This is the story of two people (Clay and Lindsay Smith) and a constantly shedding pound dog (Hunter) as they detach from the rigors of everyday life and travel the world, be it by plane, train, automobile or their feet (and paws). The blog started as a way to show friends/families where we are, what we’re doing and what we plan on doing next. Since the blog’s inception it has evolved into an informal and hopefully comedic documentary, showing the transformation, be it good, bad or ugly, that happens when the rank-and-file life is traded for one of transience and whims.
In late June of 2013 Lindsay “shuttered the doors” of her business as a self-employed personal trainer and began cleaning an apartment and packing suitcases. 4 weeks later on July 31st, 2013, Clay followed suit and received his honorable discharge as a Captain from the US Army. This leg of the journey starts in Chugiak, Alaska and will end at the summit of Mt Katahdin, the completion of the Appalachian Trail. The trek is three parts and fittingly, inspired by three separate rationals. The first part of the trip is an 10,000 mile road trip from Alaska to Maine caused by both desire and necessity; the freedom of the open road and the need to put all of our household goods into storage at Clay’s parents! After a week in Maine, we embarked on a 6 month trekking/WWOOFing/working experience in New Zealand and finally returning home to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail the summer of 2014. Clay and Lindsay decided to undertake this journey to not only satisfy their yearning to travel the world and experience other cultures but to also complete a 2,100mi hike that few think they can do together and reconnect and reflect after Clay’s 10 month deployment to Afghanistan in 2012. When it’s all said and done we might just discover where they are going in life after the trail when they get back to civilization, if not, we just have to keep traveling!
Clay is thinking about pursuing full-time modeling if the whole hiking and grad school thing doesn’t work out. With his slender, dancer’s physique the sky is the limit and Europe’s runways should prepare themselves. Clay spent 4 years as an Army Infantry Officer after attending Norwich University and convincing them to actually give him a degree in Mechanical Engineering. While in the Army, Clay took a year’s sabbatical to Afghanistan where he gave out a CostCo shipment of pencils and gum to little kids and did many exciting nature walks in the mountains.
Since returning from his vacation, Clay has pursued his interests in power-lifting/strongman competitions and I think we can all agree that he looked pretty damn strapping in his kilt at the Highland Games. With the Army behind him, Clay is growing out his hair and making a solid attempt at growing a beard before he has to (potentially) join the real world in the fall of 2014. Then again “real world” is be a relative term as Clay is going to write a book about his experiences, both military and travel related, and then going back to being a full time student while pursuing a graduate degree.
Lindsay’s downward spiral started as a young 22 year old girl who foolishly decided to put every bit of her personal belongings into Clay’s F-350 and drive from Saskatchewan to Alaska the fall of 2010. Clay still isn’t sure how he convinced her to move up there, let alone marry him, but at least it has worked out for him! Lindsay attended University, earned a Marketing and an International Business degrees with (relatively) fluent French and Spanish with the full intent to be the downtown business woman with her new heels and flash outfits walking to her high-rise office. Since then, she has left her corporate world pursuits behind, opened her own business as a personal trainer, won competitions and set records as a powerlifter and strong-woman, worked three jobs while Clay was in Afghanistan (including starting a business). Now she has put everything in storage to spend the next chapter of her life being a homeless hippy spending more nights in a tent or a car than in a house.
Lindsay is also the editor of the blog, turning Clay’s pointless rambling into something people enjoy reading. She is also the reason that Clay has recovered from his Afghanistan injuries as well as he has, as she is understanding, forgiving and incredibly patient. Lindsay is adventurous and carefree, calculated but still whimsical and pretty much every day pushes Clay out of his comfort zone to try something new, even though he wouldn’t admit it. She’s the coolest travel companion a pound dog and a small town kid from Maine could have, and in my opinion isn’t too bad to walk behind on a hike either!
Hunter is the cornerstone of the whole team, the glue that holds it all together, and the asshole that runs through a closed tent door in the middle of the night to chase a squirrel that he heard. Hunter came into this story as a 1yr (+) old dog hanging out at a shelter in Palmer, Alaska. All of the other dogs in the shelter were fighting for attention, barking, jumping and being generally obnoxious except for this 45lb red haired, husky looking thing. He genuinely couldn’t give a shit if you looked at him or not and when we took him into the “play room” he cared more about getting to the kitty outside the window than anything we had to offer. We made it out the parking lot before going back and saying that he had to be ours.
Fast forward 4 years and we’ve got a stubborn, moody and fiercely loyal mutt that to the best of our knowledge is 1/2 Chow Chow, 1/2 Alaskan Husky (mutt mix) and 1/2 Mountain Goat. He could care less about jumping on you and licking you after being gone 10 months for a deployment but if anyone tries to come in the house at night while ‘Mom’ is home alone asleep they better slam the door in his face or get a very different type of affection.
When Hunter isn’t trying to find out how tiny animals fit in the really skinny box in the living room that we all sit around and watch he is pursuing his deep rooted passion for chasing and terrorizing anything small and fury, be it kitties, rabbits or squirrels.