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  • Writer's pictureMatt

Empty van, full life

It had been two days and 1,000 miles, since I picked up our new #4x4sprinter #van! The clouds surrounding Oregon were far away in the rearview mirror as I arrived in the #MohaveDesert. Nearing our home in Arizona, I finally had a chance to slow down, to reflect, and take stock of where we were going and how we would get there.

Elyssa and I met 13 years ago. Our first conversations centered around small living spaces in large landscapes, obscure art installations, and adventuring in the American West. It didn’t matter that we were in Europe working as classical musicians at the time - our hearts were in the #desert.

When I pulled off of the interstate into Mohave National Preserve, I eyed the surrounding terrain. Scale plays with your mind in the vast spaces of the west - I wanted to discover, to run up a mountain, to explore the potential of our new dwelling. It didn’t matter that the van was still a shell - vast and seemingly empty inside. That only felt appropriate given the character of the desert.

After a 12 mile run up Teutonia Peak, six miles longer than I had planned, I texted Elyssa some photographs. She couldn’t make the maiden voyage as she was on the east coast at the time for work. She quickly responded back, “Hell yeah!!! LIVING THE DREAM.” It was true, our vision of tiny living in the desert was becoming reality.

Almost two years after picking up the van, a simple life and adventures are on our horizons. There were plenty of detours along the way - COVID, forest fires, riots, social unrest, a move, and job uncertainty. However, hard work, commitment, and persistence paid off.

We'll be picking up our van in Bellevue, ID from #SyncVans ( in less than one week. With new jobs and life finally trending towards stable on the #NorthRim, we're looking forward to realizing the #dreams we had in Holland - #running, #climbing, #camping, and creating media throughout the American West in our #Sprinter.

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