Why Van Life?
Van life gives us freedom. The freedom to wake up and go, driving your home instead of packing your bags to board a commercial flight. Freedom breeds happiness. The happiness that comes with the endless experiences. Lauren and I wanted this freedom and happiness for our lives. In our early 20s, we both worked desk jobs for corporate America, living paycheck by paycheck just to afford the life we thought we wanted. Lauren was also pursuing a photography business on the side, which has blossomed into our primary form of income. Before van life, we spent most weekends packing up the car and driving as far as we could from the place we called home, always eager to experience somewhere new. This travel, while enjoyable, was not efficient. As we continued our travels, we were blessed with the opportunity to travel to Alaska (thank you, Uncle Dan!). I (Travis) spent three weeks on site working in the Arctic Circle, and was gifted with 11 days off between work sessions. Lauren hopped on a plane, we rented a car, and off we went. Chasing every significant location we could by car, and always hunting for a hotel that was open to house us for the night. This trip change our lives forever. We met tons of people living in Alaska, but what we quickly realized is that a good portion of these people were living out of a vehicle. Their home was on the road. Vans, RVs, even pickup trucks were housing handfuls of individuals we crossed paths with. The answer we had been looking for was right in front of us. We had to have this lifestyle, to live on the road full time. A few months of brainstorming and research led to more research, never ending research (ya’ll vanlifers know!). A couple more months of hard work and experimentation, and we had our first home. We now take our home with us, everywhere we go.
How did You get started?
The van life movement has been going strong for some time. I would consider us to be a bit late to the game, but as with most things you want in life, better late than never! First and foremost, we have to thank the van life community that exists today. We were so inspired and motivated by the builds we saw online, and we can't thank the community enough for it's van life and building transparency. It's amazing how one community can hold so much unique and valuable information on one specific project, and simultaneously be so willing to share their secrets. Building a van was no simple task. Cutting massive holes in a shiny new metal van is an intimidating first project, and trying to comprehend how to frame walls and build cabinetry without a square structure was a headache in thought. But as with most things, if you try try and try again, eventually things go your way. It took me (Travis) a handful of attempts to figure out the early steps of framing and structural support for our layout. Lots of patience, and free time (thanks Lauren!) allowed me the gift of learning a new craft. The best part about building a van is that you have to tackle so many different aspects of the job, the construction, electrical, plumbing, etc. I was hooked the minute I cut the first hole in the van, and I’m eager to build more vans in the future!
Two very important shoutouts are necessary here: @dynamoultima for being our favorite van life beer drinking buddies, and to @our_landyacht/Tiny Watts Solar for the solar and electrical expertise we needed to build our home. Both of these relationships were started all thanks to the van life community and the power of social media.
How do you live in 80 square feet, and with a dog!?
Living in a van isn't all luxury, but it certainly has its rewards. We frequent Planet Fitness for 24 hour access to a bathroom, shower, and a workout here and there. Walmart also has our hearts, being nationwide and easy to come by, and for selling just about anything you could ever need to survive in a pinch. We don't enjoy supporting big brands by any means, but these places give us a means to our living. Denali loves Van Life. As soon as we picked him up from Firestone Aussies, he adjusted pretty quickly to our lifestyle. We hardly spend time in the van because we are always exploring new places, which is the perfect lifestyle for an active Australian Shepherd!
How do you make a living on the road?
Making a living on the road isn't always easy, but we are fortunate to have a business we can take with us anywhere we go. Photographing couples is our jam. We use our travel schedule to guide our sessions, reaching out to people local to the national parks, state parks, and cities we want to visit. Social media, connecting with others, and developing good content are key in this equation. Another thing we always find helpful is that we are outgoing, friendly individuals that enjoy making friends with the strangers we sit next to at the bar. Consider every conversation an opportunity. There's plenty of work out there, and plenty of love for us to capture as we travel the country. We would love to photography your love story this year. Check out out travel schedule to see if we are in your neck of the woods! Or if you're extra adventurous, meet up with us at a national park and let's do the thing! Adventure and take pictures, of course. Maybe a few good beers, too!
I want to follow your adventures!
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