We first met Mak and Owen at a coffee shop in Atlanta. They had reached out to us on Instagram to pick our brains about running a design business from the road and about the ins-and-outs of vanlife. We became fast friends and have gone on many an adventure since. When this interview was conducted, they had left from Atlanta, Ga and headed to Northern California via Las Vegas. They’d only been on the road for 65 days. So without further adieu, here is Bound for Nowhere’s Mak, Owen and Stanley.
What rig did you choose and why?
We have a wonderful 1985 Westfalia Vanagon. When we decided to go onto the road we looked into every vehicle/home option we could think of. In the end, there were three main reasons we went with a Vanagon. One, we LOVE old Volkswagens. Their style points are always through the roof, and we love style points. Two, we wanted to have the ability to accept house guests. We wanted to have the opportunity to share what we do with friends and family, because we know that not everyone has the chance to travel like this. With room for four in Stanley we can give them a little piece of our adventure. Three, we needed desk space for two. Owen and I make our living as freelance designers and need to be sure that we have the ability to park somewhere and get work done inside the van. Stanley has just that.
What is the toughest situation you have faced?
For what ever reason these first two months of being on the road has been riddled with trials and tribulations. The winner of the toughest situation we’ve faced would be a break in we had in Miami. We hadn’t been on the road very long and were a little naive to the fact that being broken into was even a possibility. We are wiser because of it, but it is never fun to have someone steal from your home.
What’s the hardest thing about adjusting to life on the road?
You’re going to laugh…but we miss having ice. We are from the South and we like ice in our drinks. Being that missing ice is our biggest adjustment, I feel like it’s safe to say that we feel right at home in the van!
What advice would you give to someone is thinking about hitting the road full time?
Our advice would be to not over plan. We have found that the most amazing things happen in the moments you don’t plan for.
How long do you plan to stay on the road?
We “plan” to go until we don’t want to go anymore. Which really means we don’t have a plan. If we had to pick a time frame, we would tell you 3-5 years. In our time on the road we want to see as much as we can together, and surround ourselves with inspiration that pushes us as designers.
What inspired you to take on this lifestyle?
We actually have done this before. Four years ago Owen and I quit our jobs and started driving. Our intention was to find a new place to live. We quickly realized that home was not a specific place for us. Home was on the road. We traveled for about five months and when we ran out of money we headed back to Atlanta. We have been trying to get back on the road ever since. Being on the road now is the sustainable reboot of what we started four years ago.
Are there any perspectives you are in search of confirming or reassessing? If so, what are they?
We are strong believers in the beauty and geographical diversity of the United States. Some people travel the world looking for something that this country has in our own backyard. We want to pay witness to everything this incredible country has to offer, and have the chance to be thankful for its existence. We really love nature.
What challenges do you foresee encountering?
In order for our life on the road to be sustainable we needed to ensure that we are maintaining near full time work days. In order to do that we had to pick up a good base of clients and have reliable access to a wifi connection. Our clients are all in support of us being on the road, and we are always very upfront with new clients. For wifi we have a hotspot that allows us to have internet access from our remote locations and even in 70+ other countries. All those things keep us working and keep gas in our tank!
What makes your heart beat fast?
For us, we love finding a killer hike into the backcountry, a secret swimming hole, and a beautiful new route to climb. We are always in search of new and unfamiliar land to explore and get to know.
What is the most unexpected thing you’ve learned about this lifestyle thus far?
We have realized how much we want to share what we are doing, seeing, and experiencing with people. It is all too often we hear people say how much they wish they could be on the road doing what we are doing. We so badly wish that we could give them our experiences and show them what we have seen. It is a strange concept that has just crept up on us. It makes us want to give back as much as we can to every person we meet.