Where are you from and what makes it unique?

I’m from a small town in Connecticut: Bolton – which actually is a pretty normal suburban farm town. I loved growing up in New England but I think that moving out to California after college and being exposed to the incredible diversity of the West was what ignited my spirit for adventure.

 

Did you grow up traveling? Where was your favorite place to go as a kid?

My father was a vanner and a geography teacher, my mother a hippy from the 60s who rode motorcycles. Both being teachers we did not have too much money to travel, but we loved road trips! My favorite being the Kancamangus Highway in the White Mountains of NH. I loved stopping on the side of the road and playing in the mountain streams. It drove my parents crazy when my sister and I would play on the rocks.

 

What’s the story behind your van?

I think a big part of the #vanlife adventure is finding a rig and making it your own. I’ve always been a motorhead and the 808van is my second project after the CandyVan, and I knew I wanted something special I could build from the ground-up. I had a daily ritual of checking Craigslists all over the country, eBay, forums – I had all sorts of keywords I’d use to try and get vans to pop up. One day searching I came across the 808van: a 1971 Ford 4×4 Sportsmobile from Hawaii (808 is the area code for Hawaii). It was a masterpiece of vintage coolness and I freaking loved it. I immediately purchased it and have big plans for adventure in the future. Its currently undergoing a massive build that will bring the interior up to modern functionality but keep a retro island theme. I’ve spent months planning everything down to vintage Hula girl drawer pulls.

 

What’s the worst part about traveling?

Having to come back to work, and being away from family and friends. Every other challenge I embrace as just part of the adventure. Some of my fondest memories are breakdowns. Its all about how you look at it!

 

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

Not having plans. Its really fun to explore new places and make it up as you go. I’m a disciplined planner in my professional life so being on the road is really the time I get to be free.

 

How do you connect to the internet when you travel?

I typically like to avoid being “connected” while on the road. I work in tech so getting out into nature is my balance to the intense start-up life in SF. I go low tech with a journal to document my thoughts while traveling. If I need to work or check email, I’ll stop into town and use it as an excuse to explore the local coffee-shop or bar with free wi-fi.

 

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

I’m horrible at making reservations and typically prefer boondocking. I’ve gotten really good at reading maps and anticipating where the good spots are. I’ve got a bunch of secret spots I prefer to stay secret – but I will say I frequent Stanislaus National Forest a lot due to its proximity to San Francisco. Stanislaus is Boss – its North of Yosemite and South of Tahoe, so there are much less people with awesome nature.

 

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

My favorite backpacking has been the Kalalau trail in Hawaii, but for more traditional camping I’ll never grow tired of Utah. The Escalante region in Southeast Utah was the last mapped area of the contiguous US and the tremendous landscape demonstrates why. Most of it is BLM land which makes it perfect for really getting out. I did a 2-week survival school there which was one of the best experiences of my life and I’ve been back several times since.

 

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

Wal-mart just a few times when I really needed to, but its pretty fun to see how Wal-mart’s change across the country. The great thing about vans is they are pretty discreet if you need to just park on the street in a city for a night – I call that Ninja Camping!

 

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

In between start-ups I lived in the CandyVan for a while traveling around the country. I’ve thought about going full-nomad and I’m excited to see where the 808van takes me. As a first step, once its complete, I’m going to take a month and travel around Baja to break her in! In the future, I’m also planning a return to Alaska and going international with a trip to South America. I love that we’re seeing a resurgence in vans and living simply. I’ve started playing around with ideas related to van start-ups, either opening a shop myself or starting a rental business to give more people access to the lifestyle. No matter what path I take, I plan on supporting the community and jamming out as much as possible. Life is an Adventure, make it an awesome one!