Road Trip Collection

Updated: Apr 4

“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.” -Jack Kerouac, On The Road


Upper Peninsula, Michigan. iPhone. June 2018.


On June 5, 2018, I woke up at 6am, grabbed the remaining essential items from my D.C. apartment, and locked the door behind me. I revved up my navy blue Chevy Cruze sedan, 17,000 miles new, and set out on a 3-month solo road trip adventure across the United States.


Inspired by the contagious excitement of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty in On The Road, the courageous pioneer spirit of Cheryl Strayed in Wild, and the practical kicks-in-the-butt from books like Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Work Week, Jen Sincero's You Are A Badass, and Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, my weary, corporate, data-crunching, and also well-read self had been preparing for a life change for some time. Around Thanksgiving 2017, I began pondering the idea of a road trip. I put the idea in the back of my mind where it stayed until Spring 2018, when I decided I would quit my job and commit to the trip.


Between June 5 and September 7, I drove over 10,000 miles, traveled to stops in 10 states, visited 9 National Parks (none of which I had been to before), many State and local parks, a few National Monuments, and even a National Lakeshore. I camped for the first time (yep!) in my life, and I was a seasoned camper by the end of the trip, with over 30 nights under my belt. I saw friends and family, and I made new friends from all over the country and world. Each day on the road was a fresh slate, and I could create my experience in any way I pleased.


I was blown away by the unbelievable beauty of the United States, and I very rapidly developed a deep appreciation for our National Parks. Driving from state to state gave me a new perspective on the incredibly diverse landscape of the country. From the deep lakes and green trees of the north, to the grasslands and dinosaur rocks of the midwest, to the canyons and plateaus of the southwest, to the coastline of the west--the United States has so many natural wonders to explore and enjoy.


Through photography, I captured moments of beauty in each place, as I saw them through my eyes and lense. Using my camera in the parks gave me a chance to tune in and focus completely on my surroundings, transporting me to a meditative, creative state of mind. As I return to my photos now, I am able to re-live my experience and the emotions I felt at the time.


I will be publishing the Road Trip Collection over the course of the next few months, highlighting a distinct part of nature with each release. The first release is Trees. Future releases will include Water, Rocks, Mountains, Sun, and Man-Made.


For everyone who supported and encouraged me throughout this journey, provided travel tips and must-see stops, gave me a bed/shower/laundry, chatted me up at a campsite/park/bar, or rooted for me in some other way...I am SO grateful for you! Each and every one of you made my trip beyond special, and an experience that will be close to my heart for the rest of my life. I am proud and excited to be sharing my photos with you.


-Kathleen

© 2020 by Kathleen Ayers.

portrait photographer | landscape photographer | live music photographer | travel photographer | portland oregon photographer