Where are you from and what makes it unique?

We’re both from Portland, Oregon and absolutely love our home state. The best part about Portland is you can drive 1.5 hours any direction and find yourself in a variety of settings. Between the Oregon Coast, Mt. Hood, and Columbia River Gorge, it offers you everything you need for outdoor activities. Not to mention, the city of Portland itself provides a wackiness to life and an abundance of craft breweries we love to visit frequently.


Did you both grow up traveling? Where was your favorite place to go as kids?

Starting at a young age and throughout our childhood, both of our families did a fair share of traveling. We each had a mix of camping, amusement parks, vacationing, and National/State parks in our travels. Sometimes by plane, sometimes by car, our summer, winter, and spring breaks always consisted of exploring someplace new. Evan’s favorite place as a kid was Sunriver, Oregon, where his family visited every summer and winter. Katie grew up visiting Priest Lake, Idaho every summer, a place her family still visits annually.

What’s the story behind your van?

Living in a van has been part of our plan since the beginning of our relationship. We kicked around different ideas and looked at a variety of vans (new and old) before finally buying in October of 2016. We decided on a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter, 144” WB High Roof. Immediately after the purchase, we started the conversion process, which took us a total of about 6 months. We did the majority of the build ourselves, with a huge helping hand from Evan’s dad, Jeff.  We also had help with the cabinets (although we designed/installed them) and are beyond happy with how they turned out. Doing our own build really allowed us to fine-tune the details and make our home exactly what we wanted.


What’s the worst part about traveling?

We really struggled with this question because even in the challenging aspects of living out of a van, we search for something positive. However, one thing that does come up often is this feeling of being “rushed” on the road. It sounds silly because so much of what we’re doing is slowing down from our previous lifestyle. Even so, we have a lot of ground we want to cover and we’re attempting to chase seasons, which often leaves us scrambling to get through a certain section of the country. We frequently have to remind ourselves to slow down, really dive into the particular area we’re currently in, and enjoy this moment instead of always chasing the next.


What’s your favorite part about being on the road?

We both love the freedom that being on the road provides. We’re currently living on savings from our previous jobs so we don’t have to worry about a schedule of employment. We don’t have many obligations, which allows us to wake up each morning and say to each other, “What do you feel like doing today? Where do you want to go?” We’re able to experience our country without planning every detail of a trip and that allows for so much spontaneity. Also, being able to travel with your entire house, never packing or unpacking bags, feels like such a luxury. We recognize that a lot of people think the space is small for living, but there is so much convenience with downsizing and a minimalistic lifestyle.

How do you connect to the internet when you travel?

We have a Verizon hot spot, called a jetpack, that essentially provides wifi to the van. It allows us to hook up to 10 devices to it so we can attach both of our phones and both of our laptops to the wifi. We have unlimited data on the jetpack but the internet speed does slow down after a certain amount of usage. It works for us though and gets the job done as far as emails, social media, blogging, and of course, the occasional needed Netflix streaming.


Do you have a secret spot? How did you find it?

There’s a specific camping spot in Oregon that we’ve been going to since high school and revisit every summer. We originally stumbled upon it while exploring the national forest after enjoying a primitive swimming hole nearby. It’s a small spot that can only be reached by taking a 4-wheel drive vehicle about an hour up forest roads into the Tillamook National Forest. The site is hard to find, takes a while to get to, and is more than remote. Near the top, there are only rolling hills and trees in all directions as far as you can see. This specific flat spot sits on the side of a hill and is only wide enough to fit a few vehicles and tents. The sunsets are beautiful, the stars are ridiculously bright, and you can actually look down onto the top of clouds because you’re at such high elevation.


What’s the best place to camp off-grid?

Earlier this summer we spent roughly a month exploring Montana and camping throughout the state. One area we continuously found ourselves in was Custer Gallatin National Forest. We stayed in numerous spots throughout the forest but were blown away by every campsite. Some had streams running through the sites, some were at the base of mountains, some had pre-cut firewood in the sites, and some were just a short walk away from primitive hot springs. Nearly every site included a picnic table, fire ring, and some sort of toilet. To top it off, every site we stayed at was free (a price you can’t beat!)


How many times have you slept in a Wal-mart parking lot?

We always laugh a little when talking about this. Social media builds van life out to be this amazing journey that is always beautiful scenery and wonderful camping spots and, don’t get us wrong, most of the time it is, but we do end up sleeping in parking lots sometimes, especially Walmarts. The first few months we only slept in Walmart parking lots a few times, but since moving more across the country, it’s become a lot more often, sometimes a few times a week. Once you start exploring more of the country, you realize how wonderful and rare the outdoor/camping community of the PNW is.


What does the future have in store for you as it relates to traveling?

We decided a while ago that we wanted to prioritize traveling in our relationship. It’s something that we both enjoy immensely and are in agreement that it’s what we want to spend our time and resources doing. Originally we planned on living in our van for only a year but we’re starting to realize more and more that this is something we want to extend for longer. We’re currently doing a lot of brainstorming and looking into options on how to continue traveling long-term. Eventually, we hope to extend our travels internationally but for now we are enjoying exploring our home country,. We don’t have any concrete plans yet but there’s no doubt in our minds that this is what we want to do.