Van Base With a Fan Base

Photo by Our Open Road

Photo by Our Open Road

Before this week, we've always jokingly thrown around the idea of driving through South America, all the way to Tierra del Fuego and back again.  But after reading about this amazing couple who is actually doing it (and with their daughter, no less) I spent the last few days mentally sorting out how to buy a van (or ship my 4-Runner) and do it. I literally could not take my eyes off of their instagram feed all weekend. Their blog, Our Open Road is equally as inspiring. 

From the New York Times:

All Adam Harteau and his wife, Emily, wanted to do was take an epic 23,000-mile, 20-country road trip to the southernmost tip of South America and back. Everything that followed — the blog, the corporate sponsorships, the cookbook they’re writing, the export business — has been a savvy improvisation.

The Harteaus, who live in Los Angeles, are travelers in the sleep-in-your-VW-van hippie tradition. Before their trip, Mr. Harteau, 35, had pursued various entrepreneurial ventures while trying to become a full-time fine artist. Mrs. Harteau, 32, worked in the fashion industry and competed on “Project Runway.” Unfulfilled by their jobs and dejected after an opportunity to work on a movie in Nepal fell through, the couple decided to turn their 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia camper, which has a propane stove, an electric refrigerator and a foldout bed, into a rolling micro apartment.

“We loved the idea of bringing our home with us,” Mr. Harteau said. “We could live in our van and drive to South America, and it would be awesome.”

If this was the 1960s and the Harteaus were traveling in a VW van, they might have raised gas money by selling handicrafts or hash oil. In the Internet era, they turned to social media, initiating a Kickstarter campaign. 

Read the full article over on the New York Times.