We have completed the Moth Oddities Road Trip! Last November we packed up our little car and traveled the United States, collecting vintage along the way, conducting photo shoots in beautiful places and collaborating with creatives and makers around the country. The following is an assortment of questions that we've been asked before, during and after the road trip. Read on to learn more details and stories!
1. What was your road trip route?
Our projected route at the beginning of the trip was to travel the entire perimeter of the United States. Ultimately, this was to avoid the cold winter weather in the midwest and visit the exciting coastal cities with bustling fashion scenes. This route was altered a bit during the road trip as we headed inland to be vendors at a market event in Denver, CO. This updated route also brought us up through Moab, Utah which was exciting because we were able to experience Arches National Park! Other than that slight derail we stayed almost entirely along all the coastal states. Check out the list below to see the cities and towns we visited along the way.
- Minneapolis, MN
- Fargo, ND
- Bozeman, MT
- Seattle, WA
- Portland, OR
- San Francisco, CA
- Pacific Grove, CA
- Paso Robles, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Palm Springs, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Williams, AZ
- Moab, UT
- Denver, CO
- Santa Fe, NM
- Marfa, TX
- Austin, TX
- Dallas, TX
- New Orleans, LA
- Gulf Shores, AL
- Gainesville, FL
- Cape Coral, FL
- Fruit Cove, FL
- Charleston, SC
- Washington DC
- Brooklyn, NY
- Boston, MA
- Portland, ME
- Middlebury, VT
- Niagara Falls, NY
- Cleveland, OH
- Chicago, IL
- Richland Center, WI
2. What were your goals for the road trip?
One of our main goals was to spread the word about Moth Oddities and broaden our connections on a nation-wide level. We hoped to work with many creative, like-minded individuals around the country, take part in as many pop-up shops and vintage markets as possible, all while keeping up with our online shop, and adding vintage goodies found on our travels. We learned very quickly on the road that many people had no idea that Minneapolis has an emerging creative scene. Several people didn’t even know where Minneapolis (or Minnesota) was on the map! We took it upon ourselves to talk as often as possible about Minneapolis as a place where creative collaboration thrives and where many talented artists, designers, musicians, chefs, mixologists and entrepreneurs are bred. Ultimately, we found that our goal, on a larger scale, was to help connect the creative entrepreneurs around the United States. This will likely be an ongoing goal that we have at Moth Oddities: A continued effort to connect, promote and collaborate.
3. Who did you collaborate with during the road trip?
Throughout the entire road trip we took part in six events and 15 photo shoots. About half of the photo shoots were casual sets with the two of us trading off modeling & photographing, in order to get some new items up on the website. The other half were shoots where we worked with a variety of creatives ranging from models, photographers, stylists, boutique owners, bloggers, architects, and artists. Take a look at the list below to see who we worked with!
Enchanted Highway, North Dakota
4. How long were you on the road?
We left Minneapolis on November 18th, 2015 and arrived back home on March 24th, 2016. We were on the road for a little over four months.
5. How many miles did you drive?
Our odometer reads around 8,280 miles.
6. How many states did you visit?
7. Did you plan everything beforehand or did you make it up as you went along?
When the trip started we had everything from Minneapolis, MN to Portland, OR planned out. After that it was a free-for-all. We made it up along the way! A few connections actually built off one another leading to all kinds of different opportunities.
8. What vehicle did you drive?
- YANA - The Moth Mobile! a.k.a. A grey Honda civic. We get asked this question the most out of any other question. People expect us to have a much cooler answer.
- IAN - People always expect a bus! Well, we've been searching for a larger vehicle and when we find it will definitely be driving that across the country next time.
9. What did you pack?
Two huge storage boxes full of vintage, two huge suitcases full of vintage, one huge hiking backpack full of vintage, and two small suitcases for our personal belongings. Thanks to our good friends Adam & Kevnea for letting us borrow their car topper for four months, we could also bring a full length mirror, a small table, two clothing racks and a large wooden Moth Oddities sign for our events. There was packaging materials for online purchases, camping gear that we ended up sending home to make room for more vintage, a bag full of car snacks, and our bikes strapped to the back of the car.
Lover's Point, Pacific Grove, California
10. Were you paying for an apartment lease back home?
Nope. There is no way we could have afforded the trip if we had an apartment back home. After our lease ended in October of 2015 we moved all of our belongings into Yana's parents guest bedroom - Thanks, guys!
11. What type of lodging did you stay in?
It was pretty 50/50 between staying with friends and family vs. staying at an Airbnb. We are extremely fortunate to have many loved ones in different states who have let us crash their couches, air-mattresses, and guest rooms. Some even let us take over their own rooms! (crazy, right?) They shared their homes but they also shared their time and for that we are truly grateful. Not only did it save us money and make this trip possible, but having a local show you around their city is 1,000x more fun than if you’re doing it on your own. They already know the great places to visit, the yummy restaurants, the beautiful sights, and the best of the best dive bars. Thank you to EVERYONE who has been a part of this road trip. Each of you enhanced our experiences so much. Shout outs to all of you below!
Kelsey Reinke - Uncle Jim & Aunt Sally Mahady-Adam - Jimmy & Charlie Mahady - Luke Nord & Bonnie Gail - Brian Nielson - Gina Pagnella & the Pagnella family - Uncle Mark Mahady - Libby Ewing - April Onebane - Ellen Macdonald - Grampa James O’Neill - Kevin & Pam O’Neill - Uncle Michael, Uncle Mark, Rex & Lilly Pietras-Weed - Rachel Borka - Uncle Phil & Aunt Kathy Pietras - John Pietras & Michaela Mahady - Megan Cline
12. Where was your favorite place to visit?
- YANA - This is a very difficult question to answer! There is so much variety and rich culture all over the United States. Austin, TX is one city that stands out to me because its overflowing creative scene, endless outdoor activities and amazing warm weather.
- IAN - My favorite single spot would have to be New York City. I loved the energy of the city and exploring different parts of The Big Apple. Everything is on a grander scale. It makes you think that the possibilities are endless.
Manhattan, New York City
13. Could you imagine living in any of the locations that you visited?
That was one of the most fun things to do in each place, imagining what it would be like if we lived there… 'Where would we live? Where would our Moth Oddities shop be? What would we do for fun? How would our lives be different than living in Minnesota?' Even though it was fun to entertain these thoughts, it honestly became very clear to us how much we consider Minneapolis our home-base. We would love to get a rhythm down so that we could live in Minneapolis for a period of time and then travel for a period of time. The road trip has made us realize that we can, in a way, do our job from anywhere! But we still find it important to continue to be a part of the up-and-coming Minneapolis creative scene. We want to help put Minneapolis on the map as a place to visit and experience. This involves continuing to create lasting relationships with people all over the country.
14. Where did you find the best food?
Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, CA
Sushi 21 in Las Vegas, NV
15. What was the most rewarding experience you had during the road trip?
- YANA - There have been a whole slew of rewarding experiences that we shared together as Moth Oddities but some of my favorite memories of the trip were when we actually took days off work (what a concept, right?). It was during those days off that we connected with 'the road' in a entirely different way. We had the opportunity to visit seven national parks. We spent whole days hiking through terrain that I could only ever dream of before having seen it with my own eyes. We purchased the America the Beautiful Pass, the annual access pass to all National Parks, and we highly recommend it! If you're ever planning to visit multiple National Parks in one year, this pass pays for itself after about three visits.
Grand Canyon National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Olympic National Forest
Grand Canyon National Park
White Sands National Monument
Arches National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
White Sands National Monument
Arches National Park
16. Who has been a source of inspiration on the road trip?
- YANA - We met one of my BIGGEST idols on the road trip! Blog readers, meet Mark Hunter a.k.a. The Cobra Snake. The Cobra Snake is a famous photographer who captures everything in the global hipster culture from party photos to fashion editorials. He also owns a vintage shop located in Hollywood, CA called The Cobra Shop. The edgy aesthetic and funky style has kept me coming back to the online shop for years. The Cobra Shop has always been a huge inspiration and helped me jump into the world of selling vintage and starting Moth Oddities. The Cobra Snake brand also includes a fun fitness club. Twice a week, Mark leads a running group through the hills of Runyon Canyon. We joined the New Years Day run during our visit. We had a blast and left Los Angeles feeling completely re-invigorated and inspired. Thanks for taking the time to meet with us, Mark!
- IAN - I was inspired by Justin Godfrey of Whiskey & Honey. W&H is a vintage shop based in Seattle, WA co-owned by Justin & Ariel Tustin. They are located in Georgetown, which bore a strong resemblance to industrial parts of Northeast MPLS. We rang a doorbell on the way in which established the homey feel of the building that used to be a hotel and home to the Hells Angels. Their shop instantly drew me in. I remember walking around and wanting to interact with every object I saw: old baseball gloves, cameras, perfectly worn in jeans, and vintage patterned blankets that seem perfectly jumbled into place. Their careful and thoughtfully developed aesthetic is an inspiration to me and makes me want to delve more into vintage Americana menswear. We really appreciated the time they took to meet with us and for their advice on the whole vintage slangin' lifestyle. Thanks Justin & Ariel!
17. What is one of the best moments you shared on the road trip?
- IAN - Around the Christmas holiday we took the time to reflect on our road trip experiences and discuss goals for the future. At that time we had been on the road for a little over a month. Everything still felt so new. Each place was an adventure in itself. I remember how happy we were realizing that we could manage something as crazy as ending our lease, bringing our business on the road and working together to chase the dreams we are creating for ourselves.
Paso Robles, California
18. What was the worst experience you had during the road trip?
- YANA - The worst experience I had during the road trip was an epic bike wipe-out while speeding down a steep hill in San Francisco. I was wearing my helmet and thankfully didn't break any limbs. However, I managed to get all tangled up in my bike and have the pedal and my crotch meet at FULL FORCE. Needless to say, we took a few days off from the bikes because of my bruised undercarriage.
Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California
19. How could you afford taking this trip?
- IAN - Yana and I started planning the road trip about a year in advance. We quickly adopted an extra frugal lifestyle to save as much money as we could. We scaled back on going out to eat, we picked up freelance design projects and I went back to work part-time for two months before the trip. I was able to pay off the remainder of my credit card and put money away in savings. On the trip, we visited places based on their vintage markets and creative opportunities that would benefit the business and allow us to make important connections with people in our field. We also sustained ourselves with sales from the online shop, which increased a ton with the exposure we gained from the road trip!
20. Was Moth Oddities successful during the trip?
Yes! We have had increased online sales and gained many new followers on our social media platforms. Both of these are metrics for gauging success for this trip.
Fargo, North Dakota
21. Have you found ways to be frugal while traveling? If so, what tips do you have?
Going out to eat was always enticing but one of the best ways to save money on the road trip was to make our own food. We actively sought out Airbnbs where we were able to use the kitchen to cook most of our meals from home. We reserved going out for celebratory occasions and tried to take advantage of local happy hours.
22. What discoveries did you make on the road trip?
- YANA - Traveling is a great way to learn about people, the world, and our place in the world. It’s a cyclical pattern. After entering a new place you learn about the place itself, the people who inhabit it, the way they interact with the world and with one another. This all makes you reflect on yourself. How you interact with your environment and with those around you. The road trip made me think about this topic often. Ian and I had great late night discussions about how we felt slightly different from one place to the next, just based on the character of the particular place. There were times on the trip where I felt like I was the dorkiest Midwestern lady, speed walking with my visor and “OOH MY!” attitude. Then there were times where I felt like the most free-spirited flower child in the room, sitting cross-legged on the floor and being just a tad too free with my opinions. The thing is, I wasn’t changing at all… my environment was changing. The people were changing. One of the biggest discoveries I made on the road trip was becoming more aware of myself, as a woman, in each environment.
23. If you could do it differently, what would you do?
For our first USA road trip attempting the perimeter was a HUGE feat. Traveling the perimeter was a great way to get a small taste of each region and see a vast variety of things all over the country. Our future road trips will be more focused. We will spend a longer period of time in each region so we can truly immerse ourselves in the culture.
24. What are you looking forward to in the future?
The road trip had a way of igniting all sorts of goals for Moth Oddities. It fueled our wanderlust. We have already begun to plan for future travels. Reflecting on this road trip has given us great insight into how we can continue to travel, seek out the best vintage treasures and share our finds with you. We're excited to put what we learned into practice and take part in awesome creative collaborations and pop-up shops in Minneapolis.
We're especially looking forward to our welcome home event, A Vintage Adventure. A Vintage Adventure is a social hour and shopping event to celebrate the completion of the Moth Oddities Road Trip. Stop by to shop incredible spring and summer styles for women and men, circa 1950's - 1990's, with an emphasis on items made in the USA. Funky fashion lovers, you won't want to miss it! A Vintage Adventure will take place on Friday, April 22nd from 5:30pm - 8:30pm. The event is in collaboration with Tandem Vintage and will take place at findfurnish in Northeast Minneapolis. Feel free to get a head start and browse our Road Trip collection.
Thanks for reading the recap. Hope you enjoyed following along with the Moth Oddities Road Trip. We really appreciate your continued support!
- Yana + Ian, Moth Oddities