Kathleen Morton never understood why people seem to live by the same unwritten rules. As a child, she most enjoyed the sanctuary of her bedroom, where her natural creativity flourished. Like many of us, when she graduated high school and moved into the larger world, Kathleen believed, as her parents encouraged her to, that a traditional education and career path would bring her happiness, money and success in life. Returning home after college, one potential story of her life flashed before her eyes: hanging out with the same friends, doing the same things every day, in a mechanical urban environment and routine. Something inside her knew there was more to life, and called out for the vast, open expanses of nature, which spoke of unlimited possibility. She moved to Colorado, and soon, the city girl who didn’t know how to hike found herself more and more at home in the outdoors. As she spent more time in nature, she began to question the way she lived, and the footprint she was making on the Earth. To live closer to nature, she bought a pop-up camper with her then boyfriend for $1,800. Finding space with a local family, she and her boyfriend made home there anew. They felt the changes of seasons and morning dew directly through the permeable camper walls, and comingled with the local wildlife. Kathleen wondered – finding more financial and personal freedom – why more people didn’t live this way. What began as an experiment with tiny, off-grid living soon revealed itself as a calling, and a new story for Kathleen’s life: to live closely and in flow with nature, minimize her impact on the environment, and tell her story – and those of others making life this way – to show others that this is, in fact possible, and maybe inspire them to do the same. Today, Kathleen lives and wanders through nature in a 1987 Toyota van, together with her dog, Peaches. She has created a blog and podcast where she tells her story and the stories of other van dwellers, and she serves this community by creating monthly #vanlife gatherings around the country, where the growing community of mobile, alternative home explorers can gather on the frontier, support one another in the lifestyle and movement they are pioneering. She talks in this intimate interview about what it’s really like to live and work all over the country in a van, and why – despite the challenges – she feels endlessly fortunate that she is able to live in this way, enjoy the open freedom of her days, and create her own story of her life each day. Enjoy!
For a number of years, the freedom of living a simple and mobile lifestyle called to us. We’ve always loved to travel, and have felt the most free when traveling with very little – be it roadtripping across the States with little more than a few outfits and a cooler, or traveling through Asia for months with only 24L, school-size backpacks. All of these were very temporary living situations, though. When Stephen first approached me about living in an RV, then, I balked pretty hard. I didn’t like the look and feel of RVs, on the inside or outside, and I thought we would feel cramped. Customized tiny homes, on the other hand, felt very exciting, and I could imagine us building one that met all of our needs and joys in a home. Enter #vanlife. Learn all about our Sprinter van conversion build, and especially how we did it with our 1-year old daughter Sofia. Included here is our video tour of the converted van, plus many pics showing the various choices we made. Overall, we LOVE our van and highly recommend it as both an option for living and for long-term travel. If this interests you, and you have questions about the video or the post, please feel free to comment! We will write back and help you as much as we possibly can. Thanks!
Often we accept things we’ve been taught or told, until one day something strikes us as being a bit “off”, and we begin to ask questions. For Ross Lukeman, that something was the traditional story we’ve been taught about home ownership and freedom. That is, if you own a home, you have achieved the American Dream. It struck Ross as strange that people buy homes, believing this story, then design the rest of their lives around paying for that home – staying in jobs they don’t like to pay a mortgage, putting off the things they really want to do, and living that way sometimes for the rest of their lives. He also found it strange that he never learned about any types of “alternative” dwellings in architecture school, only the mainstream ways of building and making a home. So Ross began probing a question that gets to the very heart of how we live and enjoy our lives: What other types of homes are possible, and, specifically, what type of home will maximize a person’s experience of freedom? He created a website dedicated to this question, and traveled across the country interviewing people building and living in all kinds of homes he hadn’t learned about in school: strawbale homes, earthships, and even, vans. As it tends to happen when a person follows their natural interest, a calling emerged for Ross. What he found in his search was that the type of home that will create the greatest freedom depends actually on the individual – and what’s most exciting and expansive for them, specifically. For Ross, what quickly became the most exciting was #vanlife. He started living in his own van, and now he helps people do that – online course, van builds. This is how we learned of him, his van conversion resources that are online (see shownotes for links to all of Ross’ resources). If you’ve ever wanted to live more simply, build your own home, explore another way of living, this episode is for you. Enjoy!
What happens when you decide to change EVERYTHING about your life? What fears and other challenges arise, and how do you deal with them? This forms the bulk of this podcast episode, where we as co-hosts (Theresa & Stephen) delve into the inner reality of making massive changes in life and how we are successfully managing these challenges and maintaining peace, joy & love through the process. Also, we discuss our general route through the western US from late July ’17 thru Oct ’17 (& beyond) and how you can connect with us in person along the way! This episode was a bit scary for us, as we delve into the intimacies of our inner (and outer) journey. We hope you will listen with an open mind, and see a bit of yourself in our challenges and triumphs. Enjoy!
So, what’s it like living full-time in a van? Scan the hashtag #vanlife on Instagram, and prepare to ooh and aah and the majesty of the earth through the eyes of van dwellers worldwide. You would probably stumble across some of the breathtaking imagery of professional photographer Andy Austin, who for the past year has lived full-time in his 2006 Dodge Sprinter 2500. Traveling throughout the west, and mostly back and forth across his beloved home state of Montana, Andy has built quite the following online and has amassed some amazing stories from his time on the road. We discuss many specifics, namely how does he: eat, poop, sleep, work, relax and make coffee? Where does he park at night? What are some of his favorite places to boondock? What are some of his favorite memories from the last year? What challenges has he stared down and gotten through? We discuss all facets of #vanlife with the very candid, eloquent and adventurous Andy Austin in this episode of the Ownstream Podcast. Enjoy!
Mobile living is becoming more and more popular, as is evidenced by the rise of the tiny house on wheels, people living in RV’s and the #vanlife movement (just check Instagram). So, why did we recently purchase our own 2005 Dodge Sprinter van to convert into a movable home? What is our plan for designing the interior, and where do we plan to travel? And, most importantly, what are we searching for through this project and, as important, what are we leaving behind? This episode of the Ownstream Podcast features co-founders Stephen and Theresa discussing the project, including how we manifested the perfect van for us and why now is the perfect time for us to join the #vanlife lifestyle. Enjoy!