So, who are we?  Well, we are Nate and Tori, living out of a van.  We are avid outdoors people.  We love hiking, mountain climbing, long distance trekking, and just traveling in general.  Minimalist living is in our blood and we love every minute of it (mostly).

To make a long story short, we spent too much time in college, graduating with a significant amount of student debt.  A couple years before graduating, we moved into a pop-up camper on the back of a truck to try to cut down on the amount of loans we would take (save on rent).  It was in those years spent in a pop-up camper that we realized that we don’t want the “American Dream”…big house, lots of kids, white picket fence.  We want to have fun, have adventures, enjoy life as much as possible while we have it.  

The result of those years spent in school, however, was a piece of paper for each of us and a mound of student debt (to the tune of ~$80,000).  Nate’s paper says he’s an Electrical Engineer; Tori’s says she’s a Chemist and Biologist.  To pay off the debt those pieces of paper put us in, we’ve spent 3 years working the typical career-oriented jobs, and living as frugally as possible: rent and/or a mortgage is one of, if not the worst and most voluminous uses of money in our opinion.  So we cut it, and chose to live first in the pop-up camper, then in a hard-sided Lance camper, but most recently in a Chevy Express cargo van we’ve been building out ourselves.  The 9-5 grind of the job’s we’re currently in is torture.  The expectation to work 40+ hours per week for 30+ years in the hopes of someday retiring is not for us.  We want freedom.  Freedom from society and debt.  Freedom to roam.  Freedom to wander and explore.

Why is van-life our mantra?  Living in a van (or just living tiny in general) is the enabler. The low cost allows debts to be paid quickly and fun money to be saved up. 

It’s certainly possible to drop everything right now and go, since we’re finally debt free, but we set some goals for ourselves to help our future selves (hopefully), and we’re very, very close to meeting them. Then we go. Soon we go. Where? That’s the exciting part, we have no plans. 

Nate and Tori


  1. Brant and Exixia

    My soon to be wife and I have spent nearly 24/7 together living in a pop-up to a fifth wheel and now a 2013 v-cross measuring 37′. But I’m not happy with ALL the space and we do wanna drive more and with that behind us it sucks. But all I got to say is its nice to see others young like us living smarter.

    • It is tricky to find the right balance of space versus economic portability. Everybody is going to have different priorities, but we’ve been determined to keep our living space as small as we can handle in order to prioritize our desire to just –go– with little commotion.

      I agree with you though, big trailer or small van, it is still living smarter!

  2. How cool. Best of luck in your endeavors… decided upon and begun at the very best time in your lives… believe it. MUCH better than waiting until you are “more stable”, or “more settled” or have “just a bit more” of SOMETHING

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