28-year-old Jace Carmichael and 26-year-old Giddi Oteo love to travel, and had the idea of giving up everything and living in a Sprinter van for years. Their dream came true when someone at Jace’s work decided to sell his 2003 Dodge Sprinter van. The two fixed it up and hit the road, exploring national parks, driving up to Alaska, starting a couple businesses that would help fund their journey on the road.
When their baby Juniper was born last fall, the new family took six months off, but are now back at it again, this time in a new refurbished van.
“I think the most positive is that we’re together all the time, which can be negative at certain moments, but it’s cool that Juniper has her mom and her dad, and we have each other all the time,” Jace said. “That’s been really cool to strengthen our family bond.”
“Jace has been around for Juniper’s life milestones, and it’s really great for him to be there through all her changes,” said Giddi.
Their van is built out with a bed, a two-person table, a kitchen, and a composting toilet that slides out from under the bed.
“You put coconut husk or peat moss and over time your business turns into soil,” Jace said. “It doesn’t smell; it has a fan that’s constantly on that pushes air through, and it goes outside. When it fills up, you can legally dump it or dig a hole. The liquid tank you dump every three days depending on how much you’re going.”
The couple loves the spontaneity of their life. They don’t have to look for a hotel or set up a campsite. They come and go to various cities and forests when they please. And they support themselves with an online jewelry company, Carteo Handmade. Giddi makes the pieces.
“I love waking up in beautiful places,” said Jace.'It's like owning a home in some of the coolest places except you don't have a mortgage and can stay there as long as you want.'Click To Tweet
Jace said someday, he and Giddi and the baby will probably settle down into a real house, but they’re not quite ready for that yet.
“We’re living in the moment and that’s what we want right now. We do have future plans of buying land and settling down, at least part of the year.”
For now, the couple is happy. They don’t know what the future holds. They might drive up the California coast, head back up to Oregon, which they love. Or maybe they’ll continue on to Alaska. Right now, all that matters is where their heart takes them, and their love of their family. Sounds like such a simple, rewarding life.
You can follow Jace and Giddi’s Sprinter Van journey here.