Lonely Planet Writer

These photos might convince you to take the leap and start living the van life

A couple of young travellers are journeying around North America in a converted van and documenting it in incredible photographs, giving a glimpse into the true beauty of the continent.

The couple take their van around North America and document it in stunning photograph.
The couple take their van around North America, documenting their travels in stunning photographs. Image by Jess Bonde / mediadrumworld.com

Capturing everything from the couple tending to a bonfire outside their van under the stars, exploring the deep valleys of Utah’s Zion National Park and relaxing in a hammock in Yosemite national park, 29-year-old photographer Jess Bonde is there with his camera.

Beautiful mountains provided the backdrop for the couple's drive through British Columbia, Canada.
Beautiful mountains provided the backdrop for the couple’s drive through British Columbia, Canada. Image by Jess Bonde / mediadrumworld.com

Jess, originally from Tasmania, has been photographing his experiences with girlfriend Lova from the start. The two have been travelling together and seeing the world for the past two years, spending the past 12 months on a ski season in Canada before travelling along the coast and down to the Grand Canyon. But he didn’t take the traditional route into photography that many others do. “I was working in the superyacht industry, and within that industry there is a really big drinking culture,” he said.

The couple relax at the Joshua Tree in California.
The couple relax at the Joshua Tree in California. Image by Jess Bonde / mediadrumworld.com

“I wanted to pick up a new hobby that would keep me out of the bars and get me back into nature, so I decided I would buy a camera. I hate being bad at things so I spent hours YouTubing everything from how to use my camera, composition, lighting, and how to post process.

Jess and Lova explore North America in their van.
Jess and Lova explore North America in their van. Image by Jess Bonde / mediadrumworld.com

“I grew up in Tasmania, a beautiful island state of Australia that has so much raw and rugged terrain. This is where my passion for the outdoors began, but photography brought me back to it.” So far the couple have been all over the world, from visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland to seeing the Northern Lights in Norway. And Jesse says he feels like his photography really captures the sense of freedom the couple feel in their day to day lives.

Jess looks out over Horeshoe Bend in Arizona.
Jess looks out over Horeshoe Bend in Arizona. Image by Jess Bonde / mediadrumworld.com

“For me, what you see in our photographs is the essence of freedom,” he says. “We have the ability to do whatever we want, when we want, wherever we want. We have no schedule, we just want to enjoy each and every moment we can in nature, together, and I think that is what my photography is all about, that freedom. It is my goal to inspire people to get outside and find something in nature that they really enjoy and can connect with. I am a big believer if there are more people going outside and connecting to nature, we are going to have more people helping protect our beautiful planet”.

By Tom Dare/Media Drum World