The Travel Brothers You Always Wanted

Guys, have all the fun! Okay maybe that’s not entirely true but thanks to Instagram, FOMO is on the rise. You know, Fear Of Missing Out. As a woman in production, most of my career was spent around men. I positively love getting to be “one of the guys.”

Ricky and the Uncles
Ricky and the Uncles

So imagine my reaction to finding Ricky & The Uncles. Three brothers out of Cali, on what looks like the world’s coolest road trip. Man, I’m missing out! It looks like these guys are having all the fun! Following their adventures was so much fun.

One day they’d be mugging it up in Kings Canyon.

The next day, Ricky and The Uncles were camping under the stars in Santa Cruz Island and another National Park was added to my travel bucket list.

Ricky and the Uncles Santa Cruz Island
Photo by: Ricky and the Uncles Camping Santa Cruz Island

Then, something happened. Ricky and the Uncles hit a snag. Their travel plans had to change.

How to Handle a Change in Travel Plans

Travelers have this happen. It can be a huge disappointment. Goals unmet, money wasted, sights unseen! What happened? I had to know. Checking their site I got a little insight.

Ricky and the Uncles had seen six National Parks in nine days. They weathered a change in plans that meant missing Death Valley and Joshua Tree. Crushing right! All while camping in the woods mind you. Exhausting in and of itself.

Yet, they were still going, traveling, posting and smiling, the best of buds setting examples along the way.

We want to inspire people to get out and enjoy the beautiful world around them. We also want to set an example that family and relationships come before checklists and dreams.” –Ricky and the Uncles

FOMO kicked in. I was missing the full story. Who are these guys? What happened? What’s their plans now? So, I did what any good Travel Blogger with a case of FOMO would do, I reached out and asked the guys if I could interview them. Here’s the best part, they said yes and here is what they had to say.

Ricky and the Uncles
Ricky and the Uncles

The Story Behind Ricky and the Uncles

ALOR: I’m curious guys, what’s the story behind the name Ricky and the Uncles?

R&TU: No, we are not a 70’s folk rock band, but sometimes we wish we were :).

I [Ricky] guess we didn’t think much of it originally. I moved to California a couple of years ago. Josh came to visit me from the East Coast, and Jesse surprised me by showing up as well.

Throughout the few days they stayed with me, my son (who was two at the time) kept referring to Josh and Jesse as “the uncles.” “Where are the uncles?” “Are the uncles going to eat with us?” “I want to play with the uncles.”

During that visit, we made our first road trip to Yosemite. That’s when the idea of adventure and exploration in California (and beyond) was first planted. We created a Google Hangouts to collaborate, discuss dreams and ideas.

Josh quickly just called it “Ricky and the Uncles.” The name stuck. When we began discussing the idea of a project including road tripping, photographing, and filming we were looking for a name. So we decided to call it “Ricky and the Uncles.”

ALOR: Who’s the troublemaker of the three of you?

R&TU: Since I [Ricky] am the oldest, I kind of led the way in many ways into trouble. I set the example and push boundaries to see what things can be done. At times, I’ve had to deal with the unpleasant consequences.

Having said that, I have also been the earliest to learn how to stay out of trouble. Josh mostly gets into trouble on accident. He has followed me into trouble. Falls on little tree shoots in the forest, gets chewed out by rangers, etc. Whenever he gets into trouble, he is usually attempting to do something innocent and normal. Too bad for him.

Jesse, I believe, is the real troublemaker. If there is trouble to be had, he will find a way to have it.

Ricky and the Uncles ALOR Feature Nomadic Couples Who Inspire
Photo by: Ricky and the Uncles

Why Ricky and the Uncles Share Their Story

ALOR: Why share your journey?

R&TU: There’s a complicated tension with this answer. One that will only become more complicated as time goes on.

We grew up as brothers taking advantage of opportunities around us to explore and experience adventure. It was a big part of life for us. Our parents did a good job of giving us the opportunity and freedom to involve ourselves in outdoor activities. We’re better off for it.

When we [Ricky and Josh] moved to the Silicon Valley, we became even more acutely aware, technology was permeating society, rapidly capturing people’s attention and, consequently, their lives. We acknowledge this is an unavoidable reality, but we did not want it to hinder us. From continuing our life of adventure.

We feel, if we can expose others, and more specifically the next generation, to what is really out there to discover, then it will have a drawing force, away from the seduction of technology to the beauty of the great outdoors.

Here is where the tension lies. Because technology and media are such an all-consuming and powerful tool, we felt that perhaps the best way to communicate that to the next generation would be to use, technology. So, we decided to use whatever tech skills we have to open up for people, a whole new world. One that has always been there. Plus, we’re media geeks who like to tell stories…so why not?

Ricky and the Uncles
Selfie by: Ricky and the Uncles

Reasons to Change Travel Plans

ALOR: For your fans like me who were following your recent adventure, what happened to cause the change of plans?

R&TU: We were three days into our trip, and we had just arrived at our third park and I [Ricky] realized that we were exhausted. We were not really not enjoying our road trip the way that we had hoped and knew that we should be. If we were tired, dragging, and not that enthusiastic about exploring Yosemite, of all places, then there was surely something wrong.

I also knew that we faced an even more rigorous driving schedule ahead of us. Talking about it, no longer sounded fun. We wanted to see new places and enjoy it. To have a brother-to-brother old-fashioned road trip party time, and that was just not happening.

So we needed to change something. I floated the idea to the Uncles that morning in Yosemite; it took a little discussion and re-strategizing, but together we decided it was a good idea, and I am glad that we did.

ALOR: Was it easy for the three of you to come to the decision to change your plans?

R&TU: Did anyone kick and scream or bite? No. Did we feel like we were missing out on something complete and rich? Yes, of course! However, it did not take long for us to see, changing plans was that best decision. None of us are out to prove anything. We’re out for fun, adventure, and good stories to pass on to others—not just tagging national parks.

Effects of Camping Outside on Energy

ALOR: Did camping outside impacted your energy?

R&TU: Yes, I am certain it did, probably both negatively and positively. Camping is a refreshing change and provides mental clarity. However, only Josh got a great full night sleep. He can sleep pretty much anywhere. Since adventure and true physical reality was what we were after, staying in a tent outside, fulfilled and heightened that for us. Overall camping was 100% the right decision.

Hardest Part of Changing Travel Plans

ALOR: What was the hardest part for you guys, when you started changing your travel plans?

R&TU: Where to sleep. We had already made reservations for one of the parks that we didn’t visit. We also now had another night that we had to figure out where to stay. In fact, one night we didn’t sleep more than an hour. We still have to figure out when we’re going to be wrap up the California National Parks adventure.

Best Part of Changing Travel Plans

ALOR: What was the best part of making the change?

R&TU: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. We would have missed so much by simply trying to stick with the first plan and driving. Because of the change, we stayed at Yosemite and Sequoia longer. Giving us more time to enjoy the parks.

For those that don’t know, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are actually two individual parks despite often being conjoined into one name. Even with the extra time we had there, we still feel there was so much, we didn’t get to see there.

ALOR: What were you feeling once the plans were reset?

R&TU: We felt slightly frustrated since we could not finish what we started originally. However, that was overtaken by the sense of relief and excitement since we realized that we have more time to enjoy the parks that we would visit.

ALOR: Looking back, are you glad you made the adjustments?

R&TU: Yes, without a doubt. We needed the extra time. We needed the rest. We needed to know that we were not creating pressure for ourselves that would render the trip unenjoyable. Turn it into a checklist. We are glad that we did.

ALOR: You’re back home now, what’s your day-to-day like?

R&TU: We all work. So, it was back to our normal weekly routine and schedules. I [Ricky] work for REI and a coffee shop. Josh works as a web developer in San Francisco and Jesse is in the Marines in So Cal. Right now, we are taking advantage of all the little things time and life allow. We work, spend time with our families, and get outside to explore on our days off.

ALOR: Please tell us you have another trip coming up! What’s the plan?

R&TU: We are planning to finish up the California parks in the early spring. It should be fresh, enjoyable, and cool. A lot cooler than it would have been if we had visited in September.

Death Valley and Joshua Tree, we’re coming for you.

Over Thanksgiving, Ricky and Josh hope to travel to Portland to visit a cousin. Hopefully, that will turn into a little great adventure too. Along the way, we will be creating at-home adventures to inspire our kids to enjoy the life and the world that they have been given.

ALOR: Thanks for letting us all be one of the guys for a minute Ricky, Josh and Jesse. You’re great examples. Reminding all of us what’s most important in life. Family, adventure and appreciating the world outside our doors. Get out there and explore! Just promise to take us with you!

For anyone else out there wishing you could be one of the guys, you can! Follow Ricky and the Uncles as they explore Death Valley and Joshua Tree on RickyandtheUncles.us, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Going for It Photo by Ricky and the Uncles
Going for It Photo by Ricky and the Uncles

Inspiring Nomadic Couples

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