Interview by Plymouth Rock
Go to school. Graduate. Get a job. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Grow old. Retire. Then enjoy your life. This is the lifestyle so many Americans have come to accept as the norm.
I can imagine our founding fathers turning in their grave when they realize this sense of freedom they sought to create has been replaced by artificial boundaries of these mundane expectations. As intellects, it is our right, our gut, to question what is right and what is wrong. Anyone can make that delineation, but not everyone acts on it.
The Sellmeyer family is one of those families of action. A family that is truly a sponge for life and experience. Whether they realize it or not, the impact of their frequent trips extends far beyond the reaches of their small family of four. They are inspiring, making a difference, teaching others to enjoy life while you can. Don't live life within the boundaries people think you are "supposed" to. Live your own life. Write your own story. And give your children all they could ever dream of: a new adventure every day.
Enjoy getting to know Ryan & Christina Sellmeyer and start writing your own unique story today.
Plymouth Rock: First and foremost, Ryan (and family!), thanks for joining us! We wanted to take a minute and share your story, your adventures with our readers out there with the hope that this would spread some inspiration around the world. We are dedicated to inspiring others to get outdoors and believe that people like you, a family of adventurers, are the perfect people to help spread that inspiration.
Plymouth Rock: So to start us off, I have to ask, why "poseidonsbeard"? Obviously you have some impressive facial hair, but what spawned the name?
poseidonsbeard: @poseidonsbeard came about awhile back when my facial hair was even more impressive. While living in Hawaii our good friend Luke took it upon himself to start a Twitter account on our behalf! At the time we were quite anti-social (media) and the account was basically a ledger of all of the off the wall comments I made during our ramblings. We knew nothing of it for quite some time until at several dinners and gatherings after making a comment everyone would look to Luke and tell him to add it to “@poseidonsbeard” that was the night I learned that a Hashtag was not a new breakfast cereal. So when my friend Dan came to the Northwest for a visit after we had left Hawaii he started an Instagram account for us and the name was @poseidonsbeard, naturally.
Plymouth Rock: Okay so I have to get some clarification before we get too far. On your account you guys seem to be in the PNW one day, Hawaii the next. What is the connection to Hawaii and where do you all officially call home base?
poseidonsbeard: Our ties to Hawaii are strong. It was the place Ma and I called home for the first seven years of our marriage, It is where our son Benaiah was born and it is where we found a way of living that we had always craved and somehow never believed existed. Through the folks we met and relationships forged in the Islands our version of family life was shaped. We moved to The Pacific Northwest almost three years ago now and have no intention of having another home base! This summer we shipped our family adventure mobile, our 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia, to Hawaii. We used it as a home base for the summer while Ma completed her first internship for her DPT program which is what brought us from Oahu to Washington state in the first place. Are you confused yet? The summer was essentially a confirmation that we would not be calling Hawaii home any time again soon. We missed the mountains and high alpine lakes that we’ve grown so fond of!
Plymouth Rock: Alright so as anyone who looks through your photos can tell, you all have gone on some pretty epic adventures in your Westfalia. What spawned the decision to up and buy an adventuremobile? Has this always been in your "plan" or was this a gut decision that just happened to work out?
poseidonsbeard: As far as adventure mobiles go we have always planned on having one for our family all the way back to our surf trips when we were still dating. We would walk up and down the beach parking lot at Sano drooling over rigs that had been custom built and made unique by the old men down there but knew we could not wait until we were old! We have had several pop up truck campers since and we really thought that was the route we would go as far as exploration rigs were concerned. When we moved to Hawaii is when we acquired our first Vanagon and we were hooked! The one we drive now is actually our sixth!
Plymouth Rock: So surely you all named the van. Let's hear it. What's her name and where did the inspiration for the name come from?
poseidonsbeard: Kona, is named after the worlds most divine coffee. Which it is the exact color of and we intend for this one to be ‘The One." Our trips became more frequent when we got a Westfalia because its always there ready to go almost begging you to get into the mountains!
Plymouth Rock: Once you all purchased, or should I say adopted, this new member of your family, it looks like you all really ramped up your adventures and never looked back. Was adding the van to the family a life changer for you guys? And since you all have owned the van, really started to travel, have you all found a community of people just like you guys out there?
poseidonsbeard: Part of the draw to a VW in particular is the community surrounding these vans. There isn’t a day that goes by without people waving or throwing shakas. Being that we haven’t been on board with the Instagram for very long we started seeing and following all of these peoples travels and it really just forces you to get out there and blow your own damn mind rather than wishing you were in the places you’ve been watching other people conquer on the little three inch screen in your hand. I am a stay at home dad but I just don’t care to stay put. Many of our shorter trips are done without Ma, which is difficult but so is the doctorate she’s working on. The first night of any trip is always hard with small children and I think that might be why so many folks don’t get out and do it as a family until the kids are older. They try a one nighter, its terrible and they put the camping stuff away until the kids are teenagers. The interesting thing is the longer we stay out the easier it becomes to not come back. By the end of most extended trips the kids don’t even want to come home!
Another attraction to owning a Vanagon is the ability to work on them and get parts anywhere in the world. That works out well for circumnavigating the globe like we plan to do one day! We often travel in packs which we have dubbed caravanagons. One reason is that with thirty year old vans someone is bound to have the spare part you’re not carrying right when you need it! But the largest draw to these groups is not the vehicle itself. These vans just happen to be the perfect vessel for people across the world who love the outdoors to explore there surroundings and take all the gear they need regardless of hobby.
Plymouth Rock: As a child, my family didn't travel much, but I spent every second of every day out of the house. Now I see kids growing up glued to electronics, phones, tablets, TVs and more. Having this van, this adventurous lifestyle, how does this make you all feel as parents? How do you see this great life of travel and experiences are shaping your children as they grow older?
poseidonsbeard: Honestly, the only real and vivid memories I have from childhood are from the camping trips we took as a family in a Coleman pop up camper my Uncle Dan gave to my dad before he lost his fight with cancer. One memory in particular is so simple and strange that I would even remember at all was in the Cleveland N.F. in southern California I just remember this little ravine with this one long tree root sticking out of the side that we would climb over and over and then slide down on our butts all day long. To this day I remember what that place smelled like and how the light fell at sunset. I guess that’s proof enough that what you drive doesn’t matter so long as you are just willing to go!
Plymouth Rock: I wanted to highlight you guys, share a bit of your story with the world, with the hopes that someone out there would connect. That some soul out there will read this and be inspired to travel, to explore the world. If you could leave one comment, one piece of advice to the readers, or to that one soul out there that found a home in this article, what would it be?
poseidonsbeard: Your kids will never remember their best day of television.