briannamadia briannamadia

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Brianna Madia  Professional Weekenders 🚌 Never leave the dogs behind🐾 💌 briannacihi@gmail.com

I know Bucket and Dagwood don't know how many states they've been to or how many beaches they've run on or country's borders they've crossed or mountains they've summited or rappels they've done or oceans they've swam in...and yet I have to bring them. I have to see places through their eyes...I have to experience things the way they experience them.
Because the simple fact is...I've learned everything I know about being free from watching them. I've learned everything I know about joy from watching them.
No human on this earth knows how to love anything quite as well as a dog loves everything. #ZukesPack

🎶 "...and we can build this dream together, standing strong forever, NOTHIN'S GONNA STOP US NOWWWWWW..."🎶
(Fun Fact: Dagwood usually starts in with the 80s Jefferson Starship power ballads right around mile 4 or 5 of our river trips)

Everyone on Instagram knows that the most important thing about "vanlife" is butts.
Butts on white sheets looking at sunsets.
Butts on top of vans looking at sunsets.
Butts on beds reading books.
Butts next to vans casually showering.
Butts everywhere.
You truly cannot live in a van unless you have a butt.
#DogButtsAreBetter #ThisIsSatire

People often ask how we keep the van clean with 2 people and 2 dogs living inside.
The answer is… We don't.
There's a reason you don't see many interior photos of Bertha. It's essentially a snowglobe of dog hair and the other night I googled "Can you die from consistently inhaling sand?"
Living in a van in the desert is dirty.
Living in a van in the desert with 2 dogs is dirtier.
But I don't think I'm going to look back on this life some day and remember how clean my sheets were.
I'm sure the memories will consist only of deep desert adventures with the great fur-covered loves of my life.
So when I'm out in the world and I see someone with a jacket or a sweater or a butt covered in dog hair, I think to myself, "You've got your priorities straight...and we'd be good friends, you and I..." 😏
📸: @abbihearne

Squeezing through the slots with my super strong and capable little canyoneer 🐾

Canyoneering is, in part, a guessing game.
You don't ever know exactly what's around the corner because even if you've been through a slot before, water and debris change the game every time.
Here's some inside perspective at what it's like to hang out inside cracks in the earth where going forward is the only way out. 🕷🕷🕷
[Warning: strong and slightly panicked language 😂] @pugliese.mark @mreells @keithmadia @rachel_stonesilver @travelbug.812

Here's a super simple step-by-step beauty routine I swear by:
- Start with a layer of sunscreen that has some sand stuck in it for extra exfoliation.
- Go run around outside for a couple years.
- Smile a lot.
- Put a lizard on your forehead.

I was voted "Best Dressed" in high school.
And although I was awfully proud at the time, I'm not so sure the title fits anymore 😂. Exactly ten years later, I spend most of my time smelling shirts to see if they're passable, or doing this in the same pair of mud-ridden shorts and torn up tank top...
Now, if "Most Likely to Grow Up to Be a Swamp Creature" was an option at the time, we might have been in business 🤔.

When we looked at the paperwork to adopt Dagwood, it said in big fat bold letters: NOT GOOD WITH KIDS
We thought to ourselves, 'perfect...we're not having kids and we don't have many close friends with kids...so...this will be great.' Then one night we went to have dinner with one of Keith's coworkers and his wife who had an infant son named Emmett. Dagwood laid down next to Emmett immediately. He climbed on his chest and grabbed at his ears and Dagwood just reveled in all of it.
We were shocked.
That was nearly five years ago.
Today I watched dozens and dozens of Moab tourists pull up to Takeout Beach after their guided river trips. A group of about 14 kids began repeatedly running from the very top of the beach down to the water and diving in to the river, shouting at the top of their lungs.
Dagwood ran alongside them for every lap, eyes wide, slack-jawed, tail wagging, absolutely overcome with joy.
When the kids would reach the water, Dagwood would prance back and forth, waiting for another lap. And the kids would come up out of the muddy river and shout, "Come on, Dagwood, come on!!!"
I stood off to the side with Bucket, damn near in tears, as dozens of parents stood fixated with their cameras and GoPros.
Dagwood was in so many people's vacation photos and videos today.
So if you happen to see a joyful little dingo running alongside some kids on a beach on the Colorado River some day...that's my dog. You know...the one who's not good with kids. Please give a shelter dog a chance. You have no idea the pure joy you're in for...
#adoptdontshop

Reminiscing on secret magic caves in Laos as I sit here on my computer and book next year's international trip 🎉.
Keith and I have made it a goal to visit a minimum of one new country every year for the rest of our lives.
In January of this year, we traveled to Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos.
For 2018, we're thinking Central America.
Oh and for the sake of transparency...no one is "sponsoring" these trips or paying our way or contacting us from tourism boards to come visit on their dime.
We usually choose our locations based on recommendations from friends, and then we save up some money throughout the year, and then we book tickets and go.
Nothin fancy's goin on over here besides a prioritization of travel and adventure. If we can do it, so can you 🌎

One of the most common interview questions we get is about necessities. "What are your vanlife necessities?" they ask.
My answer?
A good sense of humor.
📷: @abbihearne

I've shared these thoughts before, but some things are worth repeating...
I was fortunate enough to have a mother who told me I could be anything in the world…so I took out 80 billion dollars in student loans and went to college to become a writer.
But when I graduated, no one offered me my dream job. Honestly, I didn't even know what my dream job was.
Instead I worked in a bagel shop in upstate New York, serving breakfast to college kids who probably thought they would never need to work in a bagel shop again...because that's what I used to think.
I was just another lost kid…another Cinderella with no fairy godmother. I hated myself for that.
I used to take Bucket for walks in the woods and I would just cry and cry, telling her that I failed…that my mom must be so ashamed of me...that I had said I'd be a writer, but I hadn't put a pen to paper since graduation. And she would just sit there and lick my face because dogs always seem to know when you need that.
There were a good two or three years that went by where I battled feelings of failure.
It felt like it took a lifetime before I started becoming some semblance of the person I hoped I'd be.
I work now as a freelance writer and I'm working on my first book. It took me a minute...but I'm doing what I said I was going to.
I write for a living, and I write things like this for all you fine folks with the hopes that it makes someone smile. And that's good enough for me.
So to all of the young people who ask how Keith and I got to where we are today…here is the truth: We tried and we got a little lost and we fucked up and we felt terrible about ourselves and then we tried again.
We seem to go through life believing that we will wake up and throw open the doors and there it'll be....our perfect life.
The reality is, you are more likely to trip over the building blocks of that life when you're facing the other direction.
The one thing I can promise you is that when you find your way and you're looking back on those formative years…you will wish you were more patient with yourself. You will wish you were more proud of yourself. You will wish you were kinder to you than I was to me.

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