I had always been interested in travel and minimalism, but it wasn’t until college that my vanlife dream was born. Leading up to it I had an obsession with tiny homes. I told myself I’d build one of my own after school, but mine would be on wheels. I wanted to be mobile.
As I began to do more research on these mobile tiny homes, I came across stories of people living out of vans. I was both shocked and excited to learn that others had taken this tiny living to a whole new level, one even smaller and more mobile than most. Immediately, I knew this was the lifestyle I wanted to pursue… and that’s when the van hunt began.
Throughout the development of this vanlife dream, I had been studying several different subjects in college, and by that I mean I changed my major four times within the first year and a half. I had no idea what I wanted to study, and it killed me to continue spending money on something I wasn’t passionate about. By the end of my sophomore year, I decided to drop out.
I’m not here to say that leaving college is the right decision for everyone who is questioning their passions, but I can say I believe it was right for me. I honestly believe it was a part of God’s plan for my life because looking back I now understand that my time of struggle and searching brought me closer to the one who truly satisfies. I learned there was nothing in this life, no profession, no amount of climbing, camping, snowboarding or any form of adventure, which could satisfy and complete me. Christ and his shed blood on the cross for my sin had already set me free. I had already been made complete, and through finding my identity in him rather than a career, I could now live joyfully knowing it is not so much what I do for a living that matters but rather who I am living for.
Since leaving college there have certainly still been struggles, but I am continually awed by God each day. He has shown me that my dream of travel and tiny living does not have to be a selfish dream, but that it can and does bring him glory because it all comes down to the status of your heart. It comes down to letting go and enjoying the adventure of trusting the one who is truly sovereign and in control, the one who loves us beyond our understanding.
I now own and travel part-time in my ’82 VW Westy named Peanut. It’s been a blast to experience life on the road as well as develop a new love for writing and photography along the way. I work currently as a home interior painter, saving for my upcoming transition from part-time to full-time vanlife. I also run a small business I recently launched called Slow Road Supply which I love and plan to continue throughout my travels.
Although I have experienced some of what it means to upkeep the van, find parking and showers, live simple and keep things cheap, I expect there to be more challenges for sure. I’m excited about those challenges though. I can’t wait to learn more about my rig, continue to meet others on the road, and experience a simple life without the distractions of excess. Most importantly, I’m excited to grow in my relationship with Christ. After all, he is what makes this life what it is. A beautiful mess of adventure.
Love God. Love people. Explore.

Follow Gabrielle Nelson

Instagram @gabriellenelson_

Website Slow Road Supply

Photo courtesy of @gabriellenelson_

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