3 years ago I left for my first hitch hiking trip with Michael Portugal. We spent 6 weeks making our way up the west coast from Santa Barbara, California to Seattle, Washington, living out of our backpacks, dumpster diving our food & tucking away onto random properties to find rest. We left with the intent to live as closely to Jesus as possible, abandoning comforts for the gain of true empathy towards those that have been outcasted due to homelessness, mental illness, addiction & various other associations. The trip completely reshaped my view towards people & changed the direction of my life all together.
After our time on the road, I continued my traveling overseas & pursued a new found love for photography, and Portugal headed home to Florida. While re-acclimating to life back home, Portugal ended up meeting the love of his life, Shelley, through Instagram, and after many Facetime dates he headed north to Kentucky to pursue her. July 4th of 2015 I photographed his surprise proposal to Shelley on a friend's sailboat off the coast of Miami. Last Spring I stood by his side as he exchanged vows. A few months later, Portugal & Shelley came to me with an idea. Shelley had heard so many stories about the way Portugal & my hitching trip impacted us & wanted to know what it was like for herself. They asked me to join and we stuck a date on the calendar.
No two trips are the same, and this second go around looked different in a lot of ways. We arrived just in time for torrential downpours and had to steal our windows of opportunity with precision. Any break in the weather sent us scurrying to highway on-ramps to hitch our next ride. We were blessed to have hosts in every city we passed through share their beds, sofas & floors with us & the rides we hitched were with such kind people. My view on life, love for people & passion for activism has been made new thank to the inspiring people we've met along the way. The following photos were taken on a pocket sized 35mm film camera.