Before I get to my Top 10 list of the people whom I feel are the most inspiring van dwellers of 2014, let me first address exactly what I mean when I say Van Dweller. I consider van dwelling or a van dweller to be a person living in a vehicle either full-time or part-time. This vehicle can be a car, van or RV.
Van dwellers can range from a person down on their luck and living in their vehicle due to necessity to a person, couple or family living in their vehicles by choice to save money or to travel and explore. The down on their luck person may have recently lost their job or couldn’t afford rent and they are sleeping in their car temporarily and not necessarily living in their vehicle by choice.
I am inspired by the people who have figured out a way to earn a living while traveling and living in their vehicles. The majority of the people on this list are still below retirement age and need to continue to earn money to support their dream of the traveling lifestyle.
If you’re like me, and you’re considering this type of lifestyle, then check out my list and learn from them. 🙂
Inspiring Van Dweller # 1 : Bob Wells
Over on Bob’s blog, he has numerous articles on everything you can think of when it comes to Van Living or RVing. You’ll see articles with pictures on Van Builds, Electrical Systems, Solar, Stealth, Boon-docking, Philosophy and much more. He has even organized an event called Rubber Tramp Rendezvous where van dwellers get together to meet up, learn from each other and celebrate their lifestyle.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this documentary about Mobile Living. Bob Wells’ story was one of the main pieces of the documentary. Watch it below on YouTube:
One last thing about Bob. He wrote a book about living in your car, van or RV. It’s a very good read and a must for beginners. Check it out:
How to Live in a Car, Van or RV
Inspiring Van Dweller # 2 : Chris Travels
Chris has a YouTube channel where he has been actively uploading videos for about 4 years. His first video on living in his van debuted back on July 29th 2011. Chris lives an interesting life. He lives in his van while traveling, picks up work along the way and also makes money online. His has spent the past two summers in Alaska with his girlfriend and is now staying in Alaska for the first time during the winter.
His channel currently has 1,652 videos of his travel, van life and fishing. The channel is always growing, so if you have a lot of time, go check out his videos below:
Chris Travels on YouTube
Inspiring Van Dweller # 3 : Glenn Morrisette
I first discovered Glenn back in 2011 when I was initially doing research on RVs and living on the road. Yes, this has been on my mind for a while. Glenn has been documenting his life on the road since June of 2009 when he bought his first Class B RV (Camper Van). It was a Ford Falcon with the Intervec Conversion. His blog introduced me to the idea of a self-contained vehicle having a bed, kitchen, bathroom, seating area and storage. Awesome!
Glenn works from the road. He is a musician and records music in his vehicle and then emails the music to the client. Really cool way to earn a living.
After the Falcon, he transitioned into a Chinook Class B+ RV. This RV was about 2 feet longer than the Falcon and much more luxurious. It wasn’t long before Glenn purchased a VW Vanagon and completely gutted the thing and rebuilt it from the ground up. It was amazing to see what he accomplished with this Vanagon.
Below is a link to Glenn’s very first post. It’s very inspiring reading if you would like to read from the beginning until present. Be warned. It is addicting and will consume many hours to read all of his content. 🙂
Glenn’s Blog – Day 1
To see his current van setup, go here:
Glenn’s rebuilt VW Vanagon
Inspiring Van Dweller # 4 : Dan Travels
I just recently found Dan on YouTube. I had been away from the idea of van dwelling while I worked on other projects and when I popped my head back into the scene to see what’s happening, Dan stuck out like a sore thumb. His YouTube channel is called Dan Travels. He is from the New York area, is ex-military and seems to have a knack for knowing a lot about everything.
Not only is Dan a skilled builder, but he also seems to have a talent for spotting tasty food. He has many videos of his taste tests of different cultural foods he experiences on his travels. He was recently in Southern Florida and tried out a Cuban sandwich. One of my best friends is Cuban, so I have had many Cuban sandwichs via his Mom.
The neat thing about Dan is his willingness to help out others. He may disappear for a bit to blend in with nature, but when comes back, he is very active on his YouTube channel in the comments. He also makes detailed videos to explain his van build when he gets requests. Dan’s latest adventure was to head down to Florida and help out a fellow van dweller build the interior of his van.
Check out Dan’s YouTube Channel below:
Dan Travels Videos
Inspiring Van Dweller # 5 : Justin Credible
I first met Justin when he commented on one of my blog posts back in March 2014. The post was about me trying to figure out which Class B RV to purchase. Justin chimed in and said I should get the Xplorer. I had know idea at the time that Justin would be an individual who would inspire me later to take up van dwelling. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even respond to his comment for almost 2 months. Check it out the post here:
Justin has an awesome Class B Van with some really neat mods. He has a freaking fireplace in his van. Now, that is COOL! I only recently discovered Justin’s YouTube channel but I like his style and I wish I had his RV. 🙂 Some of his videos are controversial, which is fine, but I like how he shows what van life can be like.
Take a look at this video where Justin explains why he chose the mobile lifestyle:
You can Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World in a Van Down by River with Justin here:
Justin Credible TV
Inspiring Van Dweller # 6 : Nomadic Fanatic
Eric from the Nomadic Fanatic YouTube channel just finished his first full year as a YouTuber. I have watched his videos off and on during the year, but over the past few months I have really settled in and watched a number of his videos. First off, he does an excellent job at creating videos. One of the best Van Dweller creators I have seen. For example, check out his documentary:
Now, Eric currently lives in a Tioga Class C RV with his cat Jax, but I’m including him on my list because he has lived in vans as well and I think his videos are great. Go take a look at his YouTube channel here:
Nomadic Fanatic – Eric’s channel
Inspiring Van Dweller # 7 : Will Burson
How does a guy who just finished with his van build inspire me? Well, I find myself to be somewhat similar to Will. I come from a technical background as well. So, construction, building things and vehicle maintenance aren’t necessarily my thing. I do however believe I can do anything I set my mind to so my build will either look amateurish or I will build the best van EVER.
Back to Will. He had so many ideas in the beginning. I understood what he was going through. There are so many decisions to make when figuring out your van build. Sure, you can just wing it, but I felt like Will, being a graphic designer, wanted things to be perfect. It was Awesome when his buddy Dan Travels stepped in to help him out.
Will’s recently revealed stealth van:
Will’s van is still a work in progress but the main build is done. The good thing about Will is that he is very consistent with uploading video of his progress. See more of Will on his YouTube channel:
Inspiring Van Dweller # 8 : Wander Dano
Dano and I talked a bit earlier in the year when I was doing some research on Class B RVs. His Class B RV is the type I REALLY want but just can’t afford right now. It’s fully self-contained like Justin’s RV. I was away from the van dwelling scene for a while but when I returned I noticed Dano had bought a Go Pro and started heading south for the winter. He has a whole slew of good video footage from Florida. I especially like his bike rides. There is no better way to learn a new place than to walk it or bike it.
Not only are Dano’s video great, but he also seems to be a genuinely great guy. He travels with his cat and seems to really enjoy the lifestyle.
Below is a good video of Dano explaining that the RV/Van Dweller lifestyle doesn’t just happen overnight…it’s a process:
Go to the link below to check out more:
Wander Dano’s videos
Inspiring Van Dweller # 9 : RV Sue & Her Canine Crew
RV Sue is different than all the others on my list. First off, she’s a she. Yes, woman do live this lifestyle as well, but it appears to be more of a guy thing. I hope to meet more of the lady van dwellers in the future.
RV Sue lives in a 17 foot Casita RV with her two dogs and she tows the RV with a Chevy Express Van. She doesn’t have a YouTube channel, that I know of, but her website has a massive following. She gets 100’s of comments on just about every post. Her writing style is clever and she includes lots of pictures of her travels.
On her blog, she also does a money breakdown every month, so if you want an idea of expenses for living the lifestyle, she currently has about 2 1/2 years of data. Sue is in her sixties and has dogs as her traveling companions.
Go take a look at her blog and join in on the conversation. She is very active in the comments.
RV Sue & her Canine Crew
Inspiring Van Dweller # 10 : Living the Van Life – Chad
The fact that I have Chad in the #10 spot doesn’t mean I don’t like Chad. As a matter of fact, I think the top 3 are my greatest inspirations and the rest could go in any order.
I put Chad in the 10th spot because he is less active on his YouTube channel than the rest of the list, but going back and looking at his old videos is very worth while. Also, he recently uploaded a bunch of international videos. Not many van dwellers get the experience of traveling in other countries in a van.
In Chad’s defense, he has been working on film projects recently so the video uploads have been slow. Ha! I’m one to talk. Last we heard, about a month ago, Chad was in Spain. Where are you now Chad?
Here’s a video from the early days. One of the reasons for him being an inspiring van dwellers – Chad answering “Why he lives in a van”:
Check out Chad’s YouTube channel below:
Living the Van Life with Chad
Inspiring Van Dwellers – Honorable Mentions
A few other Van Dwellers you should check out that didn’t make my Top 10:
Mike from the Living Free YouTube Channel – Funny guy. Currently living in his van in The Slabs. He makes some cool videos and has a sweet dog named Sober.
Drive Nacho Drive – Brad and Sheena – Talk about adventure. This couple is traveling the world in their 1984 VW Vanagon named “Nacho”. The started out in the states, then down south into Baja Mexico, then all over South America and then caught a boat over to the Orient. Just unbelievable!!
Up and Coming Inspiring Van Dwellers on YouTube
Van Dwelling is either gonna end up being a fad or a movement. There are new Van Dwelling YouTube channels popping up every week and to me this looks to be a Movement. Saying NO to RENT and MORT-GAGE and yes to FREE LIVING.
Below are a couple of Van Dwelling YouTubers I wanted to mention as I think they have great potential to be successful in their adventures in Van Dwelling and I enjoy the content they create.
Kaleb S. on YouTube – This guy is sometimes very raw but his story is very inspirational. I don’t want to ruin it for you. You just need to go check out his channel. Hint: He wasn’t always in a van. He has a very different style to his videos as well.
Lisa Mallard on YouTube – Lisa is currently living in her minivan in her driveway to help get her accustomed to what will be needed when she finally takes off Full-Time on a trip around the country. The back seats have been removed, she has a bed and is constantly making improvements to her interior. Check her out if you want some idea on minivan living. I totally love this idea. Better gas mileage.
James @ Wanderlust Estate on YouTube – James just completed a massive trip of about 2 months on the road in his Conversion van. He’s from Houston, Texas and traveled all the way up to Vancouver, BC then back down through Washington, Oregon and California with a stop at The Slabs. It was a crazy long trip and he was spreading his word to reduce Global Suck. Check him out.
Well, that raps things up. Thanks for checking out my list.