Field Notes: Van Life with Rachel + Sunny
07 January 2022
Curious about van life? Read about Rachel & her pup Sunny!
How did you start your van life?
Frank and I, like many others, had been dreaming for a bit about van life years prior but were both stuck in a vicious cycle of over-working in the city. Once the pandemic hit and the majority of our work was no longer available, we realized we needed to re-frame our thinking about what our needs and wants were for our lives. We realized we did have the power to make van-life happen by working from home and moving out of our apartment and getting rid of our things. I found a van for sale at a low mileage and we rented it to try the model out. We fell in love with the lifestyle and the van and ended up buying it.
One week later, Frank mentioned he could pick me up from work (in the van) and surprised me as I opened the door, as an adorable corgi (which I'm high key obsessed with corgis) was inside the door wearing a backpack. Inside the backpack was a Pokemon ball with a ring inside. Frank proposed by saying "I choose you" and the nerd in me threw up about 10x. So, with our new home on wheels, a corgi and an engagement- we hit the road. Here's the full video if you want a good cry: https://youtu.be/KhvEmacknHU
How do you think living in a van has impacted Sunny? What products do you use for her? How has the Springer water bottle helped in your travels?
Sunny has seen more in her first year of living in (and outside) the van than most 1 year olds. She is absolutely spoiled and quirky in her own weird ways. She goes with us just about everywhere. If anything she's more like an outdoor cat since she hops up like a bunny to get wherever she wants in the van and fully embraces every environment we've introduced her to.
With our changing environments we like to keep her diet consistent and she's really taken to Neo Bites topper to keep her gut in check and we recently got her Springer’s Mini Travel Bottle which fits perfectly in the center cup holder of our van and is at her height for drinking. It's great because she will go up to it when she is thirsty, so she always stays hydrated!
What do you do for work?
I'm an actress and content creator. In a world that's mostly transitioned online, I've found most of my auditions to be via Zoom or self-tape. We installed a pull curtain in between the cabin of the van to give myself a backdrop for self-taping. Content creation has been in high demand too, so I've been able to self-produce shoots for brands that Frank will also help film content for. We're thankful to be able to work from just about anywhere by diversifying our network providers and getting a secondary hot spot.
Any tips for other van life people?
If you are considering taking the leap, rent first to be sure this is what you really want to do. It'll give you a better idea of what model you want, if you want to build yourself, buy used or hire a contractor. Planet Fitness is the best $23/month you'll spend. We workout and shower there and it's helped us maintain our workout regime since it's also our showering opportunity. Whenever we want to escape the Texas heat, have more privacy, and/or hone in on work, we'll work out of a coffee shop or rent a coworking space.
In the beginning, it may seem like a lot of adjustments and you'll quickly realize you're your own mechanic, researcher, hype-person, accountability partner and so much more. Ultimately, the lack of having conveniences and luxuries is truly transformative for your soul and the freedom you'll experience is irreplaceable.