A lot of us dream of packing up our lives and taking to the open road. Few of us actually end up doing it. But that’s not the case for Foster Huntington, author of the upcoming book, Van Life: Your Home on the Road.
In 2011, Huntington left his New York City life behind and moved into a Volkswagen van. He traveled around the country, surfing, taking photos, making new friends, and chronicling his journey on Instagram and Tumblr with the hashtag #vanlife. His popularity grew, and soon thousands of users were commenting on his photos, following his lifestyle, and even taking it up themselves. After a profile in the New Yorker in April, Huntington’s bohemian way of life was even more publicized. By this point, van life has become so much more than just a way for Huntington to label his experiences, it’s a movement, an envied lifestyle, and practically a religion for those who have left everything behind in search of a simpler life. It’s also a way to tell a story, capturing this unique lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same.
With the help of a Kickstarter, Huntington published his first photography book, Home is Where You Park It, in 2013. Now, he’s publishing a book that captures the true heart of van life, with van photos, stories about life on the road, and beautiful locations that will make you green with envy. …Maybe even enough to sell all your belongings and take to a van. Mostly user-submitted, the photos in Van Life: Your Home on the Road take the experience far beyond Huntington’s original journey. Instead, this is the lifestyle he inspired and the adventurous souls who are telling their stories about the bohemian path they’ve embraced.
The book will release on October 10, 2017 (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers). But in the meantime, here are three recent or upcoming books to read that definitely embody the Van Life (#vanlife) ideals:
At Home in the World, Tsh Oxenreider (Thomas Nelson, April 18, 2017)
Oxenreider is no stranger to packing up her life and starting over. After settling down in the United States, Tsh and her husband Kyle decided to uproot their three children and travel around the globe for nine months. Their trip took them everywhere – from Africa to Europe to Asia and more. They see incredible sights along the way, but maybe more importantly, they grow as a family and learn what it really means to find a home. At Home in the World is a memoir that’s both universal and intimate, taking the concepts of vanlife to an even more global level.
Love Her Wild, Atticus (Atria Books, July 11, 2017)
It seems like nothing will test a relationship quite like living out of a van together. So keep the romance alive with this heartfelt and passionate collection of poetry. Like Huntington, poet Atticus found his fame online, posting his work to Instagram and garnering thousands of followers and fans. Minimal but powerful, Atticus’s work is perfect reading for a long day on the beach, or a sunset over the water. All of the poems are about love – both old and new – and what it means to give yourself over to another person. Any bohemian vanlifer will definitely want to bring this romantic poetry collection along for the ride.
Someone Else’s Summer, Rachel Bateman (Running Press, May 9, 2017)
At its heart, vanlife really is just one big epic road trip. Which is exactly the premise of Someone Else’s Summer, a charming young adult novel about family, grief, and how a long journey can sometimes be the best way to find yourself. After Anna’s older sister Storm dies in a sudden accident, Anna and her family struggle to come to terms with the tragedy. Drowning in her own grief, Anna decides to go on the epic road trip that Storm had planned for her summer vacation. With Storm’s best friend Cameron, Anna takes to the open road, traveling from coast in coast in Storm’s honor. Along the way she finds both a budding romance and the tools it takes to truly heal after you’ve lost everything.