Do you remember MySpace (or Xanga) surveys we used to do all the time in middle school? We sure do… so we thought this would be a great way for you to get to know the faces behind Tinycaravan.
Who are you? Give us your best elevator pitch.
Jennifer: Hi. My name is Jennifer. I love bagels, the mountains, and the coastlines, and smiling through awkward situations.
Vivian: Hello, I’m Vivian. I enjoy deep one-on-one conversations, being outside, daydreaming about ‘what if’ situations, and eating my heart away.
What is your favorite National Park (so far)?
Jennifer: Wow. If I had children, I’d feel like I’m picking the child I liked best — because clearly, there is a favorite and you can’t admit it to the others — but you “love them all the same.” I would have to say, Yosemite and Zion are my top two and are at a very close tie. Does this count?
Vivian: I love national parks with all my heart. Truly America’s best idea. 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?
Jennifer: There are so many… but I think I’d have to go with buffets (I know, unpopular opinion!). Not necessarily the idea of buffets, but peoples’ mindsets at a buffet. We want to get our money’s worth, so we’ll pile on lots & lots of food, usually more food than we can eat. Then, a lot of it ends up in the trash. I don’t think a lot of people think about that. The wasted food can either feed another person or it can be composted. It’s unnecessary. It kills me.
Vivian: Styrofoam. Helllooooo, it’s 2016, time to get rid of those ancient things. Styrofoam is a petroleum-based plastic (that alone already sounds scary), a possible carcinogenic (hello cancer), does not break down in the environment. Bad for us, bad for the planet, just all around bad.
What’s your favorite thing about the other person?
Jennifer: On a recent trip to Big Sur, Vivian and I ran into a lot of car problems. We spent a one day fixing a flat tire and another day trying to get the car to run again. It was supposed to be a fun and inexpensive road trip along the coast, but it turned into a disaster real quick. We thought we were going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, forever. Inside, I really wanted to cry. 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 or feeling negative, she was calm, rational, proactive, and extremely positive — qualities that are extremely important when you’re stuck in a weird situation. These are also 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. Definitely a wonderful travel buddy.
Vivian: 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?
Jennifer: 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. I want to do better for the planet, animals, and people. I want to spend my life helping others and show them, “Hey, there are people out there who care deeply about you! You matter so much!” I don’t care what industry it is, or what I do, 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.
Vivian: Ugh, this is a tough question. I honestly don’t know. What I will say is I want to stay and grow in the environmental space. As long as I’m doing something that benefits the planet and people, I’m happy. Whether that’s tackling environmental issues, providing access for people of color to the outdoors, inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards, all of that is possible. Our lands and natural resources must be taken care of and I want to be a part of that.
What is your favorite memory in nature with each other (good or bad)?
Jennifer: 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 (I’m sorry). To add to the salt, that night, we decided to drive out to catch some stars. It was a grand time and we enjoyed ourselves within nature. However, when we got back to our tent we found that our tent had been broken into. Someone had unzipped our tent, searched through Vivian’s backpack pockets, took all her protein bars, then left all the evidence in plain sight. At first, our friend Brandon thought it was a bear, so he reached for his Swiss army knife, ready to attack. All the while I’m freaking out on the inside, but trying to stay calm and look for clues. On the floor, I picked up Vivian’s junior ranger book, left half eaten with paw prints all over it. It 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. But also, don’t leave your food in your backpack. We’re so sorry, Yosemite. Anyway, you 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. Yeah, we were 100% 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! We were new to the outdoor space and did not dress for the occasion. 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. To add more to the story of how uneducated we were, we realized we didn’t stake our tent down when we got back to our campsite. Our tent was flipped upside down, about 100 feet away from where it was supposed to be. Despite all that, we survived (thank goodness). But 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 rest of the day away as the sun sets behind us. In that moment, everything felt just right.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Jennifer: I don’t like to call them guilty pleasures… because they just bring me so much happiness. One is that, I. Love. Fast. Food.
Vivian: I tend to splurge on skincare products more than I’m willing to admit or need. I love reading about the content and trying “the next new thing”.
If you can play monopoly with any famous person, who would it be?
Jennifer: Leonardo DiCaprio. Um, helllooooo TITANIC?! He’s extremely intelligent, funny, talented, kind-hearted, and a great storyteller (how do I know this? Too many late nights on YouTube). 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. I love him as much as he loves the planet. (No, I’m not crazy).
Vivian: Kobe Bryant. Love him or hate him but you can’t deny greatness. One of the best to ever play the game. I would love to see how his mind works and what goes inside that complex 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?
Jennifer: Brushing my teeth after eating breakfast. I think it’s cleaner to go about your day that way. A lot of people think it’s gross though. Too bad I can’t live out my dreams because I always eat breakfast on the go… and so, must brush teeth before eating, like everyone else.
Vivian: 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 and stand. Maybe do some stretches or run in place – anything to make me feel like it’s helping my digestion.
What’s a food pairing you can’t live without?
Jennifer: Gosh. Cheese. Just cheese. Cheese on everything. Cheese everywhere. Give me all the cheese.
Vivian: Ketchup and onions. I would squeeze a ridiculous amount of ketchup on my burgers, hot dogs, fries, eggs, hash brown, and even rice sometimes (yeah, I know). Same goes for onions in any dish. I love all kinds of onions, both raw and cooked. Honestly, I’ll eat pretty much anything.
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
Disclaimer: None of these answers were edited. We wanted to show the real, the raw, and the quirky parts of our personalities. Thanks for reading!