THE 2012 OFB MOBILE WORKLIFE TOUR

Ben Jenkins

Founder & Creative Drover

Our annual mobile work life tour started way back in June. With the 58' OFB Mobile Airstream office (and living quarters) in tow, we left from Dallas, TX on a hot, sunny summer morning just before sun up with a simple outlook. Separate working, from any specific physical location. Make Freedom. Travel slow, see more, and make better stuff. Make a living. Live. Lets not confuse this with a vacation.
 
 
 
The Route.

We don't make any specific plans or reservations. We just generally pic a directional route with a turning point, and go.  We spent two weeks exploring the great American Southwest, a region we love and spend large amounts of time in all year round. I would say our home away from home. From Southern Utah, we traveled down through Arizona until we reached that beautiful SOCAL Pacific Coast. Of course spent a good week with our old friends at the Paskowitz Surf camp in San Diego. From there, we spent a good 8 weeks creeping up the Pacific coast until we could literally see Canada. We finally turned our rig east for the first time, streaked across Washington State, got some good sleep in Montana, spectacular fly fishing in Wyoming, and made our way back to OFB's spiritual birth place…a place called Red Shirt Table which is part of the Badlands on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. From there we pretty much kept our head down until we got back home. Cornfields.  In all, over 8,000 miles, and 73 days of living (working & exploring) on the road. All but 3 of those nights spent in the trailer or in our trusty orange Coleman tent.  
So lets break things down and talk about why we do this.  
Slowing Down….to do more.
A simple concept. Clear the crap, the unneeded, the overdone.….make space for doing more of what we value. 
I think of the days in 3 parts: 1) Sleep 2) Work 3) Live 
Give about 8 hrs to each and you have yourself a well balanced day.  
Sleep.
We get more in tune with the rhythms of the sun when we are are camping nightly. When it gets dark, we naturally start winding down, enjoying book, a fire, hot tea, glass of wine, a bedtime story for the kids, etc. We go to bed much earlier than when we are at home. We just aren't stimulated by tons of media. We wake early and refreshed. 
Work.
Of course we gotta make a living like anyone else. I find the road, and camp, to be a great place to work. Great creative work requires 2 things:
1) Exploration
This is not surprising. Creative people have to connect with others, with new things and new forms, and be inspired by others. So for me the exploration part of work during these trips is about absorbing what others have made. Nature aint bad either!  The taxman may not get it, but when I go to a surf shop, I'm working. Lots of great branding examples in there to absorb.
2) Solitude
Living in a trailer in the woods. Great for solitude. Actually, we practice this all-year round because we all work from our personal studios rather than all in one space. I also will take the trailer outside of town for a couple days at a time to hunker down on a project. Why Solitude? I'll let some much greater artists and thinkers than me, tell you.
Goethe:
 “One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.”
Picasso:
 “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”
Mann:
 “Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry.”
Tesla:
 “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
Speaking of work….we did allot.  In fact we had the busiest Summer in OFB history. Here are a couple case studies highlighting work that was done and of course a good chunk of the work done this summer will be launching this Fall.
Oh! I also worked a few days at Google and Nike. Will write about that later!
Live.
There are only 2 rules. Do only what is needed & necessary for survival. OK I'm not saying we are living in a survival situation. But you are certainly more aware of your soundings and the fact that it's all kinda about eating, drinking, shelter, etc. Right? And then only what we enjoy doing after those things are taken care of. You know, the stuff you never seem to have time to do in your busy, all important modern life of mostly busy work, meaningless meetings, and PTA meetings. And of course here is the real reward to living on the road. We can spend these 8 hrs doing so much more, in so many great places.
A quick list: Setting up camp, cooking outdoors, long hikes, long runs, long walks, fixing the rig, washing clothes, cleaning the rig, cleaning the dog, teaching the kids ANYTHING, fireside chats, drawing, smelling, working out, water drinking, beach or riverside napping, bill paying, banking, tasting coffees, visiting family farms, seeing wildlife, whiskey tasting, landscape hunting, bison spotting, diner diving, ignoring advertising, beer tasting, outdoor movie watching, guitar & banjo playing, trying new foods, leather crafting, vintage shopping, pawn shop hoping, pipe smoking, star gazing, cricket listening, outdoor festivals, live music, surfing, biking, fly fishing, fly fishing, and fly fishing. One of my FAVORITE activities, is purging To Do lists. Getting away helps me more clearly recognize the important rom the unimportant with regard to projects, business, etc.
A note here about the inclusion of family pics in this post! Haha. Look, in the past, I pretty much left out family pics...and trust me I have 10000's more...but Family is a HUGE part of why we do this. So its not telling the whole story if I don't include. For you it may be family, important friends, both, a dog, whatever. The point is slowing down to spend more time with things we value..people count ;) I'll go ahead and say in fact that this work style is ABOUT connecting my personal life and work life.   I want my kids to get outside of their bubble, see more, be independent, self sufficient, and just more aware of what is essential. Frankly, I used to use work as an excuse for not spending enough time with them. This idea that you can't work with kids around... ridiculous.  Why not make WORK, work for you? Why not mold work to life rather than the letting WORK, work you over? Easier said than done, I know. But I am going to assume I am taking to mostly creative types that make a living in much the same why I do. Laptop. Brain. Internet. 
Return To Red Shirt Table.
We are making a film that will talk more about this. I'll just say, this was THE PLACE that inspired me to live a creative life. I spent some extended time here 15 years ago and it changed me. Nothing would be the same for me without it. And so I thought it would be great to visit. It was. Nice to be able to look back after 15 years and realize I am glad I followed through.
That's it! You need to get on to viewing the pics above.
Hope to see you on the road. 
Ben Jenkins

Founder & Creative Drover

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Through many years of experience, and quite a bit of soul searching, we have found a way to live lives that help us generate our best work. It's why we look so happy in pictures. Our dedication to exploration and being uncomfortable keeps us inspired, constantly expands our world-view, and brings us mindful rest to refuel and rejuvenate our creative thinking. To find the balance between long immersive journeys and having the proper time to craft our work… we limit the number of clients we work with annually to fit within our 9 month work season. We also work hard to work with people who also share a healthy outlook on work and life. Having the right clients (not just big ones) is critical for not just enjoying our work, but generating brands that matter and endure over time. Brand building is mentally draining, in a great way, when you have a healthy working relationship with the people on the other side of the table. We expend all of our energy into making new things for people we work with. It requires trust and aligning what you want out of a partner with who we are. Different firms have different styles, different approaches, different goals, different values, and different definitions of success. We are just plain different on many levels. Finding the right fit can determine a lot about what we can create together. We hope we are a good fit for you. Send us a note and let's find out. We would love to hear about what ideas you need help bringing to life, or reinventing.  

 

Keep Fast, and safe travels.

 

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