We’re Kyla and Jill, we’re best friends and photographers both from Vancouver, BC. In 2013 we sold everything we owned, fixed up an old camper trailer, and left town on a road trip with no fixed destination or end date. Somewhere along the way we started Our Wild Abandon - our shared Instagram account and photography partnership. We met in early 2010, through our then-boyfriends, who are best friends. In February 2013, we coincidentally ended our respective relationships within days of each other, and both found ourselves in a sort of terrifying place where we were realizing that after dedicating the last four years of our lives to building a life with one person, we had neglected a lot of our other interests and friendships. We were both standing on our own for the first time in a long time and rediscovering what that meant. We ended up spending a lot of time together suddenly and talking endlessly about all of the things we were going to do with our new found freedom, realizing every moment that we had so much more in common than we ever knew before. I think the timing worked out just right for us, for all of that to end just in time for this to begin.
We had reached our respective tipping points and something was going to change in a major way for both of us. That easily could have translated into getting a different dead end job or something just as mundane. Luckily we had each other; we talked ourselves into this plan instead. We were not happy; we were too young to be so unsatisfied and working too much with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. There were so many parts of the world we wanted to see before we were too old to enjoy them. We told ourselves we have our whole lives to be stuck, let’s try the opposite while we still can.
We had planned a lot before we left actually! Our budget, our route, which places to stay and friends to see etc. In our excitement we had spent months compiling a binder of attractions, contacts, photos and maps... we didn't open it once. About two days in, we took an unplanned turn east right after Portland and ended up at Crater Lake with a local family we met at a bar. They fed us elk lasagna and took us blueberry picking. From that point on all bets were off, we realized we had to just go with what felt right. We realized the more we tried to plan the less likely it was going to happen. We never wanted to feel forced into anything or to feel like we were leaving something undone or unexplored.
I don’t think we could have predicted anything close to this. We were treating that initial trip as our last hurrah before settling back down and growing up for good. We were thinking "Ok, we'll run away for a few months, take some photos, come back and get real jobs. We'll be flight attendants or something." We never even thought anyone besides our friends would see our photos! Working as professional photographers was a dream that seemed so far fetched at that point. We could have never envisioned arriving at this point in our careers by abandoning it all. We are grateful for every day we are able to live this way while supporting ourselves through photography.
The biggest struggle we face is maintaining personal relationships while constantly moving. Dating is almost impossible and friendships take a lot of work.
As far as opportunities, there are too many to count. We have gotten to visit countries that we literally had never heard of. We've met thousands of people, a few of whom have become some of our closest friends. Plus we get to be our own bosses, which rules.
So important. Maybe even the most important! This whole thing was a risk and fear is all that held us back. We’d still be sitting behind restaurant counters or shoved in a cubicle if we hadn’t decided decided the rewards outweighed the risks. We figured if we pressed reset then, what difference did it make if we had to press it again if we came home broke and alone a few months later? The idea of letting things stay the same in our lives was so much scarier than the idea of leaving it all behind.
When we first started this thing we had nothing to lose, but now we’re working on something that’s our very own. On the road, life will throw whatever it wants to your way, good and bad. We were in a really bad wreck just before Christmas. We rolled both our truck and trailer leaving Salvation Mountain. We wrote about it a bit more in depth on our site but the short of it is we pretty much lost everything that made up our life on the road in less than 10 seconds. It was terrifying. All of a sudden the road was a scary place. Going home, staying still and having possessions seemed appealing again. Lucky we snapped out of it. We just bought a new trailer and are in the process of fixing it up. We've been so lucky to have the support of our friends and the community to keep going. None of this is easy but it’s all worth it.
Instagram has been essential in allowing us to share our work and story. Our account started so we would have a single channel to funnel our images through instead of cross posting and annoying all our friends. At some point it started to gain momentum and this whole community invited us in, there was a whole world out there we didn’t know about. It has helped us in so many ways, not just professionally. Some of the best friends we’ve made, the experiences we’ve been a part of came to us through this app. We’re forever changed for the better because of Instagram.
Maybe, when we find out exactly where home is...