Many people begin RVing to become more connected with the outdoors. Adventurer Brian Brawdy likewise began RVing to enhance his already strong connection with nature, but he set forth with an additional objective: to inspire the folks he meets to take a proactive roll in their lives and in the environment.
In 1986, following his father’s suicide, Brawdy, then an undercover officer for the New York police, retreated from city life to gain enlightenment. “I was trying to get as far away as I possibly could. The more time I spent out in the wilderness, the better I started to feel. That was the beginning of traveling, getting out there and doing it. Adventure doesn’t have to be extreme; it just has to be yours.”
Currently embarking on a 49-state tour of the United States that began last February, Brawdy has become a well-known spokesperson for eco-awareness by studying the relationship between people and the outdoors. Brawdy has made appearances on CBS’s The Early Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, and multiple news segments for Fox News, CNN, NBC and countless local news outlets. But what sets him apart from many of the “talking heads” you see on TV — other than his genuine, infectious love for Mother Nature — is his choice of a home base: Brawdy full-times across the country in a Lance Model 1181 camper.
Brawdy’s decision to purchase the Lance was based on his personal experience. “I chose the Lance Camper mainly for the basement storage; I wanted to be able to carry my skis, tripods and other camera equipment. But I was also familiar with it; I rented one in Denali National Park, because it was the only way I could get a photographer’s permit. It was there that I kind of fell in love with the concept of the Lance camper.”
Brawdy’s dedication to live an environmentally conscience life extends beyond the interviews and seminars; he practices what he preaches. “I prefer camping off the road and off the grid; I’d rather not plug in at an RV park.” His love of boondocking led to the installation of six solar panels to harvest the sun’s energy, which he decided to do to “get revenge on the sun” for giving him skin cancer. In addition to using the positive effects of solar energy, Brawdy’s Lance also features brackets designed to support a wind turbine he uses to power up his batteries when sunshine is scarce. He’s even devised a way to collect rainwater and other condensation that gathers on his camper: Add-on channels direct the water droplets and guide them to a filtering bag attached to the RV. He collects, stores and filters the water for drinking, bathing and cooking.
At the time of his visit to Trailer Life, Brawdy had put 28,000 miles on his Ford F-350/Lance combo in just five months, and he still had a lot of ground cover. “It’s a lot of work. I do all the driving, it’s a full-on gig,” he laughed. He added that he also uses biodiesel whenever it’s available.
While touring, Brawdy also conducts video/audio updates for the blog on his Web site, www.brianbrawdy.com from the living room of the slideout-equipped Lance. Each update is focused on spreading the eco-friendly message, as well as explaining the specific equipment he uses. “I like to try to demystify the gear, so that when I’m on camera, I can show that things that seem impossible can be done,” he said.