This is the second part in this series. We will get to know our second Lands' End content creators, Kendal and Collin Strachan. Kendal and her husband Collin have a unique story. They started out living in an apartment in LA and spending their time on the weekends traveling. Then, they decided they wanted to find a way to be able to spend more of their time traveling. So, they sold their furniture and began living in a 33-foot airstream, traveling to all different places. They started building their photography brand, Every Mile Creative, and they share many of their beautiful images on Kendal Strachan's Instagram. This business is what gave them the freedom to spend time outdoors, making the wilderness their office and workplace. They eventually settled down in Alaska, living in their airstream. In this article, we will get to learn more about Kendal and Collin's personal life lving in Alaska, their lives as content creators, and their travels.
Kendal grew up just outside of Philadelphia, PA and Collin grew up near San Antonio, Texas.
Collin has always had an interest in photography. He had cameras in his hands since he was little, then picked it up professionally during his time at a marketing firm in Dallas, where he did a lot of photo video projects. As we started to travel, it was natural for us to bring it into our outdoor adventures. Kendal picked it up as we went along as she realized it was important to her to capture our memories and experiences.
Our life in Alaska is really special and, quite frankly, worlds apart from the lives we used to live in Dallas and LA (where we previously lived in small apartments working corporate jobs). We travel around the state year-round in our Airstream and encounter temps from 80 in the warmest parts of summer to -40 in the winters. While we love to explore, have fun, and see as many new places as possible, we actually put a lot of work into living the way we do. We have a photography business that's fully booked every season and we try to live as off-grid as possible so we're constantly working to collect water and firewood, harness electricity and provide for ourselves as much as possible. When we're not working, our favorite things are to be on the coast fishing and hiking, or on glaciers climbing and paddling in brilliant blue glacial pools. It's a fun life but unpredictable and you never know what each day will bring!
Our decision to live off-grid happened gradually and over time. We first stayed in RV parks around the southwest, then began to follow accounts on Instagram who were into "boondocking," so we took a trip to Wyoming with a generator and a couple of water jugs (my, how far we've come!) to see what life looked like off grid. Over the next couple of years, we dug deeper into life off grid, traveled further, and found a deep sense of fulfillment from living in a sustainable way where we feel more connected to nature. We still go to grocery stores and put gas in our truck, but it's really gratifying for us when we can reduce our dependency on "the grid." For example, we just installed a wind turbine, which doesn't provide all of our electricity needs, but just seeing that we're able to harvest electricity from the wind is really fun. Over time, we've integrated systems like being able to filter water from lakes and rivers, a lithium battery system + solar that allows us to handle extreme cold and go for weeks or even months without charging batteries with the generator, a composting toilet, and a wood stove, among others.
With regard to space, we're very intentional about the things we choose to own. We choose clothing and household items that are meaningful to us, and we have a rule that if we haven't worn or used it in 3 months, it needs to be donated (with the exception of seasonal gear - kayaks aren't too useful in the winter but don't need to be donated in January!). Our Airstream has a large closet and a lot of different storage options, so we honestly don't feel too limited on space. Life in Alaska does require a fair amount of equipment, so we aren't super minimalist, but we try to keep only the things we need.
Yes, photography through Every Mile Creative is our full-time business! We're both completely bought in and everything we do, we do together. That being said, maintaining a work life balance is probably the biggest challenge that we face in our lifestyle. We struggle with overbooking ourselves, knowing when it's ok to put down work, and prioritizing both the work we need to do and the fun we want to have. Sometimes the best thing for us is to drive 100 miles into the Alaska wilderness where our phones can't connect for a week and force ourselves to rest.
First, being able to make your living as an artist or creator is a huge privilege. We are so grateful for the life we're able to live and the work we do. That being said, if you're going to pursue this, you have to treat it like a job. It doesn't require a degree, but we highly recommend a strong foundation in business, sales, finance, and organization. There will be times when your work feels like your passion and there will times when your work just feels like work. Beyond that, we'd recommend a pretty firm resolve to get to where you're going. If you can find what makes you unique and decide that you're going to get there, you're so likely to make it! (Really, believe in yourself and go for it!! It's so worth it.) But it might take a few years of insanely hard work with potentially slow progress - maybe it all feels like a blink of the eye once you're sitting back, feeling like you've made it. We'll let you know if we get there!
Hearing about how Kendal and Collin Strachan live and how they went from working their corporate jobs in LA to starting a photography business is such an inspiring story. They both gave some great tips for anyone who wants to become a content creator. It really shows how sometimes you have to chase your dreams and take the risk. I love the advice that when you make your passion your job, some days even though it's your passion, it still may feel like work. It is such a true statement, but it doesn't mean you can't still love your passion. Life living in an airstream in Alaska sounds so peaceful, especially after reading their story about how they maximize space and balance it all. They make it sound so effortless and makes me want to pack up my life and go live off grid. A special thank you to Kendal and Collin Strachan for taking the time to share a little more about their unique lifestyle and their craft. I hope you enjoyed getting to know the second content creator in this new series. Stay tuned for the rest of our influencer series!