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The Art of: Roaming Freely Sandy Hooper ’97, ’03L sold his home and went part time at work to travel the country in a camper van.

Hooper-Quebec-800x533 The Art of: Roaming FreelySandy Hooper ’97, ’03L

“I love the outdoors, and this just seemed like something I should do now at 48 rather than at 68.”

~ Sandy Hooper ’97, ’03L

The coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down, but out of the chaos some people gained clarity. Among them was Sandy Hooper ’97, ’03L a defense attorney and partner at Lightfoot, Franklin & White in Birmingham, Alabama. When the world shut down in March 2020, he asked his nephew to pack up and go fishing with him in Colorado. They stayed in an Airbnb and relearned how to fly-fish: “I fell in love with it,” Hooper said.

Hooper headed west again in May 2020, visiting Oregon, Idaho and Montana on a four-week trek in a used pick-up truck he bought in Portland. Two years later, he sold his four-bedroom home in Alabama and went part time at work so he could roam the country in a camper van with his Picardy spaniel, Louis. “That trip west was the seed that grew into what has unfolded this past year. Now just felt like the right time — an opportunity when there is more flexibility following COVID,” Hooper said. “I love the outdoors, and this just seemed like something I should do now at 48 rather than at 68.”

His Winnebago features an interior shower/bathroom combination, small refrigerator and cook top, outdoor grill and modest clothes closet. He later added a daybed, better shocks, an extra water tank, utility box, microwave, laddersand a bike rack while spending time in San Diego, Malibu, Santa Barbara and Big Sur. It runs on diesel fuel and is partially powered by solar panels and lithium batteries. What he’s sacrificed in square footage and personal belongings he gained in freedom and the simplicity that comes with it. “There is no rule that says I have to be anywhere at any particular time, so I have enjoyed meeting up with friends, many who are alumni.”

Work and family commitments bring him back east occasionally. Over Labor Day weekend, Hooper drove from Los Angeles to Birmingham for a jury trial that was postponed. So he took advantage of his location to tour the fall foliage and visit some W&L friends before heading to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then Quebec. How long will it last? Hooper is keeping his feet firmly planted in the present. “I didn’thave the means to do this when I was 21, but now it is possible for me — and that’s more than enough.”