I headed north into De Soto National Forest from Biloxi Mississippi to check off another naked forest shower off my list. When I rolled into Airey Campground it was full of cars and my first thought was to crowed for me. I pulled around to park and I got a friendly wave from a couple relaxing in chairs by their white sprinter van. The friendly gesture helped changed my mind about the crowdedness. I think Jayden (my dog) gets more excited then I do for new places cause he was hyper after the short 45 minute drive from the Gulf. So I exchanged a few quick hellos with the two couples to hit the trail and burn off his energy. Just off the campground lake is Tuxachanie Trail. A 22 mile trail system that leads to an old World War II POW camp and the Airey camp ground is at mile 5.5. Well the pups walk was short lived as we walked just around the bend of the lake til he motioned he was ready to go back. With the freedom I have I now I let pup dictate how far and where he wants to explore when it’s his time. As we came back the two couples were about to head out for a run/hike. My bum foot loomed over my head for a brief little bit til they all said I should tag along. Sold! Doesn’t take much to convince a runner to run even on a bum foot. Along the way the five of us switch around talking and telling stories. We ended up doing a 12 mile run/hike that felt much shorter because of everyones presents.
Steven and Jen are from Toronto, Canada and now live in a Sprinter van they custom built and converted into their home on wheels. They sold their houses and put life on hold to explore the USA with the intent to see all the National Parks. It was cool to hear that they have had similar VanLife experiences as I have in my short 3 months. You can follow their adventure at http://www.nomadsinnature.com.
Matt and Chloe are road tripping and pitching a tent on their life’s adventure. Matt has a pretty rad work schedule that gives him five weeks on and five weeks off. So on his five weeks off the two of them drive across the country living life and exploring nature. Chloe is from Colorado so we made joke together about how this areas elevation is lacking how it easy it felt. Matt’s job opened my eyes possible new job field that could allow one to be a dirtbag with a real job.
Rodrigo is a young surfer from Miami, Florida area and was waiting for his girlfriend Kelsey to arrive in Biloxi by bus from Maryland the next day I arrived. He has had the dream to travel to California and then South America in search of waves and a minimal life. Their story of drug addiction at a young age to where they are now is pretty amazing. The plan they have to get them from A to B will be a great story and build great inner strength. They make crafts, bracelets, necklaces and will sell them as they travel to make money. The support they give each other will keep them on the straight and narrow path toward a happy life.
Mr. Bill is great man and a retired Vietnam Veteran. This guy has his VanLife down to a science. He lives throughout the local campgrounds of Mississippi in his van named after his late dog. He has a “tiny house” on a few acres 10 minute from the camp but travels around to enjoy the different nature scenes. Around the camp fire he would tell us stories about the war and the craziness that was involved. One night he recited a poem he wrote as he was going over to Vietnam. It was an touching moment to have a guy who looks hard on the outside open up and show true emotion.
How high I look, how far I see the world is so confusing to me. People are hard, people are cruel and it seems they've forgotten how to play their cool. They cheat, they lie, they steal, they kill and so my heart tells me I've had my pill. I'm alone in this world and I stay this way til my heart and my mind convince me to stray. I hope and I pray that someday the world will be together again and never stray. -Bill
My foot injury kind of provoked this journey down along the flat gulf coast so I was not provoked to run as much. Again, like a broken record it was meant to be!