Isaac Lesser isn't shy of roughing it. If you follow him on Instagram, you'll know that he's often away on little adventures in 'Hotel Lingo' aka his own miniature camper van. It's basically like a large hatchback that he's converted to house a bed and tea making facilities. It's all you need, really. #Hotellingo in the UK is one thing, but flying across the pond to Florida and hiring a minivan for the same purpose is something else.
Martin Grainger jumped in with Isaac for their Walmart car park tour either side of the Florideah Swamp Fest... Let's see how they got on.
Photos by Martin Grainger
– How did this trip come about?
"After seeing the Florideah Swampfest footage from last year I knew I had to get there. I spoke to Martin and he agreed so after a couple of conversations at The Level we got round to booking the flights."
– You guys slept in the van... Pretty ghetto. Was it OK? You find some good places to camp out?
"I’d spoken to Martin about hiring a car and booking an airbnb or hotels as we went, but we noticed on the car hire website that there were minivans. It made perfect sense to get one of them and road trip the whole way, sleeping in the back!
In my opinion there is no better way to travel because it allows so much more freedom and forces you to make the most out of your day, as you don’t need to travel back to a hotel every night and in the mornings you're not tempted to chill and be lazy – once you're up, you're out and planning your day.
"In my opinion there is no better way to travel, it allows so much more freedom."
Originally we had plans of finding some good camping spots by lakes and the beach but we ended up in a Walmart carpark every night, just because of how convenient it was!"
– How did the hire van compare to 'hotel lingo' back in the UK? Was there enough space for you Martin and the bikes or was it mad cosy?
"The van we ended up getting was perfect. All the seats in the back folded flat and we found a way to arrange the van so that all the bikes, the bags and ourselves fitted in.
I did miss the lingo at times just because its a bit more organised when it comes to making food and storage, but it would have been too tight in there."
– Did it have tea making facilities? I know tea is very important to you…
"Haha, not at first but after a quick trip to Walmart I bought a camping stove to boil the water and had some tea bags from home. Maybe I have a bit of a tea addiction but I can’t seem to focus in the mornings without a good brew. Always travel with tea bags."
– Were there any sketchy moments while camping in the van?
"We met some interesting people staying in the Walmart carparks. One woman spent about an hour telling me about American history and politics which mostly consisted of this sentence: 'I love my country but hate the people who run it.'
"We had a couple of scary moments driving into oncoming traffic."
But most of the sketchy moments came from actually driving, trying to get the hang of driving an automatic on the wrong side of the road and going through red lights. We definitely had a couple of scary moments driving into oncoming traffic."
– What about that lake spot, was it rad? Is that where you guys washed?
"Yeah the lake spot was unreal... Somehow a tree has grown up and over the lake making it the perfect jump spot, it was so refreshing to jump in there after a day's riding and a night in the van."
– How much fun did you have at Florideah Swampfest?
"Swampfest was so good, being there gave me the same type of feeling as getting the latest props DVD when I was younger. The most pure BMX event I’ve been to in years."
– Were the ramps tricky to ride?
To be honest after growing up riding ROM and all the crazy setups they come out with they didn’t feel too bad! I was lucky enough to get a session on the ramps a day before the event when the set up was pretty empty."
– How rad was it visiting those iconic brick quarters? Did you have a good session?
"Definitely one to tick off, I’ve seen those quarters in Props and Mega Tour so I was stoked to get a session on them. I love tight transitions like that."
– A lot of UK BMX riders have dreamt of visiting Kona skatepark. Was that a big deal for you? I guess it's like the equivalent of ROM in America.
"Yeah, I’ve wanted to visit Kona ever since I saw Van Homan in Road Fools 7!"
– Any spots you want to go back to?
"Obviously Kona, but I think my favourite park was a concrete park called Oviedo, it was one of those bowls where everything worked and there were so many lines, we had such a good session there."
– Where are you going next?
"Got a couple of trips in England planned, Portugal with my girlfriend and then South Africa. I’m going to try and make the most out of this year."