Parked for a quick rest in Albuquerque, NM. Photo by Jessica Helen Lopez.

let’s start with a universal truth in my world: if you tell me not to do something, and don’t tell me why I shouldn’t do it or present viable options to replace what I was gonna do, then I’mma do it.

I’mma do it for any number of reasons, least of which is that you haven’t given me enough reasons to not do the thing I had already planned to do.

it’s likely that that thing is part of a plan I’ve spent time figuring out to the last detail, or something that I’ve had my heart set on. now that you’ve told me I shouldn’t (or can’t, which, how bold of you) do the thing, I have to do it to prove to myself that I can. I want the satisfaction of doing it in spite of you, and my rebellious side keeps a few spare fuck-its for just such occasions.

which I guess explains how I found myself driving my semi-converted school bus through the treacherous mountain passes and steep cliffs of State Highway 550 South at 10,000 feet elevation.

the sign ahead was annoyingly cryptic:




no “turn right for alternative route.” no “last chance to bail up ahead.” just another identical sign, this time with TAKE SH62 tacked on the bottom. and unsurprisingly, there was no additional sign for SH62. 

the road ahead was idyllic, two lanes flanked by houses surrounded by plenty of property. I passed the last gas station mini mart a few minutes back, and in front of me the lush trees filled my windshield. there was no place to pull off for a quick check of the GPS and, since I’m in a 27-foot school bus and not a tight-turning sedan, I don’t have the option to simply turn off on the side of the road. 

the next sign I saw said Scenic Byways. and internally I was like, I like scenic byways. how bad could it be? one plus of my bus is that it feels a little more nimble than the 70-seater buses of my high school varsity basketball days. out on the open road it drives like a large truck. it checks all the boxes for engine, size, miles, and interior space. when I first toured it, the man at the school district told me not to buy it, but wouldn’t elaborate on why. 

whatever was up ahead, I just knew that I could handle it. and with that blind faith, I did. the trip blossomed into a four-day adventure that has transformed impossibility in my world. it was not easy; hidden at every checkpoint was a chorus of doubt, but my inner dialogue came thru. I trust myself, I’d say to myself and shrug. fuck it. and keep going.

at the bottom of the Rio Grande National Forest, in a City Market in Durango, Colorado, I screamed the immortal battlecry from valiant warrior Ken Jeong:


Follow along on my journey to life on the road on Instagram @write_princess_, or donate to my build costs here.

Princess McDowell is a poet, writer and journalist from Dallas, Texas, and Rebellious Magazine's Special Projects Editor. She's also a cohost of the Feminist Erotica Podcast. As a writer-in-rebellion,...