Creative studio on four wheels.

On their YouTube channel “Dynamo Ultima” Lexi and Cody provide insights into the ups and downs of their lives in the van, which serves them as a mobile studio.

The ups and downs of Vanlife.

Living to work or working to live? For Lexi and Cody, the latter is true. With their laptops open, the couple sits opposite each other in their converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the open rear doors reveal the lush green forests of Oregon. Originally, Lexi and Cody wanted to create an entertaining reality TV show with their YouTube channel “Dynamo Ultima” that realistically depicts life in a van while keeping their friends and family up to date. They describe their style as bizarre and humorous: “We take nothing too seriously and enjoy life to the fullest.”

Cody sits in front of his laptop at the Sprinter's workstation

With their four-wheeled office, Lexi and Cody take the term “open office” to a new level.

Get rid of ballast: Less is more.

MYVAN: You have been travelling full-time through North America in your Mercedes-Benz Sprinter since 2016. How did this come about?
Lexi: Before that, we drove through the States in a sedan. We had a great time and enjoyed every minute, even if sleeping on the reclining seats was not very comfortable. After we finished college, we decided to live in a van. We sold all the stuff from our studio apartment and our cars. Until then we were not even aware of how much stuff we had and downsizing was a very relieving feeling. Then we started with the van conversion and have not looked back since. Since then we live completely in our van and use our parental homes only for our mail and for a few sentimental objects that we couldn’t part with.

Our van is our mobile office.

Life is too short to spend it at the office.

MYVAN: What was the idea for your YouTube channel?
Lexi: We wanted to share with others how we decided to live. People are often stuck in a rather conservative view. By exemplifying our unique lifestyle, we can inspire others to break out of their everyday lives or even embark on their own lives as digital nomads. According to the motto “There are no rules how you should live your life.”

MYVAN: How do you earn your living?
Cody: Dynamo Ultima has two faces. On one hand, we focus on creative customer work. This means we support companies in the areas of branding, product design, web design and video production. On the other, we help individuals to go their own way as “digital nomads”. We create e-courses, workshops and templates for people who want to start their own business and make travel a part of their work.

  • The workplace in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter by Lexi and Cody
  • Lexis and Cody's dog is sitting in front of a laptop in the back seat of the van
  • Lexi sits on the back seat of her Sprinter and looks out the windows of the rear doors
  • The comfortable bed of Lexi and Cody in the Sprinter

Full-time nomads – at home on the road.

Why has Vanlife become more and more popular in recent years? “Most standard jobs are not worth the pay for the time,” the unconventional thinkers find. The opportunity to experience so many different places through life in a van: Priceless for Lexi and Cody. They have also taken a liking to the minimalist lifestyle. They use their travels to go on a discovery tour through the USA. “We like to stay in the western states because they are much less populated. There are also many more public parking areas on the west coast.” Almost more important for the two vagabonds than the destinations are the people they meet on the way. “We often went to van conventions and we met many astonishing people. Most of them have a similar motivation for living in the van – so we’re a big community.”

Living in the Sprinter – undoubtedly a good decision.

MYVAN: Have you ever had any doubts about your plan of shifting your life to the Sprinter?
Cody: We never had any doubts about our lifestyle, quite the contrary. However, there are times when we miss life in a house. If we need a fixed place to stay in between times, we simply visit friends or family. But there were also setbacks now and then. For example, we got stuck in the sand a few times. But that was 90 percent user error and the remaining ten percent was due to bad tires. After initial despair, we finally found out that our doormats could serve us as tangible underlay. That was learning on the job!

Lexi and Cody are standing in their Sprinter, surrounded by conifers on a forest parking lot

On their blog Lexi and Cody give valuable tips on how to earn money with life “on the road”.

The conversion: Practice makes perfect.

Since restoration was out of the question for the couple, they chose a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. They found it at a dealer in Oregon. Nevertheless, they wanted to take the conversion into their own hands. Existing expertise in matters of craftsmanship? Not a chance. But that was no problem for the all-rounders: Thanks to a tried and tested problem-solving strategy and some research on the net, the project was completed in no time. “If we didn’t know how to do something, we’d research and ask around until we figured out how to do it.” They had to acquire a wide variety of skills, from carpentry and electrics to plumbing. The biggest difficulty: Exact dimensions. Because the body of the van is slightly curved in many places. They would describe their van as “clean, modern and quirky”.

Six ways to make money while travelling:

  1. Write an e-book and sell it: With the appropriate software, e-books can be created and offered online independently.
  2. Start blogging and create an Amazon affiliate account: You can blog flexibly from anywhere. The blog can be monetized with affiliate links.
  3. Create your own YouTube channel: YouTube is a good way to earn money; it just takes a little patience. From 10,000 followers you are eligible for monetization.
  4. Share your knowledge and offer online courses: You have mastered something particularly well? Then share your skills in the form of e-courses.
  5. Take on freelance jobs: Jobs such as writing, marketing, social media, graphic design and the like can often be done from a distance. And if it goes well, you may soon be able to start your own business.
  6. Sell digital products: Whether stock images, photo presets or templates of any kind – there are numerous online platforms for selling digital products and thus generating a passive income.

Freedom is the key to happiness.

MYVAN: And last but not least, what are your plans for the future?
Lexi: Plans are constantly changing in our lifestyle. We are considering selling our van to convert another one. At the moment we want to make contacts and build up a network. The beauty of our way of life is that we don’t have to carve plans in stone – that’s the ultimate freedom.

Lexi is lying on the bed of her Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with the rear doors open

Goodbye boredom: On rainy days Lexi and Cody often watch all the Lord of the Rings movies.

Lexi and Cody's Sprinter parked in the desert

Lexi and Cody travel through the USA in their Sprinter and work while on the road.

The interior of the extended van with plenty of space to sit and large storage compartments

The conversion of the van took Lexi and Cody five months and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Lexi lies on the bed of her converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and reads a book

From their Sprinter the pair have created a cozy work and living space.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Alexandria Smith & Cody Cheng

More Links to explore: dynamoultima.com – @Instagram, @YouTube

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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