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Brett Allmond is a remote freelance Web designer who travels America with his wife in his van as an adventure-seeker and writer.
Brett Allmond and his wife of three years are living what some would call the American Dream, traveling America in their VW Vanagon Westalia Syncro, which they live in by choice. The Allmonds own their own Web design company, merging the nomadic lifestyle with the nine-to-five work life. They are adventurists at heart who spend their time working remotely so they can pursue their real passions of surfing, rock climbing, hiking and skiing in the winter.
As freelancers and entrepreneurs, Brett Allmond and his wife have perfected the adventurist lifestyle on-the-go, serving as a light and example to other aspiring nomads. They are extremely passionate about the van life subculture, and they enjoy constantly traveling to meet new friends on the road and see stunning places throughout America. They are especially passionate about traveling through the West, the Northwest and the Northeast parts of the country. While they explore beautiful places and adventures in America, they document everything on their blog, which is sponsored by Patagonia and other well-known adventure-driven companies.
The Allmonds are currently working on a book and travel guide among other writing and design projects, which they hope to use to fuel their nomadic lives longer. Mrs. Allmond is a yoga instructor, graphic designer and photographer who enjoys documenting their van journeys while also filming online yoga sessions in remote, beautiful places of the world. They are currently working on funding a Web series about what it’s like to experience America in a VW Vanagon on a permanent basis.
Brett Allmond and his wife got the itch to take up the van life when they started closely following the blog of a man named Foster who lived in a van permanently. His blog, appropriately called “A Restless Transplant,” inspired them to fulfill their dream of a minimalist, nomadic lifestyle. For months they planned out what it would look like to live out of a van permanently, and when they saved up enough money to purchase their Westy and embark on their adventure in the Spring of 2012, Allmond quit his design job to follow their dreams.
Since Brett Allmond had quit his position, and his wife was already self-employed, they were able to take her freelance graphic design work and expand it into a full-fledged business. They now work side by side, accomplishing projects inside their van or at coffee shops, libraries and cafés with free Wi-Fi access. They share the same office and home, their VW Vanagon Westalia Syncro, which they fondly named Berta. Their extreme efforts to reject the normal American lifestyle won the attention of several readers on their blog, and they were quickly sought out by potential sponsors who wanted to help them fulfill their mission of seeing America and surfing, biking, hiking and more along the way.
Because of the interest they have generated on their blog, Brett Allmond and his wife were encouraged to start writing and designing a travel guide and book, a project that they never dreamed would come from their adventure. They are also in the beginning stages of starting a reality Web series to help aspiring van dwellers get to where they need to be. They tapped into the van life subculture with the intention of living a few months on the road but they have not turned back since.
The back story of two adventurers
Brett Allmond grew up near Hood River, Oregon, where his love for the outdoors flourished as a child. He frequently attributes his lifelong pursuit of nature and outdoor activities to his adventurous parents, who married young and cultivated an interest in him to live frugally and seize the day – living off only what he needed. While his parents did not travel America in an RV camper or van, they were proud of Brett when he and his new wife made the initial steps to follow their van dwelling dreams.
Brett Allmond went to school for Environmental Studies in Seattle, Washington, learning Web design and programming on the side as a hobby. He met his wife, who taught a yoga class part-time near the outdoor clothing store he worked at in the evenings, in college. They quickly realized their aligned interests and values, confiding in one another the desire they had to move around and explore the wilderness. Allmond spent the weekends at his uncle’s house, a mechanic who worked near his school.
In between hiking and camping trips, he would occasionally work with his uncle on car projects, gaining insight into the world of mechanics. The Allmonds got married a few years after graduation, hitting the road shortly after their wedding day for a four month van trip that soon turned into home. While they spent months planning out van life needs, they never imagined they would be permanently exploring America, living off only what they truly needed on a daily adventure.
Allmond and his wife have accumulated many interests and skills over the years, including their professional skill sets of graphic design and Web design, which have allowed them to live the life that they have chosen. Since they embarked on their entrepreneurial journey, they have garnered the skills needed to run a business, learning from experience and from the road.
The Allmonds are confident that living on the road is an adventure full of life metaphors that help individuals grow in more ways than one. While it is a seemingly romantic idea to live in a van, traveling America, they are quick to emphasize that it is an extremely difficult and at times frustrating process. They experience van break-downs often and other on-the-road challenges, but they both agree that all of the hardships are worth it. The Allmonds assert that the obstacles they have faced have made them stronger – individually and in their marriage – giving them the survival skills and simple gratitude for life to take on any hurdles thrown their way. They find the lifestyle incredibly humbling, inspiring and rewarding.
When they aren’t working on their Web design business or writing for the sponsored blog or other projects, they are making friends at campsites, hidden pristine beaches and favorite local gems. They give their road-weary bodies a break by surfing and soaking in natural hot springs, refreshing oceans or creeks. They camp under the stars and hike some of the most beautiful areas of the country, meeting friends along the way who are also invested in the van life subculture.
Organization and small details
Brett Allmond points out that many people believe living in a van full-time would be a lifestyle only the spontaneous could stomach, and that many individuals embark on their van dwelling journeys out of a sense of freedom. However, it requires a great deal of planning and organization. Brett Allmond and his wife are completely candid about the process, highlighting the benefits of van living while also relaying the practical ways of making it work – fleshing out the negatives of this unique lifestyle. Some people think a life of travel, especially in a van, is one that is marked by a continuous effort to be off-grid, disconnected and one with nature.
While the Allmonds have certainly made nature their living room space in a lot of ways, they stress that they are still business owners and must remain entirely connected. Most people who live out of their vans find that Facebook and other social media platforms are imperative to working on the road and gaining clients, as is the rapport from previous working relationships.
The beauty in what the Allmonds do is that they can work wherever they are, given that they have Internet connection. They have solar panels set up so that there is an endless auxiliary battery to recharge from if it is sunny. Brett Allmond admits that there are times when they are hungry for a change of scenery, in which they will find a local café to work at for a few hours.
Brett Allmond and his wife do not know what the future holds, which is often the beauty and freedom that comes with living permanently out of their van with a consistent flow of work projects. They did not plan to live on the road as long as they have, but they are going to do everything they can to continue their lifestyle with Berta, their beloved Westy, and their Web design business. They have several projects in the works that they believe will fuel their adventures a little longer, and they hope to continue inspiring others toward the van lifestyle, sharing their struggles and insights along the way.
The Allmonds believe that as professionals have more and more opportunities to work remotely, more individuals will have the desire to live a simplistic, nomadic lifestyle like they have. With the convenience of Internet access and constant connectivity, they believe more people will be drawn to the van life subculture, especially as more Americans come to find that their desire for consumerism does not satisfy.
The couple believes it is innately woven in people living in America to want to see the world and leave old lives behind, pursuing the “American dream.” The idea that the lifestyle is shrouded with mystery, sheer bliss and contentment is something Brett Allmond and his wife do not necessarily believe, but they do see the value in this minimalist lifestyle they have created, pursuing Foster’s mantra with many others that “Home is where you park it.”
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