How Vanlife Became an Instant Home on Wheels For This Family of Three

Jace and Giddi Carmichael’s first date in 2013 saw them camping and spelunking at a cave system in Southern Arizona. Sharing a mutual passion for the outdoors, they spent much of their early relationship camping, hiking, climbing and just generally exploring wide open spaces. 

They initially set their sights far abroad and dreamt of backpacking through Asia or sailing around the world. But instead realize there was much of their own beautiful country to explore, and this could be easily achieved via campervan. 

One year after getting married they bought their first van for $4,000 and started the conversion process. With no prior experience with woodworking, electrical, vehicles, power tools, etc. they just jumped right into it and figured everything out, slowly, but surely. Given their commitments to full-time jobs, the build out took place in the evenings and on the weekends. But 7 months later, they had a fully livable, pretty self-sufficient rolling home with which to set off around the country and thus began the online story we know and love of @OurHomeOnWheels. 

Two weeks prior to hitting the road full time, Jace and Giddi found out they were expecting a child. Instead of putting everything aside, they decided to raise their daughter on the road and make vanlife, plus one, work. With a fledgling handmade jewelry company, they took a leap of faith and quit their full-time jobs, hit the road with next to no money at all, and focused their energy on committing to vanlife and growing the little jewelry business to be a viable primary source of income. 

Since launching their family adventure, Jace, Giddi and their little girl, Juniper, have since lived in two more vans and have built out a dozen more vans for other people. They have successfully cultivated several small businesses while traveling and have been all over North America and spent time in several countries abroad – hiking, climbing, paddling, biking, etc. 

After spending four and a half years travelling full-time as a family, the Carmichaels recently bought a home in Utah and are now part-time travelers. Jace and Giddi feel their extensive travels have been the best thing for their relationship, their family, their daughter Juniper, and pup Lotus: “Kids (and dogs of course) are happiest outside. Adults are happiest outside.”

Quite simply, we at the Outside Adventure Expo couldn’t agree more and are thrilled to welcome the Carmichaels to the program. Jace and Giddi will join us to talk about how to adventure as a family and how to make an adventurous lifestyle a primary focus of one’s life. The Carmichaels are now shopping for their next van build and making plans for more international travel as soon as travel restrictions lessen.

To learn more about this dynamic family before you can meet them at the Expo this weekend, check out @OurHomeOnWheels.

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