Joe and Devon on Living Ultra Light
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pick up everything and live life on the road? Joe and Devon decided to forgo the traditional 9 to 5 hustle, pack their lives into a van, and make this dream a reality. While this adventurous lifestyle comes with its own unique obstacles, Joe and Devon say the van life “is the best way to live.”
"This is the best way to live. It's a trump card." - Joe
This new way of life for Joe and Devon all began with a cross country bicycle tour. (Yes you read it right, bicycle, not motorbike). Joe had been on a few bike tours across multiple US states before they decided that it would be a good excursion for both of them to embark on bicycles across the country. Surprisingly, the trip only took a small amount of planning thanks to the maps provided by the Adventure Cycling Association. The day-to-day logistics came easily since Joe already knew the ropes of how to navigate a bike tour. The thing that excited Joe the most about the organizing process of this trip was “planning the non-monotonous parts of the day. [The adventures] were the fun parts.” Once the minimal planning was complete, Joe and Devon set out on a year-long trip across the Southern Tier of the United States, from Florida to San Diego, then from San Diego to Alaska, with an additional 1000-mile detour around Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon and a short 2 month hiatus in between.
Daily life on the road was not easy, but it was still a life-changing experience for the couple. The days consisted mostly of riding so they could reach their end destination in a timely manner. They would stay with an array of friends, family, and strangers along the way. Devon says she will never forget the generosity of all the amazing people that housed them along this tour. Of course, it wasn’t all work and no play, there were days where they splurged on a hotel (but only on 4 nights throughout the whole trip) and other days where they would travel less and indulge in adventuring around local towns. When looking back, Devon simply says “the trip was magical.”
"The trip was magical" - Devon
Travel and adventure has its drawbacks as there always are days filled with struggle. While Devon admitted that some days were physically and emotionally challenging for her, Joe views the struggles and hardships as positive character-building experiences. In retrospect, Devon says, “the fact that I actually finished it and I pushed through… it definitely changed me.” The cross country bike tour really broke down her mental barriers and changed her perspective from that point forward about what she was able to achieve in her life.
After the bicycle tour, Joe and Devon decide that they needed to make a more permanent leap of faith to transform their lives. They worked to save up money, quit their 9 to 5 jobs, packed up, and bought a van that would be their new home. Joe quit his full-time job as a mechanical engineer in Charleston to start projects he could take on the road with him. After a few month in the van, Devon decided to dedicate some of her extra time to starting a remote watercolor art business. They said the initial step of quitting the day job and finding remote work was the hardest and scariest part of the whole process. Once that is accomplished, Joe says “It’s really not as hard as people think. Day-to-day life is simple.” After the year-long grind of the bike tour, the couple says that "living in the van feels like a luxury." Since travel is exponentially faster, they have more time to live their lives exploring towns and meeting people all over the country.
"living in the van feels like a luxury." - Joe & Devon
After living on the road for a while, Devon and Joe decided to take a break from their constant travels and mostly venture out in the van for summer trips. They still have remote jobs that make life more flexible allowing them the option to travel.
Recently, Joe finished a huge project that will elevate their travels to a whole new level. He used his knowledge of mechanical engineering to help him build his own Kitfox plane. After Joe built the plane, he spent 40 solo flight hours learning how to fly it, which is required before anyone can fly with him. Now for their adventures, Devon drives the van with their beloved dog as her passenger and Joe flies his plane to meet them at an airport near their destination. With 300+ flying hours under his belt now, Joe is able to bring along Devon and the dog and they are all able to take their adventures to the skies! Talk about a way to travel. They reconvene in the van to sleep, eat, and traverse new places.
The couple cannot stress enough how much they love the life they’re living and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Devon left us with a bit of inspiring insight about following your dreams at the end of our conversation. She said,
“[People] are so worried about this ability to drop everything and go for your dreams. But I think people should be more worried about not going for their dreams and being in the same place their entire life.” - Devon
Thank you to Joe and Devon for sharing your story and life advice! I hope it has inspired you to consider taking that leap of faith to follow your dreams. If you want to learn more about Devon and Joe and follow their journey, click here to check out their Instagram.
Written by: Anna Rice
Interview by: Jason Crowe