I currently travel part-time in my converted Sprinter Van with my boyfriend, Ben, and our two rescue dogs, Zuke and Mooney. Ben and I have both always loved road trips and exploring new places together! When we moved to Arizona from upstate New York in March 2018 we started traveling around the state and the Southwest right away, checking out awesome hikes and all of the National and State Parks this side of the country has to offer. We quickly realized the freedom that van life would give us to experience these places more closely and save money that we were spending on hotels and established campgrounds. We purchased our van in June 2018 just outside of L.A. and took 9 months to finish the inside of the build.
Our Van is a 2005 Dodge Sprinter Van 140″ wheelbase. We chose this model of van because of the fuel efficiency, reliability, and height of the roof. Ben is 6′ tall and I am 5’8″ so it was important to us that we could both comfortably stand inside the van.
Work-Life While being Weekend Warriors
Currently, we both work in the Phoenix area and travel in our camper van on weekends and days off as much as we can! Ben works as a Construction Superintendent and I work for the Arizona Sustainability Alliance, as well as nanny and pet sitter part-time. When we start full-time travel this summer I will continue to pick up babysitting and dog walking jobs on the road.
Loving The Long Road Trips
Our favorite travel memory so far is the 9-day road trip that we took in June 2019. During this trip, we traveled from Phoenix to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and on the way back down to Arizona spent 2 days exploring Moab. This was the longest road trip we’ve taken in the van so far we loved every second of it!
Watch Where You Park
The funniest moment from our travels was when we were looking for a camp spot in Wyoming and as we pulled up to the location we thought that we had discovered the ultimate hidden gem! There was a gorgeous clear lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and there was only 1 other car in sight. It seemed so perfect! As we drove closer and closer to the water we quickly discovered why no one was taking advantage of this beautiful location… within seconds the outside of the van was covered in millions of mosquitoes! We stayed for a few minutes to take in the view from inside the van and then continued on to find a new place to sleep for the night.
Advice For Adventures
We primarily use iOverlander and the van life app, to find free and paid camping spots. I recommend starting your search for a place to sleep a few hours before the sun sets. We have often arrived at a camp spot after dark and it can make navigating the bumpy back roads much more difficult.
Watch YouTube videos and do your research to get to know the mechanics of your vehicle as best as possible. Since converting our van Ben has learned how to do oil changes, replace all the filters in the engine, flush the brake fluid, and install new suspension. He has also fixed many problems with our electrical. Having some of these skills will help a ton when you are on the road and an issue does come up.
The biggest adjustment for us has been becoming more aware of the resources we use. We have a 7-gallon fresh water tank for our sink and 3 gallons of drinking water so it took us some time to become more aware of the amount of water we were using and find new ways to conserve our usage.
Full- Timing Here We Come
We plan to start full-time travel in June 2020 and travel at least until the end of 2021. If at that point we decide that we would like to continue then we will stay on the road until that lifestyle isn’t fitting our needs/goals any longer. In the long term, we have plans to buy a large plot of land, build a tiny house(s), help build out vans for other adventure seekers, grow an organic garden, and start a farm animal sanctuary.