Have you ever wanted to take off work, travel and do something really fun but work, daily obligations got in the way? Well now you can; sort of.
Adam Hoffmeister and Madelyn Hille, two awesome twenty somethings, are quitting their jobs, and taking a 70+ day trip to canoe the entire Mississippi. Along the way, Madelyn will be documenting the trip by taking photographs, which will end up being published in a photographic journal depicting life along the Mississippi River. The photo book, titled Capturing the Mississippi (CTM) will allow others to see and experience the trip every step of the way.
On June 8, Hoffmeister and Hille will begin the 2,300-mile journey in their 18-foot Nova Craft Canoe. They will begin paddling in South Clearwater, Minn., at Lake Itasca and travel all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans, La.
Hille will choose a photograph at the end of each day that best sums up each day. It might be a group shot of people they meet along the way or a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset. The photographs will tell the complete story, quite literally, capturing the Mississippi.
“A year ago, I was going through a time when I was deciding what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” Hille said. “I’ve always loved photography, and Adam and I have both wanted to canoe the Mississippi. It’s an awesome opportunity.”
For Hoffmeister, the timing was right. Hoffmeister said they began talking about canoeing the Mississippi two years ago, but took a mission trip to Zimbabwe in 2011 instead.
“Mostly the timing is right and we’ve had this in the works for years,” Hoffmeister said. “Our lease is up in June, we don’t have plans for the summer, Madelyn just finished school and we both have jobs that are expendable. It’s all about the timing.”
Both Hille and Hoffmeister, who are in their 20s, are quitting their jobs to canoe the Mississippi. After the trip, they will be moving to Miami, Fla.
Hille said the 20-something concept is one of the reasons they decided to go through with the trip. She said she is obsessed with her generation because they are different.
“I’ve always been a little bit ashamed of our generation because we’ve been told we’re spoiled and our grandparents, parents worked harder than us,” Hille said. “But people our age are trying to go outside the conventional mold we used to fit into and try to do something unique, different to make ourselves happy.”
What began as an idea to canoe the entire Mississippi became a decision to create the daily photo book and while they’re on the river, they will also be raising money for the Flat Rock River YMCA Camp, a summer camp in St Paul, Ind., which teaches outdoor education among other things.
“We would have gone on the trip regardless but now we’re able to raise money for a good cause,” Hoffmeister said.
On May 2, they began a Kickstarter, an online pledge system for funding creative projects. They have until June 2 to reach their goal of $3,000 and if they don’t reach the goal, they don’t receive any of the money.
They will take the trip whether or not they reach their goal. The funding raised will go toward producing the photo book and excess be used for food, toiletry costs and travel expenses.
People who want to donate can visit Kickstarter.com and type “Capturing the Mississippi” in the search bar. They can then click on the project, watch the video to learn more and donate. As people donate, they can receive really cool prizes based on money donated. Some of those prizes are post cards with a personal message, copies of photographs or a hardback copy of the photo book.
“Everyone has been amazingly generous,” Hille said. “Our canoe, paddles and life jackets were donated to us.”
Besides those items, they will be taking basic necessities like light-weight clothes, camping equipment and food, Hille said.
Both Hille and Hoffmeister have planned for risks they might face, such as weather. If there is a large rainstorm, they plan to seek shelter for those days then resume paddling.
“The main thing through this entire project is it is fun,” Hille said. “Adam and I are taking the opportunity we have now and trying to make our lives fun and adventurous. By producing the book and documenting the experience, we are bringing along others with us.”
Learn more and donate:
Read other conversations from the series here.