Adventure begins when you’re faced with something new. Maybe there’s a plan… but sometimes the best adventures have no plan.
For Toni and Dan the adventure started with one Airstream, a gap of time, and two people with a desire to see the world around them. By day, Toni is a writer, photographer, and FP stylist at our Natick store. Dan is a filmmaker, traveler, and also a skilled photographer. Together, the two felt it was the right time in their life to go on a journey, and they haven’t looked back since. Along for the ride is their pup Willow and a few cameras to document everything. Oh, and of course Toaster…their 30′ Classic Airstream.
Starting at the northern tip of east coast America, they’re making their way south and hitting all the right stops along the way. They’ve created a blog, Toaster Life, to keep track of all the important details. I’ve been keeping up with their journey, and it’s one that continues to inspire me. Get to know more about Toni and Dan below and how Toaster Life all began!
Tell us about yourselves…where are you from and how did you two meet?
We are both from suburbs of Boston. We met at the Brimfield Antique Fair in Western Mass, but due to our mutual friends and common interests, a relationship quickly bloomed. Our first date included an intense Battleship tournament, which Toni won, and a trip to the movies to see Django Unchained.
What inspired you guys to travel across the country?
From short weekend getaways, to week long road trips, we’ve been traveling together since the beginning. When both of our lives presented unique circumstances, we jumped on the opportunity to live out a dream. For Toni, short travels between her busy schedule just weren’t enough. She needed to get out into the world, struggle with being independent from her close-knit family, work on her photography, write poems in the middle of nowhere, and find herself. For Dan, his photography career started spontaneously while on the road traveling with a band for a couple years across the U.S. and abroad. While touring let him explore new areas, it was just a taste and he ultimately wanted more choice in where to spend his time. While Dan has been to five continents, he felt a calling to see his own country and its diverse landscape.
What were you both doing before you started your adventure?
Toni was finishing up her first year of college and working four jobs. Photographer, two waitressing jobs, Free Peeps stylist. Dan previously owned a busy photography studio, but was and still is recovering from a motorcycle injury, which resulted in a very broken back. The decision to travel at this point in both of our lives quickly came to light.
What’s the story behind the Airstream camper? Is it vintage?
We looked for the perfect Airstream for months. We swooned over the vintage ones, but ultimately decided that it wasn’t the right time to start that project. We needed something reliable that would withstand at least a year of full time travel, and wouldn’t leave us stranded in the middle of the desert. We ended up with a beautiful 2006 30’ Airstream Classic…we call her the Toaster. Although she’s not vintage, we’ve added our own vintage elements which make her feel like home. One day we’ll snag a smaller one from the 60’s and rebuild it from the bottom up.
I see that you’ve started in Canada and are heading southbound. Are you covering the east coast or going west as well? And how many destinations do you plan to visit this year?
We’re doing it all! The west coast is calling us but we have no set plan. We know we’re spending Halloween in Nashville, but that’s about it. Being a nomad is tight.
What do you hope to gain from the entire experience?
Friends, adventures, and a better look at ourselves.
What has been your favorite experience/location so far?
Leaving New England has been our favorite experience thus far. We’ve both been itching to get out for a while. I think we would both agree that our favorite spot has been Cooperstown, New York. We were alone in a campground surrounded by cornfields… the coyotes kept us on our toes.
Since most of your life at the moment is on the road, any good soundtrack choices to keep you motivated during those long drives?
When we’re just cruising, it’s usually Edward Sharpe, Tom Petty, Kendrick Lamar, Sublime or something mildly upbeat that keeps us entertained. For long stretches, we rely on 90s Crap Pop, R&B, and anything by Queen. If it makes us sing at the top of our lungs…it’s working.
What inspires you most about each other?
Toni’s the wonderfully carefree, almost annoyingly positive one of the bunch. Dan is more of a realist, who focuses on plans and keeps things organized. We’re constantly inspired by each others traits and typically uphold a balance between the two. Dan finds inspiration in Toni’s creativity, while Toni is constantly admiring Dan’s determination in everything he does.
If Willow (the dog) could talk, what do you think she would say about the trip so far?
Wait..where’s home again?
There are so many horses everywhere!
What’s that smell?
Let’s go run in a field!
No more eye surgeries, right?
You must have taken a big leap of faith when you began, how would you respond to those who don’t support your journey?
We’re yet to come across anyone who isn’t overly supportive and intrigued about our adventure. Some people think we’re a little wacky for living in a 175 sq. ft. space, but they always have our back. Naturally, parents worry, but we’ve been easing their minds with frequent calls and updates. Post cards and blog posts help.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who aspires to just pick up and go, what would it be??
Don’t put it off. Travel. Explore. Don’t wait until you’re retired to find yourself and see what this world has to offer.
Thank you both for letting us in on your journey!
Follow along the Toaster Life adventure.
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