Sam & Dylan – The Lifestyle Travelers

Starting a travel blog has always been something that I’ve wanted to do. I was always putting it off until the “right time” came around… when we’d buy a van to become van lifers; when I’d get a camera; when I’d have extra time on my hands. It turns out, I didn’t really need a “right time,” because I have traveled for most of my life. The content is there, why not start now?

I’m Sam, one of the two so-called lifestyle travelers. Dylan is my boyfriend of two and a half years. We’ve known each other since first grade but didn’t reconnect until the pandemic. And even though the whole world shut down, that didn’t stop us from exploring together.

We spent our first three months together in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. That is where we were born and raised (Dylan also grew up in Montana), and so it felt natural exploring local hidden gems together.

Our first adventure took place at the Franklin Avenue train bridge, however, I didn’t fully know what was in store for me that day. Dylan wanted it to be a surprise, and when we got there, I almost pooped my pants. The bridge crossed the Saint Croix river with very narrow metal planks. What I didn’t know was that Dylan was planning on crossing them to hang out in the middle of the railroad tracks. Ultimately, I said I’d go too, although I admit I scooted my way there even when Dylan walked it like a plank. Ever since then, we’ve been inseparable.

When August 2020 rolled around, I knew I was leaving for Washington DC to pursue my Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication. I was unsure where that left Dylan and me, but I knew that I wanted him to come with me. He encouraged my adventurous side, and we communicated great. I felt like he brought out a better side of me, and I loved the energy he carried. When I asked him to come with me, he (thankfully) accepted.

Off we went on a sixteen-hour drive across the northern midwest all the way to DC. We soon found ourselves in a completely different environment during the pandemic. In between working and my schooling, we were always finding new places to go to escape the tiny confines of our apartment.

During our two years there, we explored all over DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We went camping on Assateague island and we stayed in log cabins in West Virginia. We would sometimes take hour-long drives to Delaware to sit by the ocean. A handful of times, we even drove to North Carolina to visit friends. We did a northeast road trip stopping in New York, Maine, and New Hampshire. It was an exciting time because the area was completely unexplored by both of us.

I guess one cross-country move wasn’t enough for us. When graduation was approaching, we started to discuss what we wanted our future to look like. The idea of living out of a van really excited us both, and we knew it was something we wanted to pursue. However, we knew that we would never get away with building a van in DC since the cost of living was so high and we had no place to park or work on one. Therefore, the idea of moving to Arizona was born.

In August, we made the 32-hour drive from DC to Tucson with big plans. September 2022 was a big month for us – we got settled into our new place, took a trip to Minnesota for a friend’s wedding, and left for a two-week backpacking trip to Europe. It has always been important for us to travel in the meantime while we pursue our dream of living in a van, which in turn will promote more travel for us.

Once we got back from Europe, Dylan decided to visit Montana (where his Dads side of the family lives) to fix up his old car so we could have two vehicles in Arizona. My upcoming job didn’t start for a few weeks, so I decided to go with him. We stayed for two weeks, and then made our way back to Arizona going through five national parks: Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and The Grand Canyon.

It’s safe to say that the past three years for us have been packed with adventure, and we thought that writing about our experiences would be the perfect outlet. We are so excited to share with you everything we’ve learned along the way. We hope to answer some questions that you have about upcoming travels that we wished we would have known before our trips.

Travel for us is more than a hobby. It’s something that we have prioritized in our lives. We are true believers that different environments bring out different sides of us, and therefore, travel is a perfect way to get to know ourselves. Whether sitting on a plane or hiking a trail, you’ll catch glimpses of yourself you hadn’t seen before. What’s better than an examined life?

Anyways, we won’t always bore you with our personal life stories, but we figured that it would a good idea to introduce ourselves so you can get to know us a little better. It’s my intention to make this blog an informational platform where you can find travel, lodging, hiking, gear, outdoor, and lifestyle tips.

All in all, it’s our goal to make the travel lifestyle a little bit easier for all of you 🙂 That’s the scoop! See you next time!

– Sam & Dylan