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Van Life | Pups Who Travel the World

Van Life | Pups Who Travel the World


In 2017, New Yorker magazine published that “van life”, or, the act of converting a van into a permanent living space, was now so common that it could be considered a lifestyle or bohemian social movement.

Our team jumped on the road (virtually) with two members of the #vanlife movement this past week to explore how dogs are embracing the #vanlife lifestyle. These pups have put more than 50,000 miles on the road!


German Shepherd
@searchingforsloane | INSTAGRAM

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
@searchingforsloane | INSTAGRAM

Australian Shepherd
@togetherweroam @emma.roams | INSTAGRAM



Q: How many miles are on your van? How many days have you been on the road?

A: My van currently has about 33,000 miles and I have been on the road for over a year and a half now.

Q: Why did you choose to live on the road?

A: I am living on the road because I decided that I was not going to wait for life. I was going to start living life right now because I didn’t know how long I would have. So I decided that it was now or never.  

I am an avid outdoor lover. I am a trail runner. I am a mountain biker. I am a backpacker. I was a rock climber. I want to do everything I can outside. For me living in a van allows me to literally live outside and being in the wilderness as much as possible.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to pursue your journey?

A: I first saw photos of van life on Instagram. I said well it looks so cool. One day I will totally do that. Then my lease came up on my house that I was in and I was like why am I paying for this house. I am never here. This does not make any sense. I started looking at travel trailers and places I could park on my property that my company is on.

Eventually I started looking at vans. I was kind of like wishy washy about it and I was not pulling the trigger on it. Then my father was ill at the time. They gave him six months left to live and I bought the van within the same week…here I am.

Q: Why did you choose to bring your dogs Ren and Zoe with you?

A: Zoe loves to be outside from the day I got her. She gets so excited when we are going to go for a hike. And now she is crazy wild.

Ren is a work in progress. She is trying to like the outdoors. She found that she really likes rivers and creeks because she could stand in them and just drink a lot of water which is her favorite hobby and she started swimming.

I just really like having them. It has also been great to have Ren because she looks like protection. As someone that always had a dog you cannot explain like it does not feel as safe when you do not have a dog with you on the trails.


Q: Why did you choose to live on the road?

A: Why did we choose to do it? Why not I think is the better answer. It just sort of seemed like the next right thing to do.

When my wife and I met she had Emma for four years at that point. I was going on this van trip all around the US and her first question was can Emma come with us. Which was a no brainer. Emma is a 20-pound little Australian Shepherd. She is 9 now and just the smartest dog out there. 

Since [the COVID-19 pandemic] we have kind of been kicking ourselves for selling the van. Just being able to disappear, drive and go wherever we want. Those nights and mornings where it was only the three of us just cuddling up in the van. It has always been such a great memory.

And that connection, being with Emma — waking up at her looking out of the windows in the van and checking out where we are. Even her running around in the desert and getting all excited about it. Those are all such incredible memories.

Q: What helped to make it reality?

A: I think just getting the vehicle and then kind of fitting it out. My wife has all the dog experience. In her mind there is always like we need a vacuum cleaner for Emma’s hair. We need to accommodate for certain things. Me as not a previous dog owner does not necessarily think of.

But every time it is always worth it. Having a loose plan but always being ready for things to change.

Q: What were some daily challenges?

A: For us daily challenges were making sure we had firewood. Making sure we had water. Making sure like all the necessary things were checked. At the same time, we were working while we were on the road. 

My wife and I are both photographers. So, we needed access to Wifi. Planning our trip around what coffee shops we can hang out for a couple hours and get some work done.

Q: Is your pup made for this lifestyle?

A: Emma is the most well-behaved dog ever and that’s 100% credit to my wife. The only times that she gets some separation anxiety is if we leave. 

If she is not a part of something, then she goes nuts. She has to always be a part of the crew. And we would not have it any other way. It doesn’t matter where we go as far as her comfort level. 

Parker, Jenelle and their pup Emma did their van trip for 7 months. That was a couple years ago. Since then Emma has traveled with them everywhere. Currently they live on their boat in New Jersey.


Craving more? Check out daily how-to’s and activities in the SwiftPaws Community on Facebook today! August is DOGust, the universal birthday for rescue dogs. This month, we hosted a birthday for more than 500 rescue dogs at Big Dog Ranch Rescue - and, of course, ate loads of organic dog cake by PixiesTreatsLLC. Be sure to join the fun in our exclusive SwiftPaws Community group, or on TikTok and Instagram.


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