Van Life Ladies - Part 1
Updated: Nov 16
Six of our favorite Van Life Ladies are living life solo on the road
With international travel and social distance restrictions on the rise and COVID cases blowing through the roof, a home of your own on the open road is more enticing now than ever.
For many reasons, Van Life has already become an increasingly popular alternative lifestyle in the past decade and even more so in recent years. Whether it was an economical, entrepreneurial, or an independent streak, or a need to travel by whatever means necessary, Van Life is far from a passing trend. Even famous travel bloggers and YouTubers have put their passports aside and pointed their selfie sticks towards van tours with a National Park backdrop. So, how does one live and work and travel in a van? Read on as we catch up with these six Van Life Ladies who have hit the road solo, on their own. Although, many have a pet or two in tow. What Exactly is Van Life? Van Life entails living, eating, bathing, and sleeping 24/7 in a van or another automotive vehicle. While Van Life is similar to living in an RV, it calls for a more minimalist lifestyle.
One significant upside to Van Life is the physical, financial, and mental freedom it allows. As detailed below, many Van Life Ladies work to create more storage in their vans by installing a mad mix of shelves, compartments, and appliances to optimize their cozy living space. Another common aspect of Van Life is bringing a pet or a loved one on the road with you! In this feature, we cover ladies who roll solo or perhaps with a pet. Van Life is a fun -- and functional -- way to travel to new places, meet new people, and gain new experiences at a fraction of the far-flung price. Cozy up with a cup of Joe or tea and take a sneak peek into the lives of these fabulous, fierce, and independent ladies who are living life full-tilt on their own terms and in their vans! Laura Edmondson Laura Edmondson of the “Let Us Rest” podcast is a Jill of all trades. She works as a podcast host, an athlete, writer, and DEI and Sustainability consultant -- all while living in her van!
Laura's journey with van life began about four and a half years ago when she bought her first van -- a 25 year red Ford. She started with short term adventures in her vehicle. Then last year, Laura left her day job as an educator to pursue full-time van life in a 2013 Ford Transit Connect. Laura had been happy traveling solo in her van with her black and tan Cavalier puppy, Willy, until the Covid-19 pandemic put her travel plans on hold. Laura reflected on the pandemic's impact on van life and said that so much of her van design relied on utilizing resources like gym showers, coffee shops, etc. While it may not be safe to travel long distances or go into public spaces, Laura is still making the most of her van life and is still an active educator, advocate, and writer while living and working out of her van! Much of Laura's content has a social justice angle, as she frequently posts resources, lessons, and guides about social awareness, intersectional travel, and sustainability. These topics are especially important in our current climate. It’s easy to admire and appreciate Laura's commitment to educating her audiences about social and political issues in relation to travel and the environment. To anyone starting the journey to van life, looking to buy a van, or yearning to travel, Laura says, "Go for it!" She also says not to be afraid to fail and emphasizes that van life's beauty is that it can and should look different for everyone. When in doubt, Laura says to think about why you decided to pursue van life in the first place, whether it is a love of nature, a nomadic personality, or a passion for travel. You can follow Laura's travels and passion at Laura.Edmondson on Instagram and LauraEdmondson.co. Jennelle Eliana Jennelle Eliana, known for her YouTube channel (Jennelle Eliana) has been living the van life with her adorable white snake, Alfredo, since September 2017. For Jennelle, van life was a way to live independently without having to pay rent at an apartment -- the freedom to travel was a plus!
Jennelle made the decision to move into a van while pursuing her undergraduate degree in central California . She realized that the only time she spent at home was to eat and sleep, and that van life may provide more physical and financial freedom. Her local data entry job allowed for flexibility in her schedule, and Jennelle even spent her lunch hours in the office parking lot renovating the inside of her van! In the first year of owning and living in the van, Jennelle stayed in town and saved money at her job. Eventually, she was able to downsize and start working part-time. It was a bonus that Jennelle's company allowed her to take the time off to travel. Jennelle has since traveled throughout California, including destinations like Joshua Tree National Park, Point Reyes, and Los Angeles. Jennelle lived in her baby blue 1995 GMC Vandura Explorer for the first three years on the road before buying a larger vehicle, a cream 1991 Toyota Hiace mini RV. While van life often calls for a minimalist lifestyle, Jennelle's van decor is an excellent example of how minimalism does not always equal neutral colors and empty walls. The van's interior has eclectic souvenirs from her travels, floral bandanas that function as black-out curtains, and brightly colored drapes and wallpaper. Jennelle has created a cozy, personalized space that matches her dynamic personality. Her YouTube channel provides a fresh, comedic, and educational perspective on van life. You can find her on YouTube at Jennelle Eliana, and on Instagram at @JennelleEliana. Sydney Ferbrache Sydney Ferbache of Divine on the Road works full time out of her van as a lifestyle influencer. She lives with her golden retriever, Ella, and chihuahua, Pearl.
Before moving into the van, Sydney attended school and worked in event management in Indianapolis, Indiana, She yearned to get something more out of life and wanted to see the world. When she discovered van life in college, Sydney was immediately taken with the nomadic lifestyle that the van life offered. After graduating from college, Sydney found her van, a Ford Transit 148" High Roof, online and started building and renovating the van for full time living and travel. After living the van life for over two years, Sydney has now traveled across the United States and her destinations include Montana, Texas, Oregon, and California. Sydney recently renovated her van, and is embarking on new adventures on the East Coast of America! Sydney's blog, "Divine on the Road," podcast, “My Solo Road,” and TikTok account offer a first-hand perspective on living van life. She shares helpful tips and tricks, day to day accounts of van living, and even a step by step guide to building your van. Some of my favorite pieces include how she takes showers, preps her van for cold and warm weather, and her morning routine. The authenticity and accessible resources that Sydney brings to her platform are a draw. She shares how she has been able to monetize her van life journey and provides strategies for saving money and financially supporting yourself on the road. Whether you are looking to purchase your first van, research the transition to van life, or want to see some adorable footage of Sydney's dogs on the road, Divine on the Road is the stop for you. You can follow it all at Divine on the Road and @DivineOnTheRoad. Tiffany Grayce - Where is Tiffany “In solitude, I find my answers” is the quote Tiffany Grayce uses to introduce us to her website. Tiffany has found happiness and peace in her solo travels and her adventures living on the road for the past six years.
She shares how she “walked away from an eleven-year unhealthy relationship” and how her life changed for the better since leaving her ex-boyfriend behind and embarking on her solo travels. Tiffany lives in a 2019 Winnebago Travato van and has visited three countries, 17 states, and 23 National Parks in her travels. Her goal is to hit all US National Parks, then to make her way to Canada’s parks as well. Tiffany has destination guides on her blog for Niagara Falls, Oregon, and Texas. She includes specific places to visit, anecdotes from her travels, and recommendations for future travelers. As a solo Black female traveler, one of the few living the Van Life, Tiffany uses her platform to inform women about the overall aspects of van life, specific travel destinations, and how she has adapted to her van life. Her blog empowers women to take control of their lives and find happiness through self-connection. You can find her on her blog, Where is Tiffany, YouTube Channel, and Instagram. Emily Abrahams - Breath of Wild Air Emily Abrahams is a photographer, teacher, dog trainer, and writer from Victoria, Australia. Emily travels in her van with her border collie, Loki, and her blog provides a visually stunning, and authentic perspective of her journeys throughout Europe.
Emily lived in her van for over a year, and while she is no longer on the road, she is still active on her social media platforms, and her blog is a stellar resource for anyone interested in the van life. Emily’s transition to and from van life also showcases how van life doesn’t always have to be a permanent lifestyle change and that the experience of living in a van for even a year can be life-changing. For Emily, van life was a way for her to continue working as a photographer, start writing her book, and travel throughout Europe. Emily’s talent for photography and editing shines in her blog. She has a conversational yet reflective style in her blog posts. She often includes her daily “gratitudes,” vibrant photos from her destination, and photos of Loki exploring nature. Emily’s content reminds us of the serenity and the mindfulness that nature brings to our lives. Van life seems like the perfect way to access nature at all hours of the day and night. You can follow it all at Breath of Wild Air on the blog, YouTube, and Instagram. Wild She Goes/Pam the Van - Marina Piro Marina is another Van-Lifer who has explored much of Europe, as she is originally from Italy. Marina has traversed Switzerland, Belgium, and Scotland in her van, Pam. Pam is a 2001 Renault Kangoo.
Marina was accompanied by her sweet yellow Labrador dog, Odie, who sadly passed away last year. In honor of Odie’s passing, Marina set up a fundraiser for “I Pelosetti di Silvana Onlus,” an Italian pet adoption agency that helps find homes for abandoned dogs. Odie is still present in Marina’s writing, and his memory lives on in videos, photos, and in the wilderness, he loved to explore. Marina’s content on her blog, Pam the Van, is relatable, yet educational, and captivating visually. Her website is easy to navigate. She shares many helpful resources, like her van conversion guide, reviews of equipment, and the pros and cons of solo travel. You can find countless videos on Marina’s YouTube channel, Wild She Goes, where she posts van stories, Q&A’s, and travel vlogs. Marina accounts for her transition from different vans and vehicles and displays how she has renovated and modeled each van for maximum space and efficiency. Her videos make you feel like you are right on the trail, campsite, or beach with her. You can follow Marina on her YouTube channel at Wild She Goes, Instagram at @WildSheGoes91 and blog, Pam the Van.
Written by Julia Bodolay