We are wildly inspired by people who take on those incredible Adventures that most people only dream of. Our friend Sydney is definitely one of those people. She hit the road in a van on a solo road trip with her dogs and living life on her terms. She shares her adventures on social media and her own podcast. Hear how Sydney got started and learn how you can start your own van life adventure!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, where you are from…
Hello! My name is Sydney and I travel full- time with my dog Ella and my new little pup, Pearl. I am originally from Indianapolis, went to school in Chicago, and now live everywhere!
How did you come up with your idea to hit the road on your own?
I was traveling with a partner for about 9 months when we broke up and I decided that it wouldn’t stop me! So I built out another van and have been traveling ever since.
What was your motivation in doing this?
I didn’t really have a specific “motivation”. I’ve always been what someone would consider a loner and always loved traveling. It really just made sense for me to travel alone. It was the only thing that would make me happy so I went for it!
Walk us through launching a brand for solo traveling.
I didn’t really know I was launching a brand! I posted photos of my travels and my van which lead to growing my audience. I started my website because there was a lot of holes when I was doing research pre- van life. Once I learned the answer to something, I felt like it was my responsibility to share it with the world. The ball got rolling and I started learning how to do things the right way. I studied SEO, Instagram algorithms, and things like that to see if I could turn the hobby into an actual brand.
What lessons have you learned in being on the road?
There are too many to count! I think the biggest takeaway for me has been that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for (same goes for most women). We are told from a young age that the world is dangerous, out to get us, we are too weak to be alone, and a whole of other nonsense. I’ve proven to myself that I’m actually more capable by myself than I ever thought I could be.
How do you earn money to travel or do you use savings?
I used savings for a few months when I first hit the road with my (now ex) partner. I quickly started my website as a resource/tool and began monetizing it soon after. Now I have turned that into a full time job with affiliate marketing, ads, and selling my own products! It’s honestly my dream job and I’m so thankful that I get to do what I truly, truly enjoy.
Do you have any recent failures or wild success stories you could share?
I really don’t consider much as a failure because I learn a lot anytime something bad happens. My dog, Ella had an emergency surgery which was traumatizing for both of us. That was the first time I ever felt lonely on the road not having anyone to support me or help me through it. BUT I did it! That’s the thing with living on the road. You always get through it. It felt like a huge success to me.
What is on your Podcast or Reading list?
I have huge thing for entrepreneurship books and really sad memoirs. Totally different worlds but those are all I read! I like learning from the entrepreneurship style books and the memoirs are kind of like a guilty pleasure.
What resources have most valuable to your journey?
The only resources I really use are a couple of overnight parking apps which save my life on a daily basis! I can’t imagine not having them. I use AllStays everyday that I’m in a city and need overnight parking at a parking lot. Then freecampsites.net which is a website whenever I want to find free, beautiful land to camp on for a few days! I use both on a weekly basis.
What has being on the road allowed you to do that you otherwise would not have done?
Well I never would’ve traveled the United States like this if it weren’t for being on the road. Before van life, I would save up money for a year or so and then take an awesome 3-4 week trip overseas to travel. Now I get to travel full time and it’s my own country which is kind of cool! I had no idea there is so much beauty here and that I didn’t have to go overseas to see so much. I still love traveling to other places because there is nothing better than diving into a new culture and learning the history behind it and meeting new people. But it’s really fun to be able to do some of that so close to home as well.
What are your personal plans? Bucket list items?
British Columbia is high up on that list! It has always been a dream of mine and I definitely plan on going soon! Right now, I am on a slow trip back home to Indiana because I haven’t been there in awhile. Hopefully I can make it to BC next summer!
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own solo journey?
I would tell them to go for it no matter what. There are a million reasons not to do it but you need to focus on the million reasons why you should. No excuses, no “later”. Just start taking action and moving forward with your plan. You can correct things as you go but starting is the biggest road block.
Links to where we can find more about you and your trip:
My website with all my advice, tips, and everything else is divineontheroad.com
You can look up my podcast “My Solo Road” wherever you listen to music and podcasts.
And my instagram is @divineontheroad :)