be stressful, as you're always waiting for that
dreaded knock.” Luckily, in Marin there are
places to sleep legally, like the campgrounds
on Mount Tam, Samuel P. Taylor State Park,
and the rest stop overlooking the Golden Gate
Bridge. A big downside? “Pooping,” says Xie.
Where can you go?
Wherever there are roads. “I love the trip we
took down to Death Valley and then up Highway
395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada
— we found natural hot springs in the middle
of snowy fields and stared at the snowcapped
mountains,” says Hayes. McGregor and Xie
have enjoyed camping at Bodega Bay with
other van-living friends — they even tried to
make pancakes in the morning in the rain
between the t wo vans in the middle of winter.
“Pancakes always taste the best in the cold
weather,” says Xie.
Not surprisingly, freedom, the sense of adventure and being able to sleep nearly every where
rank high on people’s list of perks. They speak
of being part of a community and opportunities to attend meetups with like-minded
people. “Our favorite meetup is at Sherman
Island with our kiting friends,” says Xie. “We
have a great community and don’t need any
planning. Summertime, the wind brings all
the friends together — we show up and it’s a
How to get started?
The abundant online resources include
kombilife.com, vanclan.co, #vanlife and
Van life aficionados
enjoying life on the road in
Marin include John Willenborg
(this image, right), owner of
Novato's Owl Vans, and Max
Polishchuk, owner of CAtuned,
a van accessories provider.
Also shown is blogger Kristin
Hayes (opposite, right).