On The Open Road with Adam Harteau

05 20 2015


Adam Harteau is a filmmaker who achieved the near unthinkable; he decided to embrace his sense of adventure and packed his wife and daughter in an old VW Westfalia and set out to explore the world, living out of a van and welcoming the challenges and accomplishments of a life on the road. Instead of forcing himself to choose between the often juxtaposed lifestyles of settling down to have kids or traveling the world, Adam embraced both and his filmmaking is made all the better for it. From capturing his girls exploring everything from the landscapes of Central America to the beaches of Baja, you can find some of our favorites of his work in the LURKR library or follow his adventures in full at Our Open Road.

We were able to touch base with Adam and his family as they made their way through Argentina to ask him about filming on perpetual location and his wanderlust lifestyle.

Describe the journey you and your family are on and the reasons you chose to pack up and hit the road.

Emily & I departed in October 2012 with our daughter Colette on what we thought would be a 1 year adventure to Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world) and back. 5 months in, we decided to ditch our schedule and embrace the future unknown and the benefits of slow travel. In June 2014, our daughter Sierra joined us and now we are a foursome exploring South America in our VW Westfalia. We left looking for a real adventure, one we could start at our front door and be in a foreign country on the first day. We have surely found more than we ever imagined.

What did you bring with you – both for practical living and for good filmmaking?

Our Westfalia is our tiny house on wheels- it has an edited version of everything we use in our daily life. A few of the things skillfully wedged in and on the van are: surfboards & wetsuits, backpacking gear, clothes for hot and cold, full kitchen, tools and spare parts for car repairs, down blanket in flannel duvet for cold nights, computer, camera, variety of lenses & a good attitude.

What has surprised you most about living life on the road?

Why it took us so long to switch over to this lifestyle.

Would you recommend the experience to friends/family/strangers?


Where are you headed next?

At the moment we are in southern Argentine Patagonia, working our way north along the famed Ruta40. In 3 weeks, Emily & the girls will fly to Houston, Texas for a family wedding, then head to Los Angeles where we will rendezvous as I will meet them via the Sacred Valley of Peru after completing some work with an array of local artisans. From there we will all be heading up to Monterrey, Calif. For another family wedding, then onto Hawaii for a couple weeks, and return back to Bariloche, Argentina and our van, where we plan to enjoy the South American winter in the snow.

What has been the most rewarding part of the experience so far?

Being able to be with my family AND travel the world.

What inspires you as a filmmaker and artist?

In October, 2014, I had a solo show, “Terra Incognita” at Slow Culture in Highland Park. Inspired by our 2 years on the road Central and South America, this new body of work exhibited photography, collage, painting, drawing and mixed media. Latin for ‘unknown land’, terra incognita is a term used in cartography for regions that had not been explored or documented. I draw inspiration from geology, geography, cartography, and the rich cultural heritages of lands visited. During our travels, I catalog visual data to later bring to life. Neon colors pulled from urban walls sit in company with the rich tones of natural lands; deconstructed cartography appears alongside classic portraiture. My creations include studies in geometry, explorations of nautical charts, ocean currents, and topographic forms. A by-product of camping for most of the journey, my work has been forged from the close connection I have experienced living with the land, sea, and sky. You can see the collection at www.ouropenroad.com/terraincognita