A look into the Rich Life of a nomadic camper van couple

Let’s check out the nomadic Wealthy Lifetime of IWT worker Jonathan and his associate, Lucy.

We’ll cowl all the pieces: How and why Jonathan and Lucy determined to stay a nomadic life, their camper van construct particulars, the ACTUAL prices concerned in residing on the highway, just a few of their Wealthy Life moments, and extra. 

You’ll hear a few skeptical mom, Andrew Garfield, two pit bulls and a shotgun, a pack of 4x4s in a snowstorm, and extra. 

It’s going to be nice! 

We’ll go into element about their particular camper van later. First, I’d prefer to introduce you to Jonathan and Lucy. 

Meet Jonathan and Lucy

Jonathan began working for IWT in summer time 2021 on our Scholar Success crew. While you be a part of considered one of our packages, our SS crew makes certain that you’ve got all the pieces you want to get via this system and begin to implement what you’ve discovered. The crew is among the finest components of IWT. 

Jonathan and Lucy, who’ve been collectively for greater than seven years, purchased their first camper van in 2019. The primary van was designed to be an “adventuring” van with tons of storage (for a van) however no actual place to work or lounge. 

“A month into our year-long journey, we knew that we needed to maintain the dream going,” Jonathan stated. In order that they took it to the subsequent stage. 

In 2021, they got down to construct what they name their “Digital Nomadic Dream Van,” which might permit them to journey indefinitely whereas additionally having the ability to earn an revenue. 

Once we interviewed Jonathan for The Wealthy Life e-newsletter, he gave us some background on what impressed him and Lucy to go on the highway. 

“Our pal Raquel, who launched us to the nomadic way of life, was recognized with terminal most cancers in summer time 2021 and handed away within the fall. She by no means received the possibility to stay her Wealthy Life. It actually places into context why we aren’t losing any time residing our Wealthy Life, and every single day we’re on the highway, we’re reminded of her life. We named our van Raqi (pronounced ‘Rocky’) after her and hope to proceed residing the best way she would have needed us to.”

Wow. What a strong cause for Jonathan and Lucy to start out residing their imaginative and prescient for his or her Wealthy Life! No matter your cause is, one of the best time to start out residing your Wealthy Life is at the moment.

camper van interior

I really like having the ability to go in-depth and get particular particulars on a Wealthy Life story like this. Hold studying to see precisely what it prices every month to stay a nomadic life like this — I believe it’ll shock you. 

Skeptics and “FISH’ing”

Jonathan and Lucy (and their canine, Teton) reside their Wealthy Life whereas touring the nation of their camper van.

Let’s speak about feedback Jonathan and Lucy heard and the way they handled them.

Teton, Jonathan and Lucy
  • “I want I used to be younger and had fewer tasks and will journey round.”
  • “There’s no means that will work for me. It’s an excessive amount of time, assets, and cash.”
  • “Have to be good.”
  • “How are you going to pay for all of that?”

Ah, skeptics. 

“My mother was not a fan from the beginning,” Jonathan stated. “She really got here up with a enjoyable acronym for it: ‘FISH’ing.’ Feigning Curiosity, Suppressing Horror.” 


Because of this I say your Wealthy Life is YOURS, not anybody else’s. Some folks will assume your concepts of a Wealthy Life are loopy. That’s OK! 

So why this Wealthy Life? 

“With our preliminary jobs out of faculty, we weren’t capable of do something enjoyable,” Jonathan stated. “We don’t need to be locked all the way down to a metropolis, and particularly a high-rent space. We love the flexibleness of going wherever we wish.”


“It was an ideal time for us to launch into this new way of life as a result of there was nothing holding us again,” Jonathan stated. “We had been to start with of our careers, didn’t have a home, no youngsters. It felt like a very good alternative.” 

They acknowledge it’s not excellent. Lucy stated, “In an excellent world, we wouldn’t be in a van — we’d be capable to keep in additional snug lodging. However for now, we’re prioritizing our love for the outside, but it surely comes with the price of residing in a smaller house and never having all the pieces readily available.”

And the van construct itself didn’t at all times go easily. 

Their 2019 Ford Transit-350 HD XLT was their base and had a 400-pound wheelchair raise that they needed to manually take away, together with all the passenger seats.

Van remodel in progress

Lucy ambitiously estimated that the construct would take 3 months and $20,000. 

Seven months and $40,000 later, the van is full.

Listed here are simply a few the surprising delays and bills: They ordered the bathroom for the van in Could 2021, but it surely didn’t arrive till October. The skilled heating and electrical system installations value twice as a lot and took — no exaggeration — 10 instances as lengthy. 

However Jonathan and Lucy each word that you simply turn out to be used to residing in a van in a short time. “It undoubtedly took some adjusting,” Jonathan stated. “At first we had been bumping into one another and determining learn how to use the house most successfully.” 

“However we’ve got the entire world exterior our door,” he added. “And we will simply open it and get anyplace we need to.”


Right here’s how Jonathan and Lucy resolve the place to go, based on Jonathan:

“Now we have a basic route that we need to take after which discover particular issues to do as we’re touring via areas. The good half about residing nomadically is that we will keep for longer durations of time if we like a sure place. We permit for flexibility in our journey plans due to this.

“Throughout this second journey, we’re heading towards Denver to see Lucy’s sister, who just lately moved there. We intend to journey slower and extra meticulously than our first journey in order that we will actually soak up and expertise every place that we go to.”

Jonathan and Lucy are already desirous about all of the locations they’d prefer to go quickly. Mexico and Alaska are on the record, however even larger than that. “There are folks we’ve seen who’ve both executed van swaps or really shipped their van to Europe or Asia,” Jonathan stated. “We’d like to discover and experiment with touring internationally whereas residing in a van and dealing remotely.” 

I find it irresistible!

I speak about this with {couples} on my podcast on a regular basis. A Wealthy Life is a particular, detailed plan for the current AND the longer term. I really like that Jonathan and Lucy had been desirous about this even earlier than he began working with us and was accustomed to all the IWT terminology. 

Camper van economics


Ever questioned how a lot it prices to journey the nation in a van or a camper? Let’s discover out.

Lucy and Jonathan

Right here’s what Jonathan says: 

Value of the empty van: $40,000 after taxes and payment (a used 2019 Ford Transit 350 HD XLT passenger van with round 35,000 miles)

Value of the construct: $40,000, together with all supplies, home equipment, and labor of execs

Value to stay on the highway per 30 days:

  • Meals/grocery: $500
  • Camper insurance coverage: $200
  • Auto mortgage: $650
  • Gasoline: $300 common (relying on the place they’re)
  • Pet meals/insurance coverage: $125
  • Guilt-free spending: $300–600 (relying on the place they’re)

Whole: Round $2,000–2,500 per 30 days, or $24,000–30,000 per 12 months 

I guess that’s lower than what you thought it could be. 

Give it some thought this fashion: It prices them much less to stay on the highway than it did to hire a small house in Massachusetts. Every thing is much less, not simply hire.

“It isn’t really as costly as folks would assume it’s,” Jonathan stated, “as a result of we’re not paying towards a mortgage, we’re not paying towards taxes. All we’re paying towards is insurance coverage and our van mortgage.”

He explains one other means they give it some thought: 

“Once we had been touring round and stopped in locations like Jackson Gap or alongside the California coast, we’d be camped out proper subsequent to multimillion-dollar properties — and we had the identical view. And we had been staying there without cost or subsequent to nothing. 

“It shifted our mindset. Experiencing the nation was far more attainable. We had been capable of have the identical views as individuals who had stationary properties. Besides we may change it on a regular basis.”


Sure! Comparable causes to why I like renting and never proudly owning. 

We requested Jonathan just a few different questions:

What about campsite bills? “On the East Coast, it’s actually laborious to camp without cost. However when you cross the Mississippi, there’s extra Bureau of Land Administration land the place you may camp without cost for as much as two weeks at a time.” 

Sudden bills? “You possibly can’t simply have common auto insurance coverage. And lots of camper insurance coverage insurance policies wouldn’t cowl us since we constructed it ourselves. So we needed to navigate that course of — principally monitoring each single buy, retaining detailed receipts, and sending that to the insurance coverage firm to get a customized coverage.” 

Sightseeing and different experiences? “Now we have a guilt-free spending quantity that we like to remain at, however we do keep versatile. If there are issues in sure areas that we need to do, we’d say ‘Properly, that goes above funds, however it is a once-in-a-lifetime alternative, so let’s do it.’”

Partway through the initial build

“After the preliminary construct is completed, the bills are very predictable,” Lucy stated. “You may also transfer the funds round. So if it seems like issues are getting too tight, you don’t need to drive as a lot. It’s very manageable.” 

This can be a nice instance of how to consider cash in a different way so as to stay your Wealthy Life. 

A proposal, an actor, a shotgun, and a pack of 4x4s

A Wealthy Life is your superb life — one the place you have a look at your private relationships, your funds, and your atypical days and say, “Wow!”

It’s a life that’s full. A life lived deliberately, proactively, and abundantly. 

Listed here are just a few particular examples of Jonathan and Lucy’s Wealthy Life from touring over the previous couple years.

Jonathan and Lucy at Angles Landing

Engagement hike

From Jonathan:

“Earlier than the journey began, we had been simply courting. We weren’t engaged but. We each knew that we needed to pop the query sooner or later in the course of the journey, however we didn’t know the place we had been going to do it or what the context was going to be. So over the course of the journey, we had been discovering all of those lovely hikes, and I used to be pondering, Oh, is that this going to be a very good place to do it? Is that this going to be a very good place to do it?

“We each began speaking about this one particular hike in Zion referred to as Angel’s Touchdown. It’s presupposed to be just like the scariest hike within the U.S. So I believed, That appears like an incredible spot to do it. It’s this massive hike that we’ve each been speaking about the entire journey.

“While you get there, there’s an indication about how many individuals have died up to now 10 years.

“Once we received to the highest, I liked the views and was on the point of ask the query. However I didn’t understand that there have been tons of individuals crying and stressing out and breaking down as a result of they’d simply made it there. I simply thought it was one of the best time to ask. So I went to Lucy and stated quietly in her ear, ‘I’ve an important query to ask you.’ However the very first thing out of her mouth was, ‘Not now, Jon. I’m not prepared for this.’

“So we made our means just a little farther out on the touchdown and had probably the most unimaginable view. Nobody was crying at that time, and I used to be capable of ask the query.”

Lucy stated, “My reply was really ‘If we make it down. If I survive.’” 

“I took it as a sure,” Jonathan stated.

Lucy and Teton

Assembly an actor

Lucy recollects a selected hike they went on:

“In one other park, we biked in. We began chatting with the man that we had been biking with for just a little bit.

“We got here again from a hike and the identical man was there. He had simply completed the hike. Jon struck up a dialog with him, and he was speaking about how he’s touring round in a van. 

“So we talked a bit, and I stated, ‘We even have a van.’ We had been telling one another about our lives. I requested, ‘What do you do that enables you to have the ability to journey on a regular basis? Do you could have a versatile work schedule?’ And he stated, ‘Oh, I’m in movie and theater.’ Then he stated, ‘There’s an important campsite I’m staying at east of Zion. You guys ought to test it out. It has showers. We may hang around and have a campfire.’

“However I stated, ‘No, we’ve got to go decide up our pet from doggy day care. We’re staying on the east aspect. We’re completely fantastic. It was good assembly you.’ So he biked off. As he biked away, Jon stated, ‘That’s a very well-known actor.’ I stated, ‘What are you speaking about?’ ‘That was Andrew Garfield.’ I didn’t know the title. As quickly as we received service once more and he confirmed me an image, I stated, ‘Holy crap. I simply talked to that man for half-hour.’ I handled him as if he was a vacationer as a result of I believed he was British. I instructed him that he ought to go to California and see Large Sur and locations like that. He by no means gave up his identification. At the back of his head, he was most likely pondering, ‘Yeah, I do know the place to go in California. I personal a home in California.’

“It was such a enjoyable second to fulfill an A-list superstar in probably the most out-of-context place. He was such a standard, common man, simply doing a hike the identical day we had been doing the hike. 

“In order that made us understand that you simply don’t must have tens of millions and tens of millions of {dollars} to stay your Wealthy Life. We had been having the identical expertise as a celeb.”

Pit bulls and a shotgun

One other story from Jonathan: 

“One time, we went to a website close to Yellowstone. It was an deserted dust highway. We misplaced service after 5 minutes on the highway and had been nonetheless half-hour away. Once we received to the spot, there was just one campsite and there’s somebody already there. I politely requested, ‘Hey, we’re already out right here. Do you thoughts if we simply keep over right here for the night time?’ And he stated it was completely fantastic. 

“We did a fast tour of one another’s vans as a result of that’s what you do. Apparently, there was an enormous shotgun in his entrance seat. Lucy noticed it, however I didn’t. He additionally had two large pit bulls. He was touring together with his mother, which I suppose is the least scary a part of that. That’s the one factor that I took away from it — that he had his mother with him. 

“The primary query Lucy requested after his tour was in regards to the shotgun. He stated, ‘Yeah, I’ve a shotgun to push back bears in the event that they ever come by. Do you guys have any weapons?’ In fact I stated no.

“Lucy thought we had been going to die that night time.

“However on the finish of the day, he was tremendous good. He actually was simply touring round together with his mother and solely had the shotgun for bears, and he was tremendous pleasant. However now I do know to say that we’ve got all of the weapons.”

A bunch of 4x4s

Jonathan stated: 

“The scariest second most likely was once we received caught in a blizzard close to Bend, Oregon. 

“We stayed at a campsite — actually, a relaxation space parking zone — for the night time. Everybody else was going again into Portland, however we determined to remain for the night time. We figured they’d plow it within the morning. 

“The entire locals got here out with their massive SUVs and Jeeps and began doing donuts across the parking zone. 

“Lucy began to get just a little bit upset. We might have had a few glasses of wine. She stated, ‘I’m going to go inform these guys they’re getting means too shut and so they’re means too loud.’

“I stated, ‘I wouldn’t try this. They’ll cease finally.’

“However she marched out, and stated to a man standing exterior smoking a cigarette, ‘You recognize, you guys are being very loud, and I’m making an attempt to sleep. You’re too shut.’”

Lucy continued the story: 

“The man began laughing and requested if we had been within the van. I stated sure and marched again very proud. Jon requested, ‘What did you do? You instructed them that we had been within the van? You compromised our security.’

“A couple of minutes later, they left, and I used to be bragging. 

“However a couple of minutes after that, they got here again in pressure. They have to’ve referred to as all their buddies. They had been doing donuts inside just a few ft of the van. 

“After about 20 minutes, they drove away. I determine it’s as a result of I didn’t present them that they had been getting underneath my pores and skin. They weren’t getting a response and so weren’t getting a lot enjoyable out of it.

“We instructed our dad and mom that story and I believe it terrified them. Nevertheless it’s a really comic story now.”

I really like these tales as a result of they illustrate a key level of the Wealthy Life idea. A Wealthy Life isn’t all about cash. NONE of those tales have cash as the first character. The purpose is the expertise. 

At IWT, we see cash as a instrument for designing, enhancing, and having fun with the life you’re meant to stay. Jonathan and Lucy have organized their life — together with their funds — to permit them to stay the life they need. I hope tales like theirs encourage you to do the identical. 

A camper van Dream Job

As I discussed, Jonathan is an IWT worker. Right here at IWT, we’re massive believers in working from dwelling. Actually, our complete firm works remotely.

Jonathan working in the camper van

“I used to be searching for a job that was going to permit me to stay my Wealthy Life, with out even understanding what that meant,” Jonathan stated. “I knew that I needed to work remotely for an organization that was serving to folks with their issues of their lives.”

So how does working in a van work? 

“We’re fully self-sufficient so far as electrical energy is anxious. Now we have greater than sufficient solar energy to maintain us going, and we cost every time we drive,” he stated.

“Proper now, we’re spending a lot of the day, say 9:00 to five:00 within the van working, after which at night time we discover the realm,” stated Jonathan. “With it getting darkish sooner, generally we’ve got to attend till the weekends to drive to the subsequent spot in order that we’ve got daylight to discover the realm to discover a good place to remain.” 

Lucy, who labored full time on ending the van conversion for seven months, is now searching for her personal distant Dream Job.

Your questions for Jonathan and Lucy

Once we shared Jonathan and Lucy’s story in The Wealthy Life e-newsletter, we received a number of nice questions on their Wealthy Life. Listed here are just a few, together with Jonathan and Lucy’s solutions:

Q: How does the web work?

A: Now we have an LTE router and a cell sign booster. Value vary can fluctuate relying in your bandwidth wants, however sometimes may be between $300–$1,000 for the gear. For the router, you may plug in any sort of SIM card, so Verizon, AT&T, T-Cell, and even worldwide SIMs will work. The hotspot-only plans vary from $40 to $75 per 30 days for 40 to 100 GB of information. And we at all times have the choice to go to a restaurant if we wish or want.

Q: How do you deal with being in such shut contact along with your associate on a regular basis? How do you could have your solo/alone time whereas residing in a small house?

A: Communication. Full cease. It’s essential to be fully open and sincere along with your associate and your self to prioritize your alone time if you want it. We designed our van with a “bed room” and “front room” in order that we will each have our personal lounging/working areas. Additionally, taking time to go on solo walks/hikes/bike rides may be very therapeutic. It was necessary for us that we had been residing collectively for over 5 years earlier than hitting the highway, which constructed an important basis for our relationship.

Q: How do you get mail or packages or record a everlasting handle? 

A: It’s really lots simpler than folks assume. If we’re ordering one thing from Amazon, then we attempt to discover an Amazon hub locker or a Entire Meals retailer close by. If we’re getting one thing from our household/buddies, then UPS shops will maintain a bundle for you for as much as per week. So far as everlasting addresses, our dad and mom and siblings have everlasting addresses that we will ship essential mail to.

Q: What do you miss probably the most a few conventional house?

A: Limitless water, particularly for dishes, showers, and baths. Not having to continuously take into consideration eliminating our trash, recycling, wastewater, and so forth. The house is so restricted that the trash appears to pile up much more than regular residing. Extra storage and secure storage — we hit a bump simply the opposite day and launched a full glass bottle of vinegar that shattered on our ground. A constant place to go dwelling to each night time — continuously searching for campsites to remain in.

Q: How do you cope with journey fatigue? Does that even occur since your life is decidedly cell?

A: Whereas we live on the highway touring full time, the period of time that we spend in anyplace is totally as much as us. If we ever really feel fatigued transferring round a lot, we will at all times discover a place to remain for weeks at a time to recuperate. Our favourite instance of this was once we had been touring via northern Arizona and southern Utah. There was an awesome quantity of issues to do, and we had by no means actually stayed in a single place for longer than per week at that time. We ended up staying within the space for over a month, and it was nice to decelerate and actually expertise the place and achieve again our power to journey extra.

* * *

I hope you’ve loved this have a look at Jonathan and Lucy’s Wealthy Life. We’ll you should definitely test in on them every so often and share what we study in The Wealthy Life e-newsletter. Within the meantime, you may observe their journey on Instagram @ajucyadventure.

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