Mike and Jess of Van There live their lives pursuing balance, adventure, and freedom.
A married couple in Baltimore, the pair owned a house and worked successful careers but were looking for a big change with adventure. During a trip through the Tetons, they came across a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 for sale and decided it was time to take action. They worked hard to convert their dream van and hit the road within a year.
Beyond living on the road and working from their van, Mike and Jess have made it a priority to enjoy outdoor activities on a daily basis.
I remember the first time I saw their van and all the gear they carried with them. Impressed doesn’t even begin to cover how I felt. While I was preparing to walk half a mile to the bathroom, Mike swiftly pulled out a bike and offered it to me. After living on the road for a while, it can be easy to find a routine and forget that you’re there with intention of experiencing the world. Instead, Mike and Jess are taking full advantage of their lifestyle, from paddle boarding, to biking, to hiking 22 miles in a day.
“We did all of the steps that you are suppose to take to build this career, to build this retirement fund and we decided we would do pre-retirement instead.”
Even after totaling their first van during an accident with a herd of elk, they never became discouraged from life on the road. They worked diligently and efficiently to convert a second van in just 30 days, naming their new vehicle, “Van Hailey”, after the location the accident took place.
We were lucky to recently join them in Northern Pennsylvania to learn more about them, check out their new rig, and explore the beautiful East Coast.
Jess works from the road as a biochemist with a doctorate, helping bridge the gap of communication between the science field and the public. She translates technical information to help build understanding within her field.
With a background in architecture, Mike has a beautiful style of drawing where his previous training is evident. He set out with a goal to draw for an hour everyday and overtime, began selling his artwork online.
If you’ve ever met up with them on the road, you know there will surely be music at night around a campfire. In addition to all their adventure gear, they made room for a guitar, which Mike frequently uses as the perfect end-of-the-day soundtrack.