Lonely Planet Writer

Meet the man who spent an adventurous year driving an NYPD detective van around the USA

A photographer and outdoor adventure sports enthusiast has published an online magazine that documents his year travelling across the USA in an old NYPD detective van that he converted.

The converted van that has brought Adam on his adventures.
The converted van that has brought Adam on his adventures. Image by Adam Nawrot
A view of Teton falls from the back of the van.
A view of Teton falls from the back of the van. Image by Adam Nawrot
Adam with his "Stayrad" licence plate.
Adam with his “Stayrad” licence plate. Image by Adam Nawrot
The interior of the former detective van that acts as Adam's editing suite.
The interior of the former detective van that acts as Adam’s editing suite. Image by Adam Nawrot

Adam Nawrot decided to begin his grand adventure after his five year relationship ended with his partner. Feeling like he needed a change of scenery, Adam purchased the van with the money that he had put aside for a down payment on a house. The vehicle had been part of the police force for 17 years, and having spent a month converting it, Adam moved in in December 2015. He began using the van to take multiple trips across the country, working as a freelance photographer and videographer along the way. His travels brought him to a range of national parks, rivers, canyons and mountains throughout the year, which he documented in detail, using the van as an editing studio. “The van has proven to be a bit of a renaissance for me and has really gotten my creative juices flowing. From the build process itself to the freedom of living without a lease – this last year on the road has been nothing but exciting,” Adam told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Adam spent the year making trips from New York to different areas of the USA.
Adam spent the year making trips from New York to different areas of the USA. Image by Adam Nawrot
Mountain biking in Bend, Oregon.
Mountain biking in Bend, Oregon. Image by Adam Nawrot
A selection of Adam's gear seen from above.
A selection of Adam’s gear seen from above. Image by Adam Nawrot
Belaying by the roadside in Moab, Utah.
Belaying by the roadside in Moab, Utah. Image by Adam Nawrot

Throughout his time Adam met up with friends and other travellers, taking climbing trips and exploring nature. He also has picked up a host of helpful tips for people that may be wishing to try out life on the road. These include joining a gym, which will grant access to showers, bathrooms and Wi-Fi with the possibility of chains in different locations, as well as being sure to stock up on a good selection of warm blankets for winter-sleeping in a van. The van includes a bed, a work desk and computer as well as plenty of storage space for equipment. Having completed a year’s worth of memorable trips that saw him clocking up 35,000 miles, he decided to document the journey in writing and images on his website. 

A friend watching the sunset in the van.
A friend watching the sunset in the van. Image by Adam Nawrot
Jumping from a bridge in Banks, Idaho.
Jumping from a bridge in Banks, Idaho. Image by Adam Nawrot
Adam and friends watching a movie on the side of a tractor trailer.
Adam and friends watching a movie on the side of a tractor trailer. Image by Adam Nawrot
Adam watching the frozen dew in New Jersey.
Adam watching the frozen dew in New Jersey.

Some of Adam’s most memorable adventures include climbing a selection of some of the best mountains on offer in the USA, kayaking off Mesa Falls in Idaho, exploring Zion National Park, photographing the sunrise over Great Salt Lake in Utah, camping by torchlight in Yosemite Falls and mountain biking in Bend, Oregon. When it comes to giving advice, Adam says the best thing that anyone can do is to try something different. “Instigate change. It’s easy to stick with something just because it’s comfortable, even if it’s actually bringing you down. Sometimes the grass is actually greener on the other side,” he said. More of Adam’s photography and writing, as well as the magazine are available at his website.
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