This Is So Much Harder Than We Thought It Would Be...

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This Is So Much Harder Than We Thought It Would Be...

September 2, 2017 | 5 min read

Well hello there stranger!

Long time no talk eh? (Trust me, we know) This blog has been a blank canvas of potential energy kept empty only by the intentional pouring of our kinetic energy elsewhere. A fancy way of saying: we have been so freakin busy it's insane and keeping this thing up to date has not been a priority on purpose; though that will change soon.

I (Max) just wanted to give you guys a little update on Adventure Us and what we've been up to the past year and a half. A much bigger video update is coming soon, this blog is meant to hold you over till then. (Well for the handful of you who have cared and followed our story thus far).

So as many of you know we have been living out of our renovated Airstream "Rosemary" for the better part of 2 years. And let us tell you: it has been so amazing, dreamy, fulfilling and captivating.  Let us also tell you: it is so much harder than we thought it would be!

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Now, if you've spent anytime in the tiny house, minimalism, small living world this is where you might expect me to rattle off a list of pros and cons, tips on renovations, best and worst practices, what to expect, how to make money, what you don't know going into trailer life and so on... (much of that will come later rest assured).

But right now I just wanted to be brutally honest and say that it's been hard because starting a brand you want to be excellent is hard. freaking. work.

Especially without any outside investments, no other business partners, living in a 180 square foot home you tow with you, in a new city every 3 weeks, with Bonnie Kate's chronic pain, with a few deaths of close friends, with some massive CRAZY personal family %#*!* going on, while trying to freelance and pay the bills, while working hard to create and launch what we believe will be some of the best, honest, beautiful, most thoughtful content on YouTube ever.

It's hard y'all, unless you really believe in the vision: you will give up. And if this was easy, everyone would be doing it. Last time I checked... there aren't many of us out there... 

"But we believe and are choosing to believe in Adventure Us because we believe in the people, memories, and stories we've encountered and want to share them with you in a way that is real, honest and beautiful."
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Hear me clear now: I'm not complaining, we chose this life and we own it with thanksgiving. While it is hard, it's important to note that hard is a very relative term. Is it hard compared to fighting cancer? Living in a war torn Iraq? Cleaning up the aftermath of Harvey in Houston? Of course not, obviously. But I wanted to try give an honest voice to the reality of our day to day for the past 600 days or so...

All of which to say: we have been very busy. Doing what you may ask? Filming a library of content for our YouTube channel while making a living until the channel can (hopefully) support us financially. So we will drive out to a place with episodes in mind, contacts made, things planned, and try to grab as many amazing stories as we can while still working on the road taking care of clients and freelancing. It's a delicate balance, and it's not fun or glamorous all the time, but we have found a stride and.... it is SO worth it!

The question "What is Adventure Us" is one we've gotten often (especially as we try to convince people to trust us and be on our episodes, or as we try to tell our friends and family what the HECK we've been up to! haha) So as we've attempted to answer this over and over the past year and a half, we have refined, thought, and considered much to come up with a simple and honest answer:

"Most people regret not having seen more of the world's beauty in their lifetime, so our YouTube channel invites folks to come alongside our adventures as we weekly share amazing stories while we work, travel and live in our 79' renovated Airstream named Rosemary."

As we say here on our site, we are a creative married duo purveying service + story as we travel the US. Service means freelancing paying the bills, and story will be our attempt to make YouTube a better place for young and older folks alike to invest their time as we become more and more connected with the ever present growth of the smartphone.

Social media and YouTube has democratized our ability to be seen in the world, which is to say it's an even playing field and we all have a chance at growing our brand. Which means we all have a chance at the privilege of having our thumb on the pulse of culture to some degree.

Whether or not we like it, we are what we consume: both at the dinner table and on our phones.
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However, to rise above the noise, your content needs to not only be consistent, but must have meaning, be exceptional, carry beauty and with it a subtextual balance of high touch and high concept aesthetic that drives the story forward....whoops...sorry..... I did it again... started thinking like a filmmaker with a psychology degree and typed a fluffy sentence that makes sense to no one but me! ha Let me try that again....ah hem....

There are thousands of videos being made and uploaded daily, so we knew ours must be well-made, different, excellent and 'us'. That is why we have worked hard to define our brand, build our brand, live our brand, and then finally shoot stories that fit with our brand. This has taken almost two years, but once our channel launches, it will have been worth the wait...

The reality is: our utter connectedness online isn't going away, and while many people are using that in their own unique way, some are doing it better than others.

After our proposal documentary "Wildflower" took off, we too were inspired to take a stab at it in a way that is authentic, beautiful, hopeful and entertaining.

We believe social media can and should be something that fills not numbs, that inspires and doesn't bully, that empowers and doesn't trick you into resenting your life.

So... we are launching a YouTube channel that aims to do that through the sharing of stories centered around food, travel, music, making, florals, people and a little s'more.... 

We have given our hearts, time, thought, energy, blood, sleep, sweat, bank accounts, and tears for it, and you know what: we've already won!

Even if our channel flops, even if no one watches, even if we don't 'take off' and 'succeed' like everyone (honestly) wants to: we did it. We set our minds to a strong vision, brought it to life, learned a TON, became a better couple by learning how to work together in a TINY home, and got to travel a ton and invest precious time with friends and family we wouldn't have otherwise gotten to.

All in all, we're kinda over whether this 'works' or not, we're just at a point where we are thrilled to share it with the world and aim to very very soon.... :-)

Also, if you read this whole thing, you are amazing. Thank you for your time and energy.

Stay tuned... we can't wait to be Adventure Us with you...

Max

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A Roadworthy Venture

The rain danced on the roof with a familiar tone, the gentle hum of water tapping on metal. Something you’d hear on an old hay barn or home built with tin roofing; our home, that evening, was nothing of the sort. Rather we found ourselves, by way of #AirBnb, cuddled up just south of Seaside, FL in the cozy recesses of a renovated Airstream. We giggled in disbelief of our current situation. Hard to believe we’d been married for 5 months and these kind of solo adventures are the norm. We had each other: cozy, adventuring, together and far from home. Pure magic. What a blessing it was that cool October evening in 2014, little did we know our humble aluminum rendezvous would make such an impact on us only months later.

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Crying, we tried to compose ourselves.  “We need to do what?  We have to go to court and testify? See James Holmes in person? Relive everything in front of real people, with real hurt and real families like ours? His family even…” Months after our Airstream beach adventure, we got some news.  This was our first response to hearing the fact that Bonnie Kate would have to testify in court for the trial of James Holmes for the 2012 Aurora, CO Batman Theatre Shootings. The night she almost lost her life, that has marked our lives in so many ways since, and one we hadn’t properly ‘worked through’, really, yet. It is a strange thing, the human response to such a visceral, nightmarish hell. But self-preserving, prayerful compartmentalization can only take you so far before you need to look it, all of it, in the face and push through; chronic pain marking each step along the way.

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As many of you know from having watched Wildflower, Bonnie Kate was shot by James Holmes in her left knee in the summer of 2012 in that fateful evening in that movie theatre. It has been really, really, really hard since, with blessings along the way. It’s been almost 3 years and she still can’t have a good night’s rest, walk a city block without the aid of crutches or not want to cry everyday around 4pm because the endless pain depletes her of the energy needed to do the normal things she wants, so badly, to do. Chronic pain is a real bitch, but we are learning to rely on Jesus all the more; a refining but costly season. BK’s plight is something of an anomaly as we’d hoped, by now, she would be without pain. But recently we’ve (started) to accept that “someday without pain” is a day that very well may never exist for Bonnie Kate. Since ‘someday’ doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon, we humbly accepted (and still daily accept) that this is God’s will for us. Oh, and then we bought an Airstream, kinda.

It is from this strange tension and reality ‘Adventure Us’ was born. The combination of good days like our little beach trip and hard days like, well, testifying against your alleged killer and the whole nation. Coming to grips with the fact that what happened 3 years ago in Aurora actually happened. Like really happened, not just a rehearsed, removed version of it in our heads, but it was real. Real people died. Real victims and their families are still mourning. Real pain still exists in our hearts, minds, knees, arms, spines and so much more.

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So we needed a silver lining, something to look forward to, something a little more ‘here and now’ tangible that our finite minds and ready hands could grasp onto. Not that heaven and the hope of glory aren’t our fuel, trust me, it’s all we have most days. But if we’re going to lead a life with chronic pain, it’s going to be in style, and sure as heck will be replete with service, adventure, friends, travels and great coffee. Why not do it in an Airstream? Our thought, exactly.

So here we begin, the next chapter in our lives as The Zoghbis.  A filmmaker/photographer + illustrator/stylist creative duo who are taking our careers on the road full time to redefine the American dream.  With one year of amazing marriage under our belts, a heavy trial to work past, and an Airstream to flip, we’ve got our hands full.  But we are led by the God who is loving enough to get us through the very evil He allowed to happen, for His glory and our good.  He is our strength, courage, hope and help.

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Here in this blog you’ll initially find some DIY Airstream flipping tips as we bring ole’ Rosemary to life, along with ramblings + stories about faith, life, cameras, projects, collaborations, illustrations, travel, America, style and adventures out on the open road less traveled (depending who’s writing each week). Hope you’ll stay tuned, share if you like and be encouraged as we learn to #beadventureus. Also, we’d love to collaborate, hit us up. For reals.

Huzzah!

-Max + Bonnie Kate

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