A glance into the Wealthy Lifetime of a nomadic camper van couple


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

We’ll cowl every thing: How and why Jonathan and Lucy determined to reside a nomadic life, their camper van construct particulars, the ACTUAL prices concerned in dwelling on the street, just a few of their Wealthy Life moments, and extra. 

Lucy and Jonathan

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 season 2021 on our Pupil Success workforce. While you be part of one in every of our packages, our SS workforce makes positive that you’ve got every thing it is advisable get by this system and begin to implement what you’ve realized. The workforce is likely one of 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 mentioned. So that they took it to the following degree. 

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

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

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

Wow. What a robust motive for Jonathan and Lucy to begin dwelling their imaginative and prescient for his or her Wealthy Life! No matter your motive is, one of the best time to begin dwelling your Wealthy Life is immediately.

camper van interior

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

Skeptics and “FISH’ing”

Jonathan and Lucy (and their canine, Teton) live 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 manner that might 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 mentioned. “She truly got here up with a enjoyable acronym for it: ‘FISH’ing.’ Feigning Curiosity, Suppressing Horror.” 


This is the reason 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 college, we weren’t capable of do something enjoyable,” Jonathan mentioned. “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 would like.”


“It was an ideal time for us to launch into this new life-style as a result of there was nothing holding us again,” Jonathan mentioned. “We have been at first of our careers, didn’t have a home, no youngsters. It felt like alternative.” 

They acknowledge it’s not good. Lucy mentioned, “In a great world, we wouldn’t be in a van — we’d have the ability to keep in additional snug lodging. However for now, we’re prioritizing our love for the outside, nevertheless it comes with the price of dwelling in a smaller house and never having every thing readily available.”

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

Their 2019 Ford Transit-350 HD XLT was their base and had a 400-pound wheelchair elevate that they needed to manually take away, together with the entire 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 below are simply a few the sudden delays and bills: They ordered the bathroom for the van in Might 2021, nevertheless it 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 observe that you simply change into used to dwelling in a van in a short time. “It positively took some adjusting,” Jonathan mentioned. “At first we have been bumping into one another and determining learn how to use the house most successfully.” 

“However we have now 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 determine the place to go, in accordance with Jonathan:

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

“Throughout this second journey, we’re heading towards Denver to see Lucy’s sister, who not too long ago moved there. We intend to journey slower and extra meticulously than our first journey in order that we will actually absorb 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 listing, however even greater than that. “There are folks we’ve seen who’ve both accomplished van swaps or truly shipped their van to Europe or Asia,” Jonathan mentioned. “We’d like to discover and experiment with touring internationally whereas dwelling in a van and dealing remotely.” 

I adore it!

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 like that Jonathan and Lucy have been desirous about this even earlier than he began working with us and was aware of the entire IWT terminology. 

Camper van economics


Ever puzzled 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 reside on the street monthly:

  • 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)

Complete: Round $2,000–2,500 monthly, or $24,000–30,000 per yr 

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

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

“It isn’t truly as costly as folks would assume it’s,” Jonathan mentioned, “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 manner they give it some thought: 

“After we have 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 houses — and we had the identical view. And we have been staying there totally free or subsequent to nothing. 

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


Sure! Related 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 onerous to camp totally free. However when you cross the Mississippi, there’s extra Bureau of Land Administration land the place you may camp totally free for as much as two weeks at a time.” 

Sudden bills? “You’ll be able to’t simply have common auto insurance coverage. And plenty 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, maintaining 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 ‘Nicely, that goes above price range, 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 mentioned. “You too can transfer the price range round. So if it looks like issues are getting too tight, you don’t should drive as a lot. It’s very manageable.” 

It is a nice instance of how to consider cash otherwise with the intention to reside your Wealthy Life. 

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

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

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

Listed below 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 have been simply relationship. We weren’t engaged but. We each knew that we needed to pop the query in some unspecified time in the future through the journey, however we didn’t know the place we have been going to do it or what the context was going to be. So over the course of the journey, we have been discovering all of those stunning hikes, and I used to be considering, Oh, is that this going to be place to do it? Is that this going to be place to do it?

“We each began speaking about this one particular hike in Zion known as Angel’s Touchdown. It’s presupposed to be just like the scariest hike within the U.S. So I assumed, That seems like a tremendous 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 prior to now 10 years.

“After we acquired to the highest, I beloved the views and was on the point of ask the query. However I didn’t notice 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 mentioned 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 manner slightly farther out on the touchdown and had essentially the most unimaginable view. Nobody was crying at that time, and I used to be capable of ask the query.”

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

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

Lucy and Teton

Assembly an actor

Lucy recollects a specific hike they went on:

“In one other park, we biked in. We began chatting with the man that we had been biking with for slightly 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 mentioned, ‘We even have a van.’ We have 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 will have a versatile work schedule?’ And he mentioned, ‘Oh, I’m in movie and theater.’ Then he mentioned, ‘There’s an incredible campsite I’m staying at east of Zion. You guys ought to test it out. It has showers. We might hang around and have a campfire.’

“However I mentioned, ‘No, we have now 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 mentioned, ‘That’s a very well-known actor.’ I mentioned, ‘What are you speaking about?’ ‘That was Andrew Garfield.’ I didn’t know the identify. As quickly as we acquired service once more and he confirmed me an image, I mentioned, ‘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 assumed he was British. I informed him that he ought to go to California and see Huge Sur and locations like that. He by no means gave up his identification. Behind his head, he was in all probability considering, ‘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 celeb in essentially the most out-of-context place. He was such a standard, common man, simply doing a hike the identical day we have been doing the hike. 

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

Pit bulls and a shotgun

One other story from Jonathan: 

“One time, we went to a website close to Yellowstone. It was an deserted grime street. We misplaced service after 5 minutes on the street and have been nonetheless half-hour away. After we acquired 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 mentioned 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 big pit bulls. He was touring along 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 mentioned, ‘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 mentioned no.

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

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

A bunch of 4x4s

Jonathan mentioned: 

“The scariest second in all probability was once we acquired caught in a blizzard close to Bend, Oregon. 

“We stayed at a campsite — actually, a relaxation space car 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. 

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

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

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

“However she marched out, and mentioned to a man standing exterior smoking a cigarette, ‘, 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 have been within the van. I mentioned sure and marched again very proud. Jon requested, ‘What did you do? You informed them that we have 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 drive. They have to’ve known as all their associates. They have 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 have 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 informed our dad and mom that story and I believe it terrified them. But it surely’s a really joke now.”

I 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 reside. Jonathan and Lucy have organized their life — together with their funds — to permit them to reside 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 house. Actually, our whole firm works remotely.

Jonathan working in the camper van

“I used to be on the lookout for a job that was going to permit me to reside my Wealthy Life, with out even realizing what that meant,” Jonathan mentioned. “I knew that I needed to work remotely for a corporation that was serving to folks with their issues of their lives.”

So how does working in a van work? 

“We’re utterly self-sufficient so far as electrical energy is worried. Now we have greater than sufficient solar energy to maintain us going, and we cost at any time when we drive,” he mentioned.

“Proper now, we’re spending many of the day, say 9:00 to five:00 within the van working, after which at night time we discover the world,” mentioned Jonathan. “With it getting darkish sooner, typically we have now to attend till the weekends to drive to the following spot in order that we have now daylight to discover the world to discover a good place to remain.” 

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

Your questions for Jonathan and Lucy

After we shared Jonathan and Lucy’s story in The Wealthy Life e-newsletter, we acquired loads of nice questions on their Wealthy Life. Listed below 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. Worth vary can fluctuate relying in your bandwidth wants, however usually will be between $300–$1,000 for the tools. 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 monthly for 40 to 100 GB of knowledge. And we all the time have the choice to go to a restaurant if we would like or want.

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

A: Communication. Full cease. It is advisable be utterly open and sincere along with your accomplice and your self to prioritize your alone time once you want it. We designed our van with a “bed room” and “lounge” in order that we will each have our personal lounging/working areas. Additionally, taking time to go on solo walks/hikes/bike rides will be very therapeutic. It was vital for us that we had been dwelling collectively for over 5 years earlier than hitting the street, which constructed an incredible basis for our relationship.

Q: How do you get mail or packages or listing a everlasting tackle? 

A: It’s truly quite a bit 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/associates, then UPS shops will maintain a package deal for you for as much as every 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 essentially 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 dwelling. Extra storage and steady 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 house to each night time — continuously on the lookout 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 street touring full time, the period of time that we spend in anywhere is totally as much as us. If we ever really feel fatigued transferring round a lot, we will all the time discover a place to remain for weeks at a time to recuperate. Our favourite instance of this was once we have been touring by 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 every 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 acquire again our power to journey extra.

* * *

I hope you’ve loved this have a look at Jonathan and Lucy’s Wealthy Life. We’ll make sure to test in on them now and again and share what we study in The Wealthy Life e-newsletter. Within the meantime, you may comply with their journey on Instagram @ajucyadventure.

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