It was July, 2017. After our first chunk of time living in the van, following a long day on the trails, we had a short reprieve house sitting for a friend in Bend, OR. We believed our initial compulsion would be to shower and clean up since we hadn’t access to showers in more than a few days. Surprisingly neither of us felt compelled to lather up and rinse down. Instead we cracked a couple beers lay on the bed and chatted about the journey we’d just begun.
We discussed embarking on a life on the road and it being our self created rite of passage. It was to be another attempt to take back what’d we’d lost over the previous decades of living a well enough life, but still one that morphed into something not quite aligned with our values. We knew a change needed to occur to regain our physical and mental health. A change fueled by dreams of youth. Dreams we allowed to be squashed by realities of adulthood. We went into this with the hope that there could be a balance of dreams and reality.
At some point in the conversation Susan leaned over and stated, “you smell good dirty”. At that moment we dubbed this joint journey, turned collaborative project, Dirty Good Company. Humble adventures, movement outside, writing, and authentic connection with ourselves and others were going to be foundational elements of our journey. The name seemed perfectly aligned with our intentions. In sharing our own commitment to the trail less traveled we hoped to connect with like-minded and similarly-souled individuals and couples that also longed to prioritize with a dirtier and simpler way of living.
This week marks 10 months since that day. It’s gone by slowly and quickly. It’s been awesome and shitty. It’s been eventful and mundane. There’s been sweaty days and freezing nights. There’s been movement and stagnation. There’s been mountain views and Walmart signage. There’s been runs, rides, walks, crawls, and scrambles. There’s been hotels, motels, couches, truck stops, roadside overnights, and park campsites. We’ve gotten dirty and clean (more the former than latter). We’ve felt good and bad. We’ve met strangers and old friends. There’s been bouts with depression and periods of elation. There’s been wrong turns and self discovery. There’s been hotel nights with Chopped marathons and deafening silent evenings illuminated by a billion stars. We’ve eaten at a 5-star restaurant and far more taco stands.
It’s been a dream infused with reality, or reality injected with dreams. We still rarely feel compelled to shower, we still struggle with the everyday stresses of life, but we live examining our actions and keeping alive a faith that we can live better. And in living better we can impact the wellbeing of others.
Being dirty may not always smell good, but it always makes us feel good.