News Reporter Chooses Vanlife After Hiking Pacific Crest Trail
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News Reporter Chooses Vanlife After Hiking Pacific Crest Trail


Hey everyone. I’m Liz Bryant and this is
my Mercedes Sprinter Wild because I’m born wild and sprinting free. I hiked the
Pacific Crest Trail in 2015 and it took me about five months to get from Mexico
to the Washington border. After that I went back to normal life
reporting at NBC San Diego as a reporter that you would see on the 5 and 6
o’clock news. Within the six months of leaving the trail and going back to my
career I thought to myself, “what are you doing? You just learned all about what
adventure is and about what living life is and being out in nature.”
I started looking at van life on Instagram. I came across it and then for
the next year and a half researched it every single day. Finally I just said, “I’m
not researching this anymore. I’m doing it.” Bought of 2016, a brand new at that
time, Mercedes Sprinter and I just said “there’s always a back-up plan so just do
it”, and I did it and I’ve never looked back. This is Wild.
Wild is a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter 144 wheelbase. The van is a two-wheel drive
not a four-wheel drive despite what people think because of my BF Goodrich
all-terrain tires and I also have black rhino rims. I wanted the color to be
monochromatic so black on black. Everything kind of matte that I could
make matte black. So now let’s go around back where you might not think this is a
big deal but not all sprinters come with a little step and I love this step. You
can sit here and chill. Also I have a hitch for a bike rack or anything that I
want to tow and then my favorite accessory on the outside this ladder
bioluminesce. I have 200 watts of solar panels on my roof. Those are the Eclipse
panels by Renergy. They were small enough to fit lengthwise. My Mercedes Sprinter
did not come with running tracks or running rails. I glued my solar panels on
with some really strong adhesive and then I put my Thule rack on. A big piece
of advice for you is come up here and see if you have running rails or the
tracks. Now let’s go inside, Wild where the beautiful white and blue interior is. The floor is extended. I bought it at a
specialty store in San Diego. I felt that the laminate floor that I found at any
other box store, they didn’t have that pretty wood grain. Now you probably think, “why in
the world would she pick white as her color when it’s a van?” People are out
adventuring, hiking, swimming, and then coming back in and getting super dirty.
All of this fabric is stain proof. It’s by Perennials Fabric and it’s called
acrylic dyed solution. I can spill red wine on it. I can put dirt all over it
and I can just easily wipe it off so this is my bench that pulls out to a bed
and then my windows vent so they’re teeny venting windows. I have one right here.
I have one on the sliding door and then back in the kitchen area. I have extra
storage under the bench slash bed an extra blanket, towels, and then a water
bottle you can fill this with hot water and put it with you as you sleep then it
keeps you warm and now let’s head to the kitchen. This is a quartz countertop and
this is marble tile. People ask me, “how do you make sure that this doesn’t rattle
off or shake off?” The marble tile was done with a lot of research so I called
the company that has the adhesive in the grout and really talked with a customer
service about what is going to ensure that there is no rattling and that
there’s no tile falling off when I’m on a dirt road. My faucet extends and it has really good water pressure, watch this. Don’t want to waste water though cuz I only have 15 or
16 gallons and it lasts me about a week. The other key element that you might not
think of is that I wanted to make sure I had a really deep sink like you can see.
The sink is 10 inches deep. I learned the lesson in San Diego that I needed a big
sink because dishes pile up quite quickly and you’re not always motivated to
do dishes every night. Oh, more dishes. I fill up my water tank by putting this
funnel in this little hose and then just fill up your water and the pipe runs all
the way back here to the water tank which is under the bed. So this is the Ramblewood
cooktop and it’s one you see in a lot of vans and I don’t have one of those big 5
gallon propane tanks that you refill. I have the little green canisters that you
pick up from Walmart for I think it’s like $3- 3.15. This is an isotherm elegants
fridge. I live off the peanut butter bars coconut water and juice so that’s really
what all you’re gonna see in here. This is where my trash is and my cleaning
supplies and my reusable grocery bags. Now everything in the van is white or
blue and this is where I added some of the blue accents. These are two out of
three of my light dimmers light switches and then this is where my water pump is.
Now to the cupboard. This is where I store the silverware. This bin is all of
my dishes and then pantry items lemons chips bulk items and all of my seasoning.
Its shelving by the Container Store. It’s called Alpha. It’s super easy to get out.
It just has clips on the side and you can take this right out and that’s how I
change out my propane. I have this seamless look that I wanted and so mine
is an inside lock. What you do is you push it and it locks and then you push
it in to unlock it. And that leads us to the wet room. It is where I keep my shades for the
back doors and where I keep the tempur-pedic topper that I cannot live
without. Now this entire wet room is waterproof. The walls are made out of
acrylic plastic and then this is my toilet. The toilet is self-contained so
if I want to take a shower I totally can. I take out the tempur-pedic and I take
out the toilet and then I have a portable shower that I just step in here
and rinse off. These might be the most clothes you’re ever gonna see in van life.
I have hanging clothes then I have more Elfa shelving which this is my active
wear and my underwear. Everyday clothes more winter clothes and this is my
bathroom drawer. At the bottom is my shoe storage. This is the sports closet. A
leash from a surfboard. My camping backpack, camping chairs, yoga mat,
longboard, wetsuit, hiking poles, have skis up on my Thule rack and then this is all
my laundry. I also store goggles for swimming, an inflatable stand-up
paddleboard up, and the Thule rack. I have flippers for the water too. So here’s my Vitamix. I’m a juicer. A bunch of towels. This location is so imperative. You don’t
think about little things like this but I’ll be washing my face in the morning
or at night or I’ll be doing dishes cooking and all I have to do is just
reach up and get a towel from the pile. Backpacks and gym bags. This
is my junk drawer and then this is another junk drawer. It’s the junk pen
drawer and scissors drawer. This is a magnet wall and these containers just magnetize to it. This area has my solar control charger,
my inverter, another light switch, my fridge switch and my voltage meter for
my batteries. My table stores back here and it’s secured by a bungee strap and
this is the most adored piece in the van. It’s made by a company San Diego
Urban Timber. This is olive wood that I picked out.
It was olive wood that was from a tree cut down in San Diego that would just go
to the landfill but that company believes in saving all trees from the
landfill and using it and then Jess the artist filled in the gaps with
resin. Actually you don’t even hook it, you just slide it down on the base then it swivels all
around. I sit here and I edit. I eat. I work whatever. Also this raises and
lowers, if I wanted to. If you are trying to make a big change
in your life give yourself a deadline and accomplish things in that timeline.
This is what I did for my first big leap. I gave myself four or five months and each
month I had a checklist. I made a goal like my apartment lease, take a safety
course, research gear. That way I didn’t feel pressured and I felt prepared. My
advice to someone who asks, “what do I do for work?” Honestly you have to figure
that out yourself. I was just blessed with an NBC News
career for seven years that transitioned me into having a video production
company and that’s part of your journey. Write down what you’re passionate about
and see how you can make that work remotely. Thanks for watching this week’s episode. If you enjoyed it be sure to like,
comment, and subscribe. And thanks most of all to the Patrons. I really
appreciate you supporting the channel. If you’re interested in becoming a Patron
check the link in the description. And if you want to follow me just go to
instagram @wildbythemile. See you soon. Have a great week, peace!

91 Comments

  • jos trup

    itยดs beautiful , clean and beautiful colors and i like your Thule roof box , very useful , i see that you are well organised .

  • ๋ น์„ฑ

    This is good to see the bed/couch in the front of the van.
    korean camper engineer must learn this style !
    And you are the most beautiful camper repoter outstanding!

  • Maric Dee

    Whats your problem, people thats her choice, sheโ€™s satisfied and happy…you are just jealous cause she can afford this lifestyle

  • Brett Voigt

    Very cool van. I like the builds that can incorporated a bathroom/shower… that's really the only thing holding back my wife from letting me build a nice weekender van.

  • Gra Xx

    Bad choice,Black is hard to see on the road. Why risk your life to look trendy? Also black absorbs heat,they get MUCH hotter than a white car.

  • Vincent Vanlife

    Itโ€™s amazing how travel can change peopleโ€™s lives forever. Youโ€™ve made a great jump and your home looks awesome. Van life has opened up so many doors for us, and I hope that it continues to enrich your life for many years to come. ๐Ÿ™Œ

  • Shandele Broyles

    I REALLY LOVE YOUR VAN!!
    Apparently people are saying bad things. I don't know what but don't give them any satisfaction and just ignore anything bad. Keep enjoying your life and loving it.
    PEOPLE LIKE THAT ARE NOT WORTH THE AIR THEY ARE ABLE TO BREATHE.
    AND You are very beautiful and I AM SURE VERY BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE TOO!!
    Enjoy Life
    AND
    Be Safe
    ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

  • Tommy Nikon

    @1:50….Actually my favorite accessory on the outside is….watching you climb a ladder. Yowza Liz, you're a silver tongued devil w/ a bodacious booty; a veritable van vixen. If ever in Seattle….. Happy trails!

  • Jenn Lloyd

    Love your design of this beautiful Van ~ Just found your channel today and am enjoying all your adventures – First thing I thought of, upon viewing your videos, is that you could make a TON of money being Reese Witherspoon's body double! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, if she ever needed a sister in one of her movies, you'd be perfect for the part as well ~ maybe your agent could look into it!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • sherry a

    Oh Please, your place is Cute but you're Def Not living off of PEANUT BUTTER AND COCONUT WATER/MILK. YOU WOULD BE A LOT THINNER THAN WHAT YOU ARE NOW, SO YOU'RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE WITH THAT SPIEL, LOL. GOOD TRY THOUGH๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ REALLY NICE TRY ,!๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

  • sherry a

    I Really wish she used At least some of her abc or nbc or Whatever money on some inplants. Normally imo, women really don't Need plastic surgery, but in Her Case I would absolutely consider it, lol

  • Maddie B

    Great video!! Love the video editing. The tour was fantastic and I like the clips of her demoing the bed in and out of full use so I can get the picture of her layout better. Love that was she doing yoga in front of her van great shot!

  • Kim Ingram

    She is a very classy lady. Well Ilive in my Cargo van when I'm expediting! Love it when it rains, sleep like a baby!!

  • Dani Canyon

    what was the name and brand of the really strong adhesive that you used for your solar panels on top of your van

  • Dani Canyon

    Sorry so many questions:
    Where did your closet come from?

    And what store in San Diego did you buy your extended flooring?
    is it real panel wood?

  • Lass-in Angeles

    1. Black van in desert heat. Sucks up heat like a heat sink, and you cannot find it in the dark if you stay out too long. The first sign of Blonde Barbie Syndrome (BBS). Fail.
    2. High heels on rocky terrain, waiting for a sprained ankle to happen. More BBS. Fail.
    3. Glued solar panels on roof due to laziness in installing a roof track system. Do you understand the wind shear forces when you drive at 80 mph? Will blow off onto a motorist and kill them. Better get Death-by-BBS insurance. Fail.
    4. What exactly is your floor? You did not explain with the staccato editing. Laminate? Glued hardwood? Both are bad. Use click lock engineered real bamboo instead. Fail.
    5. White fabric is never stain-proof. If it is, it is not fabric but vinyl. Very poor choice. This is the color your van should have been. Colors need to reversed – white outside, dark inside. Fail.
    6. Heating system – hot water bottle. With a cute pink cover. In -30F winters living the 'outdoor life'. Is this what Barbie would do? Fail.
    7. Quartz countertop in a small van with stringent weight limits? More BBS. Fail.
    8. Marble tile vertical on wall, and not tiny mosaic? Does your Barbie van have weight limits like everyone else's van? Do you know that marble retains stains and is never used in a kitchen? Do you know that only small mosaic tiles are best on vertical surfaces with continuous earthquake forces such as a van that travels on off roads and gravel? Did the folks who installed it, show you how they did it? Did they use polymer in the thinset mortar, and polymer in the grout as well to seal it internally? No? You don't even know how your own van was done. More BBS. Fail.
    9. Only 15 gals of fresh water and you want to go off grid? I guess this is where you made up for the weight of the countertop and marble backsplash. You sure have your priorities right. You need to find the right boyfriend who has the beat up RV with the 40 gal tanks, so you can wash your blonde hair using his water. He won't mind. After all, you are a Barbie with high heel booties and shorty shorts, and swinging blonde hair. Being pretty makes up for lack of a brain.
    10. You need a really DEEP sink which uses up storage area below, because your dishes pile up quickly, because you have no water to wash them, ha, ha, ha!! Proves my point about BBS. Fail.
    11. Water fill up method – uses tiny funnel with 1/3 inch diameter to fill up 16 gals of water by hose. How long does this take exactly? There is no exterior valve opening? Who cares, this is a BBV – Blonde Barbie Van anyway. Water is a trivial issue compared to interior decor. Fail.
    12. Stark white interior has glare inside from desert heat bouncing on all white surfaces. If this had been dark instead, it would have been a cool feeling inside with no glare. Fail.
    13. Installed Propane stove, using disposable 1 lb propane tanks. No larger propane tank installed. No way to tell if low on propane, its guess work. Fail.
    14. My fridge is tiny, so "I live off Peanut Butter bars, coconut water, and juice". All that sugar combined with all that sun will give you wrinkled skin, diabetes, and melanoma. Unhealthy processed, sugary foods, yuk! Fail.
    15. Light switches are hidden behind a cabinet door, so every time you want to turn light on or off, you need to open a cabinet door? Fail.
    16. Dimmers emit huge amounts of EMF and are very bad for you. Fail.
    17. ELFA, not ALPHA. This cheap junky set of drawers is same low end quality that you can buy at IKEA or Home Depot for half the price. The Container Store was built for yuppies who have plenty of money and have 'organizing' listed as a hobby, and are clueless about building anything since they have never built anything and never will. They also rattle a lot being all metal and will rust out with internal condensation. Fail.
    18. Tempurpedic mattress that you "cannot live without". Spoken like a true adventurer Barbie who loves the comforts of home while living in a tiny van. Needs to be stored in the wet bath, as there is no room for this in the House Beautiful Barbie van. Lets not worry about mold issues on a mattress that hugs your face for 8 hrs every night. Fail.
    19. Clothes. Oh so many clothes. Even a roof rack with clothes. No need to trim back, my van has space in bathroom and roof for clothes. Adjust to reality. Fail.
    20. Sports gear. A whole cabinet dedicated to sports gear. But wait… what if I did not have that great white shark of a sofa right out of House Beautiful magazine, and created a garage space underneath for storing all this gear? Nah! I need glamour baby! This is a BBV, not a van to explore the outdoors. We must put fashion and glamour first. Fail.
    21. Why are we looking at her face instead of the control panels? Is this about the BBV or Barbie? Focus on the Build, not the Barbie. Fail.
    22. Where are the batteries, show us the tanks, why was the wet bath shown with a mattress stuffed inside? The real guts of the van was never shown. Instead, we were dazzled by the glamour of the white on white, Darth Vader black exterior, and you could not keep your lens off Barbie the entire time. Video Fail.

    Note to Barbie: Follow you? You have nothing to teach, and a whole lot to learn. You contracted out the entire job of van building, and did nothing yourself. Almost every major decision you made was guided by narcissistic pride and showing off for others, instead of sensible survival decisions. Your van is called Wild, but there is nothing about you that will survive in the wild. This van build is shallow and without substance. It is a functional joke. You are very heavily dependent on the grid, with only 16 gals of water, no tanks to speak of, no batteries shown, no propane reserves, and a fridge that is too small, loaded with sugary foods that will damage your organs. You know nothing about nutrition, van builds, and your own requirements.

    If anyone builds a van this foolishly, they deserve to run out of water and propane in the wilderness. Nature is very harsh. If your van is not a rock in the wilderness, you die. You do not venture out in severe environments without adequate support from your one and only van that is the difference between life and death. Even your clothes are not meant for the outdoors.

    The other important thing to remember is that a van depreciates. Real estate appreciates. You may save rent living in a van, but you are not gaining equity. You sank a heap of money in this van build over $100K it looks like. The Sprinter van alone costs $60K +, and the build and accessories easily in the $40K range if contracted out. A new RV costs less. If you had sunk this downpayment money into real estate, you would have been much better off. We can add Fail to your financial savvy as well.

    To all the young people out there who dream of adventure: This is NOT the way to build a van. Get a used RV cheap to travel. And buy a house with the money you have saved.

  • Bastien Vermot

    I love what you did! Itโ€™s neat and spacious, super clean look! Pity you didnโ€™t fit a shower/tiny bathroom opposite the kitchen. I guess thatโ€™d have been a trade off with your closet.. but thatโ€™s what Iโ€™d have opted for! Very well done anyway! Xx

  • Exiles800

    My hike of the Appalachian Trail sort of made me feel the same like the world had different dimensions afterward…

  • Apaphis

    Like the video advice and the van only thing was didnโ€™t seem to be a place for a tv Iโ€™m there is though.

  • J Camille Stotts Smith

    So respect for anyone, especially a woman, for going for it in lifeโ€”their way, despite what others say!!!

  • Paweล‚ Skupiล„ski

    Spending all on marble tiles, quartz countertop while leaving shabby plumbing and poor storage solutions.
    Priorities, huh?

  • keeping up with the wofford's Michelle Wofford

    Always be who you want to be and don't worry about what other people think of you God bless you and have many great Journeys

  • londonmarcos

    Very cool van! Im very jelly! Just starting my research into van life, the culture and freedoms, and I loved Liz rig and personality. Cheers!

  • Douhghlie04

    Such a lovely wild child! Let's be a van couple and do like the "Nomadic Movement" and travel! Lol
    ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‰

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