A Man, His Dog, and the Open Road
by: Brian Bushard
photography by: Cary Hazlegrove & Mark Ranney
For five weeks last winter, Mark Ranney ditched the comfort of life at home for a decked-out former Wee Whalers mini-bus he had spent the pandemic converting into a cross-country, pirate-ship-themed vagabond-mobile.
Ranney, who grew up on Nantucket, was looking for a way out.
“Your comfort zone will kill you,” he said. “This whole thing was scary but that was the point of it.”
Ranney wanted to escape the seasonal depression of Nantucket in the winter. He wanted to see the country. He wanted a sense of adventure and a nomadic life he couldn’t find in 11 years working in landscaping and con-
struction on the island.
He wanted to leave Nantucket, not for just a vacation but
“I always wanted to be able to leave Nantucket, but I was afraid of actually leaving altogether,” he said. “My friends are here, my network’s here. But just like anyone else here, you long for more, you might not know what it is you’re longing for. For me it was adventure.”
It took Ranney half a year to convert the 1998 bus he bought on Nantucket Consignments into a place where he could sleep, cook, watch TV and hang out with anyone he met along his 9,000-mile journey from Nantucket to California and back.
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