Coffee Time With @nomadicsoultraveller
Name: Michale Giovanni
Hello, my name is Michale (aka @nomadicsoultraveller).
I have been living full time for 4 years in my van, and it has been a constant learning experience. I have found myself feeling healthier and stressing less. With the state of the world right now, I have been lucky to find a place on my family’s property to park and stay safe during this pandemic. I’m truly happy with the decision years ago to live this lifestyle.
Tell us about your favorite beverage and why?
My favorite beverage is a nice tall cup of joe. Macadamia flavored... years ago I lived in Hawaii and I truly loved living there, the culture, fresh air, and plenty of ocean. This coffee reminds each day of those times.
What is your current living situation and how did you decide to take up that lifestyle?
Currently, I’m lucky enough to be parked on my family’s property. Through these times I’m staying as safe as possible and feeling blessed to have them in my life.
What was your inspiration or key motivator that led to your choice to live an alternative lifestyle?
One of the main reasons I decided to live the Vanlife Lifestyle was to add adventure to my life. The second reason is to shrink my carbon footprint and waste that I leave on the planet to enhance the environment for future generations like my son. Speaking of my son, who is now 15 yrs old, I wanted to show him how there are many alternative ways to live his life. I wanted him to know that if he dreams it he can create and live it!
Can you tell us a little bit about your home?
My home is a 2017 Ram Promaster 2500 high roof with a 159-inch wheelbase. I have a fairly simple layout that gets the job done. Lol! I decided to basically build a platform bed to be able to have storage beneath and storage under a bench. It can comfortably sleep two.
Many people want to live an ‘off-grid’ lifestyle and find ways to become more sustainable. Can you tell us about how you power your home?
For me, I spent most of my money on my solar setup. I’m using a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 to power my 400watts of solar. This way I didn’t have to deal with electrical wiring and lessened the chance of something breaking. With the Goal Zero, everything is compact and in one unit.
What is your favorite part about your home and you could not live without, why?
My favorite thing I couldn’t live without is my Dometic portable cassette toilet (mainly for emergencies...LOL!) And the Dometic fridge which runs off of the solar power as well.
What is the one thing that you regret about your home and how would you do it differently now?
The one thing I wish I had changed would be to have closet space. I really need to hang some of my things but I currently iron everything..smh!
How do you support yourself financially on the road?
I am a freelance web developer and graphic designer. This is my main source of income out on the road. I also write compositions and jingles for commercials.
Living a mobile lifestyle, how do you deal with water, food, laundry, internet, mail, etc.?
Luckily, being in the U.S., there are coin laundry locations in every city and some towns so that takes care of cleaning clothes. I’m vegan so when I do shop for food I don't have a lot that can spoil or go bad. It’s usually prepared right away and can be stored in my fridge. So fresh food is normal for me. I only keep beverages and some items like ice cream in the refrigerator.
Can you take us through a typical ‘Day in the life”?
Well, my day usually starts with coffee. I get out and stretch by taking a short hike or walk then afterward I fix something to eat. From this point, I’m checking emails from clients. After a couple of hours, I do a snack lunch and work at the same time, lol! When work is done for the day I have a beer, check out social media, and listen to or create some music. From here into the night I “Rinse and Repeat!” Boring huh?
What is one of the biggest lifestyle challenges that you did not expect and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was finding somewhere to park since I spent a lot of time in the city. I started Vanlife in Las Vegas, so I had plenty of BLM land to park and chill. Now that I’m in Tennessee, it's a bit different. I sometimes use the website: Boondockerswelcome.com
While we are all drinking some coffee reading this post, can you tell us a story or event that happened to you while living your current lifestyle?
Well, I have had my van stolen from me. In Las Vegas, I had a routine of going to the gym three times a week to workout and mainly shower.
One morning, I went in around 6:30 am (I try to go before the crowd starts to come in). Well someone was waiting for me or had been watching me. I walked in the gym and started my workout, and looking out the window, maybe 15 minutes in, I saw my home drive away. I was horrified because my entire life was inside.
By the time I could run out it was driving away. I knew I locked the doors and I still had the keys in my pocket. After watching the security video we learned it was a group of people in a nearby car waiting on me to get out and go into the gym. It literally took 4 seconds for them to enter the van and drive away.
*** side note*** The police said that they used a device that captured my key fobs frequency to unlock and enter the van. I never knew anything like that existed except in the movies. Later, I looked it up and you can get one on eBay. I eventually got the van back trashed and found in Utah. So I had to start over.
What is your favorite spot that you have traveled to and can't stop thinking about, why?
Easy answer: Joshua Tree, California.
If someone was considering changing their lifestyle and living more like you, what would be your best advice to take the first step?
Just do it! If you can't afford to get a rig right away, rent one and give it a try for a week or two.
A lot of people might be concerned about their own personal safety living a mobile lifestyle. What are some of your best safety tips for someone living on the road?
Safety tips: Always be aware of your surroundings. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s not, just move on. Most of the time, it's safe for most Vanlifers. Just trust your gut!
If you were driving from the east coast to the west coast what would you be listening to for the drive?
My favorite driving music is a podcast called “Luminosity with Agent 27” also I like to listen to silly stuff like the Ron Burgundy podcast too.
What is one thing that transitioning to a simplified lifestyle has taught you, good or bad?
One thing I have learned about living tiny is that a lot of the stuff I use to own was unnecessary and wasteful. It also has helped me eat better, and I’m less stressed and more healthy.