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#RedbudRoadTrip No 2: Leave No Trace

#RedbudRoadTrip No 2: Leave No Trace

Note: This is post 2 of 3 from a Redbudsuds fan and friend Caylie Mindling Grubbs. Caylie approached us this spring, asking if she could share her story. We said yes! We’ll be following Caylie and her hubby Joshua on their cross-country road trip as they travel and share their experiences with Redbudsuds and thoughtfully clean living on the road. Missed the first one? Catch it here.


There’s this community that you only hear whispers about until you become one of them. Travelers. Nomads. Explorers. Restless wanderers. Eager learners. Nature collaborators.

We’ve inadvertently become a part of this society, and we seem to gravitate toward each other; soul seeks soul. We’ve encountered our people on wilderness mountain tops and in sushi restaurants and on hidden beaches and in museums and in National Parks and in the back, backcountry.

Here are some thoughts we’ve had along the way:

  • The nomadic life is fantastic and effing hard.
  • Building in margin and saving a rainy day fund is so so so so vital because sh*t happens.
  • Asking Google what’s around is great, but asking the cashier behind the local ice cream parlor or gas station attendant or cafe barista (baristo?) is better.
  • Forgiveness is a must-have when traveling with another person.
  • Flexibility will get you far.
  • Sometimes you just need a bed.
  • Don’t let sharing with your digital community dictate how you spend your time.

For these reasons and more, this trip has been eye opening. My husband and I have learned a lot about each other and ourselves. We’ve become versed in camping in bear, moose, mountain lion, and rattlesnake country.  We’ve become atlas savants. (There are so many nifty tips and tricks that comes from reading a physical map!). And we’ve learned a hell of a lot about our planet and what it means to enjoy it and take care of it.

I never thought about taking care of the environment. Not really. I’ve always loved nature but I unknowingly shared a school of thought that is, “Natural resources will never run out. They’ll just be here forever, right?” It’s not that I thought littering was fine, or that dumping thousands of gallons of oil into the oceans was okay, it’s more that I just didn’t think about it. I was indifferent. I thought it didn’t affect me.

Gradually, over years, that’s (thankfully) changing.

I’ve found myself several times listening to Park Rangers talk about conservation, and again I feel like I’ve found one of my people. They get it. They know the cost. They know the joy.

I'd like to share a few stories so you can see what I mean.

We spent two weeks camping in bear country. I’m talking about freakin’ bear country. This is a place where leaving some of your dinner outside the tent could very easily mean you become dinner. The people you meet camping in bear country are hardcore. And they follow Leave No Trace ethics (LNT) in an awe-inspiring manner. Having that extra push of safety helped to solidify the ideas of LNT for us. As lame as it sounds, not having the threat of bears made it really easy to loosely practice LNT and still claim that we were.

To be honest, I'm not sure you need to live in a rigid LNT manner all the time, everywhere you are. It’s tough! I’m still learning. I don’t have all the answers. But I can tell you that camping in campgrounds where LNT is not at all adhered to, much less probably heard of, is just plain gross.

For example, last week we were camping on the beach near Santa Barbara, California at a state campground. Water stations were sprinkled throughout the grounds. We had one right on the edge of our lot and I watched person after person come and wash their dirty dishes. When they’d gone, all of their now-soaked food still floated in the sudsy pond they’d created.

I thought, “That’s so disgusting. This is exactly why LNT should be a well-known and widely practiced idea.” But then I also didn’t know what to do with my soapy food water later that night because the ground was solid rock with a thin layer of sand. We couldn’t even stake our tent, much less dig a hole deep enough for the soapy water. When the normal solution doesn’t work, what do you do?

The earth is changing and we get to play a small part in how that happens. It may not seem like using biodegradable soap and practicing Leave No Trace has a big effect for the good, but I think the state of the earth right now proves that not doing so has a big effect for the worse.

Love from San Diego,

Caylie & Joshua

We're so grateful to Caylie and Josh for sharing their stories. What about you?

What have you seen on your most recent adventure? The beauty of the wildlands, signs of human impact, or both? Does it affect your daily choices?

Share your thoughts in the comments or on Facebook / Instagram @redbudsuds #thoughtfullyclean.

Love deeply. Adventure gently. Be thoughtfully clean.

Feel the Flow - Thoughtfully Clean Blog for REDBUDSUDS

Wondering what Thoughtfully Clean Field Notes are all about? Read the first post here.

Small drops make an ocean; let’s make waves.

Thoughtfully yours,


filed under: #redbudroadtrip | Thoughtfully Clean Field Notes

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