Leaving Everything to Live in a Van with a Guy from Instagram

Instagram is a weird place. It’s a curated reel of people’s lives, it’s a medium of self expression that anyone can use, it’s a place you can easily get sucked into. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s a part of a lot of our modern lives. And it’s a place where I personally have connected with a lot of people from all over, some who I’ve met and others who I’ve yet to meet. It’s brought me some of my greatest friendships. And for that, I love it.

Well, this time, Instagram brought me my dream guy.

In August – I was not feeling fulfilled. To say the least. Broke as hell, while still working two or three jobs shift after shift after shift. All I could think about was money and how I was never going to have any extra no matter how hard I worked. Trips I had been planning had to be cancelled because I just couldn’t afford to go on them anymore. & then there was school. The struggles and failures of the past semester left me drained and defeated. My physical and emotional health was crashing. I couldn’t find the motivation to pick myself up. I became distant from most of my friends and family and was so lost as to what I even wanted to be happening in my life. But I knew that crying in my car everyday before work and then again when I got home to my dark little room was not working for me. So I started daydreaming (manifesting?) what other lives I could be living. One day I posted on instagram that I would be happy living in a van for a while.

And that’s about when I met Sam.

Background info – I get quite a few messages on Instagram asking me about the Volkswagen van that my dad and I have. A lot of times people love to chat about their vans with me. This was just another one of those times.

Sam messaged me asking about our van, and my travels. He said he had a van too, and he was planning on leaving on a long term adventure in her in a week or two. We decided that we should meet and hangout before he left! So, we did.

Sam was everything that my little hippie chick heart dreamed about. He was a world traveler, he was quirky , and funny, and kind, and creative and different. We got along instantly. We ended up spending the entire day together, and then the next few days.. it was the beginnings of something new.

& so Sam invited me to go to California with him.

He knew I wasn’t happy where I was and he was convinced that this would help me. He was going to go trim cannabis to make some cash and be able to live in his van. I’d heard about trimming before, and knew it was a way a lot of travelers made good chunks of money to help fund their adventures for the year. Last year, I knew people who were getting paid $200 for every pound they trimmed, and an average person would be trimming 1-2 pounds per day! But I thought you needed connections to get it on this. What I found out was that if you hang out in a few certain towns in Northern California at the right time of year, you can pretty easily find work.

But what would this mean? Leaving now would mean quitting my jobs, dropping out of school for the semester, and going against the advice of people I cared about and were trying to help me. All to go HOPEFULLY find seasonal work on a weed farm. How would I explain that to my family? Was this really the best decision? I thought about it for a few days.

I’ll be honest with you. At that point, I thought – “what have I got to lose?” When you’re so deeply unhappy with yourself and you’ve been struggling to see the point of it all for a while, you’ll do anything to find a glimpse of happiness again. So I decided that the risk was with it.

I quit both of my jobs, dropped the classes I had registered for, and packed up my bedroom in my roommates house the night before we left for California. I was only keeping what belongings I could fit into my Jeep Patriot. Everything else? Goodwill in the morning & whatever was snagged on offer up that night.

With 300 bucks to my name and no real plan, Sam, his good friend Will and I left Arizona in the van and headed on the long trek up to our intended destination – Humboldt County. The famous hippie-dippie weed town.

Within the first couple days we met a wacky drifter couple who tagged along & made camp with us, we picked up a hitchhiker or two, we got offered a free kitten, and we ate a lot of camp food.

But I can’t explain to you the freedom we felt – 3 young kids out in the WILD and untied from their dead end jobs – free to spend the day how we pleased, on the road, cooking on our little stove and meeting other transients. We were all three becoming great friends and bonding in our little living space. I was beginning to be reminded of how much I could love life.

Now we needed to find work, or the little money that we all had was going to run out fast. Like I said, it’s easy to find work on a farm if you’re in the right place. You just have to ask tons of strangers at gas stations and coffee shops if they know anyone. Casual right? Well.. it was inevitably not that easy. Our first official day job scouting the three of us made signs. Like…. the type of signs made out of cardboard that homeless people and hitchhikers fly. Yup. Let me just say, it’s crazy to see how much differently people look at you when you’re holding one of those.

About 5 days into our search for work, we stopped in a town called Hayfork. Some hitchhikers from Spain who had been hanging with us were headed to a town close by, but before going on we stopped for a break. We parked at the local gas station, put our signs on the windows of the van and sat around for a bit chatting, not really expecting that this was the town where we would be successful.

Not 20 minutes had passed before this tall lanky guy walked up with his friend, and asked if we were looking for work. He said they weren’t ready for trimming yet, but they did need help defanning the plants in their garden. And they could take all three of us!

We weren’t about to pass up the opportunity, so after a bit of pay negotiation we said yes. We waved a bitter sweet good bye to our Spanish friends, hopped in the van and followed the two guys in their huge truck. We stopped at the grocery store first, and I went in alone with the boss to pick out food for the three of his new employees for the next couple days. Here I am, in a ho-dunk grocery store in a weird little cracked out town, with a strange and intimidating man that wasn’t super interested in having a conversation with me. What a trip.

We packed up the groceries and followed the guys about 30 minutes outside of town. We drove up into the windy mountains half excited and half wondering if we were about to get murdered. Take a turn onto trinity pines road and through some rough back roads and here we are – our new home. Little did we know we had just entered the infamous ‘Pines’ – a lawless & infamous neighborhood of over 700 cannabis farms.

“Welcome to the Pines” they told us as we gazed in awe over their huge terraced garden.

What the fuck did we just get ourselves into?

To be continued!!!

let me know what you thought about the first part of this story and if you’re interested in hearing the rest… things are about to get crazy!! Thank you for reading ❤️

Love, Little Bird

**Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.**

2 thoughts on “Leaving Everything to Live in a Van with a Guy from Instagram

  1. Girl i’ve been talking about you to my sister for the longest time! Telling her about your insta posts, wondering how in the world is she getting to travel and live this free life. My sister and i have always just talked about jumping in a van and taking off. Reading your story, so far, it’s not only inspiring, but it’s exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Montana thanks so much for reading ❤️ That’s so flattering I appreciate that a lot and I’m so happy that I could inspire you in any way! As for your van dream, you and your sister should definitely do that, I highly recommend it. It’s easier than you think, you just have to be ready to take the leap!


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