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At home in adventure: Mike and Jess’ vanlife.

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Even a crash with a with a wild animal and a total write-off cannot keep the two outdoor fans from living their dream: Living and traveling in their van.

Day-to-day adventure.

The tea kettle hisses. Jess takes the boiling water from the camping stove and fills two enamel cups. On it the writing “Happy Camper”. Their stomachs are rumbling – fresh air stimulates the appetite. A fresh salad and some bread is quickly served on a wooden table under some trees. As simple as the meal is, so rich is the Californian idyll of nature: Far and wide only birds can be heard and the quiet cracking of the forest floor with every step. In the distance, Lake Berryessa glistens in the evening sun. The perfect setting for Mike to create his daily work of art. Since the beginning of the journey, he has recorded each station on his blog with a colored drawing. Meanwhile he also produces customer requests. His wife Jess has already had her productive hours. She was busy writing e-mails and PR texts this morning.

  • A couple lies in the van with a view of a lake
  • View of a lake scenery
  • An American river valley
  • A couple sitting in the forest with a guitar

A trekking holiday was a real eye-opener.

A full-time nomadic life? The couple had never given it a thought. They lived in a row house in Baltimore. Mike was an architect and had just discovered his passion for drawing. Jess, a biochemist with a doctorate, worked in a PR agency as a communications consultant. However, everything changed two years ago during a trekking holiday through the Grand Teton National Park. At the roadside was a Sprinter with a for sale sign. “That was a great moment for us,” the two outdoor fans remember. “Even then we had the desire to live in a minimalist, conscious and free way. We wanted to experience something.” Less than a year later, they left their old life and set off in their dark blue Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 – towards adventure.

Travel tip:

Mike and Jess have now visited 44 states. The former east coasters have a clear favorite: “Oregon took our breath away. The state is so incredibly beautiful. We spent a month there.”

Homeless as a result of an accident with a moose.

Through deserts, mountains and forests – with every kilometer the certainty of having done the right thing grew. Until a moose suddenly crossed their path at full speed. Mike and Jess escaped with scratches, but the Sprinter was totaled – and so was their new home. “At first we were shocked. After all, we were homeless,” says Jess. “But we also realized that after the accident, our desire to live in the van was stronger than ever. That was an important realization for us and so we set about the conversion of a brand-new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter”.

After the accident, our desire to live in the van was stronger than ever. That was an important realization for us.
A man standing in the fog in a Sprinter

Mike’s father provides the travel duo with tools and a place to sleep.

Finding and following your own path.

A small consolation with the work on the new van was that they now already had experience in van conversion. They took over the entire process, from design to implementation, by themselves – a familiar job for Mike as an experienced furniture maker. Soon the Sprinter had a toilet, electronics, solar panels, furniture and upholstery. The two sports fans left extra storage space under the bed for bicycles. Mike and Jess would like to share the experience they have gained: “We are starting a consulting service to help others convert their vans and make their dreams come true”.

Two Mercedes-Benz Sprinters on a bridge over the water

Forest and water as far as the eye can see. Many roads in the forests of North America offer spectacular 360-degree panoramas.

A camp site with two Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the woods

Many travel memories are shaped by the people Mike and Jess meet on their route.

A man looks out of the campervan

The couple is happy to explore new territory every morning.

A couple camping in the woods in front of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The two Vanlifers share many sporty hobbies – stand-up paddling is one of them.

A man sitting in a diner with his girlfriend

Excursion to civilization: For a change, you can have lunch in a diner.

Two Mercedes-Benz Sprinters on a country road

Recently in an open field: A visit from a Vanlife colleague.

Two holidaymakers pack bicycles in a van

The sporty travelers did not want to do without their bikes. They make wonderful excursions beyond the van possible.

A couple eating in the forest

Since April 2017 Mike and Jess have been eating outdoors almost daily.

Photos: Go-VanSacha Roy

More Links to explore: –, @Facebook


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.

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