Retrospective roads with Taz in partnership with @toyotausa.

This is me.

And this is Taz.

What follows is the story about how we grew up together, got lost a lot, and found pieces of ourselves in the process. Maybe it wasn't really that existential for Taz, but I like to think it was.

The summer I turned 16, my big brother sold me his old 4Runner in return for a couple spins around his yard with the lawn mower, a shoulder rub, and a few hundred bucks. We called her Taz; her maroon interior and wild spirit reminded us of the Tasmanian Devil. I asked him how long he figured she would keep running. He's a mechanic, so I figured he'd know. He smiled and shrugged, "She might make it through the summer."

Summer came and went.

7 summers passed.

Some things didn't change. Like the musky smell of wet paddling gear that wafted from the back of the Taz and the butterflies that gathered in the predawn pit of my stomach before setting out on our next adventure. Those things stayed the same.

But this is a story of the things that did change; or perhaps more accurately, things that changed me. Things I saw and things I felt.

Reading the classics of the Beat Generation affected me with a deep curiosity for the West. So that was where I went.

Criss-crossing the country with Taz, we saw a lot of things, and I took a lot of pictures. At some point, people started putting a label on this chronic curiosity, and I was told I had become a "photographer". The very thing I had been warned about as a kid.

Still, Taz was undeterred by the development of this highly undesirable trait, and together we drifted onward.

Our map became a maze of memories...

Of wild roads we rambled

Special ones with whom we traveled

Of curious encounters

And magic mountains

Of wide-open places

And of minstrels

Of cities

And of silence

Though the Taz has since been retired, and the dust from our passing has long settled, I take comfort in knowing that together we etched a map that's purpose was not to get us anywhere, but rather served simply as a reminder to enjoy where we are. And ultimately, we found it was the only map we needed.

Big thanks to all the friends who helped us along the way, and to @toyotausa for partnering with me and for making me such a great birthday present way back in 1986 in anticipation of our future need to #KeepItWild. #4runner #RIPtaz