The people we meet
When you live on the road in a school bus, or a van or a trailer, or whatever the vessel you call home is, you meet people of all walks of life. People that you ordinarily may not have even crossed paths with living within a conventional lifestyle. People who’s life stories change you. Humans who will change how you think and how you see the world. They will open up new and different perspectives. And if you’re lucky, these beautiful humans will inevitably become an intrinsic part of your world.
MaRY AND ZACK
Zack and Mary are a mother and son (along with Zacks beautiful German Shepard, Bear) that travel around the United States together, each in their own vans. We’ve had the amazing good fortune of traveling with them a lot and they’ve become an integral part of our family. Even closer than family, these two humans are probably two of my most favourite humans in the entire world. I’m certain Joe would say the same. I decided, while writing this, to do an interview of sorts, with both Mary and Zack. They have a very unique story and I thought it best that the words I write, be the story that comes straight from their words.
(A tiny bit of background on Zack; He was diagnosed with a severe case of Tourettes Syndrome when he was just 8 years old. One of the most severe cases in the world to date. While I don’t want this post/interview for that to be the whole focus of who they are, it obviously does play a huge part in their lives and their travels. So please keep that in mind while reading this post).
Even closer than family, these two humans are probably two of my most favourite humans in the entire world.
interview with Mama MaryHow long have you been traveling?
About 2.5 yearsWhy did you start traveling?
To give Zack firsthand experience and knowledge that a bigger, better world existed out there. A world in spite of his diagnosis and beyond his bedroom and backyard.
Indefinitely at this moment in time. But it really depends on which day you ask. Some days are a little more tough than others and on those days, I think I’m ready to go back home, but most days I know it’s the best decision I’ve made for myself and my son. Sure, we have some days that are tougher than others, but those days will happen regardless of the lifestyle that we’re living. It’s part of being human.What are some of your expectations for you and Zack in this lifestyle?
In reality my hope is that Z figures out what his life is gonna look like. I want to give him all the options that I possibly can for his life. I want him to learn life skills in every aspect of the world, and I feel that travel teaches us all so many things; budgeting, cooking, relationships with other people, keeping your space clean and organized, time management. Living on the road reinforces all those things on a daily basis. I’m just here, filling in the gaps while he’s getting planted.How is it traveling with your adult child?
It’s been interesting and life changing. It’s given me so much time to be with him, learn with him and help him. My biggest thing is giving him the space to be with his friends, but because of the circumstances, and because we are both adults, I am building friendships with these people as well. When we first started traveling, it was all about him but as time goes on, I am finding my place in a world that I had hoped Z would find his place as well. It’s been a blessing for us both.
Another big challenge of traveling in a pair is that wherever we’re going to park for the night, or meet up with people, we already automatically have 2 rigs. So space is not only on our minds, but also on the minds of the people we meet up with.
While we started traveling BECAUSE of Zs Tourettes, it’s become very minimal at this point. The biggest issue we face now is Zacks sound sensitivity. White noise sounds like generators and leaf blowers are very hard for Z. And these things happen quite a bit at Walmarts and Cracker Barrels, which also happen to be places that we park overnight while in the city. But even in the desert, generators are a big issue and usually require us to find another place to sleep.What is one thing you’d like people to know about Mary?
That I’m still figuring out who the fuck I am, aside from being a Mom.
interview with ZWhy did you start traveling?
Honestly, I don’t remember. I guess it was my Moms idea.
It’s okay. It’s really nice. I still want to be able to figure out how to do things on my own and she’s here helping to teach me but I still have my own space, my own house.What is your hope for life in traveling?
To do my own stuff. To travel with Bear and to be by myself when I need quiet time. I also hope to one day find a partner that loves and understands my world and wants to be a part of it with me.How does your Tourettes play into your travels?
It’s okay. It’s actually not such a big deal anymore. I used to tic a lot and that played so much into who I am and why I live the way I do but now I don’t tic as much so I’m really discovering who I am as a person aside from my Tourettes. I’m discovering that I like who I’m finding. I am a person who likes to be alone and be with my dog. I’m also a person who wants to find my person.
A really long time. Forever maybe. A stable conventional house isn’t meant for me. There are too many noises that I can’t escape from. With my home on wheels, I can take myself away from anything that’s bothering me.What is one thing you’d like people to know about Zack?
I’m a calm person. I have my moments of chaos but I like to bring myself back to calm to reset, knowing that it will start all over but also knowing that I have a calm center.
I had so much fun writing this post and talking with Mary and Zack about their world. A huge, huge thank you to Mary and Zack for opening up their lives and helping me to tell a part of their story. We love you both so much.
Also, a huge thank you to everyone who reads our blog!