Quit your job, break your lease and hit the road? It might sound crazy, but for Levi it was the right call. “I have my camper, my surfboard and Kona. It turns out I don’t need much else.” Who’s Kona? A ninety-pound husky/lab mix who follows Levi everywhere. Read on to find out more about the “perfect” life Levi ditched and his adventures as a modern-day nomad.

Galveston Island, Texas. Levi sits outside his camper while video chatting with us. “Sorry to make you wait. I was just showering—in the ocean,” he says, laughing. Levi used to have “just a normal life,” as he says. Now, he takes his massive dog Kona for runs on the beach and catches waves on his surfboard. “But only when the wind’s right for it,” he adds. “That’s what’s so freeing. Doing the things I want, when they make sense for me.”

Levi didn’t always follow his instincts like this. “I had a good career in Atlanta. I did electrical work, and when the film industry took off there, I ended up working on a lot of movie sets. Not as glamorous as you’d think. There’s a lot of people working hard, and I respect them a lot, but you spend too much time too close to too many assholes.” Kona shoves her head between Levi and the camera, and he takes a second to scratch it.  “It wasn’t really what I wanted anyway. My dad was an electrician. It was something I fell into. I was good enough at it, and it was a practical. Right?” Levi shakes his head, then smiles. “It’s funny. I feel like I’m more practical now, because I’m not wasting time with things that don’t make me happy.”

So how does Levi maintain his new vagabond lifestyle? “I’ll show you,” he answers simply, then disappears inside his camper. He returns a moment later with an old acoustic guitar, strumming a little riff. He’s not half-bad. “You set up on the right street corner, on the right day, a big fluffy dog next to you—play some pop covers, a little classic rock—you do pretty good.” He pauses to think, purposely strikes an off chord, then comes clean. “Okay, it’s not always that romantic. Sometimes I walk people’s dogs, but it lets me get out and see a new place. I’m fine with that.”

And Levi sees a lot of new places. He’s already checked 36 states off his list. “I like the beach, so I’ve seen both coasts and the South. Haven’t been to the Midwest much yet, but I will. I’ve got this big trip I’m doing next summer up through B.C. so I can spend some time in Alaska. Really looking forward to that. Not sure how I’m getting to Hawaii. Maybe I’ll surf there.”

Whenever he can, Levi spends his nights sitting under the stars with a beer, a cigarillo and Kona. “When I first started this lifestyle, I got lonely a lot. I always thought I was independent and…tough, I guess. But it turns out I really like people. I’ve got a lot of love for my friends in Atlanta, but they called me crazy for the longest time, and I started having doubts. Everywhere I went, though, I met good people, and they helped me out a lot. I learned how to travel better, how to make money on the road, and I felt more confident. I made friends all over the country. When I stop back in Atlanta to visit, my old friends keep saying they wish they could travel like I do. I tell them they can—really anyone can. You just have to get over the uncertainty of not knowing what happens tomorrow. Now I live for that.”

No two days are the same for Levi, and he has some wild stories to tell. “I met this group of hikers in Big Sur who invited me to come up Timber Top trail with them. Should have known I was in trouble when I saw their truck was loaded with these huge, metal framed backpacks. But they said I’d be fine. Sure. My legs were shaking after the first mile, and my shoes were totally shredded by the time we got to the top. Spent the whole night barefoot while we smoked and sang campfire karaoke on top of a mountain. Next morning I had to go down the trail in a pair of boots two sizes too big for me. Somehow it was worse than the way up. I still hike with those folks sometimes. I keep a decent pair of boots just for when our paths cross.”

“The first time I drove through Texas, I didn’t understand why people kept acting like this thunderstorm coming in was a big deal. I mean, I’ve driven in bad weather. Well, it turns out half-way between Austin and Fort Stockton is not where you want to pop your cherry on your first tornado. I was lucky and found an overpass for shelter, but I think seeing that funnel cloud touch down was the biggest holy-shit moment I’ve ever had. It was also when I realized I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie. But I don’t think Kona would be cool with me taking up storm chasing.”

After almost two hours of chatting, Levi grows restless. “I have to get going now. I made a friend on the beach this morning. We’re getting drinks.” With a little pressing, he spills the sauce. “She’s doing a road trip of her own. She says she knows the best spots to visit in Colorado. Maybe I’ll tag along with her for a bit, if she’s down to caravan. That’s what’s so nice about living this way. No schedule. Nowhere to be. No one to impress, unless I feel like it. It might not always work out perfect, but it’s always on terms that work for me.”


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