Matt and I went to the same high school but lost touch for over ten years. Then, we randomly found each other at Burning Man in 2015. By the end of the Burn, we’d decided to travel together. We spent three and a half months traversing the West coast of South America, visiting Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. While we explored cities, we quickly learned we thrived in the wilder places: from the soaring Andes to the humid, muggy Amazon, to the Atacama desert. We fell in love hiking and climbing together.
Upon return to the U.S., Matt went back to Los Angeles and Amanda to San Francisco (where we’d been living separately before our trip). We wanted to live together, so Matt moved to San Francisco, and we spent months figuring out if the city provided the lifestyles we wanted. While SF is an amazing city, and will always hold a place in our hearts, we felt stifled there. We craved self-sufficiency and a simple but adventurous lifestyle that the open road offers.
Once we made the decision to try out living in a van, things moved very quickly. We initially thought we’d end up with a cargo van (Sprinter or ProMaster) and came close to going that way, until Amanda saw a Clark Cortez online. We fell in love with the classic look and history— it is the first and original American motorhome.
With one-way tickets in hand, we flew to Portland, Oregon where we met King, a retired railroad engineer. The minute we saw ‘Tezarae’ pulling into the airport passenger pickup area, we were sold. Our first road trip was the long drive back to San Francisco. Along the way, we faced some exciting moments including flooding the engine multiple times and overheating the brakes on treacherous mountain roads in Northern California.
Needless to say, our classic RV Clark Cortez needed some TLC. We were extremely excited to learn the skills we’d need to make ‘Tezarae’ into our ideal bright, spacious home on wheels. We spent over six months renovating the entire interior, rebuilding 95% of it, from the bare sheet metal up.
Since committing to this lifestyle, we’ve never felt more free or focused— especially physically and creatively. We wake up early with the sun and start our day moving, whether it’s rock climbing, bouldering, a trail run or hike. Matt’s a photographer, and I (Amanda) am a writer, and we make time every day to focus on our creative passions.

Follow Matt & Amanda

Instagram @van.project

Website The Van Project

Photo courtesy of @van.project

MOST POPULAR

Vanlife Magazine-Vanlife stories by vanlifers

HANNAH & JIMMY

Vanlife Magazine-Vanlife stories by vanlifers

AARON EINER

Vanlife Magazine-Vanlife stories by vanlifers

REECE & LAUREN

GET MORE INSPIRATION

FREE NEWSLETTER
Join the vanlife community newsletter! Get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

VANLIFERS OF THE MONTH




GOALS

FREE NEWSLETTER
Join the vanlife community newsletter! Get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hey guys! So psyched to see that the reno went so well. Great article! Hope to see you next year or on the road. I’m looking into buying a Shasta. They re-issued in 2015 a nice vintage one I just saw in my neighborhood in CT. I’ll email you pics!

    See you on the road. Beep! Beep!

    Tina

Comments are closed.