I have never felt so unapologetically free. Free from the preconceptions that others have of me and those I hold of myself, free from the constraints of society, free from the mundane and predictable. I am free from boundaries, free to stop and go as I please while moving my little home with me.
I‚Äôve always been an explorer and a traveller of the road, but living in a van is an experience like no other. I feel like I have only skimmed the surface of this wonderfully expansive lifestyle. Every day is filled with the most beautiful new experiences, interesting characters and life-altering interactions. I’ve come to love this way of life – the ‚ÄúVanlife‚Äù.
For most of the journey I travelled with my good friend Franci in an old Westfalia Volkswagen. We couldn‚Äôt go over 80km per hour and never really stuck to a plan. Which meant we took it slow, in no rush, going nowhere slowly.
For the last part of my trip I joined my friend Mark in his self-converted moving-van. We visited beautiful beaches, historic redwoods, inland pine forests and desert lands. We slept on the side of highways, on the banks of rivers, in secluded mountainous areas and in over-populated RV camp grounds. Along the way we came across the most fascinating communities, backward towns and floaty, hippy villages. The people were kind and the landscapes surreal.
My memories flash back to the redwood forests – a temple of trees so ancient and rooted that they‚Äôve inspired me to stand strong and silent in my ways. I remember sitting above McCloud Falls, immersed in earthly roars and cold spray, feeling life flow through me.
But mostly I’ve begun to recall my experiences of the places we visited through the people we met. California is filled with the the most colourful and outlandish dreamers. So kind, enthusiastic and helpful but always a bit kooky: from Rattlesnake Buzz and T-bone Nick down in Soda Creek to TJ, the young boy from Japan cycling coast to coast by himself, Catherine the shadow-puppet artist studying on occidental farms and Andres, the man who left his heart at Heart Lake. The list could go on for days, everyone‚Äôs story is so unique and wonderful. They each allowed me a quick glimpse into a small fraction of their lives, their dreams and passions. Their courage and rawness reaffirmed my belief in the goodness of humanity.
While I chose not to photograph many of these people but rather take in the moment and truly connect with them, I did document the places they call home and the beautiful journey I followed along the way.¬†I hope they inspire something in you to explore.