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Hike Utah for a week under the orange eroded caves of Arches National Park. Spend the morning in the shadow of the picturesque mountains and take a month’s road trip through the vast parts of Colorado. In the afternoon I had coffee near a national landmark and at night I watched the sunset from the roof of my car.
This is the presence of a Philadelphia couple, Dunlieber (31) and Mackenzie Hartram (24), who exchanged a South Street apartment for a refurbished Ram 3500 Promaster.
Lieber and Hartram are pioneers.
What began as a rugged nomadic niche culture evolved into the lifestyle of millennial social media creators in the 2010s, with regards to traveling alone, building a kitchen from scratch, and decorating mobile homes like a small anthropologie. Created a hint cottage industry. Instagram’s vanlife hashtag contains 11.6 million posts, many of which are summarized in the same element. Stunning outdoor landscapes, small house slideshows, and thoughts on how remote work provided the freedom to travel the world.
“This may be strange, but my dream is to live in a van,” Lieber recalled Hartram telling him on his first date in 2019. With a full-time job in wealth management at Gold Mach Sax, I felt it was impossible. “After that, a pandemic occurred and I was able to work from anywhere.”
Since August, the pair has cataloged life in a compact living space on their Instagram account @vanziehartlieb (the portmanteau of their surname). There, more than 11,000 followers get vanside yoga, desert campouts, and all previous sneak peaks, and the mundane things that happen in the meantime.
For clarity, lifestyles that are often transformed into van influences are expensive and are ideal for people with flexible work who do not need to meet in the office. Vanlifers is an entrepreneur, advertising agency executive, and full-time freelancer. Lieber currently operates the MERR Consulting Group, a boutique digital marketing agency.
The couple purchased the Ram 3500 in August 2020. Two trials were required to build the interior. Lieber and Hartram spent a month and a half building a living space to show to the family, and the family immediately intervened. I spent the winter in Poconos, working with Hartrumus’ father and brother, a pair of carpenters, to make the van easier to live in. According to Hartram, the most difficult parts were plumbing and electricity, but her father watched some YouTube videos and understood that.
“After doing that, it’s really like building a house,” Hartram said. Her favorite part is the loft bed, which looks down at the window and “everything outside feels like our living room.” As for Lieber, he liked their study corner (yes, in the van), which he said had a coffee shop atmosphere and lots of wall art.
VanLife’s daily overheads are fairly low, “only insurance, gas and food,” says Lieber, but upfront investments can be quite steep.
The high end is approaching $ 100,000, and a blog post scrutinizes the $ 40,000 contract between a $ 25k retro Volkswagen and a van refurbishment company to trim the interior. The DIY construction cost for Lieber and Hartrum, including solar panels, was about $ 16,000 and was built on a new vehicle that was returned to $ 50,000 with an extended warranty. The couple said they paid it off with a monthly payment of $ 500 to $ 600.
Khartoum and Lieber have been on the road almost consistently for about nine months. They first went south, stopped at Asheville, North Carolina on their way to the Florida Keys, and then turned west to explore Utah, Arizona, and Colorado hiking trails.
Not the same day, but Hartram said there was a pattern. Wake up to town, work in a coffee shop until noon, go on a long hike in the afternoon, and spend the night at local bars and restaurants. Other vanlifers are camping in the area.
“We want to not just visit, but immerse ourselves in the culture of what it feels like to live there wherever we are,” Lieber said. Learn how to boulder so that you can see the famous Funnel Arch on Instagram near Sedona or in Moab.
Second, there are social media that are almost essential to the van life experience.
The couple said they had never met “a van riffer who doesn’t have any public Instagram or Facebook.” With @vanziehartlieb, Hartrum focuses on creative, photo editing, and winding captioning, while Lieber uses a data analytics background to build account strategies and partner with brands.
Lieber described Instagram as a side hustle or passionate project, rather than a real source of revenue at this time. So far, the couple has collaborated with brands such as wellness beverage Oaza and solar maker AcoPower, but they want to join a partnership that aligns with other aspects of their lives.
“I want to work with software companies, but those companies haven’t seen the market for creators like us yet,” Liber suggested, citing a perfect connection to remote work. ..
Hartram said Van Riffer has gained a lot of support because the image they sell is a “realistic dream,” but she warned that she would dive into it without planning. She and Lieber spent two weeks driving California on an SUV ready to see how things felt.
“We only did it for a month or two and met many people who put a lot of time, money and resources into the van, but they don’t enjoy it,” she says. I did. .. “Our life may look beautiful online, but it’s not always beautiful.”
Lieber vows not to embark on becoming an Instagram influencer.Couples started posting photos after family and friends started “hecklers” [them] I’m always looking for photos and updates. I still read a lot of my account like a personal diary.
“We have a confession. It’s terrible for us to plan something,” begins the caption of a November 2 photo of a couple holding hands in front of a scenic desert background. To do.
Another photo on hand from mid-November riffs about fighting the inherent loneliness of being on the road. This is a recurring theme, but it’s also part of the package.
A week before Thanksgiving, the couple wrote, “I’m from Philadelphia.” “It’s still hard to imagine the whole winter without snow, and it’s even harder to imagine the next vacation without family and friends. That said, we’re all about the future and the sun. I’m excited about the new experience waiting for us under. “