Get ready to Adventure On with Marcy, Amy, and their pups Riggins and Louca on this segment of Humans of Vanlife! In this interview, they generously share their stories, what it’s been like with remote work and retirement, learning curves, and the simple joys of the road being home.
Let’s start from the beginning! What brought you to full-time Vanlife?
Marcy: Well, I officially retired in February this year! I worked in radiation oncology for over thirty years, working with patients, cancer, and managing staff. That field of work taught me that tomorrow is never promised. I really had to ask myself how much is enough, and it made me realize how important it is now to connect one-on-one with each other. One of our mottos is we can always make more money, but we can’t make more time. I’ve worked in hospice with people dying, and we didn’t want to live with regret. This brings us to our Vanlife adventure.
How long did it take to transition from working to Vanlife?
Marcy: It took about two years to find the right builder and plan the conversion; then, I pushed out my retirement a bit. We knew we wanted to travel; Amy wasn’t quite ready to give up her career yet either, so she wanted something she could do remotely.
What work do you do remotely from the van now?
Amy: I’m a nurse coach now. Holistic Nurse Coaching focuses much more on mindset and mind, body, and spirit as a whole. I was a registered nurse working in labor and delivery for 23 years and was so burned out. Later, I’d go on to try hospice and travel nursing. I ended up furthering my education and traveling and knew when I returned that I needed something different. I was ready to share my gifts of holistic medicine and holding space, so I became a nurse coach. I help people live an aligned life full of joy and purpose, and I am so passionate about it.
I work mainly on Zoom with workshops, one-on-one clients, and group coaching. I also love working with reiki and essential oils and plan to organize one-on-one sessions combined with hiking. It’s great to talk one-on-one in nature with movement, as letting go of face-to-face pressure can be transformative and helpful. There’s a lot more sharing involved when you’re out in nature so I’d love to start organizing these types of meet-ups. It’s all a work in progress!
How is working remotely from the Van?
Amy: We had to get Starlink, and it’s been working well. We prefer Boondocking versus busy RV Parks and would rather stay off-grid in nature with fewer people around. It’s so nice to have that flexibility now!
What other tools or resources do you use to meet up with people?
Marcy: Instagram and Facebook communities like Girl Camper. They’re all great ways to network, put ourselves out there, and support one another. I think as we move into this more and more, we’ll continue to meet people through these different groups and connect!
We really want 2023 to be about connection. Meeting up with old friends and new friends on the road. It’s what we’re prioritizing this year.
Why this change in lifestyle, and why Vanlife particularly?
Marcy: We love adventure, travel, and wanted to figure out how to combine these things. Vanlife seemed like an easy decision! We’ve traveled all over the world, and we’ve made lifelong friends from Mexico to Thailand. A couple of years ago, we rented an RV, and it didn’t give us the accessibility or affordability we wanted. The van gives us the freedom of the essentials we need. We live more minimally now, and it’s refreshing.
What made you choose Bemyvan for your build?
Marcy: As we looked for the right team to build our van, we were looking for people that had the same energy and pride in what they do. We felt it as soon as we met Paul and the Bemyvan team! We always follow our gut instincts, and they felt like the perfect fit.
We had no idea of the level they would come through for us. They’ve taken care of us as we’ve taken care of others throughout our lives. It feels fantastic to know they go the extra mile, pay attention to detail, take pride in ownership, and really consider each individual client. **The Bemyvan team does what’s right! And that makes all the difference. **
When we meet people like that, we want to take care of them just as they take care of us! You guys have provided value and experience. Going into this adventure, we wanted to make sure to surround ourselves with like-minded people. And the world functions so much better that way when we can take care of each other.
How different is life today than before Vanlife?
Marcy: Life is great. We love the simplicity of the day. Waking up outdoors to the fresh air. Not to mention we’re sleeping so well in the van bed. We’re connecting with like-minded humans. People are even offering their homes to us to sleep in, but we don’t want to leave our van! It’s so comfortable and perfect for us. The other day the dogs spotted a coyote out the window. Nature is great medicine for reducing stress, and it’s been so healing.
Where are you traveling?
Marcy: We have a home in Bend, Oregon, but we started our adventure in San Francisco. First, we went to Las Vegas, visited the Bemyvan team, then we went to Tuscon, and right now we’re calling you from Phoenix! We’re currently in a regional park in the desert. We’ve parked in front of friends’ driveways; it’s been so comfortable.
We’ve also been using Harvest Hosts. We stayed on an Alpaca Ranch in Phoenix the first time we were here! We also stayed in a winery. It’s really opened the doors to connection! We started our journey south, and then we’ll work our way up. Our goal is to get to New England by the fall.
We got an invite in July to sail the Greek Islands in a catamaran, so we’ll park the van back in Oregon before we go and head to Greece and Turkey this summer. When we get back to Oregon, we’ll head towards the northeast and spend the rest of the year on the east coast.
Vanlife truly lets us experience the freedom of movement, freedom of travel, and staying wherever we want, whenever we want.
Do you have a favorite feature of the van?
Amy: We have a B-Home model, and the indoor bathroom with shower has been vital. It’s so nice not to have to stop somewhere to use the bathroom on long drives. We have all the essentials we need in our little home, and there’s just enough space.
What’s been your experience in the van with your dogs?
Amy: It’s all still very new to us, but we’re figuring out how to navigate this new lifestyle! Riggins has his spot that he loves, and Louca finds our laps wherever we go!
What kind of activities do you like to do with the van?
Amy: Hiking and Biking have been the main ones for us. We’ve had to pick and choose between our kayaks, paddleboards, and skis, but we settled on bikes! It’s a great form of transportation, and we can rent kayaks if needed. The bikes are attached to the rear. The only thing we bought, in addition, is a swing arm so the bikes can come all the way around and we can open the van’s back doors.
Have you had any challenges so far?
Marcy: Going into Vanlife, I was worried about how to fix things when things go wrong. We didn’t winterize our van properly, and something had cracked. I was distraught with myself! I had just retired and was mindful of expenses, and I went back into work mode, trying to figure out how to solve it. Amy is incredibly grounding and reminds me to breathe through the stress. We reached out to Paul and Antoine, and their mindset is impressive. They were so confident that it was an easy fix. They said this stuff happens, and we’ll help you! Sure enough, they met us on the road and helped us to fix the issue.
Too, it really tests your relationship when you’re in such a small space. Our communication is great so that hasn’t been an issue for us. Sometimes I need to work from the van, so I’ll be on Zoom calls with Starlink set-up while Marcy spends the day exploring or hiking. On other days Marcy will need the van so I will work from a coffee shop. It’s all about balance and sharing the space.
Amy: I need to add sometimes it can be difficult to work from the van because so many people want to come in for a tour! 🙂
What’s your work setup for the van?
Amy: For my nurse coaching I use the living room table for my Zoom calls. I’ll have my computer, my iPad, a little plant, and my crystals, so it’s not so sterile. This is where I work mainly, or sometimes I’ll use the swivel seat with the kitchen extension table to change it up.
What resources do you use to find places to work or hikes?
Marcy: Generally, we’ll look online and on Yelp for coffee shops and trailheads. Also, we’ve been using Google Maps a lot more too. For hiking, we use Alltrails. Campendium is excellent for campsites and dump stations. iOverlander for general recommendations like stealth parking. There’s also an app for Hot Springs! We’re excited to start using that as well. Harvest Hosts, Hipcamp, Forest Service & BLM land app. We’re new to this so we’ve made sure we have plenty of resources!
Any highlights or moments that have stuck with you so far?
Amy: Most recently, watching the sunset with a childhood friend in Phoenix. She drove out to us to visit the van, and we loved having a visitor. We didn’t have to go out and make a reservation at a restaurant. It’s so nice to invite people over to our home, except now our home is everywhere!
What’s your favorite life motto?
Our motto is “Adventure On.” We even got matching tattoos this year that says it! Let’s adventure together. Let’s adventure on. Let’s keep going. When we got married, we were on a hike with mountains as the backdrop, and we knew this is the way we wanted to live our lives. Everywhere we go, we’re fostering connection, community, freedom, and adventure. We’re just getting started, and we’re thrilled that Bemyvan is a part of it!
Follow along as Marcy and Amy continue to adventure this year on their Instagram! If you’re interested in working with Amy for more peace of mind and inspiration to create the life you dream of, you contact Amy directly on her nurse coaching website here.