On the road with Reggie from Reggie from the Road
Sometimes life on the road is a meticulously planned adventure, dreamt about for years before the maiden voyage. Other times, circumstances put you in a place you hadn't imagined; filmmaker Reggie Grey wound up living in his 1970 Citation travel trailer, Frances, after the end of a relationship, and is finding clarity, creativity and a sense of self in life on the road. We chatted with the awesome Reggie about life, love and his travels with Frances (Franny, as her name appears on her 'tramp stamp' at the back of the van).
How would you describe your full-time RV life in three words?
Presence, Enlightenment, Meandering.
Where are you now?
I’m currently cold chill’n in Kinston, North Carolina. I’m a hop and a skip from downtown, which feels like Anywhere, USA. My kind of town.
What does home mean to you?
Home is a vast, warm feeling deep inside. It’s a calm that makes every situation familiar and peaceful. In short, I’m always home.
What’s the main reason you wanted to live on the road? What do you hope to gain from it?
In truth, the road life was largely out of necessity. I had a relationship end. She took the house, I took the trailer… then it got cold in Canada! To the south I go! It’s the gain that is meaningful for me. I’ve lived in the same place my whole life, repeating the same awful cycle of hurting myself and others. I’m on a quest to gain autonomy, really get to know myself and cement an impenetrable foundation.
You’re traveling alone – do you get lonely? Do you play cards against yourself?
Honestly, no. Number one, Technology. Number two, I got to a place in life where I needed some alone time. Plus my trailer is quite the looker so there is no shortage of strangers striking up conversations! I have never played cards against myself… but you did just give me an idea for a photo.
You recently posted a pic of yourself watching horror movies at night in your trailer. Um, WHY DID YOU DO THAT?
I was afraid of everything growing up. Everything. Bees? Ya, I wouldn’t go outside. Horror movies were one of the worst of the worst for my fears! I’m using this trip to face a lot of fears and break out of my mould. If you had told me that I would be alone watching scary movies in the middle of the woods in North Carolina, even just a year ago, I would have screamed and run away! As it turns out, a certain murderer in a hockey mask has nothing on this trailer.
You also posted some pics of records that you’ve taken with you – what’s your favorite driving song/album?
I grew up on retro country music: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and the lot. Over the last 20 years I (d)evolved and took a break from those tunes. Right before my journey I felt compelled to collect as much vintage country as I could! Now I can’t get enough honky-tonk stories of truck driving, wives leaving and dogs running away! Plus, it makes me feel more American.
What are the most important things for you to have with you on the road?
It’s the little things: the photo of my best friends from high school (tearing up), the birthday card from my nephew (tear running down my cheek), the care package from my mom (crying), and a keychain of my mini trailer from a special lady (bawling my eyes out). It’s all about the love.
You’re a filmmaker. What are your plans for filming while you’re traveling with Frances?
I’ve spent the last decade making things for other people. Don’t get it twisted, I am so beyond grateful for the way I made my living. I got paid to play. However, this road trip affords me the chance to take everything I have learned and apply it to making intimate portraits of people living similar lives as myself. That’s getting a little too micro though. On a grander scale I want to inspire people – not necessarily to drop everything and buy a trailer, just to do something different in their day to day!
Have you had any crazy/funny/scary (see horror movie question) experiences while on the road?
It took me two days to make it down to my first camp. It was pitch black, but I was elated to be in the middle of the woods and on my own. *CRASH* *BOOM* *BANG* I went outside to investigate with a flashlight. There were these massive branches between my SUV and my trailer and, using the single light source, it looked Blair Witch-esque! I slept with a knife by my bed that night. The next day I investigated, and it just looked like some branches had fallen. It’s kind of a metaphor for my life to date.
What advice would you give to someone who’s considering full-time RVing?
Jump in headfirst. That’s how I do everything in life. Has it gotten me into trouble? Email me and I’ll give you the laundry list. But I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t. When I bought my trailer I had no way to pull it, nowhere to put it and had never done anything remotely close [to what I'm doing now]. I traded in my hybrid, found a place in the 4th largest city in North America to stash the van, and now I can weave that baby with the greatest of ease (sometimes).