Capable Men takes a look at a fascinating wanderer who has taken the matter of freedom into his own hands. His humble steed is a 2001 Chevy Astro and his adventures take place across the United States of America.
People who go the extra mile and break away from the status quo, seeking positive change often get our attention here at Capable Men. Our very philosophy believes that a capable man is somebody who has the courage to live their own life and break away from the ways of collective thinking. Jed was one such chap who I recently discovered on Youtube, regularly documenting his adventures as a van dweller while embracing the modern life of a digital nomad.
What is a Van Dweller?
A van dweller is somebody who lives in their vehicle to enable constant travel, save money on property/rental costs and arguably live life on their own terms. Laws, social stigma and supply logistics are just some of the challenges that a van dweller may encounter when on the road.
Most people envision their ultimate form of freedom within their own castle, sitting on a plot of owned land somewhere on this planet with their friends and family close by. And this certainly isn’t a bad vision to have. But the path to achieving this dream often comes at a cost. There is something to be said about life when you’re spending most of it hustling to afford your home, car and struggling to find the time to go on adventures. The van dweller lifestyle is the answer for many people who wish to break away from this narrative.
Jed is part of a modern generation of digital nomads who have decided to leave their old lives behind and pursue a life of adventure on the road. Funded by social media and internet based revenue the digital nomad aims to build a revenue stream with his love for travel. Jed's story began many years ago when he first began to go on trips across the USA on his motorcycle.
With many great adventures on the motorcycle taking Jed across many states, a strong love for adventure was born. Jed decided to act upon his desires and move out of his apartment and release all his responsibilities within the area. Inevitably his new lifestyle limited his cash situation. Gas, food and a cheap hotel room a few nights a week was the range of services available for this infant wanderer. Such sudden burdens took their immediate toll on Jed, as he found the constant challenges leaving himself and his motorcycle frail.
The Chevy Astro
Jed came to the conclusion that he needed a van to continue this lifestyle on the road. So after careful consideration, our adventurer decided to regroup and return to his family home to reorganise his efforts and obtain a vehicle. But the old habits and definitions found themselves returning into Jed's daily routine since returning, and the desire to get back on the road as soon as possible was strong as ever.
After much research, Jed decided on the Chevy Astro as his vehicle of choice. It wasn't long before he made the decision to purchase the van (Which also happened to be the first one he seen)
With a 2001 Chevy Astro now in Jed's possession, the next few months would be rather interesting. This was the time period when Jed found himself converting the van to the specifications required for a life on the road. Thorough research was required on exploring what others had done to convert their vans into homes and getting the van mechanically fit for such a life on the road. Jed proceeded to gather the parts needed and devise a vague plan for his future life of adventure.
With the van deemed suitable for travel and an intense eagerness to feel the freedom of the open road once again, the first adventure was set in motion. Jed was truly eager to see if the van would stand up to the harsh challenges of the road. After a long trip all the way down to Death Valley from Portland, Oregon the sudden realisation hit Jed that he had left too soon.
The van was not running well, and to make matters worse for Jed he found himself having to deal with panic attacks every night. It turned out that sleeping in a van was a big deal and the constant worrying about being eaten by coyotes or hunted by serial killers was very real in his mind. Jed's imagination at this point had a firm grip around his throat. With morale low and the van misfiring with the steering all over the place it was time to head back and rethink this plan over once again.
We can rebuild him, We have the technology
Anxiety issues began to surface for Jed during the first few months, as he found himself becoming reclusive and refusing to leave the home during this period. It would take Jed another six months or so of dealing with these issues head-on while simultaneously fixing up the van, and hitting the open road again.
With Jed's mind in a great place and a newly burning confidence within himself he loaded up the van and took off once again. It's been 6 months now since Jed has returned to the road, with his new setup and he tells me his life is continuously getting better and better.
Take a look at Jed's video above where he gives us the grand tour of his $3000 customised stealth van setup. You can subscribe to his Youtube channel here while you're at it. Jed is constantly releasing videos of his adventures in the van since he has returned to the road. It's a fascinating journey as we have the opportunity to watch this young man making his own path in life and enlightening himself along the way.
Q&A with Jed
CM: How did your friends and family respond to your choice to live on the road?
JED: After seeing what I did with the motorcycle, my friends and family either supported me or accepted that this is what I was going to to. I didn't have a single person try to talk me out of it.
CM: How compatible is the van life with intimate companionship?
JED: Until recently I've been happily single the entire time I've been on the road. My current relationship is long distance as she lives in Australia. I plan to have her join me in about 6 months for a while. It will either make or break the relationship living in such close quarters. But we can use it as a chance to grow together or be miserable. It's not up to us, not the size of the box we live in.
CM: What is something you have given up since becoming a van dweller that you miss?
JED: Having wifi on my laptop anytime I want. Now I have to go to coffee shops, libraries, and fast food to get wifi. I find it a lot easier to focus on business without the distractions that come with public spaces. I'm using it as a chance to hone my laser focus though, so even that is not that big of a deal.
CM: Is the van dweller life something that you see as a temporary chapter in your life?
JED: For right now it's the only way I want to live. I think with a bigger van it's totally possible I'll never pay rent again. I've even thought about having a van on every continent so I can travel the world with the freedom I so much enjoy now.
CM: For somebody reading this who might be interested in doing what you did, what would you say to them?
JED: Stop thinking about it. Life is too short to procrastinate. Jump in the fire, make a plan, and start right now. If it doesn't work out then try harder milk every lesson you can out of it and you'll be a much stronger person for it. You'll also get closer to what you DO want in life.
The founder of Capable Men.
Currently operating personal projects while he simultaneously attempts to develop the Capable Men platform. John served five years in the British army, with a tour of duty in Afghanistan before eventually departing the forces to begin a career in the private security sector.
John attended several private protection courses dealing with security strategy, close-quarters combat training, firearms and advanced driving. This new profession took him worldwide Including the protection of government assets in South America, VIP tasks on the Côte d'Azur and security work within the French Alps.
His interests include global affairs, philosophy, hiking, sports and fitness.