Two Happy Campers is us, Mark & Michele
this is our story
We’re a couple of kids at heart that, after 11 years of marriage and 17 under the same roof, are as crazy about each other as ever. We love to live intentionally, challenge the status quo and remain fiercely rooted in today because it all could be over tomorrow. Here’s a little timeline of who we are and how we got here…
Freshly transplanted in Denver (me from Arizona, Mark from Iowa), we meet at The Art Institute where we’ve begun working towards our photography degrees. A few months later, thanks to an armed intruder, we become roommates.
Our two year long platonic friendship turns romantic. (Even though I’m far from graceful when I make the first move) Three months later we graduate, move to my hometown in Arizona and start a photography business together.
We miss the Rockies and move back to Colorado with the goal of specializing in destination weddings at Colorado’s ski resorts.
We wed. Best decision of my life.
We buy our first house, in the middle of nowhere, and fall in love with life in the rural high country.
Up to this point we’d yearned for enough income to afford one great vacation a year, preferably overseas. We take our first one to Ireland and begin to question if this is how we want to spend our hard-earned cash. There was so much to explore out our backdoor in the US. Was there a way to travel more and spend less?
After months of research we discover Four Wheel Campers. The moment we walked in to the dealership in Denver, we knew we’d found the perfect rig for the mode of travel we desired. To this day, it’s the best money we’ve ever spent.
Mark gets his pilot’s license, strictly for fun, and so begins the years-long conversation of “Can we afford to make aviation a part of our lives and does it even make sense?”.
A few month-long road trips in our camper leave us craving more. We rent our house out for the winter, buy a gigantic travel trailer and begin our first attempt at living on the road full time. Three months in we’re disenchanted by the size and the hassle of our 30′ travel trailer and decide to sell it. We return home at the end of that winter relieved that we didn’t sell our house or our Four Wheel Camper.
Not a day has gone by that Mark doesn’t think about flying. Rentals are scarce in our area and so we begin discussing the idea of buying a plane. To both hone his skills as a pilot as well as fly the type of plane that he’s become interested in owning, Mark spends a week training with Stick & Rudder Aviation in the Idaho backcountry. Little did we know at the time but this trip would eventually change everything.
We take a risk and buy a Kitfox that doesn’t have a functioning motor. Mark spends nearly every single day for the next four months refurbishing it. He flies it for the first time in the fall of 2016.
We’re craving a change, it’s all we can talk about, so we put our house up for sale and decide to figure out the rest later.
Mark seeks further tailwheel training from Stick & Rudder Aviation in Idaho. That trip leads to a job offer.
The month our house closes escrow we decide we’re not ready to commit to relocating to Idaho. Instead, we buy a Casita trailer and finally have our perfect rig for full-time RV living. We leave our Kitfox behind in our hangar and take to the road to try and figure out what’s next for us.
Seven months on the road and we can’t stop thinking about Idaho. We buy a house and five months later return to life on a solid foundation, this time in rural Idaho.
For the first time in 15 years our professional lives diverge. Mark is now a flight instructor spending most of his days in a Kitfox teaching pilot’s advanced training in Idaho’s backcountry. I continue to photograph weddings at Colorado’s ski resorts as I can’t help but still feel most alive and most at home in the Rockies. But no matter where we are or what we’re doing, we still make time every winter to take to the freedom of the road in our Four Wheel Camper. Read our 2019 recap here.
A few words that we live by. A constant reminder that we work to live, we don’t live to work:
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”