This is the story of two people (Clay and Lindsay Smith) and a Hunter, the ginger pound dog. We are living life with the mission of not letting the bucket list get too long. This often ends up with us traveling 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 then we’ve tried to show the genuine experiences and transformation (be it good, bad or ugly) that happens when the rank-and-file is traded for the gypsy life. No rose colored glasses here!
In June 2013 Lindsay closed her business as a personal trainer and 4 weeks later, Clay followed suit and received his honorable discharge as a Captain from the US Army. What we then thought was an 18-month “once in a lifetime” adventure, in reality, became just the first time we were homeless and unemployed.
The 2013/2014 adventure started in Chugiak, Alaska and ended at the summit of Mt Katahdin, the completion of the Appalachian Trail. The trek is three parts and fittingly, inspired by three separate rationals. In between we completed a 10,000 mile road trip from Alaska to Maine to experience the freedom of the open road and to put all of our household goods into storage at Clay’s parents! A week later we hopped on a flight to New Zealand a 6 month trekking/WWOOFing/working experience. In the spring of 2014 we returned home to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2,185 mile and 156 day undertaking. We did all of this to not just travel the world, but experience other cultures complete a 2,100mi hike that most quit on, and reconnect and after Clay’s deployment to Afghanistan in 2012.
Fast forward to August 2018. Being both self-employed, contracts wrapped up and it was time to start dialing for dollars to find more work or go back to the gypsy life. If you’re reading this, you know what we did. Our landlord took 29 days notice, we sold every piece of furniture we owned and started turning a Toyota Tacoma into an expedition rig. We spent 4 years with grown-up jobs, but the bucket list was growing – specifically the Pan-American Highway. In January 2019 we were on the road with a red dog, and 60,000 miles of gas money.
I bounce between having grown-up jobs and wearing the same pants for a week at a time. I spend 4.5 years as an Army Infantry Officer after attending Norwich University and earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering. While working for the man, I took a year’s sabbatical to Afghanistan’s eastern mountains and enjoyed many enriching nature walks in the mountains.
After the Army, I discovered the pleasures of a beard and the upkeep requirements of a ponytail. (sidenote: I’m never bitching about how much conditioner Lindsay uses again) I learned that having a 1993 Subaru station wagon to call home in New Zealand was my happy place (when it started). Completing the AT Thru-Hike was a bucket list item I had for over 20 years old and just stoked the adventure fires. I have also spent 3 months feeding cows at a dairy farm, mounted bindings at a skip shop, wrote an unpublished manuscript from Afghanistan, went back to school for an MBA, and worked as a Director of Sales and Marketing on a $180m real estate project. In the end, there were too many times I was required to wear pants and closed toed shoes to work, so being a resort developer was doomed from the beginning.
I have one thing that seems to guide my life: I’m brutally aware of my own mortality and am effing terrified of wasting a single day. Life is too short for me to work for a paycheck and a retirement. If I’m working when I’m 75 – GREAT! That means I’m still alive and I’ve done some really rad shit.
[LINDSAY HAS TO UPDATE HER BIO STILL]
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 barely made it out to the parking lot before going back and saying that he had to be ours.
Fast forward 9 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 12 months for 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.
In his free time, Hunter pursues his lifelong passion for chasing and terrorizing anything small and fury, be it kitties, rabbits or squirrels.