“One year ago, we decided to change our lives,” says French ‘van-lifer’ and chef Cécile Bertrand. “We were two culinary students trying to make a career in fancy restaurants, but we wanted to learn about cooking in a different way, away from the pressure of restaurants, closer to nature.”
“We decided to visit every European country to learn more about gastronomy and cultures — and at the same time discovered van life online. We’re not only cooks but designers, so the idea of building a home from scratch was too tempting. We left our jobs and signed up for driving lessons.” Stories like Bertrand and her partner’s are a fixture throughout new Gestalten publication, Hit The Road: Vans, Nomads and Roadside Adventures, which follows the alternative lifestyles of folk living life on the road—in restored Airstreams or VW Bullis, 4x4s or refurbished Winnebagos—creative minds journeying the world over, crossing borders, and firmly leaving behind their comfort zones.
Released as an impressive 272-page hardback, the publication documents through photography the freedom that four-wheeled homes brings, the earnest passion of the ‘vanlifers’ who are able to call home where they choose; staying where they like and as long as they like, their converted vehicles providing all they need.
From a mobile creative studio to escape the chaos of Tokyo to a journey from one tip of Canada to the other behind the wheel of a Honda Element; the story of a group of friends who drove a Porsche 944 from England to Cape Town, or the family who’ve travelled the world in a Land Rover Defender 130 (“we dreamt of a life of adventure and danger, a purpose that wakes you up each morning”), Hit the Road is an inspirational ride accompanied by emotive photography of passing landscapes, wheels, and those that dare to drive them to the limits and beyond.
“Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.”
Hit The Road: Vans, Nomads and Roadside Adventures is available now from Gestalten.