What has four wheels, is fully furnished and called “Lil’ Ma”? The answer is alumna Macy Pate’s 1995 Chevy sport G20 van that she and her high school friend Emily Breedlove are currently using to travel across the country.
According to Pate, she and Breedlove were inspired to begin van life after following the Instagram account of Jace and Giddi, the couple behind @ourhomeonwheels.
“(They have) been living in a van fulltime for two years,” Pate said. “They were very helpful and open about their lifestyle and, after some research, we realized how possible it really was.”
Pate and Breedlove outfitted their van with a bed, two burner propane stove top and a refrigerator. The remodel of the vehicle took the pair a year to complete, finishing Jan. 21, the day before they intended to embark on their cross-country adventure.
Beginning in Texas, the pair intends to hit every national park and big city, parking at campsites and in national forests for the night, before ending their trek in South Dakota.
So far, they have traveled through Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California.
Some of their favorite national parks so far include Pinnacles National Park in California and Arches National Park in Utah. Their favorite state so far has been Arizona.
Currently in Oregon, they will head through Washington, Canada, Montana and South Dakota. Pate says one park they are most looking forward to visiting is Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.
According to Pate, their purpose behind the trip is to live life to the fullest.
“We are doing it because we love road trips and we love seeing new places and experiencing new things,” Pate said in a blog post on Jan. 10. “We are doing it because we are young and able and blessed and not tied down just yet. So, I guess the short answer would be, ‘why not?’”
Pate said her family and friends doubted her capabilities and were originally skeptical of the idea of taking on van life.
“I think for the most part everyone doubted us (at first), which is understandable,” Pate said. “Once we bought the van, our parents kind of realized just how serious we were and immediately began helping us in any way they could. Then, when the conversion was almost finished, other friends started to get on board. Now the doubt has turned into complete support.”
Pate said she loves trips. Some of her favorite memories from Harding include driving to Washington D.C. and Albuquerque, New Mexico, for two separate three-day weekends.
According to Pate, their journey has gone smoothly up to this point.
“We have been very lucky to not have any real problems thus far,” Pate said. “One night, when we were parked somewhere we weren’t technically supposed to be, we got scared awake by a construction worker banging on our door. That’s the only time we’ve been spooked, but we totally deserved it.”
Pate knows that van life is just temporary for her, but she is looking forward to whatever the future has in store.
“I really wish I would have known that I had time to figure everything out,” Pate said. “There’s this major pressure on us as college students to know what we are going to do for the rest of our lives by the age of 20, but the reality is that we can do multiple things. … Our career doesn’t have to be set in stone yet. We have time to change our minds and make mistakes. Dreams can evolve, and mine definitely have.”
To keep up with all of their van life adventures, follow Pate and Breedlove on Instagram at @van.babes, read Pate’s blog on macypatephotos.com or read Breedlove’s blog on emilybreedlove.info.