Raise your hand if you remember MySpace (or Xanga) surveys we used to do all the time in middle school. We thought this would be a great way for you to get to know the faces behind tinycaravan — because who has time to read long “About Us” paragraphs anyway.
Disclaimer: None of these answers were edited. We wanted to show the the real, the raw, and the quirky parts of our personalities. Thanks for reading and thank you for always supporting us!
Who are you? Give us your best elevator pitch.
J: Um hi, my name is Jennifer. I enjoy long talks with the elderly, holding chubby babies’ hands, lox bagels, mountains and coastlines, smiling during awkward situations, and reading up on Joebama memes.
V: Helllooo, my name is Vivian. I enjoy deep one on one conversations, listening to Adele on repeat, daydreaming about ‘what if’ situations, sleeping with my stuffed animal dog, talking with my hands and being a bit dramatic at times (because I think it’s funny).
What is your favorite National Park (so far)?
J: Man, if I had children, I’d feel like I’m picking which child I liked best — when clearly there is a favorite, and you can’t admit it to the others — but you love them all the same. But, Yosemite and Zion are my top two and are at a very close tie. Does this count?
V: Just putting it out there that I love every national park with all my heart. Each one deserves just as much love as the next. But I guess if I had to choose, it would be Zion National Park. I will forever be amazed by those majestic red rocks and the Virgin River. Yosemite is a close second though!
What is one environmental pet peeve that annoys you the most?
J: There are so many…but I think I’d have to go with buffets (I know, unpopular opinion!), but they create so much food waste. People always take more than they can chew — literally — and a lot of it ends up in the trash. The wasted food can either go into another hungry belly or it can be composted. It’s unnecessary. It kills me.
V: To this day, I do not understand why styrofoam was created. It is evil and cruel to humanity and the environment. Okay, that was a littleeee dramatic. But it really does annoy me when I see people use styrofoam cups, plates, and take-out boxes. Styrofoam is a petroleum-based plastic (that alone already sounds scary), a possible carcinogenic (hello cancer), does not biodegrade, and is just absolutely wasteful. It’s the 21st century people, time to get rid of it!
What’s your favorite thing about the other person?
J: When Vivian and I took a trip up to Big Sur we ran into a lot of car problems. We spent half of one day fixing a flat tire and half of another day trying to get the car to run again. What was supposed to be a fun inexpensive roadtrip along the coast turned into a “shit-I’m-not-exactly-trained-for-this-stuff” kind of freak out. We thought we were going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere (forever) and it was terrifying. Eventually, we lived to tell the story, but that experience really made me appreciate our friendship and the kind of person Vivian is. Instead of panicking, getting mad, being negative, or exchanging the blame, she stayed calm, rational, proactive, and extremely positive — qualities that are extremely important when you’re in a pickle and qualities that I value. It would have gone a different way if I was with someone else. She’s someone you can always count on, someone you can trust, and someone who knows how to make the best of any situation. She’s one of my favorite travel buddies.
V: I love how genuinely interested Jennifer is when she talks to someone. She’s not about that “small talk” life. When she asks “How’s your day?”, she honestly wants to know how it is. It’s not just a general question to her; she listens intently and follows up with more questions. I think this is one of the many reasons why she gets along with so many people. She simply cares and that shines through to them. She has a way with people, making them feel comfortable and worthy of their own character. I don’t know how she does it but I appreciate every bit of it.
When you think of your life/career, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
J: I’m going to give you the cheesy answer because it’s the only answer I can think of when I imagine what I want to do with my life. So here goes — please save yourself from cringing by skipping this answer……….wait……….why are you still here. Okay, so the answer is, I want to save people and animals. I want to spend my life serving them, putting smiles on their faces, offering them hope, and showing them “Yes! There is someone who cares about you deeply.” I don’t care what industry it is, or how I do it, but I need the hands on personal relationship. I’m horrible with words, so I try to show everything I feel through my actions. I feel a sense of duty and responsibility to leave the world a better place than when I entered it.
V: Ugh, this is a tough question. I already have trouble just choosing what to eat at every meal. First of all, I don’t have my life figured out yet — and I don’t expect to anytime soon. As I’ve learned, life never goes according to plan (which can be exciting and scary!). In 5 years, I will be in my late 20s. I hope to be working in a non-profit environmental organization, helping one environmental issue at a time. Ultimately to me, it’s all about creating a positive influence and change to the Earth. I love Mother Nature so much!
What is your favorite memory in nature with each other (good or bad)?
J: When Obama visited Yosemite this past June, he decided to shut down all roads and quarantine the entire park. Vivian got stuck in the midst of all the craziness and was stuck at the visitor’s center for 4 hours. I thought it was hilarious, but she was so upset (can’t stop laughing right now). To add to the salt, that night, we decided to drive out to catch some stars and shoot some night photography with our friends (but really, we were just watching our professional friends shoot). It was a grand time and we enjoyed ourselves within nature. When we got back to our tent we found that the girls tent had been broken into. Someone (or SOMETHING) unzipped our tent, dragged Viv’s backpack out, opened all her pockets, and took — not her ‘cheap’ Clif bars but — her expensive, bougie, gluten-free, vegan energy bars, then left all the evidence in plain sight. At first, our friend Brandon thought it was a bear so he opens his Swiss army knife and gets ready to attack. All the while I’m freaking out on the inside, but trying to stay calm and look for clues. So I picked up her junior ranger book — left half eaten on the floor — and turns out, the thief was a raccoon! His paw prints were all over the book. Haha! Can you imagine a raccoon using his/her thumbs to open up our tent and steal our things!? It was crazy. A true bandit of the night. You just had to be there.
V: Wow, there are a bunch. One of my favorite memories with Jennifer was our first trip together to Joshua Tree National Park. We went in March thinking that the weather wouldn’t be too hot. Boy did the sun prove us wrong. It was 100 degrees out and yet we still decided to go on a day hike — at noon. I don’t know what we were thinking! As rookies to this outdoor adventure community, we were not dressed to take on the heat. Jennifer also made the #1 rookie mistake of not bringing enough water (yeah, we almost died). Long story short, the hike was not worth our pain and we were severely sunburnt. After we got back to our camp site, we napped and cooked dinner. What I love most about camping is the feeling of relaxation after an intense day hike. That feeling where you can finally sit down, take off your shoes, let out a big sigh and enjoy the nature and people around you. I felt that moment when Jennifer and I were cooking dinner, just chatting the night away as the sun set behind us. Everything felt just right. It’s such a “normal” moment, but it is a moment that I will always treasure with Jennifer. It’s the little things that count.
What is your guilty pleasure?
J: I like to stay up until 4 in the morning reading up on mermaids, fairies, wizards, and other mystical creatures. Not a lot of people know this about me (or even believe I’m serious), but I’m waiting for that day I am able to slip out of a closet and into Narnia. That, and I like to watch YouTube videos that make me cry.
V: While other girls splurge on makeup, I tend to splurge on skincare products. I’m borderline obsessed with skincare formulas, applications, and the “next new thing”. I love reading about the content and trying the products out.
If you can play monopoly with any famous person, who would it be?
J: Leonardo DiCaprio. Um, helllooooo TITANIC?! He’s extremely intelligent, funny, talented, kind hearted, and a great story teller (how do I know about his storytelling skills?? *insert creepy smile*). I don’t think I could get mad at him in a game that’s supposed to “tear friends apart.” We’d probably end up talking about life rather than playing the game anyway. Seems like it’d be a lot of fun. Totally not crazy, but I love him as much as he loves the planet.
V: Kobe Bryant. This beautiful human being is one of the best basketball player to ever play the NBA. You may hate him but you can’t deny greatness. Some people may not know this but basketball is both a physical AND mental game. Some may argue it’s more mental than physical. I would love to see how his mind works and what goes inside that complex, intricate brain of his in a game of Monopoly. Let’s be real, he’ll probably beat me and that’s totally fine with me. Can we play Monopoly together forever?
What is something you do that you think is okay, but people think is weird?
J: Brushing my teeth after eating breakfast. I think it’s cleaner to go about your day that way, but my sister thinks eating your plaque first thing in the morning is gross. (I know right? She’s the crazy one).
V: When I’m really full, I like to stand up and move in place. I’m terrible at controlling myself around food. I eat with my eyes instead of listening to my stomach. So when I’m ridiculously full, I will get up, do squats, run in place, swing my arms and legs, belly dance (okay, not really), anything to make me feel like it’s helping my digestion. This can be a bit awkward if I did it public. So far that hasn’t happened yet, thank goodness.
What’s a food pairing you can’t live without?
J: Gosh, cheese on everything. Cheese everywhere. Give me all the cheese.
V: Ketchup and onions. Let me elaborate. I love ketchup and onions as much as Joe Biden loves his ice cream. I would squeeze a ridiculous amount of ketchup on my burger, hot dog, fries, eggs, hash brown, and even rice sometimes (yeah, I know). I would dress up as a ketchup bottle for Halloween (surprisingly that hasn’t happened yet). Same goes for onions in any dish. I love all kinds of onions, both raw and cooked. I’ve even thought about eating a whole onion like an apple sometimes. No, that hasn’t happened… yet.
Wow, thanks for making it to the end. If for some reason you want to learn more, read about why ‘tinycaravan’ here.
Jennifer and Vivian