The $$$$ of travel is a question I get more often than not. And of course, everyone who asks that questions knows the answer: it varies.
But yet, it’s still asked, and that’s okay. I get it. How does a 24 year old travel the world?
I’ve stood on a lot of cliffs with my boyfriend, Josh. Together, we’ve traveled to twenty-some countries and over thirty states. To be honest, I’m surprised he hasn’t thrown me off a mountain yet because let’s face it; I can be a lot to handle.
I get hangry often (FEED ME AND TELL ME I’M PRETTY), it’s not unusual for me to smell worse than a men’s locker room, and my sass can often exceed even my expectations *flips hair and middle finger simultaneously*.
Josh absolutely hates spending money, can hike 25 miles of mountainous terrain without breaking a sweat, and has somehow got me addicted to Pokemon Go.
Whether taking a short weekend trip to Northern Michigan or a trip across the United States, there are a few things I’ve learned about making life on the road easier, more enjoyable, and more convenient (especially when working on the go).
Desperate times call for desperate measures. No matter how much you’d like to pretend everything on the road will go according to plan, it won’t. And instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a last-minute hotel when that time comes, you can either pitch a tent or sleep in your car. Instead of getting frustrated, take it as an opportunity to sleep under the stars along a beach on Lake Michigan.
Especially as a writer and photographer, XFINITY WiFi Hotspots are heaven sent. Meeting deadlines and staying connected on the road is a tough job. Libraries are fine, but they aren’t always easily accessible and every time I use one I feel the need to change my passwords to all my accounts because of lack of security on public networks. XFINITY Hotspots are free to XFINITY Mobile customers or Internet customers with speeds of 25mbps or higher (if you aren’t a customer you can buy usage passes). It’s also secure and has millions of locations (literally, millions) all over the United States.
Now please picture me frantically yelling in gibberish at my computer on a bench in downtown Holland after my site crashed. Thankfully with technology like this I was able to access my information and get it back up and running in ten minutes. My breathing slowed and I was able to speak English again thirty seconds later. Win.
It’s officially been a year since I declined a full-time job after graduation to embark on a life-altering adventure. I could write a book (actually, I am writing a book…eek!) about everything that has happened in the last year alone.
From the Cies Islands off the coast of Spain to stranded at border crossings between Greece & Bulgaria, to the beaches of Italy and the mountains of Utah, I have experienced some incredible highs, and of course some incredible lows. There were tears, and laughs, and bruises, and swear words, but there isn’t a single moment I would trade. I wish I could’ve brought you all along on the adventure, but I hope you felt like you were there with me along the way.
Below is a series of black and white photographs from my journey in chronological order. 25 countries, 20 states, and one giant adventure.
I dreamt for years about traveling long term. Waking up every day in a completely new environment, without the slightest clue to where I was going next or how I was going to get there.
In many ways, long term travel is a dream. But there are a lot of people (including myself) who begin this life only thinking of the magical sunrises, picturesque hikes, and nomadic lifestyle.
Long term travel is not a vacation. I don’t spend every morning sipping a cup of coffee in a quaint café overlooking a set of cliffs pictured on last months cover of Nat Geo. If you’re thinking of this lifestyle (don’t get me wrong, you totally should) there are a few things you need to know about how hard this life can be and the fact that it might not be for everyone.
Living in a van isn’t the most usual lifestyle. And with an unusual life comes many questions.
Few people will ever understand what living in a van for months on end entails. The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. It’s not the easiest or most comfortable way to live, but it is one hell of an adventure.
With that, I’ve decided to create a post answering some of the most common questions I get asked about life on the road:
Where do we shower?
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t shower nearly as much as I want to. I’m (kinda) gross sometimes, and taking a shower/bath whenever I want is one of the main things I am looking forward to after this adventure. Going 4, 5, or 6 days without a proper shower is all too common in this lifestyle.
My hair gets greasy after two days, so yeah, I’m sure I look disgusting 99% of my road life.
What we did is get a fitness membership at a national gym chain. So whenever we pass a decent-sized town or city, there’s a good chance we are getting a shower. What’s the bad part? Whenever you want to shower you have to work out. And when you’re in the shower you have to leave and go back outside to your 40 degree van.
Below is a selection of photographs showing fragile environments affected by our decisions as a country and world.
I’ll always look back and remember that my first home was a van.
Nearly two months after arriving back to Michigan from Europe, I am preparing to embark on yet another adventure that will hide me from a mortgage and 401k as long as possible.
Some people say I’m doing this because I am afraid of something. That I’m constantly running away from my responsibilities.
Well of course I am. *lights candy cigarette* Adulthood can suck.
And that’s why Josh and I have renovated a van to road trip the United States.
We aren’t the first millennials to embark on this adventure, and we certainly won’t be the last. Chances are, you are dreaming at this exact moment, wishing one day to have an epiphany, pack your bags, sell your suburban SUV for an old rusty 1960s retro van, and take off into the sunset heading for the west coast.