A while back we connected with a wayward Westfalia-traveling duo and their faithful 4-legged friend, K2. Their Instagram handle "Every Road Leads To Home" doesn't quite tell the whole story so we asked them a few questions about what life on the road is really like and if the reward is as great as it seems (spoiler alert: we're still convinced it is).
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Before we begin, a huge thank you to you both for your time and willingness to sit down and answer a few questions. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? Where are you guys from? Where are you at now? And where are you headed next?
We both grew up in a small town in northern New Hampshire. We were living on the seacoast of NH up until last May when we moved into the van. Casey is a Registered Nurse and Ransom is an environmental engineer. We left our jobs and apartment last May and for the past 8 months we have been traveling around western US and Canada. We recently left the Van in Colorado for 2 months and were able to travel home for the holidays to see family and get some work in. After picking the van back up we headed south and are now traveling south down the Baja peninsula. We hope to be here for the next two months and then will need to return to the North East to settle in to the next adventure.
How is it traveling and living the #vanlife with a dog?
Extremely stressful at times but well worth it. We always wanted a dog that would come along on all our adventures. She grew up hiking with us in New England so bringing her along for the ride seemed like a natural step. She is very adaptable and is able to make anywhere her home. She doesn’t like long car rides so we try to limit our stretches to 3-4 hours at a time but we wouldn’t have it any other way! It as awesome to have the companionship and it brings a little bit of comfort to have her around the camp at night.
Does your van have a name? How long have you had it? Any story behind it?
The name we gave it is The Mighty Quinn or Quinn the Eskimo after the Bob Dylan song. We don’t actually use it often, only when she’s been acting up. We have had it just under two years. We scoured craigslist for a long time before finding the perfect fit! We got it from a guy who was living down in Florida which meant it had virtually no rust, which for a 30 year old vehicle is a miracle. He didn’t know much about it’s history but we have since found a pink rosary beads and a polaroid picture tucked behind one of the cabinets giving us some clues about the previous owners.
At this point it is fairly customized to our needs. Since we bought it Ransom has been over almost every inch of it. We replaced the original VW motor with a newer Subaru motor that gives us more power and better gas mileage; we have a solar power system that allows us to stay off grid for days; and we have added all sorts of racks and boxes to carry the gear and tools we need.
What made you decide on heading south to Mexico, besides the obvious, sunshine, blue waters, and endless tequila?
Don’t forget the Tacos! Aside from the obvious reasons you listed, vanlife in the winter can be a bit tricky. We knew we weren’t ready to call it quits but we also knew we needed to head to warmer climates. We were eager to experience another culture and take on a new challenge for this season.
We got a lot of questions about our choice to travel through Mexico both personally and via social media. A lot of people think of Mexico as being unsafe. The truth is that it really depends on where you go in Mexico. Our experience has been that Baja is safe and the people are extremely friendly and kind. We have felt nothing but welcome and feel so fortunate to be here.
How did you guys go about planning the trip? First time on this route?
We actually did an embarrassingly small amount of planning going into this leg of the trip. We had a destination in mind and have kind of gone with the flow since getting here. In our experience no matter what planning you do, be it blogs, google searches, or guide books the best resource is word of mouth from the locals or those that have gone before you. This is our first time south of the border with the Van and it most definitely won’t be the last.
What's the weirdest or wildest thing you've come across so far on the trip?
Just today we took a little fishing boat out into a lagoon called Ojo de Liebre just south of Geurrero Negro. In the spring months female gray whales come by the thousands to calve their babies and take up residence until the babes are old enough to venture out. They are extremely friendly and interactive with humans. A relatively small area means that you are bound to see dozens of mom and baby whales and if you’re lucky they’ll come up, surround the boat and even play games with the crazy humans. We spent about two hours on the water and felt that we could never grow tired of it.
What advice do you have for other people with an urge to hit the road?
Do It! If you need encouragement reach out to someone who is doing it already. Read the blogs, go on the forums and just surround yourself with the inspiration you need to get out the door. Take a good look at the things that are keeping you from doing it or the reasons that it feels out of reach and tackle them one at a time. Ultimately, almost all of the things that stand between you and a dream are things that you want more than that dream. And that’s a neat thing to realize! If you want to live on the road more than you want a steady income or a safe house, then ditch ‘em and save up for a van. If not, then smile! You already have something you want more than “the dream’.
We have met people from all walks of life living on the road: single, married, with kids, with pets, people with houses, people with mobile jobs and seasonal jobs and no jobs at all. It’s not necessarily easy, there is a lot of time and hard work that goes into preparing for a life on the road but we can say from our experience that it’s well worth it!