The aptly named 23 Feet documents the journey of three women in a 23-foot-long 1970 Airstream as they search for individuals and their stories of living simply out of school buses, vans, tents, and other small spaces in order to pursue their outdoor lifestyles.
The free Santa Barbara showing of 23 Feet will take place Thursday, July 7 at 8 p.m. at WheelHouse Bikes, located at 528 Anacapa Street. The film will screen on an outdoor theater — built by Bombach and her team — attached to the 23 Feet Airstream itself. Viewers are recommended to bring a camping chair to sit on.
Akin to Christopher McCandless’s Into the Wild, the film portrays director Allie Bombach and friends Greer Glasser and Lisa Montierth selling their posessions to adventure on the road. They started their travels July 4, 2010, from Durango to Silverton, Colorado before traveling 2,600 miles through Utah, Nevada, California, and into Oregon in early August 2010.
“When people first see this lifestyle they’re usually intimidated by the uncertainty—life of the unknown can be scary,” Bombach said in a May 5 interview with Elephant Journal. “But once you commit to this way of living, everything just makes so much sense.”
Bombach spent two months dirtbagging in Boulder, Colorado, after her vegetable oil-fueled truck that was pulling the Airstream broke down. Surprised by the amount of people who connected with dirtbagging, Bombach decided to make a film about what it means to live simply through profiling individuals she met on the road.
The film tour stops at locations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, with remaining premieres in California.
“A big theme of the film is enjoying our wild lands which, ultimately, go hand in hand with taking responsibility for them,” Bombach said in a 23feet.org interview.
The film depicts “the worth of wild spaces and the ever-roaming community that depends on them,” Montierth said. “It is this community that inspired 23 Feet,” Montierth said. “These vagabonds are thriving in the lonely corners of our wild lands, sacrificing comfort and convention, sleeping alone in battered vans and tents, pushing themselves to their physical limits every day.”
The film tour aims to share the stories of a community of people who have dedicated their lives to fulfilling their outdoor passions and to expose the younger generation to the importance of these wild lands.
“We plan to advocate activism and awareness of conservation through promoting organizations that dedicate themselves to preserving these wild lands, and encourage people to get out and see these places themselves,” Montierth said.
Legendary Yosemite climber Ron Kauk, as well as a woman who changed her life for surfing, are among the stories featured in the movie.
Bombach hopes that viewers will be inspired by the film to do what they love and let the rest fall into place.
“Live consciously,” Bombach said, who still lives out of the Airstream. “Not just for the environment though. Make conscious decisions about what you want to do with your life.”