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Winter 2019

No House, No Problem #VanLife

Most people spend their entire lives in one place. Either they settle where they get a job or they stay close to where they were born. But recently, social media has thrust an alternative way to live into the public eye. Individuals, couples, and families are exchanging everything they own for life in a van, bus, or RV.

To make these vehicles their home, most people strip away everything from the inside and then spend a couple months building out the various “rooms” people need to live. Everything, including a bed, kitchen, and storage cabinets are built into the vehicle itself. Some builds even include a full shower and toilet. The choices people make when building their home on wheels often come to represent their philosophy in life.

Many van life people want to be environmentally friendly, so they use recycled or reclaimed materials. Others seek outdoor adventures, so they make room for bikes, surf boards, or skis—prioritizing equipment for their outdoor hobbies over space. Families often have to find a balance between space, functionality, and an ability to grow within a tiny space. But whatever type of vehicle they live in, one thing is always true; no two builds are ever completely the same.

These two elements, uniqueness and lifestyle focus, have turned YouTube and Instagram into havens for these types of people. Using these online platforms, these couples have been able to show the world their vans, their nomadic lives, and how they make it possible. It gives them a place to show how life on the road can be equal parts amazing and stressful. This article highlights two couples who live this life, why they chose it, and what living this way has done for them.

But these couples are representative of all of van life. Many people who choose van life use social media followings to support themselves, but there is an equal, if not greater, number of people who simply have remote jobs that support their adventures. Some even own small businesses that don’t need a physical location to operate.

So, if you were thinking that van life is only possible with a social media following, think again. If you can find a remote job that would support in one location, that job could very well support your own van life adventure to many locations.

Trent & Allie
Make life an adventure
Trent and Allie started their YouTube channel back in 2017. They were living in Salt Lake City, Utah, and their channel’s first focus was mountain biking. After a while, it made more sense for them to switch over to the nomadic lifestyle that van life offers. They’ve had two vans in their time on YouTube. In both vans, they’ve traveled all over with their dog Frank, updating their 92.7K subscribers on YouTube with daily vlogs as they go.

Most of their van life has involved teaching others how to start their own van life journey. They’ve covered everything from how to work on the road to how to set up solar panels on your van, all in an effort to show people that living in a van is not only possible, but also affordable.

But most of all, they choose to live the van life for the adventures they can have and the people they can meet. Recently, they’ve been on an extended trip with the Nomadic Movement on their way to Belize. They support their travels through their YouTube channel, their Patreon, selling their own merch, and an e-book that will be coming out soon that explains how they built their van.

  • Instagram – @trentandallie
  • YouTube – Trent & Allie

Max & Lee
Be in the Moment, wherever you are
Max and Lee met on Tinder in Melbourne, Australia, when Lee moved out there for a working holiday. Max is from Victoria, Australia, and Lee is from Canada, and both of them have enjoyed the outdoors their whole lives.

So in 2017, one of the first things they did together as a couple was go on a road trip down the Great Ocean Road in Australia. Max had already had some experience with van life before this road trip, using a van with a basic conversion for long road trips and sleeping at his favorite surf breaks to avoid the commute.

Between the views of the Great Ocean Road and their strong relationship, they decided that van life was something they really wanted to do. They bought a van and spent five months converting it into their own tiny home-on-wheels. Since then, they’ve traveled all over with their dog Occy (Awk-ee) and are now currently in the midst of an extended trip going from Canada to Panama. Recently, they’ve spent a lot of time in Colombia.

To support themselves, they use their experiences to sell nomad gear, vlog weekly to their 295.7K subscribers on YouTube, stay connected with their 42.4K followers on Instagram, and happily engage with their Patreon patrons.

  • Instagram – @maxandlee_
  • YouTube – Max & Lee

Now. . .If you are thinking about trying out van life, don’t hesitate to reach out to these couples. They are all very friendly, and they can be a great resource so you can start your own nomadic life on the right four wheels.

—Stirling Miller