My name is Joe. I grew up in the Midwest, in a town with less than 1000 people (the welcome sign called it a "Village"). Through college I lived in Michigan and Minnesota, then In 2014 I came out to California for a job. I was not very happy at that job, so I slowly learned to code, started a career in Web Development. Over the next two years I happily worked for a couple design agencies in San Francisco, until I hit the road this spring.
Living in a van, though, has been on my mind for about five years. The idea was actually first brought up by my Mom, sometime in college, and I don't know where she got the idea. She just thought it would be cool to live in a trailer on a beach somewhere. But we were in Michigan, so anything on a beach sounded great most months of the year. Then, when I moved out to California, I started rock climbing. Anyone familiar with the climbing culture knows that living in a van, or even just a tiny sedan, has been commonplace for decades. Flip through an issue of Climbing Magazine and they mention living in a van every-other article.
So my mom seeded the idea, then the culture I surrounded myself with made it grow. My desire was also fueled by financial reasons: I was living in the most expensive city in the country (San Francisco), and have an embarrasing amount of student loan debt. Even if I wasn't traveling, living in a van gave an alternative to paying stupid-high rent every month, with the added bonus of being able to travel. Between the climbing, family support, and financial gain, it felt like an easy decision.
Still, I debated with myself for months, spending weeks shopping for a van online only to convince myself that I really liked having a toilet and high-speed internet. But then, the perfect van appeared at a local dealer in January 2016: A gently used Ram Promaster. I went down to check it out, haggled for a deal, and came home with a cargo van and two weeks to make it into my home. February 1, 2016 I moved into the van. Then on May 13, I quit my job and hit the road to climb and experience the US, and the rest of the story is probably in this blog somewhere.
Purpose of this Blog
The main purpose of this blog is to share my experiences with building a van to live in, and then living in it. And since this is still a "blog", I also share me stories about my adventures, sometimes relating to the van, but sometimes not. I will also, on occasion, give some thoughts about climbing, which is one my passions, however #vanlife and travel are the focus.
It is no mystery that the #vanlife movement is strong, and I notice more and more vans everywhere I go. Some are calling it the new "American Dream". I don't know how "new" this lifestyle is, but anyone who has some appreciation for living a simple lifestyle will hopefully find this blog interesting. You don't need to be an adventurer yourself, or even have plans to be, but if you dream of experiencing new things and those things involve trees and rivers and mountains, or just vans, then this blog is for you.