So what could make two college seniors seemingly drop everything, change their post-college plans, and decide to bike across the country? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the Temecula Desert wind. It was here we first met Steven Wright and Christian Husband, and shared our first interaction with 4Walls.
So before 4Walls, Steve worked for Greenpeace (huge surprise) and met Jillian Chu, who would soon fill the role as the ‘connect.’ Eventually Steve would leave Greenpeace to pursue his dream of 4Walls and Jillian would stay and later meet me, Sam McLaughlin. One day, towards the end of the summer, Jillian gave me a call saying that a Greenpeace old-timer was building an earthship in Temecula and needed volunteers. She had nothing but high praise for Steve and his project, and quickly answered the natural question that most normal people would have in this moment: “What the hell is an earthship?”
Long story short, the earthship is a self-sustaining shelter built almost entirely of recycled materials (don’t worry, we’ll get into into the juicy details later), and so, the answer came easy: “Yes!! Oh wait, my friend is going to be visiting, let me just let him know first.” The friend I was referring to at the time was none other than the infamous Henry Fandel, my college roommate and most trusted friend. However, I already knew what his answer would be.
Short story shorter, one week later, Jillian, Henry, my sister Melinda, and I were packed and ready for a day trip to the desert. There we were, fully equipped with gym shorts, sneakers, and SPF 30. And here they were, Steve and Christian, sporting work boots, sombreros and facial hair–try to guess who was more prepared. We said our hellos and got to work, but it soon became clear that there wasn’t just a difference in our work gear, but also our work habits; we newbies were driven by the novelty of the site, meeting new people, and getting our hands dirty, whereas something very different motivated Steve and Christian. This is where it becomes hard to describe without sounding corny, but there was something much deeper compelling there movements: a dream of something much larger than a heap of tires and chicken wire in the desert. Needless to say, it was contagious.