Gene & Shay's RV Adventure Across America
Digital nomads Gene and Shay, alongside their cat co-pilots, have brought the comforts of home with them on their adventures across America. Traveling in an RV, they are driven to explore the outdoors, while finding community, where ever the road leads.
We got a chance to connect with this adorable couple and learn more about their adventures.
The following article was originally published on GayCities as part of a partnership with Go RVing. The original post can be found HERE.
What draws you to the road in an RV?
When March of 2020 hit, the two of us were forced to step back and reconsider what we thought was important.
This mode of travel changed everything for us. When we get an itch for a change of scenery, we turn on the engine, drive a few hours, and watch the landscape transform before our eyes. We used to live pretty mundane lives, but now we welcome the spontaneity of the open road when we feel like it. If it weren’t for our adventures together, I’m not sure if we would’ve ever met these new people we have become.
What has been your favorite destination?
Funny enough, this differs between the both of us. I’ll map it out for you, which will probably also tell you a little more about both of our personalities:
Gene’s Pick – Moab, Utah
Driving down the highway and getting that first glimpse of those red cliffs towering over the rushing Colorado River feels surreal, almost like another planet. To me, RV traveling is all about getting closer to nature. I love how we can drive for three hours, going from a lush forest, a snow-capped mountain, to a desolate desert, while discovering new places along the way.
Shay’s Pick – Stanley, Idaho
Tucked away in the Sawtooth Mountains you’ll find a small town, called Stanley. When we got onto the road, we did all the basic stuff. I’m talking National Parks, scenic overlooks, the works. Then our friend told us to check out a small town in the middle of Idaho, with a population of 66. I’m not sure what made us listen, but it has shaped our attitude towards spontaneity ever since.
We met up with our closest friends, spent our days hiking in the mountains, our afternoons lounging by the lake, and our nights unwinding in town. There was a major heatwave coming through the midwest at that time, and we decided to extend our stay in Stanley to avoid it. Those townsfolk quickly became our family, showing us a kind of homegrown hospitality we will never forget.
What’s your go-to RV meal?
We are both huge fans of cooking. We love spending hours recreating plant-based versions of our favorite childhood meals. That being said, when on the road, we simplify our recipes for efficiency. Our go-to’s are wraps, salads, and one-pot soups. We have perfected Olive Garden’s Zuppa Tuscano, the vegan version of course, and probably make that a couple of times each month. The trick is to make huge batches and meal prep. Leftovers are your best friend. Especially when you want something quick or can’t cook at that moment. Stick with what you like and make it often.
What do you do when you need space from each other?
We get asked this question all the time. The two of us are sincerely best friends, life partners, but that doesn’t mean we want to be around each other every second of every day. When we get to a spot for the night somewhere, we usually have our list of tasks to do before settling down, which is a great way to get some space independently from each other.
Following our daily chores, we both like to unwind in different ways. Shay likes to take the cats for a walk and then watch reality TV while drinking a nice glass of wine. Gene likes to straighten up the van and watch Youtube videos. There are countless times where we sit for hours in silence together, happy to be in each other’s presence, but appreciating the solitude we both need.
Do your cats like life on the road?
Bean and Sprout grew up knowing nothing other than living in an apartment. Both being rescued and immediately transitioned to city-living, we really worried if they’d be comfortable on the road.
Before first venturing out, we’d spend some nights in the RV with them, adjusting the cats to the space. We brought pieces of our apartment with us, like couch cushions, throw blankets, and other textiles with familiar smells. Within days they acclimated, and now we couldn’t have asked for better co-pilots.
How do you meet other LGBTQ people on the road?
Growing up in Philadelphia, we were spoiled with the open and welcoming aspect of our community. We aim to find that on the road.
We are here to say that this kind of travel isn’t all heterosexual couples. We have met just as many queer folx on the road as we have any other group. We use our Instagram and TikTok to show LGBTQIA+ representation within our community, and through those platforms, we have met so many amazing, inspiring people. If you are currently traveling or planning an upcoming trip, feel free to reach out to us on social media, we are always open to adding more members to our “road” family.