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Reconnecting with Nature Via Life on the Road in a VW Van

This couple has lived and traveled the country out of their 1976 VW van for three and a half years. What began as an adventure has become a life.

When city life and the typical life routine of work during the week in order to enjoy the weekend proved unsatisfying, Rachel Goldfarb and James Campbell did what countless people before them have done. They made the decision to radically alter the paradigm. The opted for adventure and freedom over stability and the dubious notion of security.

They quit their jobs and sold everything but what they needed to live, fit it all into an 80-square foot yellow 1976 VW Westfalia model camper bus, and hit the open road. They named their new home on wheels Sunshine.

They have no credit card debt, no storage locker back home, no mortgage, no chains. They travel the country and work – mostly as seasonal farm laborers – when money runs low. It’s probably fair to say that they live a kind of hobo lifestyle, but they ride Sunshine instead of railway trains to get to where they’re going.

“We wanted to live more wildly, more primitively,” said Rachel. And that they have, camping in beautiful places and seeing America like few are able to. “We feel as though we’ve gained the world in that we park the bus in deep, dense forests with no permanent human habitation for miles,” she continues. “In that way, we own huge tracts of land for one night at a time.”

It’s not all sunshine (no pun intended) and daisies, this life James and Rachel have chosen for now. Living out of a VW bus has its own challenges. There are mechanical problems, comfort problems, mother nature problems. There is a story of toughing it out in Montana during a several-days-long October snow and wind storm. It’s a good story, written by Rachel, with an ending lesson and declaration that speaks to a truth and a remedy that many understand.

“In our quest for comfort,” writes Rachel, “we have created an utterly dull existence [truth]; an existence I escaped through reconnection with the physical world [remedy].

I don’t think theirs is the kind of life all of us would want to live, but I think the basic premise is right and true for many of us: reconnecting with the nature is good, very good.

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Reconnecting with Nature Via Life on the Road in a VW Van