Van life connects you with such talented people. Some will become friends and others can even become precious reliable collaborators, Mary Ashley Krogh is one of those and after working on a few great projects with her, it was about time we share her story!
Can you tell us your story?
Hey there, my name is MAK! I am an illustrator and freelance designer who lives, works and travels full time from my 1985 VW Vanagon named Stanley with my awesome husband Owen! We have been on the road since April 2016.
To go a little further back: I grew up in a military family who moved ALL the time! I think that I have had about 26 home addresses thus far in my life. So, it came as no surprise that I ended up gravitating towards a more nomadic lifestyle. In addition to all the traveling, I like to spend my time surfing, hiking, climbing, doing yoga, and finding secret swimming holes.
How does living/working on the road impact your creativity?
One of the reasons why Owen and I wanted to live on the road in the first place, was that we want to follow what inspires us. We love being outside, surrounded by the unknown, and filling our days with new experiences. As a creative, all of those things influence my work. Since being on the road, I have found that my work is constantly improving and growing faster than I ever thought was possible. I also think that, because I have chosen to live in a way that makes me incredibly happy, I am inherently making better work for myself and my clients!
There is definitely an element of difficulty that comes with working from the road. All the things that inspire me also tend to draw me away from productivity. Sometimes, it can be the hardest thing in the world to sit down and get work done when I know there are waves to be caught and mountains to be explored.
You collaborate with many people from the community, can you talk about a few recent projects?
I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with people in the van/full-time traveling community! It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of working on the road. It is so fun to team up with people that are living nomadically, and still making killer things happen! Together, we are expelling the myth that van life means putting your careers on hold! It is also really nice to have clients that are coming from a place of understanding, so we can make something really great together.
Some of my favorite projects lately have been branding Salty Summits, a couple who travel, live, and blog from a VW in Australia… they make me wish I was in Australia! I am also working on an event map for an outdoor fest that is starting this year. From time to time I get the opportunity to work with Owen (who is an animator) on large animation projects. I really enjoy working on animations with him because it pushes me out of my comfort zone and requires me to think more dynamically about my work. I have also loved designing some killer shirts & tanks for Go-Van; they are awesome and you should check them out!
It looks like surfing changed your life lately, how are your barrels going?
I have actually been surfing for as long as I can remember. My summers growing up were spent visiting and surfing with my family in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. So, surfing is not a new love in my life. Living on the road has given me the opportunity to be able to chase breaks that I never dreamed of surfing! I am looking forward to surfing in Canada and Washington state this year. Then I will have surfed my way down the West Coast!
Are you in contact with other women living on the open road? Can you name a few that inspire you?
This is a really good question! I, unfortunately, find myself going really long periods of time without spending time with other women. Missing that companionship is not something that I ever thought I would miss on the road, but it is definitely something that I have realized I want more of in my life. It takes a special kind of lady to live on the road, and I get that…because I am one. I just wish there were more women on the road; I always feel like we are under-represented in the outdoor community. Thankfully, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few bad ass lady adventurers along the way! Jessica of Live. Work. Wander., Alex of A Girl in Her Van, and Nives of Camp Trend. All of the aforementioned are amazing and strong women that are making it happen on the road, and I always wish I had more time with them!
I definitely have a few lady travelers who inspire me! Some live on the road and some do not. They are incredible and if I ever get the chance to meet them, just know I will have a big grin on my face! These ladies are as follows: Captain Liz Clark, Alison Teal of Alison’s Adventures, and Alison Turner.
Which state is your favorite and why?
Hawaii will always be at the top of my list! I grew up on Oahu, and having the ocean so close at all times is really comforting to me. Since being on the road, I have also really fallen in love with California (who hasn’t?). I love how geographically diverse it is. You can be surfing in the morning and climbing in the mountains in the evening, and there is nothing better than that in my opinion!
Which National Park is your favorite and why?
So far, I would have to say Arches National Park, in Utah, is my favorite. Arches have a landscape that is so far from anything that I am used to. I just can’t get enough of the desert.