Our Story

 

WHAT DO WE DO?

“We live in a rig and drive around the world doing rad shit” -Tree

(Translation: “We” are Stevie (me), Tree (husband) and Soleil (2.5yr old daughter). The “rig” was a Sprinter van, but now that we’re exploring North America, it’s a 2003 Bounder retrofitted with full solar power. “Rad shit” entails rock climbing, surfing, making friends, exploring new towns, cooking, immersing in other cultures, learning new languages—really the list is too damn long.)

Bounder

 

WHY DO WE DO THIS?

 

Originally, this was only supposed to be a one-year trip. In 2009, after being laid off from my corporate sales job during the recession, we moved into the Sprinter and set off to drive the Pan-American Highway from L.A to the tip of South America.

Six months into it, however, we realized we were happy—really happy—which led to an epiphany that changed our lives.

Happy photo Tequila

But why would living in a tiny space, on a tight budget, in developing countries make us happier than ever before?

Intimacy and Adventure.

Daddy and Sol walking

Somehow the intimacy of walking through dusty pueblos, shopping in open-aired mercados, eating street food, and sipping cervezas in the Plaza was making us more relaxed, and easier to please. We stopped carrying pepper spray and started accepting the kindness of strangers. And the thrill of constantly arriving to a new town, riding Guatemalan chicken buses, surfing remote Costa Rican waves, and paragliding off the Andes made us feel alert and alive in a way that our former ‘routine’ never did.

So here comes the epiphany:

We must consciously co-create our experience to be happy.

Sounds obvious, but the truth is too often we stay ‘stuck’ in jobs we hate, toxic relationships, and soul-crushing routines that don’t serve us. 

As individuals and as couples, we are constantly evolving and being shaped by what we doso it’s crucial we choose experience that helps us expand in positive ways.

Thought experiment: What kind of experience makes you happy—really happy, in a deep and soulful way—and if you lived that experience most of the time, how would you be different?

For us, the answer is intimacy and adventure, and this downsized, nomadic lifestyle is how we can afford to have both in our daily life.

We realized that comfort and convenience, as nice as they are, have nothing on adventuring in the wild and exploring the world together as a family. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet created a magical utopia where money is irrelevant, and we all trade good vibes for sustenance, but we found a balance doing this.

And now with our daughter Soleil on board, we feel even more compelled to raise her as a citizen of the world, a steward of nature, and a conscious designer of an inspired life.

 Soleil and her basket of beans

WHY DO WE SHARE IT?

This will sound audacious but here it goes:

  • I’m convinced everyone needs more intimacy and adventure, so I want to share mine with you
  • By doing so, I hope to expand the concept of “home” and “family” to stretch across cultures, species, and continents because we truly are ONE.
  • For the environment, to show how downsizing can be sustainable for the soul and planet, to encourage protection of our most wild and endangered places
  • To bring you joy and laughter
  • To offer practical solutions to living this lifestyle, ranging from road recipes and guides for essential gear to manifestos like “Learning to Fly: How to Give Up the Shit that Weighs You Down.” 
  • To be of service. If intimacy and adventure bring meaning to life, then sharing those moments is the purpose.

To be clear, it’s not that we want everyone to live in a ‘rig’ and start a gypsy caravan, although that would be super cool; but we do want all of us to find our own way to live a sane and sustainable life—one that honors our inborn need for intimacy and adventure—allows us to profoundly connect with people, animals, and nature—and makes us feel happy and fulfilled.

My hope is that by sharing our story, we help you co-create a life inspired by your highest and most wildest truth.

And if you’ve come this far and still want to know where we met, how we support ourselves, or have questions about the Sprinter van, the Bounder, traveling with a dog, homeschooling/unschooling, how to learn Spanish or raise a bilingual child, crossing borders, giving birth abroad, how Tree grew his awesome mustache–anything at all–please write us a question on the forum. We love the conversation!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime – Mark Twain

 

Comments

  1. Ron Wilson says:

    Hey guys, received your Twitter ‘follow’ out of the blue, think what you are doing is great. I’ve travelled in my time but nowhere as adventurous as you two, good on ye.

    Ron

  2. Lilian Mayer says:

    Me siento MUY FELIZ de haberlos conocido y de ser parte de esta experiencia, aunque se via intrnet. Quizás muchos de nosotros quisieramos tener el CORAJE de tomar una decisión asi: dejar todo, viajar, compartir la vida y el mundo con todos. Bueno, algunos estan para hacer eso, otros estamos para recibir a los que lo hacen y darles nuestro amor cuando pasen. Eso está bueno también. Reciban todo mi amor, cariño y admiración. Es hermoso sentir como viven cada instante y la dedicación a Soleil y sus necesidade inmediatas, a las que ustedes siempre estan atentos para cubrir. Ella es afortunada por los padres que tiene, y ustedes han sido bendecidos con ese angelito. Aqui en Arequipa tienen un espacio siempre, por si la vida los vuelve a traer por estos lares: nuestra casa (sumando a Italo y a Francesca) y nuestro corazón es de ustedes. Nos vemos por la ruta. Besosssssssssssssss. Lilis

  3. Caroline says:

    So sweet to meet you both and Soleil at the tree house! I hope our paths cross again, here or there. With love, Caroline

  4. Hey Stevie and Tree –

    Terrific meeting you and your brood at Paul’s Friday. I’ve been checking out your site here and am filled with intrigue and envy and admiration. In a way, your adventure reminds me of our family’s year-long European camping jaunt — the one my sister Pam and I were reminiscing about. But ours was essentially a vacation — with an itinerary and end set in stone. Yours, on the other hand, is your life. Big difference.
    One important similarity, though, is the introduction of your kids to different cultures of the world. I was eleven when we took our trip and 50 years later I am still extremely grateful to my folks for exposing me to the different ways of different peoples and the lifelong curiosity and empathy that year instilled in me.

    Consider me a regular reader from now on. By the way, how the heck did you get permission to go to Cuba?

    Rusty

    • Hey Rusty,
      It was GREAT to meet you. To answer your question, we went into Cuba through Mexico. It was still illegal, but we made it in and out. We’re actually planning to go again this May with Soleil. It’s our favorite country!

      Leave us a comment anytime. Lets keep in touch.

      cheers

  5. This may be a bit personal but how can you afford traveling around the world? How do you finance your traveling?

  6. Hi! I love the fact that you´re living your dream! It is very impressive! I assume that it has to be hard sometimes? It is very inspiring for me to read about your adventures and I hope I can do the same one day. It seems great just traveling the world and living on nothing more than we really need. I wish you nothing but happiness!:)

    • Thank you for commenting, Elin. It’s always so inspiring to me when I know people are out there, reading our story. Yes, sometimes life on the road can be challenging, but the ongoing adventure and opportunity to connect with wild places, different cultures, and cool people makes it all worthwhile. I wouldn’t trade it for anything….not even a bathtub 🙂

  7. I always loved every little bit of info about sprinter….this is even greater; lots of luck and looking forward to keep following you and your nomads; Thought experiment: What kind of experience makes you happy—really happy, in a deep and soulful way—and if you lived that experience most of the time, how would you be different? THIS made me think…..very true this; I also worked constantly in a place that I no longer find any happiness; time for me to also spread my wings; im venturing out on my own; its time.

    • Thanks Brenda for making the switch with us. I love getting your comments. They always make my day. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you ‘spreading your wings!” I have a short free e-book called “Learning to Fly” that I’ll be publishing soon. Hopefully it inspires a new adventure for you 🙂

  8. You guys are amazing!

  9. Anonymous says:

    U guys are so nice

  10. Hey guys, I love what you have going here and wish to follow down the same path once I am in a good position to. I find it amazing, the places you go. Camping, hiking, on the road, none of the redundant structure of life in the city. It really brings me joy. Keep sharing, this is amazing!

  11. Wow, what a journey! We are headed on a road trip adventure with our two boys in a couple months. We will be traveling around the west coast and southwest and could not be more excited about our trip and spending more time bonding as a family and sharing experiences.

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