Vanlife: Resources, guides & more

So much more than just a road trip or an instagram trend, vanlife is a lifestyle. It’s about about choosing the open road over a postal address; living smaller in order to have bigger experiences; forming a deeper connection to nature; and about existing outside of the 9-5 & refocusing instead on what you love.

Vanlife presents a completely unique opportunity to travel with your home, waking up in places most tourists aren’t even able to access, with all the comfort of a kitchen, bathroom & queen-size bed.

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no ordinary (van)life.

I’ve dreamed of full-time travel since my very first overseas backpacking trip, but vanlife has made that dream cheaper, more comfortable & even more spectacular than I ever imagined.

For less than the cost of monthly rent, my partner Dan & I have been travelling the world in our converted van since early 2021, bringing all the comforts of home to all the magic of the wild.

But, I won’t lie: vanlife requires a lot of preparation & constant planning.

How do you fit everything you need for international travel in single vehicle? How do you insure a DIY conversion AND all the contents of your van? How do you legally cross the border into Mexico or ship your van around the Darien Gap?

This vanlife resource page is an attempt to share everything we’ve learned (and continue to learn) while travelling the Pan-American Highway in our van. It’s a living, breathing part of my blog, so check back regularly for updates as we visit new countries, discover better DIY solutions & just generally fall more in love with vanlife!

About our van: La Javelina

welcome to our tiny home on wheels.

We currently live in a 2019 Dodge RAM 159″ Promaster 2500 van, which we lovingly nicknamed La Javelina in honour of the adorable desert animal whose habitat extends from the southwest US, through Mexico & Central America, and into South America— our proposed route for the next several years!

The van was converted by its very talented previous owners, and we’ve been so incredibly happy with the layout & craftsmanship, even as we’ve continued to make small modifications.

It’s been a joy to create our own home within this 60sqft space!

Noteworthy specifications of our van:

  • 159″ wheel-base with high roof (6’3″ after build)
  • 600W Renogy Solar Panels + DC to DC alternator charger
  • 300Ah Lithium-ion Batteries + 3000W Inverter
  • 2x full 110v outlets + 4x 12V USB outlets
  • 45Gal freshwater reservoir + 5Gal Bosch hot water heater
  • MaxxAir Fan + sliding side window
  • Dometic CRX-65 12v fridge
  • Queen-size bed platform + 6″ memory foam mattress
  • Nature’s Head Composting Toilet

About us: Brooke & Dan

brooke travelled to 45 countries before finishing her PhD in Biomechanics and has been travelling & blogging full-time since leaving Melbourne in Sept 2020. dan was working as a energy data analyst in Bellingham, WA prior to the pandemic, but then sold everything & set off on a cross-country road-trip in his car. We are both avid hikers, climbers & adventure-seekers, which is how we fell in love in Joshua Tree & decided to buy a van together in Nov 2020! ~The rest is history.

I created this blog long before Dan & I even met, but my current, amazing version of vanlife wouldn’t be possible without him & he contributes in many ways to the content on this page! If you want to know more about me, check out this post; if you want to know more about Dan, though, you’ll just have to meet him off-line in his natural habitat!

ꜜ check out all of our vanlife planning posts, custom packing lists & country-specific travel guides below, updated as we continue our journey along the Pan-American highway.

Vanlife USA

Plan the ultimate vanlife adventure around the American West with packing lists, insurance guides, camping tips & more!

Vanlife diaries

Follow along on our PanAmerican vanlife adventure with weekly updates from the road!