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  • Living the adventure dream: practical advice from the pros

    March 15, 2024 9 min read

    Living the adventure dream: practical advice from the pros

    Hello, fearless adventurers!
    We've been on a mission, diving into the heart of the Van Life Summit event (which was organized by the amazing Kristin Hanes), gathering the collective wisdom of those seasoned in the art of adventure and mobile living. We get it; your time is a treasure, and your adventurous spirit is vast. So, we've taken the essence of these events, the hard-earned insights from those who've traveled the paths before us, and condensed them into bite-sized, actionable insights. This way, you can skip the sifting and dive straight into experiencing the world, armed with the best of our sustainable travel gear.

    Today, we are distilling the wisdom of seasoned van lifers like Phyllis, Kristen Bohr, and Dominic Fauché. These three amazing human beings have shared incredible tips, from why they started their journey to the mistakes to avoid.

    So, let’s dive into the rich experiences of these intrepid souls and chart a course into the heart of nomadic living.

    Embracing the authenticity of van life: Phyllis's desert wisdom

    Van life story of Phyllis - Van Life Summit

    Meet Phyllis, a 59-year-old van life virtuoso, whose journey amidst the vastness of Arizona's deserts is a vivid narrative of authenticity and freedom. Her transition into van life wasn't just a change of address; it was a profound metamorphosis, fueled by a video that struck a chord deep within her. With the spirit of an explorer, she traded her conventional home for a life on wheels, venturing into the unknown with her home in tow.

    Phyllis's top 5 highlights:

    1. The unvarnished van life: Phyllis peels back the glossy Instagram curtain to reveal the true, gritty essence of van life. It's not all about those dreamy sunset shots or waking up to ocean views – it involves the nitty-gritty of living snugly in a space that demands your constant ingenuity and flexibility. She's all about keeping it real, urging would-be van lifers to truly grasp what it means to live, work, and play in a space no bigger than most people's bathrooms. Her golden nugget of advice? Dip your toes before diving in. Try a weekend camping trip in your car or rent a van for a short jaunt. It's all about tasting the van life flavor before committing to the full meal.
    2. Finding your tribe, and your peace: She weaves tales of the delicate dance between community vibes and the sweet solace of solitude in van life. It's a world where your morning coffee might be shared with a new friend met on a dusty trail, or enjoyed in the quiet of dawn when the only sound is the whisper of the wind. She cherishes both the camaraderie of kindred spirits and the introspective moments of alone time, declaring them the heartbeat of the nomadic rhythm. Imagine pulling up to a cozy circle of campfires, where a simple "Mind if I join?" opens the door to stories under the stars – just don't forget to bring a camp chair and maybe a log for the fire. Phyllis's tip is a testament to the power of a welcoming smile and an open heart on the road, where every stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet.
    3. Braving the unknown: Phyllis spins a narrative of bravery on the open road, tackling head-on the fears that come with a life untethered. She's a champion of listening to that inner voice, that gut feeling that whispers when it's time to stay or wheel away. It's about anchoring in the strength within, embracing the liberty that the van life bestows to roam, to explore, to simply be. Her mantra? When that inner alarm bell rings, heed its call, shift gears, and find a new horizon. It's this dance with uncertainty, powered by instinct and courage, that crafts a van lifer not just into a traveler, but a true navigator of life's vast and unpredictable landscapes.
    4. The joy of less: Her journey into van life is a tale of embracing simplicity and discovering freedom in letting go of material possessions and the usual grind. Her experience illuminates the profound satisfaction found in living minimally, where less is indeed more. Phyllis mastered the art of thriving on a modest budget, spending sparingly by avoiding paid campgrounds and opting to cook her meals, embodying the essence of self-reliance and frugality. Her approach to van life, living on approximately $800 to $1,000 a month, underscores the possibility of a rich, adventurous life unchained from the costliness of conventional living. It's a testament to the fact that the true essence of wealth in van life comes not from what you have but from the experiences you gather and the freedom you embrace.
    5. Growth on the go: Every bump on the road, every sunset watched from the van door, brought personal growth and a deeper connection with the world. Phyllis's story is a powerful reminder of the transformative journey that is van life, an unconventional path that leads to discovering your place in the grand tapestry of life.

    The balanced road: Kristen Bohr seasonal adventures

    Kristen Bohr's van life story from Barefoot Theory

    Kristen Bohr's tale from Barefoot Theory is a vibrant narrative of blending her zeal for the great outdoors with the versatile life of van living. Since 2016, Kristen has been the captain of her Sprinter vans, turning wheels into homes and the world into her backyard. With a heart tethered to the wilderness and a spirit fueled by adventure, Kristen's van life chronicle is a harmonious blend of work, wanderlust, and the warmth of a home base.

    Unveiling Kristen’s top 5 gems:

    1. Crafting a balanced life on wheels: Kristen's journey is a masterclass in balancing the untamed freedom of van life with the grounding presence of a home base. This equilibrium allows her to weave through seasonal adventures, ensuring her nomadic spirit thrives while maintaining a sanctuary for rejuvenation and family ties. It's a narrative that resonates deeply with digital nomads and wanderlust families, illustrating that the heart of adventure can beat steadily alongside the rhythm of home. Among her sage advice, Kristen underscores the importance of nailing down essential logistics like health insurance, pointing to resources like as a lifeline for the self-employed. She emphasizes the need for thorough planning, especially for those with specific medical needs, recommending national pharmacy chains as a reliable source for prescriptions. This strategic approach not only guarantees the accessibility of vital medications but also weaves a safety net that stretches across the vast tapestry of her travels.
    2. The art of being water: If van life were a dance, adaptability would be its rhythm. Kristen's story is a testament to the art of pivoting gracefully - from rerouting due to a storm to troubleshooting a sputtering engine in the middle of nowhere. Her advice? Pack light, choose essentials that truly resonate with your soul, and remember, that paddleboard needs to earn its van space!
    3. Embracing the slow lane: Kristen champions the slow travel mantra, urging us to immerse deeply rather than skim swiftly through destinations. It's about savoring the moment, whether that's a prolonged sunset or an extended stay by a babbling brook. And when it comes to van life economics, remember: your gas pedal dictates your wallet's pulse. Ease up, slow down, and let every mile enrich rather than deplete your travel treasure chest.
    4. Harmony in motion: In the ever-shifting sands of van life, Kristen finds her anchor in routine and meticulous organization. Her van isn't just a vehicle; it's a microcosm of life, where every bin and schedule slot is a testament to the harmony of living well in small spaces. Her pro tip? Embrace the digital nomad's toolbox—apps like iOverlander are the modern-day compasses guiding you to your next haven under the stars.
    5. Community compass: The road might be long and winding, but according to Kristen, you're never truly alone. The van life community is a tapestry of stories, support, and shared fireside coffees. Dive into forums, download apps, and never underestimate the power of a shared meal or a borrowed tool. In the vast wilderness or the bustling city, connections are your unseen, yet strongest, safety net.

    Crafting your own path: Dominic Fauché's seven-year sojourn

    Van life experience from Dominic Fauché - Van Life Summit

    Canadian content creator Dominic Fauché has turned his van into both a home and a vessel for creative pursuits. His seven-year odyssey across various landscapes has been fueled by the twin engines of freedom and work, showcasing van life as a viable alternative to the 9-to-5 grind.

    Unwrapping Dominic’s top five treasures

    1. Kick off with the basics: Dominic is all about keeping it real with a "less is more" mantra. He's like the MacGyver of van life, turning a simple setup into a cozy, functional home on wheels. Think of starting with just the essentials—a comfy bed, a spot to chill, and a no-fuss kitchenette. It's like camping, but better because your bed's always made! Dominic's own journey began with a modest Promaster, proving you don't need all the bells and whistles to hit the road and enjoy the ride.
    2. Blueprint your adventure: He's got planning down to an art. It's not just about picking out curtains for the van windows; it's mapping out your entire nomadic lifestyle. Dominic and his dad once sat down with a giant checklist, covering everything from solar panels to snack storage, making sure every inch of the van was adventure-ready. It's like planning a road trip, but you're also building the car.
    3. Smart spending: Dominic's wallet wisdom is a game-changer. He'll have you budgeting like a pro, ensuring you've got enough cash for both the van and those unexpected roadside attractions. It's about striking a balance between splurging on a fancy water heater and saving up for those dreamy desert sunsets. His approach? Start with what you've got and grow from there—van life's version of financial planning.
    4. Find your 'why': This is the heart of the matter. Dominic wants you to dig deep and figure out what's driving you to ditch the traditional for the tires. Is it the freedom? The simplicity? The endless supply of campfire stories? Whatever it is, owning your 'why' turns the key to a more fulfilling journey. It's like choosing the road less traveled and making sure it's the one you really want to explore.
    5. Embrace the eyebrows: Get ready for some raised eyebrows and curious glances because not everyone's going to get your mobile lifestyle. But Dominic's been there, done that, and got the van bumper sticker to prove it. He's a pro at navigating the naysayers, armed with confidence and a solid plan. It's about turning those "You live in a what?" moments into opportunities to share your passion and maybe, just maybe, inspire a fellow traveler.

    As we wrap up our journey through the tales of Phyllis, Kristen, and Dominic, it's clear that their stories are more than mere campfire tales. They're guideposts, dotted along the winding path of the van life and digital nomad world, illuminating the road less traveled with their lived wisdom and hearty laughter. Each story, a unique blend of adventure, challenge, and triumph, invites us to tune into the rhythm of the road, to embrace the ebb and flow of this nomadic life, and to find our own story within the grand tapestry of the open sky.

    These insights, distilled from the hearts and souls of those who've dared to live their dream, are your beacon. They beckon you to the edge of your comfort zone, urging you to leap into a life where every turn is a new chapter, every horizon a fresh possibility. As you stand poised to chart your own course into the boundless wild, let these stories be your compass, guiding you toward an adventure that's uniquely yours.

    And remember, this journey is as much about the inner voyage as it is about the miles traveled. It's a canvas waiting for your brush, a story eager for your pen. As you weave your narrative into the fabric of the van life community, know that you're crafting a legacy of freedom, discovery, and sustainable living.

    Just for Terra stands with you at this crossroads, offering more than just gear for the journey. Our eco-friendly apparel is a testament to the spirit of adventure that drives you and the conscious choices that define you. Each piece is a pledge to tread lightly on this earth, a symbol of your commitment to a life lived fully and responsibly.

    So, as you gear up for the journey ahead, clad in the spirit of adventure and sustainability, remember that you're part of a tribe. A community of dreamers and doers, bound by the shared love for the open road and the green earth beneath our wheels. We're here to cheer you on, to share in your triumphs, and to offer comfort when the road gets rough.

    Join the Just for Terra family on Instagram and Facebook, and share your journey with us. Use the hashtag #justforterra to connect with fellow travelers, to inspire and be inspired, and to weave your story into the vibrant tapestry of our community.

    Together, let's embark on this grand adventure, embracing each moment, each lesson, and each connection. With every mile, let's celebrate the beauty of our world, the warmth of our community, and the joy of discovering the unknown, all while wrapped in the comfort of Just for Terra's eco-conscious embrace.

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