We are inspired by adventure.
We are drifters and this is our journey.
Here is our story.
Greg has always had a restless spirit.
He grew up in the Chicago suburbs, exploring the woods behind the house and fishing the local rivers with a crew of local kids. His love of the outdoors became a core passion when he moved to Colorado in college. He pursued a degree in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism, with a concentration in Parks and Protected Area Management. After a few years in the corporate world, the need to travel and see more of the world spurred the idea of vanlife. Greg loves to teach people hot to rock climb, surf, and spread his love of outdoor hobbies. Greg has a healthy (maybe?) obsession with tacos, ice cream and hot springs. He’s always on the hunt for the best of all of them!
Jess has always wanted to see the world.
As a kid, Jess’s family went on road trips or camping and backpacking trips for family vacations. She earned a special appreciation for the outdoors in the Colorado mountains. After earning a degree in Forestry, with a concentration in Fire Science, Jess worked as a seasonal wildland firefighter and forestry field technician for a couple of years. The urge to pay off student loans lead her to pursue a corporate role at a great company. Her lifelong desire to travel and experience new things became a top priority once she became debt free and the idea of vanlife was a perfect way to realize that dream. Jess is always looking for the next mountain bike trail, riding since she was 16. She’s always been super active and loves to exercise, eat healthy, and share her knowledge with others.
Vanlife is about so much more than living in a van for us. We love living a simple lifestyle, but that’s just an added benefit to loving in a van, it’s not the reason why we do it.
We love vanlife because it gives us the freedom to pursue our dreams of travel and adventure. After working in the corporate world for several years, we realized that our dreams are too big to be confined in a cubicle from 9-5. We wrote a post for Vanlife Diaries about how much we love our freedom in vanlife, read it here.
Shopping for a van started out as a way to feed our wanderlust and satisfy our curiosity. But then we started to realize that vanlife could be a very tangible way for us to live debt free and on our own terms. We started shopping for vans more seriously, and made a financial plan for how we were going to achieve it.
Buying the van was the first real commitment we made to vanlife. Once we bought it, it was REAL.
We started the build, and had it converted in about 6 months. During the conversion, there was more planning and discussion about when we were going to move into the van. We knew all along that if we were going to make such a large financial investment, we’d need to live in it full time at some point. The purpose being to live frugally and mortgage-free, paying off the cost of the van in a matter of a couple of years.
Even though we had great jobs, once the van conversion was completed, we became even more restless. It was a weekend warrior rig for a few months, but those adventures were barely enough to keep us satisfied.
Pulling the plug on House Life
At the same time, the housing market in our town was skyrocketing. We were worried that it would plateau, and felt that it was a good time to sell the house. Initially, we put it up for sale by owner, just to see what would happen. Within the first week, we had over ten calls and about just as many tours.
The house was under contract within 2 weeks, and the suddenly we were staring full time vanlife right in the face. Similar to how we purchased the van, we spent so much time planning, but the moment it happened, we were somehow surprised!
Over the next 60 days, we got rid of everything except for a small storage unit of stuff we kept for our future tiny home.
We moved into the van on our 5th wedding anniversary.
It was crazy how fast it all happened. We were free of any financial debt and living minimally, but we were still working full time at a stationary office. A friend with a farm was letting us park on their property, and it was a perfect arrangement to save as much money for our future adventures.
After a few months and some short trips traveling in the van, we knew it was time. Summer in Colorado is a great time to live in a van, but we were approaching winter and trying to figure out the best timing to quit our jobs. We weren’t going to make it much longer. We needed to go.
We met with a financial planner to make sure our plans were solid and decided to make it happen. In December of 2018, after already living in the van full time for 7 months, we put in our resignations at our company.
Quitting a good job
Leaving our jobs was bittersweet. The company was good to us and we made a lot of really good friends working there. Despite the anxiety we had leading up to the point of quitting, telling everyone was the hardest part. Thankfully, everyone was really excited for us, and that only made us even MORE excited for our adventures to come.
We left Colorado in early December 2018, and headed straight to California to relax in the sunshine.