If you search #VanLife on your favourite social media outlet, you are likely to find thousands of pictures from people who spent months painstakingly preparing their preferred van for adventures to come. There will be pictures of long nights spent in garages, coffee stained plans peaking out from beneath power tools and wood shavings as they document the progress of their custom homes. You will be stunned by the incredibly innovative and simple conversions they have made to their vans, making them as comfortable and certainly more cosy than any normal home. If you follow any of these #vanlifers you will discover many amazing journeys complete with stunning visuals of #vanscenes and tips on how to simplify your life for van living.
It is a life I had not really considered, I thought I was more likely to end up on a sail boat. Though a year ago I found myself once again taking stock of my worldly possessions and packing them into a Chevy G20 that had suddenly become my home. Taking a moment to say goodbye to the remote spot of Baja which had played such a part in my evolution. I watched as the dust settled on the road behind me and felt the excitement of new adventures and the unknown.
I travelled from Baja to Oregon and back down to make the yearly pilgrimage to burning man. This time in company and the comfort of the van. From the man to Tahoe where I would later return for weeks to learn about boats, boards and beauty.
A moth would lead me into Nevada City where I would find my first travel buddy, a gorgeous soul named Virginia. We explored mountains, woods and volcanic parks. We woke up to snowy wonderlands and frozen windows before heading to the coast for some warmth and goodbyes.
Goodbyes lead to good vibes as I found myself a surf crew in Canada and dove in to the frigid waters to dodge logs and tickle monsters. I came close to calling Canada home when they did not want to let me back into the States, but eventually I managed to convince them to let me continue down the Pacific Coast Highway.
I wandered the Pacific North West in cold, wet isolation before stumbling into a new travel buddy in Portland, Oregon. Sophie jumped in and out of the van life, joining me on adventures from the Oregon coast to Joshua Tree. The visa clock was ticking though and come February my time in the States would run out, sending me back into Baja with no possibility of return.
In Baja I stumbled into surf history and the legendary, and now sadly closed K38 Surf House. Friendships were formed and life plans laid out. Under the encouragement of these new friends, Rosarito was about to come home to the first Luckybeanz Gallery and Coffee shop. Alas the world had other plans and after two months capturing moments and making memories the van was kicking up Baja dust again.
The following months were filled with ups and downs, lonely days and friendships found. Starting with a 21hr straight shot to San Juanico (Scorpion Bay) with Milano, Pablo and two dogs only to turn around and head almost all the way back, to Punta San Carlos. There I enjoyed the company of old friends and made new travelling buddies. Upon making it to the East Cape I had already driven every route in and out of San Juanico, caught the barrel of my life in Abrejos and I had found myself in the depths of uncertainty and loneliness in Loreto.
Cabo and the East Cape started to feel like a place to be, shooting surf contests, going to full moon parties and discussing opening a gallery became part of the agenda. It is here that I met Cristina, who had become homeless and decided to move into the van. When we both failed to find a more permanent housing solution and my visa was about to expire leaving me with the option of getting rid of everything and flying somewhere or making a break for Guatemala, she decided to join me on the road.
Time was short so we had to bypass most of the mainland coast and head for Mexico city where we spent time offloading the last of her belongings and picked up her furry friend Bambu. It was here that we had the interior of the van remodelled to accommodate the three of us a little more comfortably and fit her belongings. We made it from Mexico City to Guatemala in about 5 days, a distance I did not even manage to cover in 5 months whilst in Baja.
We smuggled the cat into Guatemala and made for Lake Atitlan, where I sit typing this. Cristina and Bambu are no longer with me as decided to head back to Mexico City to have another crack at building up a travel cushion, helping me to realise once again what a unique and prized position I have got myself into.
At some during this journey I stopped writing notes and stopped posting regular updates though threw it all I have continued to take pictures. Sometimes I wish I had taken more, each one serves its own memory, tells its own story, which is what makes writing a post like this so difficult and why it has taken so long. Each time I start wading through the pictures I am taken back to the moments of this journey, the people I have met and the smiles I have shared. There have been so many memories selecting shots for this post and so many pictures and stories left out, it is hard to choose what ones to share and write about. So with that in mind I ask you, the people I have shared these moments, maybe I have shared a photo with you, to get in touch and let me know what moments and pictures you would like to hear and see more about.
People often ask me what is my plan, my passion, my goal in life. Where am I going? I have come to answer this with a stout, `I don`t have one.` Though I think from now the answer will be this. It is the ability to give people a glimpse of another way of life. A simple way, one which does not concern itself with the monotomy of everyday consumption. A way to take it slow and enjoy the everyday conversations with man and nature.