For Sarah and Jessica Herman, living full time in their 2019 Mercedes Sprinter van has had its ups and downs. The couple’s positive outlook and love of adventure drive them from coast to coast while sharing their experiences with their followers! With our LifePO4 batteries powering their system, Sarah, Jessica, and their pup, Oliver, can get out there and stay out there longer.
Meet Van Lifers Sarah and Jessica:
The two first met in their freshman year of college and have been together for more than 7 years. The fiancées have backgrounds in photography and the travel industry, and previously hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Their goal is to hike it in its entirety, and the two hit trails in Arizona and California to gear up for the trek! Check out some of their latest videos as they begin to prepare for this life-changing trip.
Sarah and Jessica were first interested in van life after their travels led them to Bend, Oregon. Already living a minimalist lifestyle after hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, Sarah and Jess conducted research on the best van for them and took the jump! Enlisting the help of a few friends in the house-flipping business, the couple was excited to move right in.
However, Sarah stresses the importance of some of the realities of van life, and that sometimes problems pop up more frequently than they previously expected. From water leaks, electrical issues and difficulties with the van itself, Sarah and Jessica have persevered and are still unstoppable on the road. Even if it seems like the systems are similar, they note that it’s nothing like working on house renovations, even if it’s a tiny home on wheels!
The couple’s golden retriever puppy, Oliver, is thrilled to be along for the ride. As a super active dog, Sarah and Jessica can hike and spend more time outside with him. They make sure to stick to a routine with him because of how van life is constantly changing with travel plans.
Here’s what’s in their 2019 Sprinter van, affectionately nicknamed “Lin-Vanuel”:
Their system is an all-electric build and they’re now able to take hot showers, use their toaster oven and induction burners. Jessica and Sarah were so excited to recently make waffles after having some doubts over whether their system was able to handle it.
“It definitely worked, but we always have a little anxiety when it comes to power because of all those past issues,” said Jessica.
With Battle Born Batteries, their electrical system can confidently handle some of the van’s comforts of home, such as heated floors and an AC unit. Their in-depth van tour video can be found here, as the couple showcases more about their bed, bath, and kitchen space.
Sarah and Jessica are also active in the van life community, and the opportunity to meet lots of other nomads has dramatically increased because of the pandemic. They’ve been influential in the LGBTQ community as well, and are part of VanLife Pride which is hosted by fellow Battle Born Family members Natalie and Abigail of Let’s Play Ride and Seek!
Sarah and Jessica want people to know that the learning curve of van life and building out your own rig is a little steeper than most think. They call up our Battle Born Batteries sales and tech team whenever they run into system issues and are grateful for any assistance, and our team members are always happy to help people with their systems.
“When we had AGM batteries, trying to get ahold of the manufacturer and their customer service team was impossible,” Sarah said. “With Battle Born Batteries, it feels so good to talk to another person and get any questions answered.”
Sarah hears a lot of people say van life seems so cool and they wish they could embark on it, and she always tell them they certainly should! If it’s realistic and a lifestyle someone can seriously envision themselves doing, Sarah says the next step is to take the leap.
“If it doesn’t work out, you can find something else,” Sarah said. “We’re learning every day and so much has changed in exactly a year for van life.”
Future Van Life Plans for Uphill Adventure:
Recently the couple was able to spend time in Arizona, enjoying the warm spring weather and exploring the Grand Canyon. Right now, the couple has been prioritizing their mental health and taking a break from van life and plans to hike the Pacific Crest Trail at this time.
Sarah said that the van life community has become livelier in the past year. During a recent trip to Austin, the couple noticed that the number of vans on the road has increased 10 times when compared to this time last year. While the city may have changed its laws regarding urban camping, tiny homes on wheels are no doubt driving around the country more.
They enjoy camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, which is free, and note that West Coast van life looks different when compared to van life on the East Coast. Many East Coasters don’t participate in the lifestyle, and if they do, time is spent mainly in parking lots or residential areas.
“On the East Coast, our time was very much spent doing day trip adventures and just a lot of driving,” said Jessica. “It’s totally different now since we can go a week without cell service and there’s so many opportunities to go outside here!”