Alita & Colby

We first spoke to Alita and Colby in 2015 and knew we had to share their story in Volume Two. Their stories and photos stir an inner wanderlust within us and as we prepare to hit the shelves with Volume Three, it's one of the pieces so far that we love the most. We couldn't put all their images in the magazine. Whittling them down was a horrible process but now we're pleased to share them all on the journal. 

How often do you dream of packing up your daily routine and leaving everything behind? Once this week? Twice maybe?  For me, it’s several times before breakfast and every hour throughout the day. To take it a step further and live a simple existence, travelling where we want, when we want and bound to nothing but the road is a very romantic idea, the stuff of movies and wishful thinking. You’re probably convinced, just like I was, that such a lifestyle couldn’t possibly exist, how could it?  Then I happened upon the blog of Alita and Colby and found the couple were living not just their dream but mine too with a life on the road. I tracked them down, no mean feat when you consider the places they visit are so far flung that they rarely get an internet connection.

1. What is the longest trip you've done and where did it take you?

For some years now, we’ve been backpack travellers who often left home with an obligation to return within weeks or months. This time around, the sense of it is different. We’re able to wander in the Toyota at a more natural pace that redefines itself as the kilometres tick by. We’re not holding to an idea of how long the journey will go or how far it will take us. As of now, we’re in Costa Rica and driving towardsArgentina with our curiosity and cameras in hand.

2. What places have you've travelled to that has surprised you the most (for good or bad reasons)?

A new place can be surprising when holding to any expectations of it. No matter how many pictures we’ve seen or made in our imagination, once we get there it’s different. Places are alive and always changing.It is encounters with others that give a place soul. We are often in the midst of generous and colourful people that share their stories and living environments with us. We also find great calm in the quiet of nature, while the encounters revealed there are no less unexpected. Early one morning we paddled out on the ocean of Nayarit, Mexico. There was as much an absence of waves as there were people, but then a large dorsal fin shot towards us and our surfboards. The thought of a shark hits that primal sense of fear but it was a dolphin followed by its family of half a dozen others. They circled and dove under us for some time and made this virgin, nameless beach another incredible memory of Mexico.

3. What made you decide to not lead regular lives and instead live on the road?

It seems to have happened over a great deal of time and in a natural way. It wasn’t so much a decision as it was a consequence of combining the two things we cherished most: photography and travel.  Living on the road carries the freedom and the focus to pursue these passions while also giving oneself over to the unknown.

4. What's the hardest part of living on the road?

Keeping a routine can be tricky, as conditions change from one place to another. We try to maintain healthy habits and a sense of balance, but also find the need to readapt as we move along. The availability of real food varies, as does locating a secure campsite, keeping a small space organised, dealing with a bug invasion or  recovering from sickness.  Yet there is great comfort knowing this is a choice and a small price for living what you love. Being far from our families and friends for such long periods is difficult at times. We wish we could bring our loved ones along for certain stretches to share the beauty of everyday happenings.  We attempt to do this through photography and writing. 

5. Has any experience made you consider stopping your journey?

We had this conversation after experiencing a major theft and the question came: If not this, then what?  No answer came forward as to what we would rather do, at least not at this point in our lives. In our hearts, the journey has only just started and life feels ever present - in the here and now. 6. How has being on the road changed you as a person?The solitude and the silence.  No dominating social structures. The freedom of learning to think on your feet while gaining confidence in solving new types of problems. Living in this way, and while often in the company of people with much less, asks questions that are often stark and hard to ignore:  What is really needed for the so called good life?  What is security and what of your authenticity and passion would you give up for it?  Living this way has been a test and a means to push oneself outside our comfort zones.

Interview and Photos first published in Volume Two, released in 2015. 

You can see more from Alita and Colby here