Field Notes: On the road, ’23 Feet’ pulling up soon

If you go

What: “23 Feet”

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Boulder Rock Club, 2829 Mapleton Ave.

Cost: Free

23feet.org; facebook.com/23feet/

Airstream trailers have loomed large in my imagination since childhood.

My great-grandparents had an Airstream. When I was a kid, the Airstream stayed parked in front of their little city bungalow. But I knew that when my mom was a kid, it went places, and sometimes she and her cousin got to go.

Mom went many places in this little silver home on wheels, but the one place she visited that stuck in my childhood head was Hershey, Penn., where her grandparents took her to the Hershey’s chocolate factory.

A whole factory of chocolate? Lucky.

Though I never stepped foot inside of it, that Airstream awakened wanderlust in me at an age when I couldn’t have spelled “wanderlust.”

So when I learned that the film “23 Feet” was named for the length of the Airstream trailer three women traveled in while gathering stories of people living out of trailers, trucks and vans to do what they love in the outdoors — the very idea of it ignited that primal urge to pack up and go see what’s out there.

The film shows in Boulder Friday night, off a screen on the awning of the Airstream, which filmmaker Allie Bombach will park in front of the Boulder Rock Club. (Bring something to sit on.)

“’23 Feet’ is all about people who live simply to do what they love in the outdoors,” Allie said.

“They’re ditching the creature comforts of society to be in the places they love and to do the things they love,” she said. “And it’s really inspirational for me — it’s tiny living, it’s living a more conscious life. It’s not just the things you have, but it’s consciously making decisions to do the things you love.”

The Friday show will be the first on the tour, and Allie said it’s an appropriate place to launch because in a way, the story started here.

Allie was living in Durango and had just bought a vegetable oil fueled truck when she drove it to Boulder. She thought she’d be here for a day. But the veggie truck “blew up,” she said, and she ended up stuck in Boulder for two months.

“I’m buying clothes at the thrift store, having this dirt-bag epic,” she said. “And people started telling me stories about living on the road.”

“It got me excited about people who are so passionate about what they want to do that they want to do it all the time, so they find these tiny little spaces to live in,” she said.

She bought the Airstream here.

Allie was joined by two friends on the journey: Greer Glasser and Lisa Montierth. Allie said they asked questions early on that she didn’t see coming.

“The two women who traveled with me on “23 Feet” hadn’t lived this lifestyle,” she said.

“I’ve always been a dirt-bag rafter and climber at heart, so I’m used to having a toothbrush in my pocket and living that way.”

One of them asked her, where do you go to the bathroom when you’re living out of a trailer? “Well, I’m in the woods,” Allie said with laugh.

In the end, Allie said the trip inspired both women to keep on going. And the same’s true for Allie — she’s still living out of the Airstream, still on the road.

“The veggie truck ended up costing me eight grand and was a huge headache, but it was so worth it for the inspiration and the confidence to do this,” she said.

If you’ve ever been tempted — as I suspect most of us have at some point — to live on the road, perhaps this film will offer more reality than what you get from your tastes of this life on road trips. Allie calls the movie a great conversation about the difficulties of this lifestyle, the community within that world.

“It’s not glorifying it, but it’s a celebration of it.”

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