, until more recently when I discovered what the Dream really means. And the importance of the commitment to keeping it alive. We are all immigrants. Who’s ancestors one day saw that there was a better way and a vision for how their life should, could and would be. And they did everything within their power to commit to this which founded the heart and soul of the nation we live in. And this has fueled the pursuits of passion, freedom, happiness and community every since.
The biggest discovery that I found by spending a day playing in vintage clothes collected by two guys living in a van pursuing and sharing their American Dream is that in every moment, you have the opportunity to be true to yourself and to those you meet. And following your truths is really what this dream is all about. Opening your heart, creating and supporting your community and living simply with the pursuit of freedom and happiness leading the way.
I’ve committed in spirit + joined the van fam. This is a place where I’ve seen some of the most genuine people discover their path and purpose, and with open arms share their truths with everyone they meet. Some may say, home is where you park it. I know, it lives in the hearts of the people you meet, the memories you make and within the pursuits of never letting the foundation of real American Dream die.