We are Ryan & Alex, two 26-year-old Art Directors who decided to take life in an unexpected direction. We are full-time professional digital nomads who live and work out of a converted sprinter van, and are co-founders of our branding agency www.creativesinavan.com @creativesinavan
What first motivated you to try the nomadic lifestyle & how long have you been at it?
We’ve been living in a van for around 6 months, which almost seems unreal to us. Time flies when you’re having fun! We initially got into living a nomadic lifestyle because it was perfect for our profession. Our choices were either to get a job at an advertising agency or to start our own business, and you can guess the route we decided to go with. We wanted to be true artists in our craft and live a life of purpose and intention based on our passions. We have to travel to shoot for our business, so #vanlife ended up being the perfect way of life for us! We also love traveling and wanted to balance our entrepreneurial lifestyle with national park hopping and exploring.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
Every day of van life is different, but we always have to cover the following basic needs throughout each week: food, gas, gym, work, laundry, travel (driving), and fun. We decide what we’re going to do each day when we wake up. We typically go to the gym right away in the morning and the grocery store afterwards.
Then, depending on the day, we’ll work, do something fun (like hiking in a national park), or drive. If we have excess work to do, we’ll wake up early to get it done. We love going to unique coffee shops along our travel route, it helps us experience the small towns we drive through. We fit tasks such as laundry & gas in throughout the week where we have extra time.
We prefer to spend the evening watching movies, cooking dinner together, or going out to eat. We usually park to sleep at Hipcamps (we work as field scouts for them and get paid to stay at properties), Cracker Barrels, in nice neighborhoods, in campgrounds + BLM, or Walmarts.
Are there any things that you DON’T like about it/ have you ever had any negative experiences?
When it comes to living in a vehicle, making sure you have proper insulation is a must.
The main issues, for us, are: temperature regulation, wifi availability, and vehicle maintenance. We put TONS of insulation in our van and recently added reflectix to every window. The difference is night and day. Making sure the van is parked under trees in the summer helps, and when it gets REALLY hot we always find a place, like a park or beach, where we can open all of our windows and doors to get air flow.
Wifi availability is difficult for us when we’re in national parks or in the country shooting Hipcamp photos. Otherwise our Verizon hotspots work decently well, and when we need really fast internet, we always head to a Starbucks or coffee shop.
Vehicle maintenance is a pain because Sprinters are expensive! Even an oil change costs $250 and we have to get it done quite often. There’s nothing more painful than seeing your engine light come on when you live in your vehicle.
What are some resources if I want to learn more about the nomadic lifestyle and how to do it?
Youtube, youtube, youtube. We watched hundreds of videos when we decided we were going to build out our van. You can pretty much find anything on Youtube, especially for van life.
For two people & a dog to live out of a van surely requires an extreme level of minimalism. How do you deal with the lack of space?
We really thought we’d go through a phase of culture shock after moving into a van, but we haven’t. We still feel like we have a ton of shit, haha. Our van is actually pretty big and can fit a lot of stuff. We still have to make better choices when shopping, though.
You have to REALLY want something in order to purchase it, which we love.
Do you have any favorite products that make your life on the road easier?
We bought this mini air conditioner called Arctic Air from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It’s $40 and helps us stay sane in hot heat. We always have Lenny & Larry’s complete cookies in the van to munch on when we’re traveling or working.
What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
Whenever we order beer from a restaurant, we ask for it with green olives. We love putting green olives in our beer. Alex grew up in Wisconsin and picked up the habit from there.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say & why?
“Find your passion”
It’s so important for us to share this message with the world because it’s what made us who we are today. We believe, over everything, finding your passion is a life-changing, must-have experience that unfortunately a lot of people don’t get to experience.
What are 1-3 books that have greatly influenced your life?