By Jake Ingram
All I ever wanted to do was send it in the outdoors. My passion for the outdoors came from riding bikes, boards, water sports of all kinds, waterfall chasing, backpacking, and slacklining. The most love and dedication came in the form of dirt bike racing. Specifically, enduro and cross-country style racing.
Hailing from Fort Smith, Arkansas I traveled and raced all over the southern states (Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Louisiana, ect.) as well as many eastern states such as North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Throughout my racing career and traveling with my family before college, I was exposed to this sense of adventure and exploration. We developed the “weekend warrior” lifestyle, often times driving 12+ hours to a race on any given weekend. Now that I have grown my own wings and moved out west to study Natural Resources Tourism at Colorado State, I have crafted my own lifestyle of unique adventure and passion. In March of 2018, I sold my Subaru Outback and began searching the market for just the right cargo van. I had a few characteristics I was looking for in a van. They included:
High roof (6 foot or taller interior height)
Longer wheelbase (to allow for bike storage)
Models I considered:
Dodge/ Mercedes Sprinter
The Dream Van Was Found:
2008 Dodge Sprinter Van (170 in wheelbase)
Mercedes V6 Turbo Diesel Motor (~20 MPG)
My Sprinter is 22 feet 10 inches long bumper to bumper, with 14 feet of interior length, and it’s 6’4″ high inside (high roof).
I bought the van used with 130,000 miles from a racing friend. He used it for hauling windows and a work van before
Now that I have a fully built out “Tiny Home on wheels” and preparing to graduate in December, it is time to plan the journey. For me, Van Life isn’t about ditching responsibilities and escaping to some fantasy road trip. It is about finding and fully pursuing all of my passions. Getting out of college debt free with a built out van to travel in will allow me to allocate my resources a bit differently. Instead of jumping into a career and getting trapped into paying rent for housing somewhere, I will spend my first year post college on the road. My goal is to hit all the America’s National Parks by 2020. The overview of my trip will be journeying to the west coast to race and ride bikes, visit national parks, surf, skate, and dwell in the van along the west coast. My hope is that I will continue developing professionally, network in the outdoor industry, and create epic film/ photography content while traveling all over the US. For me nature isn’t just a place to visit, it is home. I can’t wait to see where the van life journey takes me.