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Looking For Love In All The Outdoor Places

Author: Adrian Fernandez

May 08, 2018

Want your life to look like my Instagram? The backcountry sunrises, desert landscapes and alpine meadows? It’s what I wake up to every morning. Well, many mornings. Fantasy has become reality for me—and it could for you too. No, you're not dreaming. I’m a single, outdoorsy, full-time van-dwelling adventurer looking for that special girl I can share this magical life with. We can climb desert towers, hike through mountain valleys and doze off beside babbling brooks and streams. And—sometimes beneath the dreamy halogen lights of a Wal-Mart parking lot.

But I’m not down with just any girl—I’m looking for the Cholula to my $.50 breakfast burrito. So, do you mind if I ask a couple personal questions? Do you love showering intermittently at best? Do you relish the taste of ramen and rehydrated beans? Do you like pooping in a hole you dug yourself? If so, please, read on.

I’m 26 years old—and as a young millennial, I’ve adapted to life with technology, including the idea of finding a significant other online. So since I live in my van fulltime and never stay in one place for too long, I realize that Tinder might be the only way I’ll ever find love. As I gallivant across the more sparsely populated areas of the American West, my search radius is set to 60 miles or more, so as to avoid potentially missing out on meeting my soul mate.

A little bit about me: Everything I own is in my vehicle. My bed is a piece of plywood with a foam pad from a cot that one of my raft-guide coworkers graciously gifted me. There’s room for two, if you don’t mind draping your legs over mine as we sleep with our feet pressed against the window. You’ll have to get your own sleeping bag, though. Mine is made for one. I’d recommend a negative temperature rating—the van isn’t insulated. Last night it was 10 degrees in the desert!

I spend most of my time outside. Beautiful vistas, scenic overlooks, and magnificent sunsets are a daily occurrence. Well, when it’s not raining. Or snowing. Or when I’m not broken down on the side of the highway after midnight out of cell range.

But enough about me—what about you? Like to shop? I’m a bit of a bargain hunter myself. We can go thrift store crazy together. It only takes two or three spin cycles to wash the old lady scent out of preowned clothes. Last week, I picked up a whole new outfit, two towels, some scented candles, silverware, and a pineapple corer (you never know) for just $25. Deodorant and costly razorblades? I save a ton on those—I simply don’t buy them! You’d never feel pressure to get all dolled up for me. Society’s expectations are a nonfactor when living the #VanLife. Often, I wear the same clothes for a dozen days or more.

How about restaurants? Not into the sushi, brunch, bottomless-mimosas scene? Perfect! Uninterested in fancy cocktails and top-shelf liquor? Wonderful! Twelve-packs of PBR are my favorite, too.

Can you see yourself pooping in a hole in the ground that you’ve dug with your bare hands? Are you psyched about having to wipe with a rock or handful of juniper? Would it bother you if we had to poop in holes in the ground for the rest of our lives together? I’ll be right there alongside you, standing by with hand sanitizer and making sure no one else is coming down the trail. You and me, babe, two vagabond lovers making our way through this beautiful world, shitting and showering where we can, when we can.

What about adventure versus stability? Ready to let your hair down and just totally wing it? My god, it’s almost like we’re made for each other! I’m generally unemployed for months at a time. I just quit my job in Utah and I’m headed to Colorado for a few months, where we can hike, bike and climb to our heart’s delight. Don’t worry about paychecks—I think my bank account should last till the start of raft season, when we can live together with all my dirtbag river friends. What fun! You don’t mind covering the gas for the van, do you? I think it gets something like eight miles to the gallon.

So, tell me … want to be dirty, sweaty and poor together? Shoot me a message ladies. I’ll get back to you next time I have cell service.

Adrian Fernandez

Adrian grew up in scenic New Jersey. After dropping out of his college creative writing program, he landed a lucrative position selling comedy tickets on the street in Times Square. Eventually he managed to get a job in the entertainment industry, working in an office two blocks from where he used to sell tickets. After three years, he was fed up with the commuting lifestyle and desperate to find a way out of New York City. Through the Internet, he discovered what a dirtbag was, and having never camped for more than two nights in a row, he decided to quit his job and become one. He moved to Montana to live out of a tent and work as a raft guide while trying to become an outdoor adventure writer. At the end of raft season, he bought a van, toured the west for four weeks, then worked for a wilderness therapy program in Moab, while learning to climb. He’s currently an outdoor education instructor in Colorado, and will be managing the Yellowstone Raft Company in Gardiner, Montana, this summer.

You can follow him on Instagram at @iamadrian.