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  • Writer's pictureLaurén Ettinger

A Vintage Van, a Couple, and Two Cats: Advice for Living and Working on the Road

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

What’s in Today’s Episode:

Gene and Shay live on the road full time with their two cats in a 1984 vintage Dodge campervan they purchased for $7k. We cover so much in this episode! They talk about the conversion process, leaving their jobs and lives in Philadelphia, how they make money through gig jobs, house sitting, prepping your van and cats for vanlife, and what it is like as a queer couple on the road.

“If you want to live in a van, you don’t have to have the fanciest of everything…you don’t have to spend all this money. Yeah, vans are expensive now, but when you are building it out, literally just do the bare minimum and then while you’re traveling see what does work for you and what doesn’t.”

What Gene, Shay, and Laurén Chat About:

  • How they found and bought their 1984 Dodge campervan for $7k

  • Converting the van on weekends over about a year while living in Philadelphia

  • How much they spent on converting the van, including their solar system and lithium batteries

  • Using vanlife to put money into saving for home ownership

  • What they did for work previously and how they transitioned financially from living and working in Philadelphia to full-time traveling in their campervan

  • Using InstaWork and Wonolo to find serving, warehouse, and retail jobs on the road with no prior experience

  • Pros and cons for the types of jobs available on Wonolo

  • How to find house sitting gigs; what house sitting is

  • Benefits of house sitting (plus hanging out with dogs!)

  • Living with cats in a van while traveling

  • What it’s like as a queer couple on the road

  • Increasing representation and providing resources for queer folx in outdoor and vanlife spaces

  • Finding gender neutral showers

  • Meeting up with the queer community in vanlife; finding friends on the road in general

  • Advice for people who want to move into a van

“I think my number one piece of advice for anybody who is thinking about moving onto the road with a cat particularly is just to be patient and kind of watch how your cat does with it at first…just because you see people who are going for walks with their cats and it looks really easy, just know that it’s a process to get to that point and its totally worth it because you want to have your little cat with you.”

Follow Gene and Shay on Instagram: @geneandshay

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