Left N’ Leaving
Marybeth and Lucas live, work and travel full time in their 1969 Shasta trailer (named Jonathan Trailer Thomas!), and have been for over a year. They travel with two Boston Terriers in tow and an eye for Americana, which they curate in their online shop.
Check out their website for nostalgic photographs and quirky adventures.
Photos above and below – © Leftnleaving 2014
Meet the resourceful (and hilarious) Marybeth:
Tell me how your trip came to be. What was the reaction of your friends and family?
We have always loved going on roadtrips and after quitting our 9-5’s we finally had the time to really do it right. Over the course of 6 months, we sold everything we owned, bought a trailer and were planning our route to the East coast. We have some really great friends and family that are extremely supportive and have been cheering us on from back home. I think a lot of my friends also thought that this wasn’t going to last – they know I have some extreme control issues and I’m definitely a planner that likes a clean bathroom. I never even really camped before this, but I can proudly say that I have proven them wrong! Except, I still want a clean bathroom and think vaulted toilets should be illegal.
How long had you and Lucas been together when you hit the road? How long have you been on the road?
Before we hit the road 7 years, but have been together 8. We were friends for years before we got together as a couple and have been on the road full time for a year.
Why the 1969 Shasta trailer? Does it ever feel bulky? How did you find it?
We definitely always wanted something vintage, we like old Americana and thought it would be amazing to travel on the road with a vintage trailer. When we first started looking, we originally thought we would get a 1970’s Winnebago Brave, but quickly came to the conclusion that: 1) it was going to cost WAY too much in gas. and… 2) we would never be able to get around in bigger cities. With the trailer, we can unhook and leave Jonathan Trailer Thomas [JTT] at a campsite, driveway, etc. He definitely doesn’t feel that bulky, you don’t really notice him unless the wind picks up or you go faster than 60mph on the freeway.
We lucked out on finding JTT. We had been searching on Craigslist for trailers and nothing was in our price range. When we saw JTT, we knew he was it, but even he was out of our budget. We called the guy about the trailer that night and told him what we were doing and how much money we had to spend. He ended up being really cool and working with us on the price just because he was into the idea of our adventure. It was awesome. JTT rules!
Lucas is a freelance graphic designer with a penchant for music and photography. What are you most passionate about?
This is a hard question because… I am passionate about a lot of things like: Manatees, Boston Terriers, Organization, and Quasi Modo (the dog with no neck! Look him up, “Ugliest Dog of the Year”). But, if you are talking about work related passions – I would say photography or anything I decided to try to make that month. When we started this trip I saw a scarf that I liked and couldn’t afford it so I watched a youtube video with the basics of how to make it and made one for myself that night. I ended up taking it further and began selling them to help make money for life on the road. I do this kind of thing all of the time to help supply some new things in our shop.
What inspired you and Lucas to create an online “souvenir shop”?
We still needed ways to make money on the road other than odd jobs, graphic design, and such. We left with no savings and no jobs, so being creative was very important to our survival. The souvenir shop was just another way for us to generate some cash to get us to our next location.
If your “trailer roles” were a ven diagram – where would they overlap? How would they differ?
I used to prefer to be the driver on outings and trips before JTT, but driving with the trailer and the overall size of it had made me a little nervous. (Although, I drove a lot more than usual on the last stretch of the trip to the Pacific Northwest as I’m feeling more comfortable with the trailer.) Lucas does most of the driving with trailer in tow, and all the night drives. He takes care of car and trailer repairs, getting the trailer all hooked/unhooked to the car, and braves the pitch black night bathroom trips with the dogs.
I like to do research on campsites, boondocking, local attractions, along with reaching out to others for possible meet-ups. I also like to do most of the cooking and packing up of the inside of the trailer.
We overlap with taking photographs, Souvenir Stand orders, figuring out abandoned photo spots to check out, and social media and website updates. We make a good team, ying’n & yang’n.
What have you learned about Lucas that you might not have without this excursion? Has your relationship changed?
I have learned that Lucas is really good in high stress situations and doesn’t freak out, which in return calms me. We have always had a pretty strong relationship and are open to growing together. We definitely learned that we are quite capable of anything we can think of and even stronger when we are together as a team.
What piece of gear/equipment did you not know you would need?
SOCKS! Let’s talk about the bugs in the south… I typically don’t wear socks, even being from the Pacific Northwest where it is wet most of the year, but in the South you need SOCKS! The bugs there like to chew up your ankles and it leaves nasty bites and scars.
Snap a shot of your 5 must-take items for the road.
- Bug Spray – (Avon- Skin So Soft, yes Avon still exists, and yes this really works)
- Boston Terrier Onesie – This saved my life in Marfa, Texas when it decided to be 19 degrees in March… IN TEXAS!
- Coleman 70’s Stove – I have a lot of food allergies, so I have to make my own food most of the time just to make sure I know what I am eating.
- Camera – To capture our adventures.
- Good Tunes – I like to sing completely out of key.
Any “oh crap” moments?
1) Before we got JTT, our tent got surrounded by a wolf pack.
2) Our bearings on JTT came off on the freeway, also our brakes (that we dont use on the trailer) disintegrated and seized our trailer wheels- So spare tires are a must.
3) Heavy Rain=Water leaks in the trailer
4) Poison Oak Scares – Don’t look up Google Images of Poison Oak
5) We left our campsite to get groceries and when we returned the gate was locked and no ranger onsite. The only way in was the gate with spikes. Luke MacGuvyer’d it by laying rocks on the spikes to push them down and then drove over them, while I closed my eyes the entire time.
6) Campsite infested by raccoons, which I thought were mountain lions and threw our only light source at. Note: Have more then one lantern.
Where are you now (July 17, 2014) and where will you be in one month?
We are currently in Seattle, Washington and in a month we will be here in the NW exploring all of the rivers and lakes while the weather is warm.
Side question – were you really a funeral director?
Yes, I was for 12 years, oh, the stories I could tell!