Lifeguard and photographer Basil Lynch comes from a family of van-lifers, so it’s no surprise he calls his 2000 Ford F250 4×4 truck camper home. Growing up seaside in East Hampton, New York, gave him a passion for riding waves and connecting with our oceans. Through and through, Basil loves to use four wheels to explore. He recently drove clear across the country from California to New York—and his thirst for adventure continues. “Three years ago, I drove a Toyota FJ Cruiser from San Diego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska,” he says. “Since then I’ve always wanted to drive the Pan-American Highway from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Prudhoe Bay.” To merge his two interests, he’s coined his own photographic genre: adventure automotive photography.
For Basil, adventure isn’t limited to far-flung destinations: “To me, an adventure can be found in anything. It could be a mini surf trip after work or a multi-year long expedition around the world,” says Basil. “As long as I’m experiencing something new, it’s an adventure to me.”
Where do you live and what drew you to this place?
Basil: I’ve spent the last three years living in San Diego, California. Six months ago, I sold everything, built a camper and hit the road. I ended up in my hometown, East Hampton, New York, to work as a lifeguard for the summer. I was drawn back to East Hampton because it’s where I grew up. After being on the road for five months, I craved a familiar place, and wanted to spend some time with friends and family.
What does “adventure” mean to you and your generation?
Basil: Adventure is about exploring unfamiliar places, getting out of your comfort zone, and trying new things. I spent the last five months of my life living 24 hours at a time. I only have two tasks every day: Find the next nights campsite, and capture one photo I am proud of. Other than that, I had no plans and no place to be. To me, an adventure can be found in anything. It could be a mini surf trip after work or a multi-year long expedition around the world. As long as I’m experiencing something new, it’s an adventure to me.
How do you balance your work with your outside-of-work passions?
Basil: I currently work part-time as an ocean lifeguard for the Town of East Hampton, while also creating content for my photography clients. Luckily for me, spending time around and in the ocean, is one of my biggest passions. Usually, I’m up chasing waves at sunrise before work, or out after, surfing into the night.
When did you discover your passions?
Basil: I grew up surfing on Eastern Long Island year round. My friends and I would go out surfing in any conditions. The water would be in the high 30-degree-temps, and it could be dumping snow, but if the waves were rideable, we would be in the water. At some point during high school I decided I wanted to capture those moments, I started shooting photos of my friends in the water, and it just took off from there.
I attended my first year of college in Boulder, Colorado, which is where I began to fall in love with camping and exploring the mountains. This is also when I started outfitting my vehicle to access remote locations in the backcountry. This swayed my photography more towards what I shoot photos of today, I call it “Adventure Automotive Photography.”
What does your average weekend look like? Where do you like to go on adventures?
Basil: Lately, I’ve been exploring my hometown. This is the first time I have been back for an extended period in over three years, so it’s been great to re-discover where I grew up. Once lifeguarding slows down a bit, I’m planning on going on some weekend surf trips with my younger sister, Scout. We both enjoy surfing, and it’s been great to share my passion of being in the water with her all summer. Before I head back out on the road, I want to show her what it’s like to travel in the camper and go search for some waves up north.
What is your favorite national forest or park?
Basil: My favorite national park so far is Glacier National Park, and I haven’t even gotten the chance to explore it much. I spent a week there on my way to Alaska and was blown away by how much there was to see in the park. I spent most of my time camping at Bowman Lake, but would love to travel deeper into the park and camp at some of the backcountry sites.
What are a few things on your bucket list?
Basil: I’ve always wanted to drive the Pan-American Highway. Driving north, from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Three years ago, I drove a Toyota FJ Cruiser from San Diego to Prudhoe Bay, and ever since, I’ve wanted to complete the central and southern sections of the highway.
I’d also love to spend a season chasing storms. Something that most people don’t know about me is that I’m a huge weather nerd. I grew up watching the TV show Storm Chasers with my mom, and ever since we both have wanted to build a vehicle to go out and chase storms around the country.
How do you keep track/log your adventures?
Basil: I keep a list of my favorite campsites and locations in a journal. But, I use Instagram as my primary way to keep track of where I’ve been and what I’ve been able to see when I’m out on the road. I post content daily. Usually, it’s in the moment: I’ll shoot a photo on my DSLR, climb into the back of the camper, and prepare the photo for upload later that day. It’s been awesome having my Instagram to refer back to—I’m able to see what I struggled with that day or be reminded of a campsite along the way that was special to me.
Who inspires you?
Basil: My parents. Two years ago they sold their house, bought an RV, and threw my two youngest siblings into it. They took everyone on an eight-month-long adventure of a lifetime. I met up with them several times throughout their trip, and every time I saw them I was jealous they were living full time on the road. A year later, I decided to follow in their footsteps, and it has been the best decision of my life.
Who are a few of your favorite artists, authors, musicians, or photographers?
Basil: I read a book called In Search of Captain Zero by Allan C. Weisbecker during my freshman year of college. The book is about Allan searching for his friend deep in Central America. He sold everything, loaded his dog and surfboards into the car, and hit the road. His book is one of the things that inspired me to live the lifestyle I do today.
My music taste consists of a bit of everything. Generally while driving I just put my songs on shuffle, and anything from Shakey Graves to the Notorious B.I.G., can come on. But my favorites are Khruangbin, Pearl Jam, Hippie Sabotage, Jack Johnson, and Keb’ Mo.’
What are your two or three most essential adventure gear items? Essential adventure snacks?
Basil: The most essential thing to my adventures is my 2000 Ford F250 and the camper attached to the back of it, which also just so happens to be my home. Another critical piece of equipment I have with me is my Partner Steel Stove—any good adventure includes a good meal at the end of the day. One of my favorite meals to cook is ribeye steak with a big salad and asparagus on the side. It’s simple, delicious and makes for great leftovers.
After a long work day, what motivates you to get out?
Basil: I’m motivated by not knowing what’s next. I’ve been lucky enough to live the life I do, but who knows when that all could change. I take advantage of every second I can, by getting out and exploring what the world has to offer.
If you could go on a spontaneous adventure right now, where would you go?
Basil: I’d go to Australia and travel the country in a well-outfitted 79 series Land Cruiser. Australia has some of the best overland routes in the world, along with world-class waves and endless beaches. Overlanding, or “long-term vehicle-based exploration” was defined in Australia out of necessity. Ranchers herded cattle through the outback, creating some of the first routes across Australia. Today, those tracks are still used, both recreationally, and out of necessity. It would be awesome to travel those routes and explore where it all started.