Lonely Planet Writer

Adventurous couple swapped their backpacks for a 1973 VW bus to travel 30,000 miles

Sabrina and Jimmy Horel, from Montclair, California and Brittany, France respectively, were experienced backpackers, but decided they wanted to explore the world further using their own transport, while running their digital editing business.  

Sabrina admiring the beauty of Yellowstone National Park.
Sabrina admiring the beauty of Yellowstone National Park. Image by MediaDrumWorld

“Growing up in California I saw old VW buses all the time. I always dreamed of having my own and wandering in it like the hippies did in the 60s and 70s,” according to Sabrina. “When I met Jimmy, we bonded over our love of travelling and adventure so we left everything and backpacked the world together. Living out of a backpack for a year is hard. We imagined the possibilities that came with living in a camper van.”

Early mornings in Miami.
Early mornings in Miami. Image by MediaDrumWorld

“We could explore a place much more in-depth having our own transportation. After our trip, we moved to California, found jobs, got married, and saved for our bus.” The couple eventually settled on a blue 1973 VW Bus that they have travelled more than 30,000 miles in. “I feel alive,” says Sabrina. “I used to fall asleep in traffic, then at my desk, in meetings, and on my way home. And I’d still wake up bored and tired. However, she says living and working on the road can be at times a challenge. “It’s hard to live in a van, so is spending every second with your spouse and starting a business with them but at least I feel alive. I spend my days doing something I love and believe in even. It’s rewarding.”

The couple run their digital editing business from the VW van.
The couple run their digital editing business from the VW van. Image by MediaDrumWorld

The happy couple have so far travelled through California, Florida, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Alabama, Utah, and Nevada. They also went to British Colombia and Alberta in Canada.  They plan to head to New York next, taking the long route so they can see everything in between including Tennessee and Georgia.

Arriving in New Orleans.
Arriving in New Orleans. Image by MediaDrumWorld

Travelling, living and running a business in a small VW Bus is not without its problems as Sabrina explained. “It’s the best and worst thing we’ve ever experienced. It definitely pushes your limits in terms of comfort but having the freedom to go anywhere and living off the land is priceless.”

Setting up for a relaxing time somewhere in Florida.
Setting up for a relaxing time somewhere in Florida. Image by MediaDrumWorld

“There are many problems. Cops knocking on our window in the middle of the night telling us not to sleep in our car, excessive heat with no A/C, freezing cold with no heater, mosquitoes and bugs, mechanical breakdowns, mental breakdowns, possible break-ins, fighting with each other and just about every other frustration you can think of! Somehow the good outweighs the bad.”

Living conditions in the van can be testing at times Sabrina admits.
Living conditions in the van can be testing at times Sabrina admits. Image by MediaDrumWorld


Advice for road trip travellers

Sabrina had some advice for anyone wishing to follow their example and hit the road. “Don’t live your life a certain way because society tells you to or because everyone else does,” she added. “Our journeys are unique and if you have a dream you should follow it no matter how unconventional it is. Today there’s endless opportunities to make a living, especially on the internet.

Yoga session on the road.
Yoga session on the road. Image by MediaDrumWorld

“Research, listen to podcasts, and read until you find a way to make your vision a reality. We don’t come from wealthy families or big towns, we’re just silly dreamers who left everything behind hoping that we could make a better life together and so far, it’s working.”