Meet Gretchen & Elissa

Here's to old friends. And new beginnings.

In late August of 2005, after years of moving and traveling and growing into women in our 30s, three friends from college, Gretchen, Elissa and Keri, made a date to catch up.

In line with the energy of our connection, we chose to celebrate our long-time bond by attending a concert by one of Keri’s favorite foot-stomping, glass-raising, global bands.

It was fabulous. 

On the night of the show, the three of us had a kickass time dancing and laughing and toasting and hooting and hollering all through the concert. And, in our revelry and music-induced glee, we vividly imagined us three on a road trip, seeing a show out of town and letting the adventure unfold. We all loved the music! And each other! And travel! 

So it was decided: We will simply spend more time out in the world dancing and laughing and toasting and hooting and hollering. And we will hit the road. Together.

The universe, of course, had other plans.

Not even a month later, on September 22, 2005, our beloved, inspirational, crazy, beautiful friend Keri had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, fell into a coma and died. Just. Like. That.

After much shock, grieving and contemplating we, Elissa and Gretchen, bonded together stronger than ever with the hopes of moving through our pain as well as finding a way to commemorate and celebrate this incredible woman.

Though it took time, a memory started to appear and the sun started to come out.

When spring hinted at blossoming, we suddenly began to emerge as well. We began to be able to embrace Keri’s life again––her spirit and enthusiasm and, among other amazing gifts, her incredible passion for music and travel. The obvious choice? Honor Keri with joyful exploration and get out there in the world to dance and laugh and toast and hoot and holler. Just as we’d planned. So we hit the road for a spring tour, visiting cities and attending shows this very same band we all once saw together..

Little did we know of the transformation that would occur as a result…

On the road, we allowed these vacations, these adventures, to open ourselves up to experiences reminiscent of our friend’s intense, joyful spirit and vibrant manner of engaging with the world.

In the space of tribute and daring, we allowed synchronicity and magic to enter. We threw away outmoded expectations of ourselves and old stories about who we were or could be. We exorcised old demons and sent them scurrying. We believed in our beauty and strength; trusted and challenged each other; took a leap into the flow of the Universe.

And it was on one of these trips that the phrase ‘Evolution Through Vacation’ first appeared.

It was right on. ‘Evolution Through Vacation’ was the perfect descriptor for both the space we created and the change we embraced.

That spring, we didn’t travel far. The places we landed were not exotic nor all that foreign. But that became the point. Our physical location had become truly secondary to the transformation afoot all around and within us. The places didn’t matter; the journey within mattered. And that’s what changed everything.

As we kept learning and exploring and living in this moment, we soon came to realize that we couldn’t keep all this goodness for ourselves. And, in fact, in sharing this with others, the goodness would grow exponentially. And so, Evolution Through Vacation (also called "e-through-v" or written as "e>v") was born.

A perfect way to honor a woman as joyful and daring as our dear friend Keri. 

So: Thank you, Keri, for your gracious spirit, your winks and nods and for the courage to ask and answer tough questions. Much love, girlfriend, you will forever remain alive and present in the gifts you have shared.

To the adventure,
Gretchen + Elissa

Gretchen & Elissa