Q&A: The Wynns past, present and behind the scenes.
We liked the peeps and tripfilms and apparently they like us too so they came up with some questions and we gave them some answers! So now we’re sharing with you.
Fist off thanks for watching….did you watch it all the way through?
Can’t get enough of us? Need to know more? Well, read on ’cause we’ve included the written portion of our Q&A with Tripfilms where we go into a little more detail than the video.
Tripfilms: When did you start traveling? Did you always travel together?
Jason Wynn: I started traveling as a boy with family camping trips and winter skiing trips. As a photographer I had the opportunity to extensively travel North America along with several European countries. Some of my clients loved the “Wynning Package” and hired both Nikki and I for Destination gigs, this is how Nikki and I began to travel together (can’t imagine a better way to travel: exotic locations on somebody else’s dime). In early 2006 we purchased a 1985 VW Camper Van to drive to our wedding, needless to say we caught the ‘RV’ bug and haven’t looked back since. In 2010 we sold the VW Camper and purchased a 2009 31 ft. Damon Avanti class A Motorhome. In Feb. 2011 we purchased our current motorhome the 2011 Monaco Vesta 32 ft. PBS.
Nikki Wynn: I grew up in a small west Texas farming town named Hart, TX. My Dad’s idea of a vacation was taking the dogs to the lake. Don’t get me wrong, I loved our dogs and we had a great time at the lake but it wasn’t exactly ‘worldly travel’. Other than a couple of youth trips through my church and tagging along on one of my friends vacations (thanks Neoma) I didn’t really leave the state of Texas. I really began my travel through my job as an independent makeup artist. I had the luxury of traveling all over the U.S. and even internationally. I found that traveling for work just made me want to travel even more on my personal time. Jason and I had the opportunity to travel together a lot for work which was great, because we learned early on in our relationship that we were good travel companions.
Tripfilms: Do you think couple’s travel is a smart choice for all couples, or does it require something special?
Jason: I honestly feel if you love the person you’re with and don’t mind spending every waking minute with them, then you can handle couples travel! You have to remember when traveling in an RV you’re typically parked somewhere nice, so if the space inside is cramped just walk out your front door and explore! Of course we have our small spats, but Nikki just gives me a good smack and I’m back in line! One piece of advice for all that I try to live by: Happy Wife, Happy Home. End of discussion.
Nikki: I know this sounds crazy (I can’t believe it myself) but, we just don’t get sick of each other. I know, I keep waiting for it to happen too! It seems like at some point I would want to smother him with a pillow in his sleep (ok, maybe once or twice I have thought about it) but I don’t really get that angry and Jason doesn’t either. We know it’s not realistic for everyone. We like a lot of the same things and the same type of adventures so it works well for us. Even when we don’t see eye to eye on what to see or do, we always come up with a good compromise.
Tripfilms: What were you both doing before traveling? Was it hard to say goodbye to a permanent lifestyle?
Jason: Together Nikki and I own Two Wynn Inc. Under that company we ran Jason Wynn Photography and The Makeup Junkie. For me the most difficult part of leaving behind our permanent lifestyle was closing the doors to my Photography Studio in Dallas, TX. I built my photography business from the ground up, and obviously we put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. It’s scary to make that leap of faith when you’re making good money, you have clients you consider friends, and you’re living comfortably. Most people thought we were living the ‘American Dream’. In some cases we were living the dream, but we needed more!
Nikki: Before hitting the road full time, I worked as a makeup artist doing print and production. It was a fun job, I made good money and worked with some great production companies. I loved it but I know that my skills aren’t going anywhere. I can have it all again if I wanted. I think thats why it didn’t bother me to leave. As far as a permanent address goes, it was more about leaving my friends and family which I had grown used to seeing all the time. Stuff is just stuff, I could care less about stuff when I busy doing awesome things and having amazing experiences. (I do miss all of my fabulous shoes every once in a while)
Tripfilms: Nikki, do you keep up with your make-up artist practice on the road, if so how?
Nikki: A little…I still consult from the road, send in trend reports and come up with new seasonal colors for Mineralogie. Other than that, I can’t really commit to anything. It’s impossible to commit to a date and time when you don’t know where you are going to be each night. Don’t forget, I get myself camera ready for all of you! I do want to look good for all of you, even if I am wearing flats!
Tripfilms: Jason, how was the transition from photography to filmmaker?
Jason: I’ve been capturing photographs with a Canon dSLR for 15 years. To be a successful photographer you must understand lighting and composition, and the rest falls into place (of course a good personality goes a long way). Now dSLR’s are capturing high quality HD video so the switch for me was pretty simple, I already know how to operate the camera and lenses. Learning the editing software takes some time, but I use Adobe Premiere 5.5 and a lot of the tools are similar (enough) to Adobe Photoshop CS5. That said I’ve only been shooting video for a year, so I know there’s a ton more to learn. The most common thread between photography and video is once you shoot you better plan on spending a day at the computer to edit! Don’t forget those butt exercises.
Tripfilms: Do you walk your cats using a leash on a regular basis? If so, do you ever get weird looks? (referring to this video: Turtle Rock Park Campground and Disc Golf)
Jason: Our cats are awesome on the road! We try to walk our cats daily for the fresh air and exercise. If we’re parked somewhere safe we’ll walk both cats off leash. If we’re in a national park or somewhere with lots of wildlife we’ll walk both cats with a leash. Of course Singa does better on leash than Cleo, so that’s why he gets all the attention. The trick to walking your cats on leash is doing it somewhere quiet without distractions, this way the cats can walk, sniff around, and go poop in ‘privacy’. Most people are pretty amazed that we walk our cats on leash, or the fact they come running when we call them, or because we’ve taught them to use the bathroom outside….I think deep down they’re probably saying WTF! Ha ha.
Nikki: Jason gets stuck with the leash walking duty most of the time. Every once in a while Singa and I go for nature walks together. Cleo and I like to hang back and catch up on our girly stuff while the boys are gone.
Tripfilms: Tell us about your experience with Rand McNally’s Best of the Road Challenge. How did it feel to win, what was that moment like?
Jason: The Best of the Road Challenge was Action Packed! A 3 week road rally across the US (beginning in New Jersey, NJ and Ending in Hollywood, CA) highlighting 5 towns voted by the people. Our task: search the 5 towns and talk to it’s people and share with the world the Friendliest Small Town in America. A crash course in HD video shooting, editing, and blogging at high speeds is enough to give anyone a thrill! I drove 98% of the time while Nikki edited video in the passenger seat (she has a stomach of steel). At the Grand Finale in Los Angeles we were honored to be awarded first prize, it was just the icing on the cake to one helluva trip. The Grand Prize was a Giant Check for $10,000 and a brand new 2011 Saab 9-4x Aero AWD. Pretty awesome!
Nikki: Hitting the road with Rand McNally and USA Today was an action packed adventure with a roll out the red carpet kind of style. We could have never anticipated the amazing people we would meet and the experiences we would have. Winning was awesome! We felt very honored to have won considering how stiff the competition was. We had the modern day cartographers (captain and clark), an amazing video journalist (traveling jules and joan), a quirky Elvis loving clown couple (the par clowns) and the warm hearted and lovable (mc navigators) to compete with! Some of them are even fellow TripFilms tripvloggers! They all worked so hard, all had great additudes and all left with intentions to continue the adventures! I truly love each one of them!
Tripfilms: What was truly the BEST of the road during that competition, experience wise? Worst of the road?
Jason: We experienced so many adventures during the trip, but if I had to single out one it would be the Night Dive in Lake Havasu City. At 10pm we sailed out for a SCUBA adventure finding hidden treasures such as a toilet, a sunken Jeep, and a couple boats lying nicely on the lake bottom for us to explore. This was our first night dive, and I got that Jacques Cousteau feeling of adventure! After the dive we toasted under the starlight sky savoring premium bubbly out of our SCUBA masks! What an awesome end to our time in Lake Havasu City Arizona.
I can’t say I had a worst of the road experience, however a week into the trip we realized our videos lacked passion and there was no way we’d win if we stayed the course. Nikki and I hit the bottom, we reached out to our friends and followers and asked them for support. A couple days later we realized this trip should be all about fun, we gave ourselves a good smack then turned on the after-burners! Might as well hold on for the ride and enjoy every last minute of it cause who knows when (or if) we’ll be treated like celebrities again!
Nikki: The best part of being on the road was all the people. People make or break an experience. Each one of the towns deserved the title “Friendlies Town”. It was such an inspiration to see people so passionate about thier community. It made us realize that we wanted the same. A community and a town we love as much as they all loved thiers.
If I had to pick a best experience, I would have to pick the hot air balloon ride over Walla Walla. I love love love aviation! I had never been up in a hot air balloon and it was such a unique experience. Floating over the world so quietly is something everyone should experience at least once in thier life!
There was no bad experiences so if I had to pick one, it would be working from the car. I have become spoiled traveling in an RV with every amminity at my fingertips and room to roam! Having to practically live and work in the car for 90+ hours over 21 days, I really missed my RV!
Tripfilms: How did you come up with the name Windy for your RV? Do you manage to keep her clean with all the traveling and the cats? Who’s the messiest and who cleans?
Jason: Windy is our Home on the Road, it’s an RV made by Monaco and we love it. Nikki was solely responsible for naming her Windy, I thought it was pretty clever (not that it mattered!) Keeping the RV clean is a challenge, to wash the exterior costs around $50, and by the time you drive for a few days it needs to be washed again (there’s not many places you can wash it yourself, but if you find one it usually costs $15 and an hour of your time). Keeping the inside clean is tough, since the space is small you can’t leave anything out on the inside or it just looks cluttered (on days we shoot video it looks like a tornado blew through the center of the RV). Like my parents used to say if you get it out, you better put it away! I’m not sure if Nikki’s family taught her that one because she is definitely the messier one! One things for sure Nikki does most of the cleaning inside, but I chip in and do the dishes most nights after dinner.
Nikki: We named her Windy for her aero dynamics, she is by far the sleekest looking Class A RV out there! I also think she looks like a transformer, but Windy seemed more fitting. With such a small space, any clutter is too much clutter. I may be the messiest, but I also clean, that way I get no complaints. Jason handles the outside stuff and I take care of the inside. It’s a good arrangment!
Tripfilms: How do you stay green while on the road? What advice do you have for others about sustainable travel?
Jason: Believe it or not, traveling full time in an RV our carbon footprint is much smaller than when we lived in Dallas. If you want to be a little easier on the environment there’s plenty of options for travelers. For us we try to live off the cord in National Forests, BLM, or public property where you can camp for free using only the resources you brought along with you. We’ve featured a few videos on this type of camping called Boondocking or Living Off the Cord. It’s easy on the environment and easy on your wallet! We’ve also added several Eco-Friendly Options on our RV. Of course our favorite way to be green during travel is supporting small local business.
If you want to be Green on the Road do your research. When you roll into a town Skip the Chain Stores, ask a local where to buy the best Micro-Brew, look online for a local outfitter that supports the community by giving back. Never leave home without your reusable water bottle and mini solar panel (charge your phone/nook/camera with the sun instead of plugging in). If you’re in an RV use the public lands; if you’re traveling in a car try camping out, couch-surfing, or stay in a LEED certified hotel. Nowadays there are a ton of options for the eco-minded traveler, so pull out that smart phone and spend a few minutes browsing the web for the local scoop. Safe Travels!
Nikki: What he said above and….I follow eco18 they have lots of great posts on how to live green. I found these great phone apps through thier blog and they have been awesome on the road! You should find at least 3 you will want to download right now.
If you want to shoot HD videos on your own check out my Secrets to Capturing HD Video on the Road. For those curious this interview took 43 hours to produce: 4 hours to prep, 6 hours to shoot, and 1 hour of downloading, 10 hours of pulling archive footage, 14 hours to edit, 3 hours to process, 2 hours to upload, 3 hours to write this post…..whew! Thanks for watching.