Back in 2014, Nicolas proposed an idea to Lola: What if they left everything and started an adventure? They bought a Volkswagen Kombi, named her Dora and, after a year of work, turned her into their home on wheels.
When Jon & Janessa were 17, they fell madly in love with each other and with the goal to explore the world. Now, they are living out of their Casita trailer with the freedom to be anywhere at any time. They follow a four-hour workweek and the rest of the time they spend writing, reading, surfing, hiking and laying in the sun. To them, time will always be greater than any amount of money.
In 2014, Julie & Christian sold their home and letterpress equipment, put the bulk of their belongings in storage and bought a 1990 Volkswagen Westfalia Vanagon with the idea to travel around North America and Central America for a year. That year quickly turned into three, and now they don't plan on stopping.
Kati & Jody and their three dogs have traveled across the country and back in a built-out Ford Transit. Kati teaches yoga and is an organic lifestyle consultant. Jody is a carpenter and handyman with a passion for horticulture and music.
They have discovered several lessons from a life on the road. One of the biggest ones has been learning how to dedicate their lives to living purposefully and consciously in honor of Earth and all its elements.
Before Anik & Tom moved into their rig, they had a simple life. And although it was simple, they found it boring. Doing the same thing every day of the week had them on edge and restless. The small trips they were doing each year were never enough.
So in the summer of 2015, they decided to hit the road in their vintage van. In between van travels, they live in an off-the-grid trailer that acts as their home base and keeps them warm in the winter months.
Brianna and her husband Keith live in a 1990 Ford E350 van named Bertha. I first learned about Brianna through Instagram. I was drawn to photos of her two dogs, Bucket and Dagwood, going on amazing adventures. Whether they are repelling down a canyon wall or cruising down the road in their van, these two dogs seem to be living quite the life with Brianna and Keith leading the way.
I usually don't feature people living in more than 500 square feet, but I was inspired by this family who is sailing away from the traditional home. Not only are they living on a sailboat, they are also sustaining an off-the-grid lifestyle.
Now, after six months living at anchor around the Orcas Island, they are taking a break on land as they await another child and offer others the sailboat-living experience.
James has been living in his 1976 VW van for a little more than two years. Before he moved in, he was camping in it about five times a week. Inside, he put a wood stove in place of his passenger seat as a way to stay warm in the winter.
Currently, James' schedule revolves around people, waves and projects. He chases swells and freelances as a photographer. And as for the van? James sees it as a means to an end. It's a vehicle to accomplish and do what he loves.
Alex has been traveling the country with her dog, Talkeetna, the best co-pilot she's ever had. Six months ago, she quit her job after saving and working for three years as a marine biologist.
For Alex, living on the road has been difficult. But the discovery of living with less and being off the grid has been rewarding.
Madison & Cees got engaged in Yosemite National Park a little over two years ago. In the course of this last year, they decided to chase their dreams and see every national park through the windows of a 1989 Toyota motorhome named Vie. Just before setting out, they adopted an adventure kitty, Vladimir Kitten. He goes with them hiking, kayaking and even, on mountain bike rides.
It just so happens that this year is also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service as well. I caught up with these two to talk about their rig, the build and where they have been on their trip.
Alexandra is traveling the U.S. solo in a vintage school bus. Armed with knowledge from watching build out videos on YouTube, she tackled the conversion process almost entirely by herself.
Since leaving San Diego two months ago, she has already explored Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. During her year-long journey, she will be visiting schools that are lacking the resources for an art program. She hopes to raise money through donations to gather supplies to donate to classrooms, along with a free art lesson.
Lara grew up overseas in Beijing and spent most of her childhood traveling the world. She had the privilege of visiting Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, London, Indonesia, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala and plans to continue to add to that list. Since she spent her younger years exploring an international playground, she did not travel much of the U.S., so now she's making up for it as an adult.
I caught up with Lara to ask her about building out her van, and traveling and living on the road by herself.
Anthony & Colby, two good friends, started their adventures on opposite sides of the U.S.: Anthony on the west and Colby on the east coast. It wasn't until Anthony drove from Portland to New York that the two of them began their journey together. From there, they took their time to Colorado and now, they are back home in New England, sipping hot tea and watching the autumn foliage.
When we met these two at the van gathering in Colorado, we immediately hit it off, parking our vans in a circle together. Not only does their music make us smile, but it makes us think about why this lifestyle is challenging, yet so worthwhile.
Before Amanda turned 11, she had set foot on every continent. But for the past few months, she has been exploring one (North America) a little more in depth, traveling solo in her '97 Toyota van. Along the way, she shares illustrations to represent her current mood, experiences or locations. She also creates designs for clients and custom #atwildwoman portraits.
Life is one big experiment, and Amanda plans to experience it fully and encourages others to do the same.
Julien, originally from Quebec, grew up traveling to Maine and New Hampshire to surf. These were long road trips, and being trapped in a small car had its limitations. So he bought a van to be more comfortable. His first van was a 1989 GMC Vandura, but in April he upgraded to a 2015 Safari Condo. Even when Julien owned an apartment, he would still stay in his van, so now he lives in his van full time.
He funds his adventures through the online magazine Go-Van and partners with tourism bureaus and brands he supports. This weekend, he will be hosting a van meetup in Quebec. Be sure to check it out if you're in the area.
In March, Alyssa & Brian gave up their San Francisco apartment, quit their full-time jobs, sold their belongings and hit the road in their truck camper with all their essentials—bikes, boards, boots and beer. Since then, they have been exploring North America, from San Francisco up to Alaska, and now they are currently in Colorado.
They plan to make their way to Austin by November to complete their route, Northbound and Down.
We're here in Jace & Giddi's 2003 Dodge Sprinter van. I'm sitting at the desk, Blaize lies at my feet and Jace & Giddi are sitting together on the bed. Even with all of us there it still feels like there's enough space. And surrounding us is everything they need: A toilet, fridge, bed, workspace and tons of gear and food storage. Together, the cost of the van and the build-out was less than $10,000.
Jace & Giddi are five months into living on the road with their dog, Lotus. But soon there will be four. They are expecting a baby girl in November who will join them in their travels.