- Age: 26
- Vehicle type: 2003 Dodge Ram B3500
- Miles: 108,000
- Time spent in van: 1 year
- Birthplace: Augusta Georgia
- Go-to van meal: Turkey Polska Kielbasa, Diced Onions, Green Bell Peppers, Potatoes, broccoli, wrapped in tin foil and cooked over a hot fire and topping it off with a big helping of shredded cheese on top.
- Favorite parking spot: Spencer Hot Springs, Nevada.
What were you doing before living in a van?
Before taking the leap to live in a van and before I was known as “TTTHEFINEPRINTTT,” I went under the name “Slarxy,” which was an alias I used when I would Live Stream over on Twitch. I would spend my weekends playing video games with and in front of an audience. I’d often play a lot of horror games and even some competitive games like Overwatch.
Why did you get started in Van Life?
For me, jumping into this lifestyle was a way to escape from some things that were haunting me. I was in a very dark place in my life and I was craving a daring adventure. I was seeking discomfort or really anything to keep my mind off of reality. And as unhealthy as that might sound, it worked for me.
I’m now in a much better place in my life and I’m so thankful that I was put in such a dark place in my life. Without it, I wouldn’t have made this leap of faith to do what I’ve always wanted to do – live and travel in a van.
What’s the best feature about your van?
The best feature of my van is easily my gaming PC. Currently I’m rocking an Intel Core i7 7700k with a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 and 16gigs of ram. But I’m now working on building a much beefier small form factor PC specifically for the van. Currently though, I can run just about any game at ultra for the ultimate gaming experience anywhere I go. For the most part, I play offline games but when I do play online, I just use my personal phone hot spot which isn’t great but it works well if I’m somewhere with decent enough signal.
How do you make money?
I work in the film industry. I’ve worked on films like Avengers Infinity War, Rampage, Baby Driver, Haunting of Hill House, and many more.
I also make some side money doing graphic design and selling stickers online.
What are some challenges you face on the road?
The biggest challenge I’ve ever faced while living and traveling on the road is loneliness. I don’t care how comfortable you get with being alone, being lonely is a whole different battle. There are so many places I go without a lick of cell service or seeing a soul for days. As peaceful as this is for the first couple of days, after a while, it starts to really dig into you.
I remember one particular moment in my travels I was at a hot spring in the middle of the Nevada desert. This place was unlike any I’ve ever seen. I was completely surrounded by snow capped mountains and the weather was absolutely perfect. It was cold enough to enjoy the spring but warm enough to not be miserable when you got out. And the best part is I had this place all to myself.
But there were so many moments where I just wanted to look over to someone and express how beautiful this place was and get some sort of response but of course no one was there to share this incredible and moment with me. For someone like me that craves human interaction, this was really tough.
After experiencing loneliness like this for so long, Christopher McCandless’ quote, “Happiness Is only real, when shared,” means so much more to me now.
What has surprised you most about this lifestyle?
The community that surrounds this lifestyle is full of so many unique and wonderful individuals. Each person has their own unique story of why they’re here, how they got here, and where they’re going yet we all have this instant bond when we see each other because we all share the same life style – VAN LIFE.
(BONUS) I was also really surprised by how easy it is to live this way. At least, in the states that is. Finding a place to park is so easy if you’re stealthy enough and hop around a lot. Sure winters are cold and summers are hot, but if you’re comfortable with basically living outside, this lifestyle comes with ease.
It’s raining and you’re stuck in your van for a full day. What do you do?
CREATE. My time on this earth is limited and incredibly valuable to me. So I take any opportunity to work on things I love whether thats graphic design, photo/video editing, drawing/digital painting, creating music, and yes, even video gaming.
Do you have any tips, tricks or hacks for van life?
If you’re ever in an area where you can’t find a place to park, JUST ASK. I’ve been to so many cities that are littered with “NO OVERNIGHT PARKING” signs and every vanlifer knows that seeing this is such a let down. Especially if you’ve been driving all day and all you want to do is sleep. But remember, places where those signs are posted are private property and if you get permission from the owner, which I’ve done multiple times, in most cases, they will let you park there as long as you ask, you’re nice, and pick up after yourself!
What is the most essential item in your vehicle?
Currently, my sleeping bag. I don’t have very good insulation in the van since I made the decision to leave all of my windows exposed because I prefer waking up to pretty views over staying warm at night for some reason. So my sleeping bag is the only thing getting me through the night.
If you had a magic wand and could do anything, how would you improve your vehicle?
LEAKS EVERYWHERE! Ok, not everywhere but I have a factory installed escape hatch on my ceiling and it leaks really bad and I’ve been temporarily patching the leaks while I figure out a long term solution. Currently I’m working on ripping out the hatch and installing a skylight in it’s place with hopes that I can seal it better than the escape hatch.
What is the most rewarding thing about Van Life?
I NEVER HAVE TO PACK! If there is somewhere new I want to go, I just crank up the van, drive off, and my house comes with me! It truly is the most freeing feeling in the entire world and I never have to worry about forgetting my wallet at home ever again.
What advice would you give to someone starting or thinking about starting Van Life?
People often look at vanlife through the lens of instagram and youtube and end up giving up on the dream of living in a van and traveling the world because their life will never look like the one they saw on social media.
It’s so important to remember that these people, myself included, only show you the best moments of our lives. We cut out all the nights where we’re just parked outside a Walmart because no one want’s to see that. But THAT is the reality of Van Life.
You can’t always find the best parking spot and you don’t always have the money to travel constantly. And despite the way it looks on my social media, I only travel 3 months out of the year and then I’m stationary for the other 9 months (while adventuring locally on the weekends). Because truthfully, that’s all I can afford and that’s ok. And if that’s all you can afford, that’s ok too!
Van life is about living the life YOU want and each of our stories are unique. Never compare you story to other’s. This is your story.