Brian Lackey

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I'm Moving to Everywhere

Last fall I found myself in a new job where I—the whole company in fact—worked remotely. We don’t have an office. 

All I need is a laptop and a solid internet connection to do my job, so the brain wheels started turning pretty quickly after I got settled into the new routine. If I could live and work from anywhere, why not from a bunch of different places?

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I’ve thought about versions of this for a good number of years now, pretty heavily inspired by a handful of other people who’ve made travel a big part of their lives. I remember coming across Colin Wright sometime around 2011 or so and being fascinated by the situation he’d managed to cobble together for himself. At the time, he would move to a new country every four months, based on where his blog readers voted for, which led him to places like New Zealand, India, Iceland, the Philippines, and a bunch of others. I’m probably too much of a control freak to leave my country of residence up to mob rule, but the idea of slow, semi-nomadic travel stuck with me and has been simmering on the back burner for nearly a decade now. If I were to do it though, I’d want to make it my own version—the Brian-flavored life of constant travel.

So with a job that made this somewhat realistic all of a sudden, and after a lot of thinking through the concept, going back and forth on whether it would actually be worth it or whether it just sounded good on paper, I worked up the courage to ask my boss what she thought. I proposed the idea of me working while traveling the US full-time, living out of AirBnBs in various cities for a month or so each. And she was all for it, encouraging me to absolutely go for it. If not now then when? Retirement?

So, that really started the brainstorming—pages and pages of journals filled with thoughts on how, exactly, I might go about this—and now here I am, intentionally homeless (homeful?) as of September 9th. 

The plan, as much as you could call it a plan, gets more and more vague as the timeline progresses, but begins with a month in the mountains, splitting an AirBnB in Silverthorne, Colorado with my family, who’ll come visit for about half the time. 

Then, I already had a trip scheduled to Europe (France, Spain, and Portugal) for two weeks in early October, after which I’ll be heading down to Tucson, Arizona for my company’s annual retreat. Late fall seems like a great time to be in the Southwest, so I decided to hang around for another month afterwards, and then I’ll spend Thanksgiving to Christmas in Austin with family. 

After that is when the plan stops becoming much of a plan, and more of, oh I don’t know, rough moleskine journal brainstorming fragments. Just lists and lists of places that sound interesting. The Southeast intrigues me quite a bit at the moment, partly because it seems to be outside of my comfort zone in a few different ways, so I've got my wobbly sights set on New Orleans and then perhaps Miami for a bit? These are the kinds of places that I think I'd like to explore deeper than I'd get in a quick weekend trip, but probably don't want to spend years in. Not enough mountains and the summers sound brutal. 

A month in each sounds about right, but I'll reevaluate how that feels afterwards for additional stops going forward. In any case, the roughest of plans right now has me moving up the East Coast and tooling around there for the better part of 2020. If at that point, I’m still not ready to be a real adult, I’ll probably wander the left half of the country the following year. Pretty good chance I’ll be ready for some more stability by that point though.

I have so many unanswered questions at this point, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out as I go. I just need to start exploring again for no other reason than to just explore. That seems to be when I’m the most fulfilled, if not the happiest.

I can promise you that I’ll do my best to share both the good and bad moments along the way. And there’ll definitely be some shitty days ahead. I’m not expecting this to be all rainbows and hashtag van life moments and I don’t really want to portray it that way either, so I’ll do my best to keep it pretty real.

Interested in following along? There are a few ways:

  • Instagram - I’ll continue to post photos and updates on there. That’s where most people follow my work anyway and it’ll stay pretty much the same. That said, as I explore a wider swath of the country, my photos will probably branch out beyond primarily landscapes and include some more street photography and urban scenes. I also want to experiment a bit with portraits, telling the stories of people and places I encounter along the way.

  • YouTube - I’m going to start making more videos again. I’m not entirely sure what that’ll look like at this point, but I had a lot of fun experimenting with it last year for a bit and I think it’ll be a good platform to share my experiences and some of what I learn along the way. I also think I’m a bit better at talking to a camera than I am at writing blog posts, so there’s that.

  • Website - I’ll be posting photo essays and the occasional blog post from around the country on here, including a lot of photos that don’t make it to Instagram. You can either bookmark the site or subscribe below to get updates in your email inbox.

I’m going into this whole experiment pretty blind though, so I’m going to ask for your help. Let me know, in the comments or an email or wherever, if you have any suggestions for places in the US to check out, especially those that might be a bit further off the tourist trail. Also, if you know of anyone who’s done or is doing something like this, send me their info. I’d love to connect and see what I can learn from them and meet other weirdos like me.

Cool? Cool. This should be fun.

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