I got back recently from the first-ever Women on the Road Gathering, a weekend event for adventurous women and nonbinary people. The gathering took place October 26-28 atHotel Luna Mystica in Taos, New Mexico, and it exceeded all of our expectations.
Some of these blog features are months in the making. Madison and I have been in touch since the spring. And in the past six months, I’ve watched her go from a van to a truck, as well as fine-tune her jewelry-making setup and process. Madison’s business, Vancrafted Studio, is inspired, designed and created in nature. Her handmade jewelry ranges from rings to necklaces to earrings to bracelets. Every piece is one of a kind and made from the love and struggle of the open road.
It's #plasticfreejuly and we're about halfway through the challenge. One of the things I've been struggling with is coming up with ways to go backpacking that don't involve plastic. I turned to my friends Dustin & Noami to give me their suggestions. Find out what they purchased, how they prepared their meals to avoid backcountry meals packaged in plastic, and how much waste they generated from their trip.
Today is the first day of the 30-day plastic-free challenge and all of us have questions. To do something radical takes a shift. It takes an examination. And sometimes even then, we slip. But we learn a little more and keep moving forward.
I see a lot of myself in Lisa and her van journey. For that reason, I wanted her to write about her experiences solo traveling. Like Lisa, I get asked if traveling as a woman is scary. It can be an uncomfortable question to answer simply because I wish it didn't need to be asked in the first place. Lisa reflects on this past year living in a van by herself and the lessons she's learned along the way.
David Weinstein traveled around in an old ugly panel truck back in the late 60s and early 70s. And even though his experiences happened more than 45 years ago, it's not so different than the stories of vanlife today. David remembers his family always telling stories when he was growing up and now that he's older, he felt it was time to share a few stories of his own. Tune into this podcast to hear the story of Big White.
Kaya Lindsay of One Chick Travels takes us through an internal conversation a lot of us might have when we're dealing with the not-so-glamorous parts of this lifestyle. When you're sick, you might think about how much easier it would be to live in a house and have access to a bathroom. And when you're single, you might wonder what it would be like to have someone with you sharing responsibilities and experiences. So why continue to live in a van through all the hardships?
When I heard Brittany and Drew of Mr and Mrs Adventure were purchasing a van in England, I was interested in sharing a different perspective. What is it like to travel in a van in Europe vs. the U.S.? Brittany breaks down 10 differences that she and Drew noticed in the past two years living out of a custom-converted Ford Transit van.
More than a year ago, Ariel & Ronald bought a 2008 Pleasure Way motorhome and set out to break away from societal constraints. Their goal was to redefine success from gaining more possessions and promotions. In their travels, they collect stories on nomadic and sustainable living to normalize the way they live. In this post, Ariel writes about what it's like to be living without society's version of home and instead one that rolls down an open road.
We've all been there. It's late at night and you're tired from driving all day. You're right outside a city and you're tempted to post up in a Walmart for a few hours because it's easy. Genevieve of Lady Adventures would argue that it's not worth your time. Here's her advice for how you can trade bright lights for remote camping locations.
From April 2014-May 2016, Kristen & Matt lived in national parks, truck stop parking lots and BLM land documenting the American road on film for their debut book, "Hello America: An Analog Story." I wanted to know what it was like to live on the road for two years, what they learned and why they decided not to do it long term.
I remember seeing photos of people living #vanlife on Instagram and assuming they were always traveling. So it's no surprise my shock when I learned that these same people took breaks and sometimes lived in other structures besides their van between adventuring.
I watched as Lynelle and her boyfriend prepared to live on the road for a year and continued to follow their journey as they set out in September 2016. I was captivated by their amazing van with 4WD that they built beautifully themselves. I was envious of their traveling lifestyle. But things are not always as they seem. When they returned back to Denver four months later, I asked her why their trip ended so quickly.
Laura & Shane spent two years converting their Ford Transit 250 into an adventuremobile. They learned about insulating their walls, installing a sink and floors and decorating their tiny space. Now they've just wrapped up their latest project, setting up two solar panels on their van's roof.
Maintaining our daily health and overall wellness is a prevalent issue on the road. When we sit for long periods of time or feel cramped in a tiny space, it may be difficult to get the exercise we need or eat just right.
Three years ago, Madison was living off of fast food and alcohol when she found out her mom was diagnosed with cancer. After spending time in hospitals and doctor's offices, she discovered that the answer to good health doesn't lie in prescription drugs but in nature.
I’ve been in full-conversion mode working on building out our '87 Toyota van. So I have been swooning over others’ builds and finding inspiration in their ideas. When I saw a photo of the bed in Rachel & Joackim’s van, I was curious how they set it up. How do you take a few pieces of plywood and create a travel-ready bed? What other items might you need for the road?
In June 2016, Lianna & Mark purchased a 2000 Dodge Ram Van, renovated the interior to suit a full-time road tripping lifestyle and set out to explore this beautiful country, all with their cat, Mazy, in tow.
As Lianna & Mark adjusted to vanlife, Mazy did too. But there are a few things they wish they would have known before they got started. Here's Lianna's guide to traveling with your cat in a van.
What's it like to spend a year living in a van, even when half of it is spent working a part-time job? I asked Jane to give us a reflection of her past year living with her boyfriend, Casey, in their tiny home. Do they have a routine? What are the challenges? Why do they continue to live this way? These are some of the things Jane discusses as she takes us through a day-in-the-life in vanlife.
So often when we live on the road, we try so hard to do it all. We research new trails to explore; we look for the most scenic spots to stop and play for a while. We used to do those things and they are not at all wrong. But lately we've found a system that works for us and our two dogs.
Every person who lives small has a story and they all have inspired me. We are so grateful for this community. We have all chosen alternative lifestyles that grant us happiness and the ability to travel more freely.
More than a year ago, we started sharing blog posts about these people.
In summer 2012, Dane & Penny began discussing the idea of exploring North and South America, but they didn't have an adventure mobile to get them there. Even more important was finding a vehicle that they could live in during their travels.
It takes a lot of research and planning to pick a rig and design their interior space of 45 square feet. This is Dane's story of why they picked a Mitsubishi Delica and how they converted it into a tiny house.
You might find Erin in her studio, sipping coffee, listening to her latest Spotify playlist and cuddling with her dog, Maddy. This may seem like nothing unusual, but Erin is actually scanning her memory. She is putting together photo memories from the places she has recently visited and uses photos to fill in the missing details.
There are several ways we experience a connection with nature. For Erin, that's through art. Each national park she visits makes her feel something. I asked her to explain and share with us what that is.
Hannah was born in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, but now she lives all over the world.
Four years ago, Hannah was traveling solo in Asia when she met Joe. They clicked and decided to travel together. Hannah tried to get a U.S. visa, but at that time, she couldn't show strong ties to her home country, so the visa was denied. Having no choice other than to petition a fiancé visa (K1) to be together, they waited for seven months for the paperwork to be finished.
Hannah's family was originally reluctant about their trip. To her family members, the U.S. had nothing to offer, and they thought Hannah's life would not improve and that she wouldn't be able to get a job. Her friends, on the other hand, were very supportive of her decision. Years passed, and Hannah's life on the road has only been getting better and better.
This summer, they will reach their goal of traveling to all 50 states. I asked Hannah to share some of her favorite photos and the stories behind them.
I have been talking to a lot of solo women travelers lately. I am drawn to them. I want to sit down and hear their stories. I want to know their challenges.
I look back at my own journey from the city to tiny living. It was difficult for me to transition into a smaller space, even though someone was with me, supporting me through every step.
But it's different when you're making a change for yourself on your own, no strings attached. This is Ranae's story, one that is raw and honest. She takes us back and forth, from her current life to where she was before. She reminds us that fear is a powerful thing that keeps women from traveling alone.
My interviews tend to focus on the people who live in tiny homes and less on how people design their tiny homes. But I've had several people tell me that they'd like to learn more about the process of converting a vehicle into a tiny home.
Photography is important when chronicling a process like this, and I knew the couple behind Home Sweet Van would be a perfect fit.
When Juliana & Richie first met, they learned they had a few things in common, including the idea of taking a year off to live on the road. This is Juliana's story that follows their journey from buying a van to living on the road.
As Laysea bumps along in her '83 Westfalia, she spies a hitchhiker walking on the side of the road. As a female traveling solo, she is not afraid of meeting new people. Picking up fellow wanderers is one of her favorite things. With a wave, she motions to come inside her tiny home, cranking up one of Trevor Hall's songs on the radio.
For the past 10 months, Laysea has been living in 80 square feet—smaller than the average American bedroom. But that space has become more than enough for her and her dog, Koda.
It is van life that makes Laysea feel free and removed from her attachment to physical items. She can stop, or continue, whenever she pleases without having to return somewhere. She isn't tied down to something.
In 115 square feet, Erik wakes up and starts brewing a new roast. He turns on the song “Good Day” by Nappy Roots and starts dancing around his space.
His 1971 VW Type 2 Transport van has acted as a coffee shop but also a part-time home for the past two years. Read his guest post below to get inspired to reuse a vintage vehicle as a mobile working space.
Rob Morgan traded a career in the Navy for a life of traveling in a Chevy van. His van, nicknamed Vanawhite, has given him opportunities and a life he didn't see himself having in the military. This is the story of how his life has changed in the almost eight months he has gone from Navy life to van life.
Each week, I feature travelers who live on the road and value the freedom that comes with traveling. But what happens when the road trip comes to an end? We might imagine these road warriors setting up camp in someone's backyard as a next step, but it might not be that easy.
When I reached out to Kate Oliver of Birch & Pine to write about Airstream living, she told me she sold their '57 Airstream. After talking to her, I couldn't help but relate to her thoughts on trying to find a balance between tiny living and a home in the city.
Since I started my guest post series on those living small, I have always wanted to find someone who could tap into a lifestyle that everyone can relate to: Car Life. Most of us own one, yet when we go on road trips, we don't always use our vehicles to their fullest potential.
In June 2015, Kate left New York City and traveled 20,000 miles in five months. She spent most of her nights sleeping in a tent or in the car's reclined seats, taking in the sounds of nature around her.
Kate's car acted as her tiny home, but also her adventure mobile. It gives us a comfort knowing we don't necessarily have to go out and buy a van or camper to live on the road.
I am a sucker for vintage vans and campers, especially since I own both of those things. After hearing Jordan and Devon's van life story, I knew it was time to get another perspective—camper life.
That's where Stefanie and Jerimiah come in. Over the past six months, they have been living and traveling out of their 1972 camper trailer. But by looking at their photos, you would have thought they'd been doing it for longer. Find out why they left the city life, how they restored their camper and why they wanted to turn it into a mobile home.