MAKING THE LEAP - LIFE WITH LUCILLE + THE ROAD
Hi! I'm Sera, and this is me with my partner Phil. We've both been primed for life on the road through our own lives as well as road trips together, and are ready to take it to the next step. After living in LA for a combined 17 years (5 years for me, and a whopping 12 for Phil) we've made the choice to take a leap into our next great adventure together.
When I was a little girl, I anticipated a life of travel. I purchased my first camera at a dollar store. A pink thing that took regular film. The images were terrible. Beyond terrible. But I didn't notice the quality at the time. All I cared about was what I was documenting. I didn't have a lot of parental oversight which left me to my curiosities, and my young attempts at capturing candid moments of people walking their dogs, strangers at the grocery store, neighborhood cats being cats, or color combinations I found beautiful became a full time vocation roughly 20 years later. At the time, I had no idea that the woman I was to become would care so deeply about what an image could do. Though at the time, I had the same focus. The same drive.
As a baby and on into my childhood (and well into the rest of my life), I became very accustomed to travel. I was born in Morocco, adopted, and left to a family in Mississippi. Before I even started high school I had lived throughout the U.S. and with many different people - Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, West Virginia, DC, California, and a few other short stops along the way. This was a product of having a family that never wanted kids, but still wanted to "do the right thing." The good that came from all the greyhound stations and sleeping bags was that I learned to not only survive, but to see life in a greater way. I witnessed the working class as intimately as one could, and I viewed the world from the outside, while still being a part of it. This would become my greatest asset.
Phil was born in California, and has lived in California his whole life, after being told that anything otherwise would be foolish. After road tripping throughout the US, as well as taking a few international trips, his eyes were suddenly opened to the life choices made for the sake of others and the uncomfortable comfort of family. It's time we both break out of our stagnancy and begin living our truth. We have many gifts that allow us to guide one another, and this is what makes us the best travel companions, and creative partners.
Five years ago, I moved to Los Angeles from Boulder Colorado after being offered a job in videography. That job led me to my own freelance career in photography, as well as the most important person in my life. My partner Philip and I have the passion of visual storytelling, social justice, and travel in common (amongst other things). We speak of taking our lives on the road constantly. Lucille would allow us to make our dream real. Specifically, we want to be on the road to shoot true depictions of life across the US, important environmental changes, as well as individual stories of inspiring humans we meet along the way, bringing us all closer together. Phil and I want to give power back to the people. We do well on the road, and know the ins and outs of basic survival as well as making it really fun to live small. We are photographers, writers, and creative souls who wish to express the importance of living simply, sharing what can be shared, and giving back.
My driving ambition is to travel, but not only for the pursuit of pleasure. It is my hope to inspire change through words and images. A friend recently said that I "use intimacy to promote empathy." There are numerous locations I'd like to go shoot, as well as write about from my own perspective in order to aid in awareness towards a planet that needs it. I'm comfortable living cheaply, and with a place to call home on the road, I could do just that. Without Lucille, I'd be back to square one. Shooting commercially in Los Angeles, draining myself and penny pinching until I can finally get out to pursue my passion. I can no longer live here, and am leaving regardless of the outcome - Lucille or no. With her would be the most amazing option, but if I'm not the chosen one, it will mean leaving anyway and likely living out of our car. There has been so much positive from living in Los Angeles, and I've gained so much knowledge...but it's a young city, and turns out Phil and I are both old souls. It's been increasingly trying on my spirit to live here, and with Lucille, I could finally FINALLY live within my means, as well as do what I feel I'm meant to do.
Our long term goal is to travel through America for at least a 3 year tour and team up with creative spaces, helping others showcase their work as well as our own. We would feature work meant to provoke society into action, and inspire creativity within communities. We both have the gift of gab, and always end up meeting very unique individuals on our journeys. It would begin as follows:
- MARCH- LAS VEGAS ⟹ UTAH ⟹ DENVER
Explore the lesser-known communities surrounding Vegas, focusing on those who are from Vegas, and the artists and workers that call it home. We'd like to get beyond the Strip into the inner workings. Nevada also is home to a large gold mine that I've been invited to tour and shoot with a local who works there under very questionable working conditions. Afterwards, we would venture into the National Parks of Southern Utah, exploring the worlds once adored by Edward Abbey. Then cut over to Denver to visit old haunts, spend time with my father Steve.
- MAY- COLORADO ⟹ WYOMING
Making the Eastman Ranch in the Big Horn Basin our initial home base, we’d camp out and work on the ranch for 1-3 weeks, taking in modern day ranch life. We would then visit with neighboring ranchers and focus on photographing the life of a rancher, and the long hours they fill to survive. Exploring surrounding terrain, hieroglyphs, canyons and small townships, with potential stops in the Powder River Basin (the largest coal mining deposit in the US, and a dying industry), Big Horn Canyon and the Grand Tetons. Of course, no trip to Wyoming is complete without visiting the people of Cody, and into Yellowstone.
- JULY- MONTANA
With the spring thaw on the way, we’d venture into Livingston, Bozeman and Southern Montana (with the intent of meeting Jim Harrison and sharing a glass of wine). Here I would also respectfully request time on reservations to live with and document current life for American Indians, often a source of dreamlike design for people. However, their reality goes commonly unseen. Montana still maintains its wild heart, and perhaps a lesson in fly fishing wouldn’t hurt us.
- SEPTEMBER- NORTH + SOUTH DAKOTA ⟹ MICHIGAN ⟹ ETC.
From Montana we'd take the route through the Badlands of North & South Dakota, get into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and down into the East Coast. Then we’ll head southward into North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and into Florida. Looping back, we will drive across Louisiana, into Texas, stop into Marfa to see new art exhibits and visit old friends, then loop up into New Mexico and Arizona for summer monsoon rains and swimming holes. Also, to visit Phil's Grandma Ginny (who is a wealth of artistic knowledge) and get a tour of local museums.
....AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING! We plan to travel completely across the US, weaving our way from the west coast to the east, doubling back when necessary, and possibly even venturing into Mexico and Canada. We already generate a humble income together through pitching ideas to magazines and blogs, and we sell vintage clothes and prints online which is enough to support us through very humble means. We'd do this on the road while continuing to shoot, and offering distance health consulting. I went to school for massage therapy (after graduating in photojournalism - did I mention I have a million interests?) and continue to practice alternative healing and wellness.
I don't mean to sound over the top when I say that this would truly be the answer to my prayers, but the truth is, it would be. I've lived a hard but fruitful life, and I'm only 29. I believe in my heart that everyone is given the life they need in order to learn what they must to be the best person they can be. Denying this, or avoiding the lessons is how people end up very, very unhappy. Living through the hardships and pain has also meant understanding what others are experiencing in a real way. I'm grateful for this language in which I'm able to communicate. I've learned to hustle through the struggle, and to be excited for risks taken. There is so much power to the human spirit. I witness it every day.
I would be forever grateful for this real chance to inspire change through travel, and to be with my life parter and live out our passion to the fullest. This and more would be possible with beautiful Lucille as our homestead. We've both wanted this for a very long time, both individually, and now together within our partnership. It would also be an honor to continue giving this lovely little living space a continuing mission.
If you'd like to see some of my work, please feel free to look around this website, or take a look at my instagram @portablesera. My partners website is www.philipeastman.com and instagram is @philipeastman. Also, I've created a new photo portfolio with this website, but to see some of my old journal entries (which will likely look similar to what Phil and I hope to create on the road) please click here, here, here, here, or here for just a few examples.
Thank you again, and good luck on your new journey while providing a possible one for someone else.