In the fall of 2014, Ian Achey and Lisa Aquino made a decision to shake things up. The two youthful climbing adventurers were tired of their comfortable, predictable lives, spending their days in an office at the 9-5 grind with a regular paycheck.
Instead of talking about doing the things they love but not having the time to do them, they decided to downsize, sell what they could, and hit the road in pursuit of unknown surprises and experiences.
Enter Mr. Daisy Van: a 2006 Chevy Express 2500, prone to “hot flashes” on mountain passes, cow-like handling, and unpredictable “death wobble” episodes. Although aging, the white van offered 72 square feet of living space to dream about.
By spending a few hours a day for about six months, Ian and Lisa converted the old van into a cozy home complete with a bed, fridge, electric water pump, and solar power. They use a GoalZero power system to run their system, charged with Boulder solar panels. Beyond that, the piece of gear they found they could not do without were shop towels. Three years and over 80,000 miles later, the couple shares a glimpse into their adventures with Mr. Daisy Van.
The couple started their travels with some contract work through their partners in the outdoor industry, with plans to spend a year traveling to different outdoor events to offer field marketing services and “on the spot” event coverage and promotions.
Eventually, Mr. Daisy Van became its own business entity with Ian and Lisa expanding their talents to providing additional staff at events, content generation, and finding new event opportunities throughout their travels. They even took on a couple of house painting jobs to help supplement their income.
Their travel schedule revolved around the weather and different rock climbing venues, taking them to memorable places like Joshua Tree National Park, Squamish, BC, Chattanooga, TN, and Clearwater, FL. They loved having a life where spontaneity ruled their lives. Ian shares,
“Instead of hearing someone talk about places you should visit or check out and thinking ‘Oh, I would love to do that some day, I am putting that on my list,’ you have the freedom to actually go and see for yourself. Everybody talks about how they’d love that kind of freedom and if they ever had time for a trip like this they would love it. Well the truth is, we all have time for something like this, it’s just a matter of willing to make it happen.”
At the end of three years, the couple realized that they needed to take some time and put their travels and fledgling business on hold so that they could do a little tuning up of their minds. They are both taking courses to further their ability to follow their life and work dreams on the road.
“Often great sacrifice comes from following a dream and in the end you may have nothing to show for it – you may have to start all over again. For us, we welcomed this challenge and recognized that, from a career standpoint, this trip may be a “roadblock” and not a way to further our professional status. We both have the mentality that a career should only last as long as you are motivated by it, and who’s to say we can only have one?”
Once they finish gaining the skills they need to propel them to the next adventure, they plan on continuing a life of travel.
Stephen Monteith Albers says
Laudable goals. But I question the van format which is too big to explore narrow crowded city streets and too low to the ground for anything but paved highways or improved roads. Separate accommodation and tow vehicle would offer much more flexibility.
Mr. Tuxedo giving advice to diwnsizers. I question that.