The Beginning






28 responses to “The Beginning”

  1. Ashley says:

    So happy to have stumbled upon your Instagram account! I grew up in San Diego with a dad who loved and fixed up VW’s, including a ’77 van, and having those retro Volkswagons in my life made me dream of the day I’d have one of my own to venture around the country. My big plan was put on hold, however, because I opted for graduate school in New England…then bought a house…and got married…then had a baby. Trying to talk my hubs into purchasing a van so we can go on family adventures….and I’m hoping that showing him your photographs will help with the inspiration! Looks like you are having an amazing journey! I envy you ;o)

    • James says:

      Thanks! We have been meeting all kinds of VW lovers over instagram. I wish my parents had one when I was a kid – don’t let yours grow old with out the experience. 🙂

  2. Rachel–I LOVE this. Great job with a truly inspiring website/journal of your adventures. I can’t wait to see what you guys explore next. Make Colorado next on your list and come visit our wilderness!

    Courtney Basik

    • Rachel says:

      Courtney, So glad you stopped by to check the blog out! We dream of the day we’ll make it to Colorado-and when we do we’ll have to do some hiking together. Thanks for riding along with us! Best to you and Drew! -Rachel

  3. Rachel says:

    Thanks Courtney! So glad you looked everything over and enjoyed it!! We’ll for sure have to meet up when we make it to Colorado one day!

  4. gabi says:

    you two are such an inspiration, my boyfriend and i have moved to oceanside, california from australia and have a love for backpacking and hiking and photos are truly inspiring – looking at doing the pacific crest trail ourselves 🙂 hopefully seeyou two exploring around somewhere !!

    • Rachel says:


      Thanks for your kind words! Hope you are enjoying Oceanside…we lived in Encinitas for awhile. San Diego is a great place. Explore your own back yard and hopefully we’ll run into you sometime (on the PCT, perhaps?)

      Thanks for taking the time to write us,

      -James, Rachel, and Sunshine

  5. Jeff simpson says:

    Glad to have come across your site as well. My wife and I di the same thing many years ago in a 1974 orange bus. We had our two dogs with us. It was an amazing time. We worked she we needed and traveled when we had saved enough cash. When our son graduates high school in 10 years it’s time to do it all over again
    Keep on Vdub’n.

  6. Sandra says:

    What a lovely lovely page! You are living a dream. My man and me are dreaming that, too, and we hope we will make it real soon. Enjoy your travels. I’ll follow you on Instagram.

  7. Brooke says:

    My name is Brooke 🙂 nice to meet you. I just read through this entire website and I just wanted to say that you two are my heroes and are living the dream. thanks for sharing your journey with the interwebs. you’re both pretty darn awesome.
    Adventure on!

  8. angel says:

    nice blog! I love sunshine! =]

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Angel,

      Thanks for checking it out! Glad you enjoyed

      We went to your site and were super inspired…Keep up the good work and vibes. Your pictures and advice are great…sure many people will connect.

      We, too, love sunshine. Couldn’t imagine life without her beautiful face.

      Hope to see you out there, anywhere at home–Great name

      -james + rachel.

  9. Thibault says:

    I Just discovered your website.
    You guys are living the life!
    We are Westy owner/lover in San Francisco, if you are around the area let us know and we’ll welcome you with a warm shower and meal.

  10. Armando says:

    Hi guys, we are Armando & Mel, an Italian film director and an American writer, living, working and traveling in Europe with our Westy ’95 called Mork. We really would like to get in touch with you. Bye and safe travel

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Armando and Mel! We checked out your site and are stoked on it! Safe travels to you and be watching for an email from us in your inbox!

  11. Steve Leonard says:

    James and Rachel,

    So great meeting you today at Healthy Hen Farm. Enjoyed hearing about your journey across the country and now enjoyed vicariously riding along with you through your pictures and videos! Hope you guys get that farm in the area in the future, have to keep in touch. -Steve

  12. Jerry Jaramillo says:

    Aloha, Have totally enjoyed your pics and travel. I was a VW mech for 10 yrs and luv the old stuff. Had a 67 and a70 camper style bus. Hope to see you guys on the west coast. We have had the pleasure of hanging with Emily and Cory here in SD. Much Aloha to you both.

  13. Abigail says:

    my mom and I were just talking about how awesome your lifestyle is and how we are dying to begin our own journey into the van life. if you don’t mind me asking, how do you guys support yourself throughout all your travels? I know several other account I have stumbled upon do odd jobs or work out of their vans but I never see mention of that on your page. also your siblings are so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel with you! I love reading about your adventures, happy travels!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Abigail,

      So Sorry for the late response! Thanks so much for visiting our blog and for reaching out. Sounds like you’re in an exciting phase of life; good for you for taking steps to live your dreams; that is admirable and we say–do what makes you joyful!

      To support ourselves, we do farm work as we need it, everything from butchering chickens to harvesting peaches. We’ve done roofing, dug ditches, and hung Christmas lights. James is a videographer, and creates shorts for nonprofits and small companies. I do some freelance writing. Mostly, we work to need less money, and have lived below the poverty line for the last 5 years. That’s probably the biggest thing; to need less, and then you don’t need to earn much. We work for what we need and no more.

      Hope that was helpful!

      Thanks for the good vibes and for following along on our journey! Hope you end up doing what makes your hearts burst with joy most days; for that is the only way to live.

      Much Love,

      rachel + james

  14. Chris says:

    Does the inspiration for the cartoon illustrations come from veggie tales?

    I like checking in to your page. What do you guys think of idle theory sailboat? Average speed: 4 knots…
    Hope you’re well.


    • Rachel says:

      Hi Chris,

      Ha! We hadn’t heard that one before; but now that you say it, my cartoon characters do look a little like Veggie Tales characters.

      James has talked about doing the sailboat life—though, that would mean giving up sunshine, which I’m not sure he would ever do.

      We wish you happy sailing and good vibes!

      Much Love,


  15. Robert says:

    Keep it up! Well done!

  16. Mark says:

    You guys are living the dream that I’ve always wanted. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Adi says:

    Hello !!
    Watch your journeys with VW van beautiful and soothing, I suspect that you and some people who thank God for all the beauty but the best prayer and living is the Orthodox Church’s why I advise you to visit an Orthodox monastery in the US and assisted in Sunday Divine liturgy recommend this trip.

  18. Sherry says:

    I found your website and it made my heart SOAR! I am SO curious though- how do you afford it? Is this something you do on the side while working a job, or?? I’d love some insight so I might be able to move in this direction as well. Inspiring!!

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