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.
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.
Gianna is using a van as a tiny home and an art installation. Last spring, Gianna and her friend Cheyenne transformed the van into a mobile photography gallery. They toured the west for seven weeks setting up pop-up shows in unexpected locations. The online world is saturated with photography, but they wanted to create a whole experience between the van, photos, artists and viewers.
Currently, Gianna and her partner, Andy, are splitting time between a van, school bus and house. This allows Gianna to explore her passions of photography yoga, art and hiking, either in one spot or on the road, while also having a home base to return to whenever they need to.
Last month, Savannah & Brett began a 4,000-mile cross-country trip in their van named Jolene. Their goal: to make this trip last three months so they can spend time in the areas that they find the most influential and opportunistic.
Savannah is using this trip as a way to practice being present, to create long-lasting memories and to help those in need, especially through massage therapy. In turn, Brett wants to take as many pictures as possible, learn more about himself and others and, most importantly, make a positive impact on those who cross his path.
With their combined passions and dreams, they plan to offer their services and create connections. Every photo tells a story, and after a month, these two have several to fill their collection.
I haven't spoken to Nikki, but I've heard her soulful voice in her songs. While Nikki sings and mixes tones from her guitar and clawhammer-style banjo, her husband and musical partner, Jason, adds harmony with his guitar to complete the duo. They book gigs in areas they want to explore more.
As long as their fingers work and the van is running, they will keep going. As Nikki sings, "Life is one big rodeo. So hold on tight. We'll be alright."
Emily & Corey are experimenting how they can blend their nomadic lifestyle with a traditional career. Together, they are sharing the ways they are redefining work while still following their passions.
They keep following what they feel, through the discomforts, risks, mysteries and the unknowns. Emily, Corey and their dog, Penny Rose, continue to live in a van because they love moving and feeling free.
Jessica & Rob have a dream for their family: a year living on the road. They long to see the humdrum of day-to-day life become fresh in the microcosm of their van and discover the world through the eyes of their daughter, Henley. But most of all, they want to slow down and live simply.
Life in a van becomes a rhythm. With three people, every navigation inside becomes a choreographed dance move. It gives purpose and enjoyment to the most mundane tasks. Memories are made, for better and for worse.
Jessica, Rob and Henley are discovering that life in the slow lane is an ongoing adventure and an exercise in savoring each day.
Three years ago, Justin was dating a girl who talked him into doing a yearlong road trip. They started saving and a couple months later, she dumped him. That’s when he roped his brother Adam into the idea. One night over 2-for-1 beers at the local Applebee's, Justin asked Adam if he wanted to go on a road trip after he graduated college. Adam would take photos and video while Justin wrote about the experience.
What started out as a way to take a year off has now turned into a year of work. Justin & Adam are preparing for a career of full-time freelancing.
The one thing that hasn't changed is that they remain brothers who not only share the same blood, but the same tiny space.
Many people go into nature and take it for granted. But there are some people who play in the woods, using traditional methods to forage so that they can be more connected to nature and its wild spaces.
Raphaelle + Mark's van acts as their tiny home and their business. They chose a vessel that could take them deep into the wilderness. Their workshop on wheels allows them to make natural products free of toxic chemicals and inspired by nature's wild beauty.
Meet Ingrid: A photographer and videographer from Peru. Her partner, Matty, is a musician and artist from New York. Together, they are spreading the awareness of the environment and being vegan. They are driving across North America sharing ways others can travel while still being conscious of their environmental impact.
It's no surprise that we wholeheartedly support that message.
Tom and Sam met in Indonesia in November 2013. Sam was traveling solo and Tom had planned to travel Europe and Asia after his father passed away. It was love at first sight, and they spent the next three months traveling Southeast Asia together.
Tom, originally from South Wales, spent the next year with Sam in her home country of Canada. He received a visa for a year to live and work there. After a year, they drove around North America while they waited for another visa. They got back to Canada to continue the wait, and then finally received Tom's visa and went back to the border to activate it.
While Tom was in Canada decorating Sam's apartment, immigration officials found photos of Tom with Sam and argued he was there working illegally and taking a job away from a Canadian. They gave him 10 days to leave the country.
They spent almost five months apart before meeting up again in California. This is the story of their lives after Canada and the journey that brought them together on the road.
Leave it to Jess + Jorge to make us laugh throughout this interview with them. After three years living in their VW Vanagon, these two have tried out an Airstream, renovated a van, experienced breakdowns and almost bumped into a bear.
This couple tells it how it is, through both the highs and the lows. And we still can't help but think their van is one of the coolest rigs we've ever seen.
Alyssa & Donnie's story is extra special to me because I have been following them and their adventures even before they began #vanlife. Alyssa reached out to me when they were converting their van. I have been able to watch their progress and planning come to fruition, and I have witnessed this newfound happiness with the freedom in living small.
I have been captivated by their creativity, which is both as beautiful individually as it is together. They have a vision to share how people connect with each other and with the natural world, and I can't wait to see their project unfold.
We all know the saying, "Life is too short," but what does it really mean? For Kara, that message couldn't be truer when she lost her parents three years ago. Since then, she's been determined to find healing through her travels. Living in a van allows her time for soul searching, self-love and self-discovery. Kara knows that not all parts of the journey are going to be happy but that there will be more than enough joy from the new adventures ahead.
Surf's up and so is Jarett. His home sits on the Pacific Northwest coast. He grabs his camera and heads for the ocean. After a full day of shooting the swell, Jarett heads back home to edit his photos. A lot of days are like this for Jarett, and it doesn't phase him—for he can park wherever he'd like and always be on time.
What if someday is today? That's how Janna & John see it now, but that wasn’t always the case. They kept delaying their big adventure because something always got in the way.
Recently the two of them decided that life was too short not to travel. As they cruise around the States in their Sprinter Van, they’ve learned that sometimes having a plan is better than not having one at all.
How awesome would it be if you went on a road trip that never ended? Matt & Josh are two brothers on a self-funded trip. They stop when they find places to work odd jobs. Most of their jobs are found through social media, particularly their Facebook page and sometimes even as simple as starting a hashtag. Who they meet determines what they end up doing each day.
What started as one van for the two brothers has now morphed into two vans, one for each of them, as they race each other from coast to coast.
I've been on Instagram as "Tiny House, Tiny Footprint" for a little over a year now. Since the beginning of that time, there have been a few people I've been interacting with that I have grown quite close to. Monica is one of them—someone I would call my "tiny living soul sister." We've been rooting each other on for the past year, supporting each other from afar. Even though we've never met, we have no trouble feeling bonded by our love for traveling and nature.
Danielle and Mat reached out to me a few months back and asked if we had any video footage of our camper trailer. At the time, we did not. So while I procrastinated sending them some videos, Danielle and Mat were quick to answer my questions, send me photos and get back to me. Below is a look into the lives of two creative individuals who spill raw reflections into blog posts and capture incredible footage of people living alternative lifestyles.
We can't wait to meet up with these like-minded people in our travels and share experiences together.