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That one time we remodeled a trailer and went on the road...

Posted by Jill Valentich on

If you've been following us for a while, you may remember that time we sold all our things and remodeled a trailer so we could live and work on the road. 

Here I am, working from the road in Utah.

Ryan and I have always had an adventurous spirit, a wanderlust that nagged at us and caused us to move every single year. 

About 3.5 years ago, we were living in Ridgway, Colorado with our first store front and studio. Things with the business were going well, but Ridgway was a town of 800 people. It didn't take long for us to realize we couldn't stay there if we wanted our business to grow. There just weren't enough people to sustain us and our e-commerce game was not very strong. After a very long winter and even longer and colder spring, we decided to find a way we could live and work while traveling the country.

Long story short, we found a trailer, spent months remodeling it and then found a truck that could tow it. We sold off all our worldly possessions and hit the road. We had no real plan except to drive west toward California. We would use our travels as inspiration for our new line of bags + carry goods + gain a following along the way. 

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned and the first few months of our adventure were brutal. Our truck broke down in the middle of the Nevada desert. We waited for hours for the tow guy to come get the truck and we had to hitch a ride with him to the nearest town, leaving our poor trailer and all of our belongings on the side of the freeway.

Ryan trying to fix the truck.

The next town was Laughlin, NV where we survived on In-n-Out burgers, McDonalds oatmeal, and cheap casino drinks for the next two weeks. Already, our funds were dwindling, but we were sure if we could just get back on the road, everything would work out. 

Drinking our sorrows away.

Laughlin Motel

We finally did get back on the road and bee-lined it to California, where we thought it would be warm. But, of course, the northern coast of California was already pretty cold and this was the year of the Deep Freeze. After deciding it was too cold to camp and work out of a trailer, we spent a few months staying at Air BnB's, catching up on bag orders and designing new products. We soon grew tired of this and knew we could not continue to afford the expense. After a few beers at our cabin in California, we decided we had to move back to the city and recalibrate. While it felt like failure at the time, looking back it was the best decision we could have made. 

Ryan +n Chloe somewhere in California

Now I scroll through Instagram and see all the people who are living that #homeiswhereyouparkit #liveworkanywhere dream. Some make it look ridiculously easy; some are honest about the struggle. I still find myself slightly envious of that lifestyle, but I know for our business it is not the right choice. Ordering fabric, working out of a 12x6" trailer, cooking and eating over picnic tables, sleeping in tents or the car, all of it was exhausting and drained us of the energy we needed to work every day.

So, we ended up back in Denver, where it all began.

Valentich has grown substantially since our days on the road and we have so many ideas for the future. Sure, there are days I wish we could pack it all up and point to somewhere on a map and go, but we have gained so much by sitting still. We have focused our energy on doing something we believe in and now we get to share that with you.

While I do think there are many things to be gained through travel and exploration, I also think there is something to be said for sticking it out where you are. I feel grateful for the opportunity to work hard at something every single day. And who knows, maybe some day we will be in a place where we can try it again, but for right now, I'm pretty content here.

So, what about you? Have you tried living on the road? What were your experiences? 


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