Good stuff hombre!
How very cool. First ships, then a VW Van. I find it very nice.
Try Los Coyotes Reservation near Warner Hot Springs. 9 families and 1400 acres of ancient California oak parkland and cedar forest landscape permacultured meticulously for 10,000 years by people who have mastered the hands on hands off principle of the idle theory. $15 dollars for a day’s camping and exploration guaranteed to satisfy the idling bus.
Fun and safe travels to you guys!
Nice to meet you (lOve Sunshine!)
hey! we read all the notes in the books at Panamint City. thought your comments were so cool we took pictures! if you want a copy drop a line……or, judging from your dandy blog, you did that when there
Awesome! That guest book was a fun read for us as well. Good to hear it gets read by others.
Hey guys. I’ve followed you on Instagram for a while now and your pictures are really great. It was only five minutes ago I actually got curious enough about you guys to Google you and, I’ve gotta say… for an 18 year old guy from the UK on the brink of exams, this is pretty big inspiration! You guys are living the dream, yours and mine; keep on truckin’ guys, hopefully I’ll get to meet you and some people like you down the line!
Christian, Thanks! We’re Stoked that you’re Stoked. Thanks for Riding Along with us.
Hello. I just wanted to say I’m thoroughly enjoying following along on your adventure. Great photographs. Great illustrations. Great stuff.
Sweet – Stoked you are riding along with us.
hey, Im planning a week at Panamint city in the spring and just wanted to say thanks for the report. Im following on instagram for more reports for other trip ideas. thanks again.
Kyle, Sweet – You will have a blast. Be sure to bring cleaning supplies for the cabins. They are always dusty and a bit mousey.
Great meeting you guys at the hot springs near bridgeport! Good luck with your journey, hit me up when ur up in Tahoe->Shasta section of the trip!! -chris
Great Meeting you to. We will be heading that way soon!
James, will keep that in mind. lol ill post lots of pictures on istagram as that’s how I found panamint city and Idle Theory Bus.
What a view ! What a backstory ! What a life you are living !
You guys need to come back! You’ve been gone for too long now =)
Hope you’re having a safe and wonderfull trip up there though.
Hope to see your pics soon =)
Karim, Good to see you both on Instagram and off! Sorry for disappearing for so long! We just finished our hike (which was uberawesome) and should have some pictures up soon. Thanks for riding along with us! Happy Trails to you. -James + Rachel
We just got your link from Steve. We love it all! You two are living a life that most of us only dream of- and envy! We love your adventurist spirits and your thirst for discovery. Rachel, knowing Tracey- I recognize so much of who you are and who you will become. And what a compliment to Tracey!We hope to meet James someday- he is the perfect partner in the pursuit of all you’re exploring. Fernando and I have always wanted a “Sunshine” and now we will be trolling K-marts hoping to find one to become part of our quest for adventure. We are not as noble as the two of you- we just want to GO AND ENJOY. Remember- we are at another point in life…We LOVE the drawings, the photographs and the insightful thoughts you share. Keep On!
Fernando and Marry, Thank you so much for your kind words! We have so much fun in the van–and with the blog–that it’s always great when people jump on the “vanwagon” with us! We are very lucky, and have worked hard, to live the life we want. Making your dreams reality is so important! One day you’ll meet James…he is quite the guy, I’d have to say 😉 Go for it and get out there! Hopefully one day we’ll run into you two on your adventure in your own bus! (Kmart parking lots do seem to be lucky) Thanks again for the support! Best to you! –Rachel
Great everything! Really enjoyed my time soaking the stories in and will come back for more 🙂
Take care out there and fair winds!
Thanks for taking the time to check out the site…do hope you return!
Looks like you’re on quite the adventure yourselves. Sometimes we think we might give up the open road for the open winds and waters. What you are doing is a true inspiration. We love your work.
Maybe we’ll see you on some far off sea,
I saw How To Change a Tire and it’s a good video but what a shame when at 2:25 the girl threw away something beside the roadway before to drive.
We can’t travel around the world if we don’t care the environment.
Tavo, the thing in question is a rock used to keep the car from rolling. It was gotten from the environment and returned to its rightful place. We are also lovers of the world and can assure you that we do our best to keep it as clean as possible. Thanks for your concern.
I’m curious do you have any advice for people beginning to embark on a trip like yours?
How do you stop planning and begin?
Should you even plan that much?
Should the money factor be so worrisome?
And finally.. have you found a balance?
I am always thinking & always searching for balance and think that might be what throws us out of it
Sorry for the late response.Your questions are deep and probing and warrant days and days of conversation. I wanted to give them the beginnings of the thoughtful answers they deserve.
1. Planning is overrated. You can plan, but you’ll never really know, not until you go. Once you go, you’ll know. It’s a quick, cold, definite decision. You just do it. Like jumping off the cliff into the water. You just jump. It’s not really any more involved than that. Things will reveal themselves to you when you’re doing what you like. But you have to be doing them to find them.
2. Money. That awful, awful ruler of our nation’s psyche. Avoid it! Don’t waste your time on it! Limit your reliance on it! If your life has to fit into some contrived excel budget sheet, it may be worth questioning if you’re living. We are trying to constantly vigilantly decrease the amount of money we need. We work when we need to and then forget about money for as long as we can. When it gets short, you can find a way to make more. Money is a means to an end. It isn’t founded in anything real and is not a secure system.
3. We are all on a search for balance. Ours has brought us to the road. James’ mother likes to say we are gaining depth in out travels, even though sometimes it just seems like everything is swirling around in chaotic clouds of DaDa. I have come to think that the human search for balance is the desire to reconnect to the Real World, what many people call Nature. We are part of it, but live separate from it. James and I spend a lot of our time in wild places, and have found a sense of “balance” there. Our biggest frustration perhaps is that we bring so many lifelines with us out there. We feel like astronauts on our own planet. We have found reconciliation with that in farming and homesteading, a community of people providing things for themselves. We live and work on farms for periods of time and have connected to the lifestyle. We are considering making it our life. It is all a big journey.
Here are some pointers for living a life of Idle Theory:
-Let your life be your art.
-Life does not need a purpose.
-Be still and Just Be.
-Be cold when it’s cold, hot when it’s hot.
-Eat good food from small holistically organic farms.
-Don’t plan. If you put expectations onto something, you risk being disappointed.
-Read the Tao Te Ching
-Read Paul Lefargue’s “The Right To Be Lazy”
-Read anything by John Zerzan
-Read Everett Ruess’ Letters
-Be outside whenever you can.
-Learn the night sky
-Observe both human and nonhuman life
Lastly, is the quote we try to live by:
“Extravagance of Desire is the fundamental cause which has led the world into its present predicament.”
-Manasobu Fukuoka (One Straw Revolution)
We would love to have a beverage with you and discuss these things sometime. Where do you live? We can meet up and talk deep.If you are on instagram and see us getting close, give us a holler! Thanks for thinking and questioning along with us. Thinking people are my favorite.
Saw your stuff at the Cabin in Panamint. Love your site! Your point of view is touching. I share your love of VW travel! There’s a pic of our van in the photo link attached.
Thanks and Peace out!
Thanks for checking out the site. Isn’t Panamint a wild place? One of our favorites for sure. Hope it treated you well. Love your van! VW people are the best kind…Good to hear from ya + hope we bump into you sometime! Peace!
Thanks for posting my poem about what I learned in the woods.
It was a great trip, the Olympic National Park and Seattle.
I love your pictures and poetry.
James & Rachel! What a beautiful and fascinating blog! We got lost for hours in here, and now we are totally inspired! In two weeks we embark on a motorbike journey through Vietnam. We are putting our bodies and our blog on two wheels to do some serious idling. Thanks for showing us how free-wheeling and multi-dimensional a travel record can be. And we love the questions that guide your journey, it’s philosophy in action. We are hooked on Sunshine 🙂
Hi Spencer and Magie!
So good to hear from you. Your site is a blast–our world is so vast and we love getting to experience parts of the world vicariously through others. Thanks for posting. Looks like you are pretty experienced idlers yourselves…and we approve! Hope your journey is everexpanding and filled with unimaginable color! If we ever cross paths, we will need to meet up for some story swapping.
-James + Rachel
How do you afford to pay for gas and food?
I think maybe they are trust fund kids.
Have you moved ahead on your hitchhiking project? I thought that was a unique idea.
I found your site via instagram – such beautiful, colorful photos! Enjoy the sense of humor imparted from the road.
I’m setting off in about a month myself with my boyfriend. I’m planning to start an outdoors blog/website geared towards women (there honestly aren’t enough out there!). I’m hoping to interview other women who are also living on the road to get a female perspective on the lifestyle, as well as maintaining a relationship en route.
Send me an email if you’re interested Rachel – so much life from a small home 🙂
Hi Gale! Thanks so much for checking out our blog! A female-centric outdoor travel blog sounds like something I would love. You’re right, this niche of the world seems to be oversaturated with testosterone. I would for sure be humbly stoked to share some musings from the road geared towards fellow women! We love the photos on your IG account–look forward to seeing what pops up on your upcoming journey! Be watching out for an email from me! Happy Trails
Hello, I love this blog and follow him for a year or so ago, I also love having Sunshine sticker on the front, because I am from Chile, specifically in Valparaiso. It’s spectacular what they do and hope to continue for much longer, and I hope someday to do a similar tour of those places. Greetings from the end of the world. LIVE Y LIBERTÉ
Impressed by the creativity of you two. As the owner of a [currently dead in a garage] ’72 Sierra Yellow I’ve been digging deep on the interwebs this summer to vicariously live through others bus travels. Thanks for sharing your adventures! It’s been very entertaining to go through all your old posts. Living in Whitefish, MT, I especially liked your Montana post natch. Someday ‘soon’ my family & I are going to pile in our beloved Bumblebus [after it’s much needed heart transplant] & join all you fellow wanderlusters… out there.
Hey James & Rachel,
I just saw the Kickstarter project link and think it’s fantastic what you both, Emily and Corey are doing. I’ve been doing it too since 8/2012. If you’re still looking for interviewees, I’d be happy to help out.
My 7+years professionally helping people leave the rat race taught me more than all my years of skooling. I’m sort of working on a similar project from those years – a life strategy trifecta, so to speak.
#vanlife since 8/12 for me. @louis_amp_clark
All the best regards,
I just say your note on my blog today. Sorry so late in responding. We will be in Stuart, fla on the 7-8 dec, then Ft. Lauderdale by the 10 or 11 we hope. Then Naples, Fl through Xmas before heading to the Bahamas for several months. Hope this helps. Would love to talk about your project. We live on our boat full time now.
Sory for my late reply! It’s too bad the interview scheduling didn’t work out last month; would have loved to interview you. It’s alright though; you are probably enjoying a great blue sky over a great blue sea in the Bahamas right now. We are lusting after your boatlife!
Hopefully our paths will cross in the future…who knows, maybe we’ll take up sailing! 🙂
Best and keep Living the Life!
Hey James and Rachel,
I came across your website (and great Instagram feed) and wanted to drop you a line. I have been enjoying reading about your travels. I had a ’77 camper in the same color as yours that I traveled up and down the east coast in during and after college in the 1990s.
Your site caught my eye because for a several year period during the early 2000s while my wife was earning her PhD, I had access to a great academic library and was doing research on the subject of leisure. I love the sources you cite (Pieper has always been a fav of mine!) and have been meaning to dig through my notes to share with you some of the fantastic books and journal articles I came across.
Anyway, another reason I’m writing is now that I am a parent, I’ve purchased a late model Westy (’86 Westfalia Weekender that my kids call Obi Van Kenobi on account of its much browness).
My youngest son has cerebral palsy and since there aren’t really a whole lot of resources out there for road-tripping families (especially those with special needs kids), I’ve started a website called All Together Out There.
I just launched it a couple of weeks ago and would be really grateful if you might be able to share the website with some of your followers. I’m sure I’m not the only dad out there who is doing this and I could really use some help spreading the word and trying to build up the community of parents with kids who have special needs and are into on-the-road adventure.
I hope you’ll give the site a look, it’s at http://www.AllTogetherOutThere.com
Thanks so much and may your travels be leisurely!
We so much appreciate your insight into Leisure Theory!!! I (Rachel) would be absolutely delighted if you shared some of your research finds. Constantly, I read on the subject of work and leisure…after all, isn’t that balance what life is about? If you get the chance to send over your resources, I would be stoked!
We spent some time this morning poking around All Together Out There. We had a lot of fun reading about the joys and tribulations of traveling with kids. You and your wife are brave souls! Sometimes it seems so hard just the two of us in a Westy! We admired that you shared very real (aka not so pleasant) moments on the road; we respect that. It’s hard to maintain authenticity sometimes when sharing your life with those you don’t know. It’s easy to just show the beautiful, sunset-filled hugs. I’m sure people will be inspired by the true humanity in your blog.
It’s funny, we were just talking about creating a “friends” page, to lead people to others’ journeys as they scour the internet world for info on nomadic lifestyles. As we create that, we will be sure to spread the word about your blog…I’m sure that many families will be inspired by what you do.
Anyways, we hope to cross paths sometime out there on the road. Truth is VW people are our favorite, and we love nothing more than swapping stories from the road over a fire. And we’d love to look around inside of Obi Van Kenobi!
The Best of Leisure Times to you and your beautiful family,
Rachel, James, and Sunshine
Hi James and Rachel,
My name is Joe Dorn and I’m a huge fan of the blog and work you guys do. Keep it up!!
Hope this is an okay mode of contact because I would love to hear back from you.
I am currently a senior at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California and am writing my thesis on VanLife. As an American studies major I am trying to place the community in historical context and possibly trace the roots back to the beat generation. This is just my starting point, but I want to see where it takes my research. I am fascinated by the people who live a similar way of life and learning more about the lifestyle/experiences/inspirations of the community.
I’m sure you’re busy, but if you would have any time for me to ask you some questions that would be amazing. Thanks so much. Hope all is well and drive safe!!
We just shot you back an email. We’d love to be part of your thesis… We’ll be looking questions in our inbox, and we’d be happy to answer what you throw at us.
Thanks for following along and good luck!
-James and Rachel
Hello James and Rachel,
I have been thinking a lot about our time together and want to say thank you for the things that you both taught me, I cherish the time that we spent together and I regret the way that we parted company, not my finest hour I am sorry. I hope all is well with you both. Monte
Hey guys I just wanted to let you know I a huge fan! I’m 14 years old and I plan to do exactly this when I graduate high school, I’m already saving. I noticed a while ago you posted a picture of what seemed like and alpaca and it was in a beautiful Oregon setting. Did you ride alpacas and camp in Oregon? If so I would love too know how you arranged this because I would love to do this same thing and its so important to me.
You guys inspire me so much. I’ve been following your path on social media for awhile now. Every picture you post to Instagram and the words you write along with them fill me with so much happiness. You both seemed to have found your purpose in the world and how to truly connect with the natural beauty of this Earth.
I hope to one day follow in your footsteps along the path you both have chosen. Unfortunatley for me this lifestyle will cost me to start, because I need to purchase a bus to get started. Money is a terrible thing, but it is what will get me on my way to living this life. I was wondering if you had any advice or inspiring words for me on how to make this dream of mine, into reality.
Thanks from a huge fan of yours!
I’ve been following your Instagram for a bit now and I am so inspired by you two! I have questions about how you started out. My dream is to purchase a VW bus as well and travel in it. However, what do you do as far as work/funds? I planned on just finding odd jobs here and there wherever I end up but I imagine that’ll be somewhat difficult sometimes. I’m working and saving up now to get me start but obviously that’ll run out.
I’d really appreciate your thoughts and guidance!
I am about to become a fellow traveler and have enjoyed reading your blog. We are just starting our adventure and your blog has inspired me. I started my own blog just about a week ago now. We have not purchased our RV yet but that is our next step. THANK YOU for your inspiration! Jamie http://www.rvreligion.com
Hope all is well guys. Lucas and I camped out in Brevard for two weeks even though you where in my thoughts and I was hoping to visit the beautiful Rockies with you. Bella enjoyed the Rockies very much.
When you get a chance please shoot me information on the wheatgrass. I want to start producing. I’m on my way to study more on nutrition and truly love the farm life. I’m sure one day our paths will cross again and venture down this road of a healthier being.
I am SO jealous of you guys!! I wish I could drop everything and do what you are doing. I LOVE IT! You planned your life perfectly – no tethers, just a joyous simple life, enjoying nature, exploring, being together. WOW!
I used to do some of that a while back… then I got married… and had kids and a mortgage…. and started a business… and the rest is history. I really want to (need to) get back to that joy of total freedom you two are experiencing, somehow.
I lived in Aspen in my youth, backpacked and skied all over the Rockies – your images really brought back some beautiful memories from that chapter of my life. We have a camper that we never use….. you’ve inspired me to take the family across the country next Summer. Rent out our house and do it!
Best of luck to you two, and stay safe!!!! Just bought a zine… looking forward to seeing it! Cheers!!
– Dave from Santa Barbara, CA
Hi Rachel and James!
Hope you are having an amazing week! I have been following you on IG for a bit now and always so inspired by your photos, for their artistic quality as well as the adventures captured and your whole lifestyle. Thank you so much for sharing that with everyone. My husband and I have been discussing a similar path for about a month now and while we both seek the adventure and freedom of a van life we are split on which vehicle to take us around. So, my question to you is…what made you choose a Kobi? My husband is super concerned about maintenance and reliability of VWs. Considering I know nothing about cars but have heard that they can be a bit of a hassle, I don’t really have anything to assuage his concerns with. That being said, I would love to hear your take on things and how you ended up choosing the vehicle that you did.
Thanks again for sharing your life adventures with all of us! I genuinely love every post.
Hi James & Rachel
Just ran across your website and it is an inspiration to see a young couple who is enjoying this beautiful country we live in. All I can say is enjoy this chapter of your lives and safe travels. I do have one comment or observation and please don’t take it as negative because it is not meant that way.
Work and money are not negative things in our lives unless we allow them to control us or use them in the wrong ways. My wife and I own a business and have been married for 33 years. While we do enjoy the fruits of our labors it does allow us to help people in possitive ways that we otherwise
could not. We have floated down the Colorado river thru the Grand Canyon,walked thru the redwoods, skied down mountains in 5 states and
traveled Alaska several times and thats just a few of our travels. You mention balance in our lives and I think that is the key. Remember that the van you drive, fuel, cooking, camera, video, internet, instagram and paved roads all exist because people work. Again, I get it. I think most middle aged couples look at what your doing and think ” oh that sure would have been nice the first couple of years”. If your ever in South Georgia shoot us an e-mail. We have you a place to stay and rest the yellow bug a few days.
Take care of yourselves, Larry
Thanks for your comment and for sharing your insights. We very much enjoy sharing conversation such as this with others!
And, also, thank you for your kind words and for the warm welcome to your home! We will most definitely come by next time we make it through Georgia; we’d love to connect and discuss idle theory in depth! (Also, Georgia is just chock full of the warmest people we’ve met. Culturally, it is such a wonderful place.)
We very much appreciate how you’ve structured your life and are so glad to hear that you’ve done the things that make you happy, and that you live contently with what you’ve done. Sadly, many people tell us the opposite, so it’s really nice to hear from you. Doing what you love is what life’s all about!
This discussion of work, balance, and idleness is so complex and nuanced. It’s so loaded, we carry in the bus with us 6 books on the topic of work and leisure, one of them 500 pages long! It’s true that we don’t display much depth on the matter on our website; we go further into it in our zine, and are currently updating the site with more of our theory.
We certainly never intended to portray work as a negative force in our lives. Actually, we very much value the role of hard work in a balanced life. We work hard for our money, mostly doing labor-based jobs, such as farm work and construction. We use our bodies to create our life, and that is very valuable to us, holistically. We harvest peaches, butcher chickens, milk goats, roof houses, and have pride that we create what provides life and shelter to ourselves and to others. We believe that the work we do now, alongside mostly Mexican immigrants, contributes more to the real survival of our species than the work we did in our “nice careers” prior to leaving. Most people don’t want to do the work necessary to survival. It’s too tough, too uncomfortable, too hot, too low class. We’ve met doctors who tell us that we should find jobs that don’t give us callouses.
We also work hard in order to reduce our dependence on money. We do trades whenever possible, and perform our own bus maintenance. We buy few things, and every thing we own fits in the bus. We have lived far below the national poverty line for over 5 years now, and find that there are few things we “need.”
Our main contention with a work-based society is that most of the people working today provide nothing necessary to life at all. These are service-based jobs, such as the restaurant work I used to do. It never has made sense to me how I can earn $25/an hour for carrying food from a kitchen to a customer, but only $9/an hour harvesting the food to be eaten. I mean, my job was absolutely worthless, yet people earn good money to pay me to serve them food. It really got me down, having that job, because it was meaningless. It provides nothing to society. I find much greater meaning in migrant labor, but earn far less money. People who provide unnecessary niceties are the ones who earn the most money in our society, and I think that is a flawed system. Farmers, the people who create our food, are poor, while the grocery store owner greatly profits. That doesn’t seem right.
What we question, also, how much every one works today. With increased mechanization and automation, shouldn’t society as a whole have to work LESS than it used to? Einstein wrote he thought so. Do did Josef Piper and Thorstein Veblen and Ben Franklin! They all predicted that our society, by the late 20th century, would come to a point in which each member of society worked 20 hours a week for the necessities of life, and would have the rest of their time to devote to what they loved to do, their family, idle time, and whatever else. That is the world we dream of when we discuss limiting work.
But what those philosophers predicted isn’t so; most people in the US work more than 40 hours a week, with less than 2 weeks of vacation. That seems insane! It is a waste, to work that much. I think that if everyone worked only 20 hours a week there would be far less waste and mindless materialism than there is today. The standard of living would be lower, and we think that’s great! Our age is too luxurious for its own good.
We think that in our society, there is a pressure to be in a constant state of work. James worked fulltime as a videographer before we hit the road, and he was putting in a minimum of 50 hours every week, with no vacation. He was doing what he loved, but there was no balance! It was work first, second, and third. And that was normal. Every one told us that was right, that’s what life’s about is making it, being successful. We’ve found, that to us, that outlook is just wrong. Our idle theory states that work is performed to be at rest. Thing is, most people are afraid to be at rest. People work to justify their own existence, and that seems immature and sad. We can live full lives without being defined by work. We are whole people, with a variety of interests and passions!
We believe that life is a balance between work, what you do to sustain life, leisure, what you do out of passion, and idle time, or time spent doing nothing. All three are of equal importance. Our Puritan work ethic has touted the benefits of work enough. That’s why we’ve taken a stand for leisure and idle time. But you have to realize that we also are taking a stand for work as we believe it should be defined. We believe that the world would be a better place if more people worked physical jobs. We never said no one should work ever, we just don’t think that some people working 60 hours a week and others living on unemployment is really a good place to be, but is sadly how society currently runs.
Let’s be in a constant quest for balance and clarity. We thank you for sharing with us and hope to collectively move towards a more balanced and joyful world.
rachel + james
I’m in Chile at the moment (my wife’s home base), just ordered the zine (that was a really ez thing to do) and won’t see it before late Jan next year when we ret. to Boston.
Let me mention I’m over 70, so not to confuse with “millennial mind” and I’m somewhat blown away by this beautiful creative energy, the work/play you guys are manifesting, the wisdom behind it, the love….My words feel so “new agey” and so…inadequate, but I want you to know I’m taking it in, pondering it, and wish to wait before jumping in all the way.
My wife and I chanced upon another VW nomad here in Chile on Thnxg Day parked along the beach road (Viña del Mar) as they were sauteeing some carrots. They spoke Spanish, but we soon found they’re Canadian, here by way of Alaska. They told us to check out “early retirement” in Fr for their web site. Sure enough: Retraite Anticipée – and there on their fb was the link to idletheory. Since i don’t know French, i got a bunch more out of “idle” – though their photos were top rate also.
I’ve dedicated much of my life to the “business” of non-doing, as buddhist practitioner,as seeker, or non-seeker…..but forget it. Right now, I just want to wish you both well, to share in the joy of this huge, crazy, accidental, karmic meeting of ours.
Buzz Bussewitz (not in fb)
You guys rock, truly inspiring to someone who wants to live in a bus and travel so thank you.
Thanks for the good vibes! We have a blast living on the road, and in the wild, and really appreciate hearing from you.
Thanks for being part of our journey–and we wish you the best in your journey; that you may find your dreams and live them!!
I want see more,pictures from,inside of your van
With best wishes ❤❤❤
Our neighbor told us about Idol Theory Bus because we too have a 1976 Westy same color named Nesta. I started following Idol Theory Bus on Instagram, then the FB page. Wondering have you been to Wisconsin yet? If not come on over!! You’re gonna like what you see!! LMK when you do so we can introduce Sunshine and Nesta and ourselves! Would love to plan a long weekend to hang out, listen to some great music and camp!!
I was wondering how you get paid by the farmers and how you find work?
Could you please send me the pictures of your van (inside). I also wondering that how you manage to travel with money your are getting from the farmers and how you find work? And is that money is enough to travel because you have other expenses too, like food, clothes, water, maintenance of your van etc etc…. so how you manage to save money after all these expenses. Its really awesome. You are doing really wonderful things …good job. All the best
We have some photos of our interior on our Instagram and Facebook profile; maybe you’re right and we should do a little page on here featuring our interior! We’ll keep that in mind. To answer you other question, we make money on farms, and that is a large part of our income. We also make money doing video and photo work for companies. Between those two types of work, working probably 5-6 months out of the year all over the U.S., we piece together all the money we need to make this life work. We do not have savings of any sort now, though. We spend all of the money that comes in, usually very soon after it comes in.
Thanks for riding along with us! We appreciate you bumping along with us.
Ok dear Rachel. Continue your journey and I wish all the best for you and your team 🙂
Hi! I wanted to leave a not to say how inspiring you are to me. I believe that our thoughts bring us what we want in life and that if we open our eyes and are open, we will be guided by the universe. Yesterday, as I was walking to work, I thought to myself, all I want is a partner and a westfalia and I want to work on the road with the bare minimum and travel. Tonight before bed you popped up on my instagram feed randomly and I started to cry-really stupid emotional person here-SO just to say I think you are proof that it happens, that it works and that I should not be afraid. Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful sign you are to me. -ok im gross im going to stop-have a great day!
*a comment to say HOW INSPIRING
So stoked to learn about your travels – I have the exact same 76 bus (mine is green and named Daisy). My now 10 year old daughter and I have been adventuring in it since 2012 too! But we do two week plus trips and then come back to base for her school – heading back out on the next breaks. We have traversed the country 4 times and counting, headed to Montana via Route 2 from Brooklyn this April. Hope to see you and Sunshine somewhere out there. Peace & love, Elizabeth & Finnea (we are on Instragm as ElizabethFreund if you want to follow us – we will be following you)
I envy you both I would like for me and my wife to travel like that I am 70 she is 65 If I could convince her I would not wait a second to sell and go . You will be in my prayers for safety and to enjoy God,s great free creation Hank
We sure are enjoying God’s great free creation and so much appreciate the prayers.
May you and your wife discover your own joy and freedom together. It sure is good to have a partner in this thing called life.
We send you love,
I just read your November 18 reply to Larry. You nailed it. Really. I spend upwards of 50-60 hours a week running freight trains, not including days spent at the away terminal not being home. Basically, I am with my young family perhaps two full days a week. Trapped by a mortgage and also maintaining all the crap I have accumulated (including a small fleet of VW buses and vans!) I find that your story has struck a deep chord. Like I knew it, could taste it and feel it choke me, but you two simply turned on the light in my dark room so I could identify what is killing me.
Intersting timing as well. I recently started throwing things into two piles: Recycle/trash or Yard Sale. It is a refreshing feeling to empty out boxes in my garage that I had not opened since they were packed in 2006. Reading how you gave up what you did own and are now more content, reaffirmed my own similar thoughts. Some things are difficult to handle; those things of my father and rare collections handed down to me. My fortune is my burden; I imagine I will have to cherry-pick and pare down to the essential.
I discovered your story by someone posting a link to your introductory video. They posted it in a web-forum I participate regularly in: theSamba.com which centers on Volkswagens. While I was warmed by your story and balanced filmmaking, the thread quickly deteriorated into accusatory comments and belittling assumptions about your choices. Today, I refuted much of that in a thoughtful but pointed post and suggested that the Samba crowd should actually read your blog and stop making uneducated comments. I then went for my usual walk around Berkeley, only to find the website moderators had eliminated the entire thread by the time I returned.
Apparently, the Samba crowd is filled with bitter old men who keep looking back over their shoulder at all their failures.
Keep doing what you’re doing, as long as you are happy doing it. If life changes and your values shift, do take long gazes over your own shoulders at all those years out in the real world learning real things. And know there are guys like me up at all hours moving America’s freight thinking about you two and your worn out bus as the track signals glide past. Knowing that I, too, want to do what you are doing.
If you get out to Central California and need some driveway time to wrench… or whatever, look me up. Might even have parts you need.
It’s funny, how each of us ends up where we do. We came, as you know, to a very similar point in our lives. We looked around us, realized we were set on a course of accumulation, and and wanted out of that. There are so many ways to escape that. Sounds like you are on your path, lightening your load. A wise man once told us that he felt he was playing the part of himself in his own life. He said the many things around him were the weights that held him down. But, he seemed happy too. Just weighted a little.
We by no means want to preach that the life we live is the life everyone should live. This is just our way. It makes us upset to hear that others were so angered by our video. That is not the reason we created it. We merely wanted to share our story. The world is so full of negative news and inane gossip. We figured, we have the skills to tell our story, so why not throw a positive video onto the internet. The world can always use more positivity! It’s okay if people don’t agree with how we live; it’s the way we like it, and for now we’re enjoying the heck out of it.
Thank you for your encouragement. It is really cool of you to send a note like this, and means a lot to us. We will keep doing this as long as it makes us happy, and then we’ll go do the next thing that makes us happy. We believe that by creating joy in your own life, you create a better world. Being happy and spreading that is an activism most people aren’t bold enough to participate in. We encourage you to do the same. Please, be happy, for yourself and for your kids. Whatever that happiness means–do it.
We look forward to meeting someday, should the universe draw us together in Central California. Till then, we’ll see you on the internets.
Know that we are sending positive energy and love out to you. May we all grow together.
Thank you very much for opening your heart to us. We each have our own path, and there is joy in so many ways of living.
Hi James & Rachel just received on fb one video of yours…simply lovely, practically a dream.
I don’t have a car since 33 years already, just little vans Westy (2 Bulli and 2 James Cook) and alwais hoping to leave everything and take the ferry, just one way, and start visiting the world.
Till now just holidays, 3/4 weeks, but travelling is another thing 😉
Fortunately I live in Sardinia, Italy, really a magnificent land and I’m lucky, but sooner or later…
Have fun and continue enjoying youe life, ciao
We so much appreciate your love and good vibes. So glad our little video resonated with you!
Sounds to us like you’re living life well; a good balance between work and play. Many people here in the US never take 3-4 week holidays; that is extreme in America! Most people take 2 weeks a year for their own pleasure, which seems to us unnecessarily focused on work. So good on you! We bet Sardinia is a beautiful part of the world; always remember that you need not travel far to experience beauty.
Sending love to you and your VWs. Sunshine is the only vehicle we’ve owned as adults as well; why have another daily driver?? 😉
I love your webpage! It is warm, happy, nice looking, matched and invited.
The total design feeling, everything is coming together like pictures drawings, sketch, words… Thank you, you made my day!! Love you!!
Thank you so much for all the kind words! We have a blast putting this content together, and it means a lot that you enjoy it. Really.
So glad to make a day, like your comment kind of did for us!
Awesome to read your stories, found your site yesterday, wow. Did you ever think of creating a calender from your photos? I think lots of people would be interested, and its something people can use all year round. And they need a new one every year :-).
Keep going strong, enjoy life, take care.
Thanks for checking out the blog! The calendar idea is an interesting suggestion; we’ve never actually considered that. That would be a fun way to share James’ photography for sure…we will mull that over. We’ve always been fans of the GoWesty Calendars, so that just might work! We really appreciate the suggestion and will let you know if we move forward with that idea.
Thanks for all the well wishes.
Complimenti ragazzi…!!!Ho visto un vostro film, siete grandi; ho un Westy anch’io e ne sono innamorato come voi.
Buona strada e buoni viaggi.
Saluti da Enrico e Cristina (Genova- Italia)
I first saw your Vimeo video yesterday night. It is absolutely amazing. I love the bus ab totally understand how you two are in love with it!
I’m currently on a process of restoring an antique pickup truck, dreaming that one day I’ll do exactly the same as you did.
I think that life is all about fulfilling dreams and experience as much as possible. I’d love to meet you one day along the way!
For now, Keep idling for me as well 😉 you are welcome to visit my site and blog. I’d love to help with any thing you might need (UX for your site, mechanics, or bake cookies 😉
Thanks so much for the kind words about our video; so glad its message resonated with you.
Best of luck with your restoration! That is quite a project; something we haven’t ever done. Send us some photos when you’re done! We’d love to see your handiwork!
Just checked out your website! It is so creative and well done! Seems like you’re working on some pretty interesting projects; carry on! PS-Love the Lego man. 🙂
Life is truly all about fulfilling dreams and being happy. We wish you experiences beyond your wildest dreams.
-rachel and james
Hello Rachel and James,
As the host of Pink Flamingo RV Radio, I would like to invite you as call-in guests to discuss your full-time adventures. I will be recording today, as I will be traveling the next 2 days. I would like to air your segment on this Friday’s show if you are willing. I look forward to speaking with you.
Thanks for reaching out; we’d love to be part of of your Radio show. We’ll shoot you an email to schedule a time!
Why not travel to the south to Patagonia?
We traveled in Chile’s beautiful Patagonia about 7 years back, only for a few months, and by bus and backpack. We’ve talked about taking the bus down there, but there are so many wonderful and beautiful things and places to explore in our own country. We’ve found we don’t have to go super far to enter a new world. Maybe someday the desire will return, but for now, we’re really enjoying getting to know the U.S.
Just a note to say I LOVE what you guys are doing, because I did almost exactly the same thing!
I owned a lovely lime green 1976 VW bus the same as yours for 5 years, and travelled all over Canada, Alaska, the USA, and (for a few days, by accident!) Mexico with it.
Incredible times and memories!
I wish you nothing but the BEST of fortune (I know you will need it, at times), and I heartily congratulate you for taking the road less travelled…you will be richer, more wholesome and better humans for this experience!
We absolutely loved hearing the story of your travels in your green 76 bus! It is so good to hear from you, for the reminder of the lineage of wanderers we come from. Thank you for paving the way for us modern nomads, taking this life choice when you did. Five years is a long long time! We’re just at 3 and see no end in sight.
Thank you also for your general sense of encouragement. There are definitely days when we wake up with doubt, thinking we may be wasting our resources or something silly like that; it’s good to know you look back on these days of your own with a sense of well being.
With so much love,
Love your story and your courage to follow your own path. If you guys ever find yourselves in Bisbee, AZ and would like a nice hot shower and a place to stay for a few nights, you are welcome at Tuckaway or El Cielito – our guest cottages. We could work out a trade – maybe a piece of your lovely art for a few nights at the cottage?
Wishing you all the best and safe travels!
Thank you for your encouraging note! It does take courage to follow your own path, and we’re so grateful to have your support.
We’ve heard great things about Bisbee, and should we make it through AZ this year, we will definitely take you up on your trade. Thank you so much for the kind offer!
Thank you again for your energy.
Hi Rachel and James, We loved your story! My husband and I are planning sometime to have the same adventure – live in nature, discover new roads, new people. We love Kombi. Maybe same day we have enough courage to start. We are already in the middle age, living in Brazil (São Paulo)… Maybe sometime…. who knows!
Thanks for sharing your story with us…
Telma & Jose Carlos Brito
Hi Telma and Jose,
Thank you for writing! We are so happy our story resonated with you; that is why we share, to inspire alternative ways of seeking joy. Just remember, the journey isn’t only about new places and Kombis; it is about a genuine search for MORE; for real ways of living and connecting that make us alive. There are many ways to do that; it’s all about finding your path.
May yours be found! Thank you again for joining our journey.
Hi, my name is Bob Wells and I own cheaprvliving.com and I just discovered your video and website and I’m delighted by them! You’ve done a great job and I’d like to support you and help you get the word out about your site.
I’m writing to ask you to do a guest post on my blog. I get a pretty fair amount of traffic and I think you’ll see a big uptake in traffic if you were to write a guest post for me and we put in a link back to your site.
I hope you’re interested because I really would like to see word about you spread, but I will fully understand if you would rather not.
Thanks, and once again, great job on your site.
So excited to contribute and thank you again for the kind words about our site. We just corresponded through email, and I’m so happy you reached out.
I’m an indie author/artist as well and just wanted to drop you a line and say I admire what you’re doing. Best wishes:)
Thanks for the good vibes; they are well received!
We just checked out your blog and enjoyed looking through your art. Keep on exploring all realms of consciousness…what a journey that is; one that doesn’t require a single physical step, but that takes the mind to altering places. The search is real and never ending.
WOW! I just saw your amazing 3 minute video that has almost 3 million views… IT IS AWESOME!
Thank you so much for sharing your adventures and your beautiful, inspiring lifestyle close to nature and so connected to our mother earth. I love what you are doing! I had a similar adventure back in 1981 in a 1970 VW van, converted to a camper/adventure van with a homemade fold down bed. I still LOVE wilderness treks, remote area hiking and camping and hitting the road for long road trips. You two are a real inspiration and I appreciate you sharing the highs and lows and beautiful moments with us all through your website. Be well and live with absolute passion!
Thanks for visiting our blog and checking out the video! I know we’ve talked through Facebook, and I really appreciate you coming to our site.
Hearing your story back from 81 made us smile. It is so good to be reminded that we’re part of a tradition of seekers and free thinkers; this is a long-term movement, not an anomaly, and that is what makes it important.
May you also live in passion; it sounds like you know how to blend wildness, art, joy, and civilization in good measure, and that is so important.
Sending love and hope to stay in touch,
Dear Rachel & James,
I follow your blog since a few weeks … …
Trough Camper Experience (in the Netherlands) i have seen your video on bUGbUs.nEt. Wow!
If you see this wonderful movie you want right a away to travel. What an adventure 😉
Beautiful pictures and fun written pieces of your hand. Also we liked you FB page as your Instagram as well.
We travel in Europe especially to Italy with our T4.
Ower bus also has a name, which we call “Boessie”. Like your bus “Suneshine” 😉
Love to see & read more!
Groetjes, Dennis, Bianca & Maura
Hi Dennis, Bianca, and Maura!
Thanks so much for joining our journey; I know we’ve spoken through Facebook already, and are so glad to have connected with another VW lover and beautiful person. Good on you for getting out there; taking a T4 to Italy sounds like pure magic to us! Maybe one day we’ll save enough money to join you in the northern Alps. Sunshine would sure love to meet Boessie.
We really appreciate the good vibes about our video.
Sending you guys hopes of love and joy and grand adventure.
If you need any parts and you’re in Eastern New Mexico, I have a shit ton. Just let me know. Between myself and my buddy we probably have all major mechanical parts to build 3 bay window buses.
Thanks so much for offering parts! When we make it back your way, we will most definitely take you up on that! Parts can be difficult to find sometimes on the road. Thanks for all you do in keeping these bay windows on the road and smiles on people’s faces.
Look forward to meeting in person someday. Till then, keep VWing on and we’ll see you around the internet.
Hello guys !
first of of i wanted to tell you how much i admire you for what you’ve done and how you do it. It’s so inspiring.
Second, i wanted to ask you when exactly did you start to think about it? what date? and when did you first entered the van to start you first day of adventure?
Are you still doing that?
Thank you for your answer and have a great journey !
Love from a small french wanderer in paris who is dreaming about that too since he’s 17.
Rachel and James,
I’m not sure if either one of you remember me because it’s been quite a long time since high school but I wanted to drop a line and say thank you. It’s been YEARS since I’ve spoken to either of you but watching you here in Idle Theory or your videos with Where’s My Office Now has been amazing and fulfilling in its own way. I’d love to be able to speak to you both more intimately but also want you to know how inspiring you are. This year my fiancée Lizzie and I have been pooling money to buy our own camper van and set out into the wide open world. We would live to talk to you about it. Sending Peace and Love your way.
Keith Van Norstrand
Your blog has been added to the travel listings on http://www.hitchitch.com Your page views will increase greatly. Enjoy.
Hi James and Rachel, I find you both very inspiring and want to say thank you for being so active and vocal with your life and experiences. I am located in central Florida and today purchased my first Westy!!! I am Beyond excited for this new adventure. I am wondering if it’s possible to pick your brains on hacks and tricks and possibly even a little advice? I know this will be a “learn as I go” adventure and very much so looking forward to that. I’m not sure if you ever do “meet ups” or Q&A’s outside of the blog but thought I’d ask. Heading over to purchase your zine now and would love to help out anyway I can as I’m learning so much just from your posts. I hope this finds you both well and may your day be filled with peace and light.
In Gratitude -Dave
How does one identify your most recent post? Really neat and creative blog!
I wanted to reach out and say i’ve been reading about you adventures and they sound epic. I’m contacting from Passenegr clothing in thr uk. would love to put together a feature for you for our wandering collection on our website
Please let me know if you fancy chatting a little more, I hope your having an epic time some where when you read this
embrace the journey
I know you guys probably get TONS of people trying to contact you everyday, but I just discovered you guys tonight, I live in SoCal & you’re doing everything I dream of! IM SO BUMMED I missed the pre order of your book by 5 hours! Is there any other way I can reserve a copy and donate still!? I’d love to support you guys, Lmk!
Hi Rachel and James!
My partner and I are getting ready to take a 2 month long road trip in our tiny car. We are trying to find cheap easy meals for the road.
What do you guys do for cheap and unperisable (no fridge) food?
Thanks for any help you can give us!
-Elle and Ben
My boyfriend owns the same 1976 bus that you have, orange and everything! Although, his has yellow and green plaid seats. We have been planning a cross-country road trip since last summer and hope to hit the road within the next week or two. I have been following your Instagram feed and journey for years and I want to thank you for inspiring us to get our asses on the road. I look forward to the journey ahead of us 🙂
PS How does the bus fair in mountainous areas? We’ll be heading through the Rockies and the bus is used to flat Florida
I’m so happy to know u. enjoy your life ! I wish if I can do the same thing well if u want to visit Moroco I will be happy to show u places, much love.
Hi Rachel & James,
I enjoyed your short videos, love your great attitude to life. Jen & I had it once, then lost it & now have found it again.
We have a Kombi, I think it maybe the Aussie Doppelgänger of your Sunshine.
Looking forward to traveling the US ourselves sometime soon.
Enjoy the drive.
I hope all is well with you and belated congratulations on the great response to your forthcoming book. I m looking forward to my copy.
I notice todays (2016-07-04) Facebook says you re on the shores of Lake Michigan. Are you travelling around the lake or just skirting it?
Cool blog. We are heading from Cocoa Beach to the Tetons come Aug 1 for a long journey but nothing like yours. I love your philosophical aspect and respect to your lifestyle. We have a 69 Transporter and friends think we’re nuts at this age to do this. I continue to remind them that life is about the journey not always the destination. Peace and Love
Craig and Sandy
Does the dot in Kansas I saw a while back indicate where you are now? How’s the road treating you these days? I did 10,000 miles on a motorbike in the summer of 2012 (around the time you started I think) and I’m headed back out in a few months for a coast to coast bump. Are there any references you like for travel blogging that tie in with Kickstarter or other promotions?
I mostly camped (some Boondocking) in 2012. I’m going to focus on Couchsurfing and similar “visiting” arrangements to talk up my book (actually kind of learn to talk about my book). I know about meeting people on the road to a fair extent, but I suspect you guys are fine-tuning stuff several steps ahead of me as far as traveling light and dovetailing with people at certain stops. You may mostly be into internet marketing…any ideas you might have would be appreciated.
Just found you guys today. I like your veiw on life and am looking forward to living that same lifestyle. I do have a question. How do find the farms you work on?
Take care and hope to see you in the wind.
I was wondering if you choose your places, destinations, to follow the seasons and the good temperature or if it doesn’t matter. Do you love any seasons in your magic bus ?
Thank you for making me dream (is it possible to order your book from europe ?)
I stumbled across you guys through searching for some ideas for organization in our newly acquired van (who will be ready to go SO soon).
I’ve just been in awe of you both – such a beautiful thing you are doing and such beautiful lives you are leading.
I want to pre-order your book but there doesn’t seem to be an option to ship to Canada.
I may have just had a bad connection. Hoping it’s not just available in the US…though if it is I will still find a way to get it.
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