Take A Strange Vacation with Jenny Czinder
Interview By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 9/14/16
The first in a series of interviews from Dirt Orcas. We are pleased to speak with the seemingly limitless spirit that is Jenny Czinder. You may know her as Hookers&Popcorn.
Jenny has crafted a lifestyle rich in travel and adventure. Her own website and her ever wonderful Instagram account are just a glimpse into the way she operates. She is also the owner of her own motorcycle clothing brand, Strange Vacation, which focuses on creating stylish but safe apparel for the large community of female riders.
While not the prototypical Overland Traveler, Jenny embodies that adventurous spirit that calls us to the road. Living and working from her Airstream trailer and logging thousands of miles on her motorcycle each year, she embraces movement and fluidity.
Jenny is a great reminder that you can craft the life you want and that taking the steps towards that life do not have to be a big leap, but rather a series of small baby steps towards something better.
Year, Make, Model of your vehicles?
2016 Ram 2500
2014 Airstream trailer
2012 Harley Nightster 1200
1977 Yamaha YZ Flat Tracker
Did you name your vehicles? What do you call them?
I call my Harley my Broomstick, and sometimes we refer to the Airstream as Trailer Swift. The truck and tracker definitely need names though! I gotta get on that.
When and how did you get them?
They’ve all been acquired within the past 4 yrs. I started riding about 4 years ago, and thats when I bought my Harley. Shortly after that I picked up the YZ. We’ve lived in the the Airstream for about 2.5 yrs now, and recently upgraded our truck to a newer Ram for better, more comfortable towing capacity.
What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the ones you bought?
I tried to be open minded about what kind of motorcycle to buy as my first, but in the end I just couldn’t ignore that I’m a Harley girl deep down.
We considered buying a vintage Airstream and fixing it up, but knowing we were going to live in it full time we wanted something new with everything in perfect working order. Its also a huge commitment to gut one and we prefer to spend our time out on the road or in the woods whenever possible.
For the truck we wanted something powerful & big enough to tow the Airstream with motorcycles in the bed, in case we ever decide to take our entire show on the road. The Ram can tow all that and more like its nothing. It’s also super roomy. Road trips in that thing are cush! Its my dream car.
Have you made any upgrades or changes to them?
Only some small upgrades to my Harley so far. New exhaust, air filter, handle bars, seat, tires, belt to chain conversion, and a few other minor things.
Im hoping to fix up the YZ to get out on the track this winter. We’d also love to hook the Ram up with the new kit AEV just launched to broaden the horizons of where we could drive that sucker.
What is your favorite part about it living in an RV? What is your least favorite part about it?
Living in a trailer is SIMPLE! Less stuff to organize, clean, worry about = more time for the shit I’d personally rather be doing like riding, hiking, snuggling my animals, or even just reading a book.
We have the trailer parked inside a metal warehouse on some farm land just outside Portland. If we didn’t have this set up I’d probably say my least favorite part about it is feeling more confined during the winter months. But with our current set up, we’re pretty much livin our dream.
How many miles have you put on your bike?
Since I got it about 4 years ago I think I’ve put almost 20K on it. I’ve also put about 4K on my boyfriends Harley Street Bob.
What is the best place you have taken it? Is there just one?
There’s definitely not just one. I did a ride for Harley Davidson from Brooklyn to San Francisco and its by far the best ride I’ve done on my bike so far. I hope to go back across the states many more times, each time taking a different route.
Favorite road you’ve ridden?
What stands out in my mind are the roads I’ve ridden through some of our National Parks. They’re all breath taking and fun in different ways.
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living out of a vehicle what would you tell them?
Start downsizing your life in baby steps and see how it feels. If you find yourself loving it, keep going! Eventually you’ll find yourself attracted to a more specific style of minimalistic living. Maybe its an RV, a van or just an old truck. To each their own, but I feel like the key, and the hard part for most people, is downsizing.
It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your life where you became conscious that you were one of those people?
I’ve kind of always preferred experiences over possessions but I didn’t consciously recognize that in myself until about 5 years ago. My brother had moved out of my boyfriend and I’s 2 brd / 2 bath apartment and we realized we had no interest in filling the empty space just to fill it. That’s when we considered living in an Airstream and slowly started downsizing. Through that process I realized how little I cared to buy a house and nest, at least for the foreseeable future, and how much I did care about my freedom to explore myself and the outdoors in whatever kind of way I am attracted to in the moment.
You have found a strong place in the community of riders you resonate with, can you tell me a bit about how that effects your passion for riding? Do the people shape your love of bikes or the other way around? Or is it the shared love that brings the people together?
I started riding simply because it looked like fun. I wasn’t aware of the community surrounding it, or that it would become a huge part of my life. Since then, I’ve met so many incredible people, some of which are now my best friends. My love for riding, the amazing people I’ve met along this road, and everyone’s shared love all continuously motivate and inspire me.
I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourself as somebody who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
It just kind of happened. I grew up in a Transcendental Meditation community and the founder of that practice, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, always said, “FOLLOW YOUR BLISS”. That stuck with me since I was a kid and has become a life affirmation. I have ideas and things I’d like to achieve, but those evolve over time, just like I do. The only thing I really try to maintain is that path towards bliss by trusting myself and my happiness.
Riding motorcycles looked like fun, so I tried it. My friends threw a motorcycle camp out in the CA desert 4yrs ago, and about 75 of us girls that ride went. They had no intentions of growing it at the time, but now it’s evolved into the largest women’s motorcycle event in the world, Babes Ride Out!
Both of these experiences, riding and realizing there’s a fast growing community of other women who love riding as much as I do, inspired me to join forces with my best friend, Kelly Wehner, and start Strange Vacation, our women’s motorcycle brand. Women riding motorcycles isn’t anything new, but the amount of women learning to ride these days is. And although women’s riding apparel exists it has typically been an after thought to the men’s riding apparel, with a lack of style where there is functionality & protection and visa versa. It seemed crazy to us that nobody had yet married the two concepts and created riding apparel that safe, comfortable, stylish and bold, so we took some baby steps to see about doing it ourselves! At some point we dove in head first without even fully realizing it at the time, and here we are! Proud parents of our beautiful baby, Strange Vacation 🙂
Where do you want to go next?
I want to take Strange Vacation to the cutting edge. I’m not even entirely sure what that means, but that’s where we’re headed. Kelly and I want to continue to having fun, being the weirdos we are by doing and creating what we want, and through that hopefully inspire others to do the same in some way that makes sense for them.
Geographically, I used to have places in my mind I said I could never live. But I’m realizing that under the right circumstances, I could travel or live anywhere. So I’ll go wherever the possibilities takes me. Right now I’m happy with Portland as my home base and have no plans to move. At the same time, after 8 yrs here, I could see that changing in the near future.