The RV Project
Vikki and Spenser hit the road with their tow-along RV in 2012. Since then, they’ve been climbing as many walls as possible and filming others doing it, too. Some of the most intense climbs are included in their Birthday Challenge Series on EpicTV.
For Vikki and Spenser, the The RV Project isn’t a vacation or even a lifestyle, really. It’s a means to be where their next awesome video will be filmed. It’s work and play and stories. It’s life and they do it well! Learn more in the interview with Vikki, after the jump.
All photos above and below (C) 2015 The RV Project
Meet Adventurous, Hilarious Vikki:
How did your trip come to be?
Drunken dream gushing over a campfire turned into 3 of us (Spenser, our friend Byron, and I) committing to a 1 year road trip. Byron was a filmmaker and dreamed of making climbing movies in a mobile production studio. Spenser and I wanted to travel and climb as much as possible. Byron left the road life after a few months, but Spenser and I decided we weren’t ready to stop what we had started. We bought a camera and a new computer that we could edit from, and tried our best to carry on. We learned in the moment on the road, and our first movies were comically awful (or genius?).
What is the RV Project? Can you describe its ethos in three words?
It’s evolved the past 3 years. At first, we were just so psyched to be traveling. Every experience was novel, even when we hit major bumps in the road. We were just trying to learn the landscape of the climbing lifestyle. 3 years later, our savings have dwindled, I have to work more remote shifts on the road, and we have deadlines. We’re still excited to be on the road, but now it’s just life. Our current mission is to become known more for our passion – our video projects – than living a non-standard lifestyle.
Three words? Hmmm, how about “Not great at brevity” or “Bad in elevators?”
What have you learned about Spenser that you might not have if you didn’t live a mobile lifestyle?
Damn good question! Short answer- so much! I’ve learned how ridiculously resourceful he can be, how well he can maneuver a massive truck and trailer, how few belongings he really needs. I’ve also learned a lot of gross things – how badly his feet and farts can smell, how truly filthy he’s okay with being, and how quickly he can poop outdoors.
Good thing I also learned that all those gross things don’t really gross me out that much. At least not in Spenser’s case.
How do you find alone time while you’re traveling?
It happens naturally a decent amount of time, Spenser will go on a bike ride and I’ll stay in the trailer reading. Or we’ll go climbing in different groups. It’s only really tough when the weather is bad and there’s nowhere but the trailer to go. It can come down to brutal honesty in some instances. If one of us needs space, the other doesn’t take it personally. We’re pretty aware we’re living in a shoebox together.
What is the pace of your travel? Did it take time to calibrate?
We’ve never had a consistent pace. The past year, our travel has been based mostly around our film work. There are other incidentals, such as injuries and weather, which can motivate us to move or stay. But if we like an area and have an easy place to park, we tend to stay…for a while. Last winter we spent 5 months in the Southeastern US. We’ve spent our last 2 summers in Squamish (3 months apiece).
Take a photo of your 5 must-have items for RV life on the road.
Foam roller. Climbing and long hours on the road give you kinks, aches and pains. This is how I work ‘em out. Every day.
Organic Blubber pad. This climbing pad is perfect for covering up dirt, rocks, or lumps to create a smooth(er) surface. Now I can foam roll anywhere = dreams do come true.
French press. Need. Coffee. (Or tea. Tea works, too. Just not as well.)
Puff jacket. I get cold.
Not pictured: a comfortable bed. We got an incredible deal on a memory foam mattress and it’s saved our sanity (and relationship) countless times. Knowing that you have a reliable place to rest your head can do wonders when you’ve had a shit day, it’s pouring, and you need to get to sleep as quickly as possible for fear that something else might go wrong.
How did you come to take over “the birthday challenges” (birthdaychallenge.com) What is the most intense challenge you’ve filmed?
Spenser discovered birthdaychallenge.com when he was an undergrad at UCSB. Inspired by the crazy feats, he did his first challenge at 24 (240 different boulder problems in Santa Barbara). After that, Spenser started an email rapport with Steve Edwards, the founder of the website. When EpicTV approached us about doing a web series, we thought that the idea of the birthday challenge was perfect. We even filmed Steve’s 54th birthday challenge this past September.
The single most intense day that we’ve filmed was Alex Honnold’s birthday challenge, which [was published last month]! Woohoo! But, I think the most intense challenge was Spenser’s 30-day birthday beatdown. Doing a month filled with ridiculous challenges, while still trying to film others, was the toughest 30 days of the road trip.
What’s your preferred sleeping location? National Forest, State Campsite, Private, BLM, friend’s house…?
When we started, it was anywhere that was free and flat. Now that we have a ton of editing work that has piled up, we love staying outside of friend’s houses. Rolling out of the trailer and going into a warm place with a table to work on is essential for actually getting work done.
You’ve been in the RV since 2012 – have you ever come close to parking permanently? If you did, where do you think it would be?
I’ll admit we were close to planting roots in Chattanooga last year! Still, we’re undecided. We’re open to setting up shop somewhere (for a bit) if the right opportunity presents itself. There have also been talks about upgrading our living situation so we can actually edit comfortably (and efficiently) on the road. Though, it would be painful to let go of our current set-up. We’re quite fond of it.
Where are you now [December 13, 2014] and where will you be in one month?
We are currently staying at Spenser’s parent’s home in the Bay Area. We needed some space and stability to pump out the last few videos for the Birthday Challenge series. In a month, we’ll be in/around Chattanooga, Tennessee!