BY: ALEX BROWN
All Images © Andrew Waits
Many people, like Scott Mooiy, are turning to a new vision of the American Dream, one that is not wealth-centered, but where experience takes precedence. This new dream is valuable in its accessibility, the diverse-ways in which one can execute an experientially focused lifestyle, or as Mooiy puts it, “this is a feasible lifestyle and it can be done in a thousand ways. Living in a 2010 Honda Fit is just one of those ways.”
From the simplicity of converting your old junker sedan, to the commitment of an Airstream or van conversion, it is a lifestyle that is capturing the imagination of those who want more than comfort, more than stability, and more than material excess.
Photographer Andrew Waits, a freelance photographer living in Seattle, Washington, has travelled across America documenting the vibrant and diverse faces of modern nomadism. Even more useful, though, is that he asks for his subjects to talk about their own experiences, and the method behind the madness. The result is a ‘Humans of New York’ à la #Vanlife.
Waits thus captures a lifestyle that is accessible to old, young, rich and poor. Though it is worth mentioning that the photographs capture what has become a predominantly white movement. Though I can only speculate, the reason behind this could perhaps be attributed to culture, or in terms of the wealthier subjects, socio-economic status is an obvious answer. For this reason, though, the most interesting subjects are the ones that make it work with only their old beat up sedan or mini-van, which, reasonably, could be occupied by anyone so long as they foster the desire for adventure and aren’t afraid to live dirty, wild, but ultimately free.
Tex. Shaver Lake, CA 2012.
“I’ve laughed for 20 years with RV people. They take care of me. They call me. We’re just a big family. You get RVing in your blood and you can’t get it out.”
Gordon Hempton. Fort Warden, WA 2012.
“For my most important work and the best times of my life, I take the VW bus. The journey is not just about getting there. The trip starts now. Slow down and enjoy what’s going on immediately around you.”
Katrina, Cherri, Gary, Rhonda, and Jerry. Lake Shasta, CA 2012.
“We’ve had this motorhome for about 20 years. We live over here on the mountain, but we’ve travelled all over the place.”
Phil Morrell with self-portrait. Quartzsite, AZ 2013.
Jude, Juan, and Nick. Slab City, CA 2013.
“People have gone so far away from what’s true that there’s no way for them to get back on their own… If you want to see guaranteed results, just turn around and start in the other direction. Reprogram yourself. Because heaven is real. It’s here right now inside of you.”
Pam. Big Oak Flat, CA 2012.
Brian Kimsley. Shaver Lake, CA 2012.
“I’ve always done some sort of vehicle living. I started with an old 48 Cadillac ambulance and moved on to Volkswagens, old refurbished trailers, and converted buses. For this trip I’m in my 1980 Honda Goldwing.”
Cameron. Yuba City, CA 2013.
Gizmo Joe. Slab City, CA 2013.
“What I don’t spend on rent I can put in on my ideas. A lot of times I’ll need a component for an idea that I’m working on and it’s part of something else so I’ll take it apart. That’s why I got so many leftovers laying around, because you can’t make omelets without having a few eggshells.”
Image sources: andrewwaits.com