Brenna and Jason Dragos are looking to really get away from it all.
The Cary, N.C., couple are in the process of selling virtually all of their belongings and using those proceeds to live out of a van for the next two years. The couple says they plan to travel from Alaska to Argentina, presumably with a number of stops along the way.
“We don’t want to live the same day over and over again,” Brenna told local station WRAL. “We want to be creators of our life.”
The couple, who got married in December, plan to record their 8,000-mile journey, posting parts of it on social media. They’ll travel with their two dogs and hope to hit the road in the spring.
As unusual as this might sound to some people, the Dragoses aren’t the only ones taking this non-traditional route through life. “Van life” has become a popular hashtag on TikTok, with videos about the living arrangement racking up 19.8 million views, but the trend has much deeper roots. The alternative lifestyle is a 21st-century phenomenon that picked up added steam during the pandemic as people were more able to work remotely or looked for a more affordable way to find adventure, as rental and purchase prices soared.
It’s a romantic vision, but one that doesn’t always match up to reality. Gas prices can be high and there’s an isolation many people don’t count on, with no friends around.
“Van life is harder than what it seems like in videos,” Natasha Scott, who attempted the lifestyle in 2021, previously told Fortune. “It’s harder than I would have ever thought, honestly.”
More than a vehicle
The vans in these sorts of trips, of course, aren’t quite like the ones you see when a plumber or painter pulls into your driveway. They’re often customized, much like an RV, with beds and kitchens built in.
@saraha.hall leaving for a trip in a couple days 🤪 #vanlife #van #vanbuild #vanconversion #vanlifers #campervan #boostofhope #fyp #transformation ♬ Own brand freestyle transition – Beautee
The nomadic lifestyle taps into the enthusiasts’ desire to live life on their own terms, waking up in serene natural settings and exploring the country at their own pace. Few, though, have talked about taking a trip as long as the Dragoses’, focusing instead on trips that last from a few days to a couple of weeks.
“Living day-to-day is exhausting,” Jason said. “And sometimes it feels like you’re just going through a process.”
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