The Vanlife Voyage

Updated: Mar 14

I'm a big believer in saying, "yes."


Yes to things that excite me.

Yes to things that challenge me.

And most importantly, yes to

things that scare the shit out of me.


Jumping into this experience was the latter.


Photographers and vans seem like a bit of a stereotype to me. There are lots of us out there. But it's no coincidence - flexibility and mobility make have make good opportunities possible. In 2017, I put a shell on my truck and built a bed and storage for camping. A year later, I hit the road to start working remotely.


The vanlife movement wasn't a new concept to me. I'd spent the better part of my twenties traveling around the world managing horses, sleeping in empty stalls or horse trailers on the road. A van sounded downright luxurious.


After a solid year of researching, test-driving, reading blogs, and watching YouTube tutorials, I was as ready as I'd ever be. I sold my very beloved truck and - slightly terrified by what I was about to commit to - I bought a 2006 diesel Sprinter cargo van.


I had minimal building knowledge, zero electrical experience, and a completely empty shell of a van... Over the next year friends, family, and complete strangers would extend their help, knowledge, and weekends to help with the interior. From installing insulation + walls, to painting, mounting a bed and counter, installing the ceiling + floor, finding the right electrical system to power a refrigerator, computers, and cameras - everyone chipped in.


For me, it was a reminder to reach out for help. It was a reminder to think outside the box and trust my instincts. It's not always been a smooth ride. The first month, I slept on the floor with a camp pad. Without four wheel drive, I've managed to get myself stuck three times - twice in snow, once in mud. My radiator started leaking in west Texas on Easter Sunday. My transmission ate shit on a highway interchange outside of Boston during a summer heat wave. Vanlife has included its own challenges, but it's allowed me to say yes to so many opportunities. It's allowed to simplify and focus on what's most important to me.


This year, I was able to work in California, Colorado, Texas, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Ohio. I've met more kind people than I ever imaged. I've learned for mentors, and am reminded to stay open and loving.


I look forward to another year, with many safe passages, and another year capturing important moments for amazing people.


So it is with much gratitude that I say thank you, and yes to the year ahead. I'm excited for the projects on the horizon, and hope that you're inspired to say "yes" in a meaningful way to you!


Cheers to following the trail less travelled!




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© 2020 by EMMA PERKUHN