We Bought a Van!
Two and a half years ago we were living in Texas, saving money to build or buy a house in the Austin suburbs, spent most of our weekends inside watching TV (which we still love to do from time to time!), and hardly traveled. As we inched closer to our goal of buying a house, we realized that it wasn’t what we truly wanted.
We wanted adventure. We wanted to travel and see the world. We wanted to experience new things. And we wanted to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. We made the decision to leave Texas within the next year and move to Seattle so we could be outdoors, hike, explore new places, and visit Hawaii more often (not going to lie, the nonstop flights to Hawaii played a role!).
That plan quickly changed when Kathryn lost her job during a surprise company layoff and we were suddenly in a tough position. But what felt like a massive failure turned into being the best opportunity ever–the chance to start the life we wanted even sooner. We started applying for jobs in Seattle (Adam landed one within a week!), found an apartment, and drove across the country to our new home.
Since moving to Seattle, we have had the absolute BEST time exploring the PNW on the weekends, pushing our physical abilities with challenging hikes, running around the beach at sunset, chasing waterfalls in the rain, and so much more.
Our move was the greatest decision of our lives and has filled us everyday with so much excitement, joy, and purpose. However, it has also made us crave more. We have become hooked on traveling and don’t want to live a traditional life in an office or settled in one place. We want even more adventure, more places to explore, and more freedom to do so. So with that said, we have some exciting news….WE BOUGHT A VAN!
We will never forget the moment that we decided this was the right path for us. We were in Bend, Oregon over Labor Day and spent our hike to No Name Lake dreaming about the future and how to get to where we wanted to be. So much so that we weren’t paying attention to where we were going and got lost a couple times. Oops!
We knew that our biggest dream was to travel full time and have remote lives, as we are happiest when we are on the go, road tripping, and not being stuck in one place. The next step was figuring out what traveling full time looked like for us. As much as we would love to not work and travel all around the world, we have our sweet fur child Kona that we can’t leave behind and we still need steady income.
So we decided that traveling mostly in the US and having full time jobs was the best bet for us. Kathryn started a remote job in September and Adam has been learning how to code and build websites to hopefully get a remote job as well. The stars started to align and we made the official decision to buy and live in a Sprinter van.
Some may think we are crazy for downsizing from our already tiny 550 square foot apartment, but we are SO excited to live with less and do more. With the van, we will be able to explore the entire United States, work from anywhere we want, hike everyday if we’d like, visit family and friends more often, and also become part of a like-minded community that craves adventure and a non traditional life.
We took a two week road trip at Christmas (you can watch the vlogs from that trip here) and it reassured us that living on the road was the right decision for us.
You may have a few questions, so here’s a quick rundown of our plan:
- We bought a 2019 Mercedes Sprinter 170” van over the weekend in Texas. We chose to buy a new van because we plan to put a lot of miles on it and couldn’t find any low mileage used options, we wanted a warranty, and we wanted to build it out ourselves (vs. buying pre-built out).
- We will be converting the van in Texas with Kathryn’s dad from now until the end of June, which is why we bought it in Texas. Not only do Kathryn’s parents have the space to build a van, Kathryn’s dad also has WAY more skills than us when it comes to building things.
Kathryn will spend a lot of time in Austin the first half of the year working on it and Adam will join when he can (since he is still teaching).
- Adam will stop teaching at the end of the school year and pursue coding and other projects to make money.
- Kathryn will continue working full time for her awesome remote job while on the road. Having strong wifi in the van is going to be a top priority!
- Kona will be with us in the van, which after how awesome she did on our road trip, we are pretty confident she will adjust well to!
- Austin will technically be our “home base,” as we will have a free place to stay/park the van whenever we aren’t on the road, but we still plan to spend as much time as we possibly can in the PNW. We love it here too much to leave for too long and we are pretty bummed to not call Seattle our official home anymore. 🙁
- We plan to drive all across the US and we have a good idea of where we want to go the next year and a half. We plan to spend a lot of time on the West Coast, in states we haven’t been to (like the East Coast!), and try to visit as many National Parks as possible. There are so many amazing places in our own country that we are dying to explore!
- We plan to take longer trips abroad, which the van actually will help us do more easily, as we can drop Kona off in Austin and have her watched for free by Kathryn’s parents (which will save us tons of $$$), where she is treated like a princess and has a nice backyard to run around. We’re pretty sure they love her more than they love us (they’ll deny it though lol). 😉
- A popular question we get asked is: “but what about a bathroom?” Don’t worry! We will be putting a bathroom in the van (shower + toilet) so we can live as comfortably as possible.
To get an idea of the layout we are building, check out 40 Hours of Freedom and Dynamo Ultima. We are taking elements from both of their vans that we really like to create a layout that works well for our lifestyle.
- We aren’t sure how long we will live in the van. We don’t want to create a timeline or put pressure on ourselves and instead want to enjoy the journey.
However, we do know that at this point, we plan to settle back down in the PNW if/when we are ready for regular life again and plan keep the van forever as a weekend adventure vehicle. But we aren’t thinking that far ahead yet. We have a feeling we are going to be hooked on having a nomadic lifestyle.
We are very, very excited for this next chapter in our lives and look forward to the wonderful memories we are going to create as a family. But we are also looking forward to sharing this experience with all of you. From the van build to the adventures we have on the road, we want you to be right there with us.
We will be documenting our journey on our YouTube channel (if you haven’t subscribed yet, please do!), our Instagram, and on this blog. Once in the van, we will still be creating our travel guides, blogs, and resources, but they will be even bigger and better because we will be able to cover so many more destinations!
We are also hoping to create a few van resources for anyone else looking to join van life, but our goal is to still cater to people with limited time and money, who want to explore as much as they can, with or without a van.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in this crazy plan of ours! And if you have any questions about our future van life or have any van build tips, please comment below or send us a message. We’d love to connect with you! 🙂