• brandenfugate


One year ago today, we packed up our camper, said goodbye to our folks, and hit the road. We had little in the way of plans or itineraries outside of wanting to learn more about booze. Every day since has been an adventure. Most have been pure magic, others have been a learning experience, but every single one of them has been edifying.

Shortly before hitting the road we had sold most of our possessions, very reluctantly moved out of our adorable house in Los Angeles, said goodbye to our friends, and settled into Lauren’s parents’ spare bedroom in Ohio. Shortly after arriving we purchased an old travel trailer with good bones (a 23ft 1989 Yukon Wilderness to be exact) and set to work on getting her road ready. We were in a race against time since the weather would soon turn against us. This was compounded by the fact that neither of us knew anything at all about RVs, especially RV repair and maintenance, but we learned fast. YouTube and Lauren’s dad, Keith, saved us. Thanks, YouTube. Thanks, Keith.

We had started saving a little money about two years before leaving LA. We had stared initially without a clear idea of what we were saving for. After about one year of saving we started hatching the idea of taking an extended trip around the country and possibly the world. We were both working in beverage service at the time—me behind a bar and Lauren on the floor of a fancy restaurant—and we wanted to use the trip as a tool for professional development. We started talking to people about our plans and doors started opening up in ways we could not have imagined. We realized we could have privileged access to this world if we just asked politely (and occasionally leaned on a contact or two). We decided to document the journey so that others could follow along and learn with us.

In the last 365 days we have had the privilege of tasting kellerbier straight from the fermenter in Columbia, SC, of juicing sugar cane right in the field for rhum agricole in Charleston, of having African food and artillery punch (on the street) in Savannah, of PBR and strip clubs in Atlanta, of bars with tattoo parlors (and subsequent tattoos) in Ft. Lauderdale, of Ojen frappes and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, of pan de muerto and fresh pulque during Day of the Dead in Mexico City, of Cuban rum straight from the bottle on the streets of Havana and in the tobacco fields of Viñales, of shōchū with the Japanese Consul General (in his home!), of sour beers and queso in Austin, of sotol and aliens in Marfa, of surprisingly stellar sparkling wine in Santa Fe, of mind-bendingly good tiki cocktails and Sonoran hotdogs in Tucson, and of too too too many more beverages and memories to name.

If you’re considering taking a similar leap, whether it involves travel or not, we encourage you to do it. None of us are getting any younger. Life is an open bottle of wine. Drink it or waste it.


P.S. if it does involve travel (or, ya know, alcohol), feel free to reach out with any questions. We’d love to hear from you.


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