Hi! We’re Nathalie and Lillie.
In 2021 we experienced our first Vanlife trip throughout the west coast of the USA to celebrate Nathalie’s graduation for her Masters’s in Architecture at UC Berkeley. We drove through California, Utah, Colorado, and Texas.
We spent our first night in our van in Mono Lake, California. We hiked around Mildred Lake and soon made our way to Mammoth Lakes, California. Our first night was filled with wonder, excitement, nerves, and adrenaline. Our kitchen pulled out from the back of the van so the only option was to cook outside. We bundled up with multiple layers of thermal, tights, and winter gear as it was 42 degrees outside, and we Floridians had our hands frozen by the time we stepped out of the van. We watched the sunset along Mono Lake with cotton candy skies and a full moon as we ate our first home-cooked meal in the van staring at the sky as the stars started rolling in.
The next morning we drove through the beautiful mountains of California as we made our way to Mammoth Lakes. We hiked through Convict Creek Trail as we shared in unison that we could keep up with one another’s pace throughout the trail. At the end of our day we relaxed at Mammoth Lakes Brewing Company as we took in the sights and breathed in the cool mountain air. We stayed in the Mammoth Lakes area a couple of more days before trekking along the west coast to Utah.
Arriving in Zion National Park, Utah was everything we could have imagined. Along the drive we witnessed gorgeous scener from bright giant red mountains all along the highway to staying in our first BLM (Bureau of Land Management) free campsite with the safety of other rigs around us, far enough away to feel secluded, but close enough in case we needed help with anything. The people were all kind, attentive and generous. During our time in Zion, we got stuck trying to drive our 2 wheel van up the steepest of mountains. Friendly faces were quick to help, even though Nathalie was able to drive in reverse down the mountain (which by the way, was a narrow path off a cliff) and even made a spot for us to park the van overnight.
Our favorite adventure in our first vanlife trip was the experience at Bryce Canyon National Park. The atmosphere coming from Zion, which is a very popular park, thus, extremely crowded to a small town feel was exactly what we needed after the ‘hustle and bustle’ we endured at Zion. We went off road dirt biking, hiked a few trails and enjoyed the quiet and peaceful nights with so many stars out and watching beautiful sunsets. It was a great way to end our trip in our van. We think of Bryce Canyon fondly and immediately share with people who are interested in going to Utah that they must stop at Bryce Canyon as well!
The feeling of hiking after a long day and immediately being able to cozy up after getting back to our van, which was also our home for the week, was a luxury we couldn’t get enough of. The swiftness of getting up and driving without having to worry about packing up from a hotel or Airbnb, checking out, and repacking the car to then driving to wherever the next destination was, was a stress we did not have to encounter while living in a tiny home on wheels. We fell in love with the lifestyle and the freedom it brought us as many people experience. We started noticing different parts of the build we would change if we had our own, not thinking that would ever be a reality.
A few months later, we wanted to rent another camper van for memorial weekend. The only ones available were really expensive. We were watching a van build series and it got us thinking, we can also do that. Why not build our own? With Nathalie’s architectural background, we knew every inch of the van would be used with intention and purpose. We began dreaming even bigger than just building our own van, but building other people’s vans too. Our passion, determination, and teamwork together are traits we do not take for granted and we want to live a life where we shoot for the stars and go above and beyond.
Our dream unfolded into our own van-building business, and the rest is history! Get a quote now to see how we can turn your dreams into an oasis reality.