Noami and Dusting Grevemberg, both 35, grew tired of a conventional life and wanted more. Two years ago, the couple sold all their belongings, quit their jobs, invested in a van, and hit the road. They haven’t looked back since.
Hi friends We haven't spoken much lately. We've been working on an organic farm, soaking up some California sunshine and getting ready for our next adventure. One month from today we'll be heading to the other side of the globe, chasing summer. First stop, Australia where we'll be exploring and hangin' with some rad van lifers down under @vanlifedairies @rockmeetsoil @johnnydustow @youandiinthesky Then we'll be trekking across SE Asia for a few months. We haven't booked a return flight, so who knows where this journey will take us. ☀️
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Nov 6, 2017 at 2:21pm PST
“We were unfulfilled living a life of consumerism and redundancy,” the Grevembergs tell Yahoo Lifestyle. “We needed to shake things up and travel tends to do that. It has challenged us and forced us out of our comfort zones, educated us in a hands-on way, and given us a perspective of ourselves that we didn’t have before and couldn’t find in our previous life.”
Leaving their belongings behind and becoming minimalists, they say, has brought a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment to their lives.
A sweet old lady saw me taking a photo of Dustin and kindly offered to take this adorable shot. She asked where we live, we said “America.” She asked “where in America?” **crickets** When people ask us where we live it’s always difficult to answer, because technically we don’t “live” anywhere. Or, more realistically, our home is wherever we are. And this home is built on love and dreams rather than sticks and beams. I guess you could call it “home free.”
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Feb 6, 2018 at 5:55am PST
Noami grew up in a small fishing village on the island of Trinidad. Dustin is from a small town in southern Louisiana. They have been married for just under four years. Since they began their journey, they have traveled the world visiting far-flung locations such as Vietnam, Mexico, and Australia.
We heard about a rural province in SE Vietnam where there are thousands of ancient Khmer temples. Turns out, very few travelers make it this far and almost no one here speaks English. Well, hooray for us and what luck!!! We found the only AirBnB in town and the host just happens to speak English fluently. He offered to be our personal tour guide and has taken us to visit many of the ancient pagodas, most of which are not on any map and we’ve had them all to ourselves, with exception of a few monks. To top it off, our host has been giving us private Vietnamese lessons. Today we were able to order our food correctly, without the help of a translator app. Food sure tastes better when you’re not stressed. Sometimes the universe knows exactly what, or in this case who, you need.
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Jan 24, 2018 at 6:13am PST
“When we chose to pursue this lifestyle, it was because we were seeking more. We wanted to find out what means the most to us, what makes us come alive,” says Noami. “We’ve found that less is more, and that’s not just a cliché.”
The Grevemberg have connected with other young people who are also “digital nomads,” meaning they work online and have the privilege of being able to travel anywhere in the world, as long as they can connect to the internet.
For the past two years we’ve worked in numerous cities, coffee shops, libraries, parking lots, National Parks, forests, deserts, roadside pull-outs, farms, river banks, hostels, countries… This photo may seem dreamy, but our life as digital nomads isn’t all sunshine and sandals. We may have traded our desk chairs for hammocks, but finding a work-life balance is always a challenge. The constant process of change has become our teacher. We’ve allowed ourselves to develop nomadic routines and rules which have helped ground us. We follow and adjust as needed. Change in our environment has fueled our work and sparked our creativity. We’re currently working on some exciting stuff. We’ll be sharing with you guys soon. #stoked
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Feb 22, 2018 at 4:41am PST
“One of the greatest benefits of travel is that we’ve forged some of the most meaningful relationships with the people we’ve met while on the road, people who have forced us to take on new and refreshing perspectives and helped us to learn who we are.”
With the whole world being their home, they each have learned and discovered new passions and talents. Noami has found a passion in photography, and Dustin has become an avid navigator and a good mechanic and discovered a passion for surfing.
Dustin and I spent New Years weekend at a campground in a beautiful valley. We had a spot right next to the river. Everyday we sat in our little nook and watched families go about their day. Children playing, swimming, & riding bikes. Dads teaching their kids to fish and kayak. We observed a little girl learning to use her legs for the first time, with one determined foot in front of the other, a new journey began. It was incredible! It made us wonder, what kind of world do we want for a child of our own? A world filled with love and peace, of course. Where we spread kindness and compassion, and seek beauty in everyone. A world where they can nurture their passions and freely express themselves. To have the kind of world we want for our children, we have to let go of the limiting beliefs we were taught. Life can be hard, friends. It requires long-term commitments that involve sacrifice, devotion, pain, frustration, and a strong mindset. But the most challenging part is starting. Let 2018 be that year. Let’s do the damn thing! Happy New Year friends! ❤️ #HopefulFor
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Jan 1, 2018 at 12:33pm PST
Obviously, their lifestyle does present challenges. They recall how last winter, a blizzard blew off the top of their van and they had to get creative and find a way to fix it.
“We were afraid our life on the road had come to an end, but we persevered. We learned a lot about who we are during that trying time,” says Noami
It’s Christmas morning in Australia. We’re lying in the van listening to the rain drumming on our tin roof. It’s quite a change from last Christmas. For those of you just joining us, last Christmas morning we were about to embark on a cross country ski trip when Irie decided to blow up. She blew a head gasket and we spent the entire day trying to get a tow from the middle of nowhere winter wonderland. It was so cold everything froze, all our food and the 12 gallons of water in our tank. Even our phones kept crashing… We spent the next two weeks putting Irie back together in a blizzard. This was by far the lowest of lows in our vanlife. But the part of this story that truly matters is the kindness of strangers. The friend who offered up her couch and let us borrow her truck to drive into town almost daily for parts and tools. The kind old lady who let us park Irie under her carport, helped us wrap it in painters cloth, and gave us a fire pit and an unlimited supply of fire wood so we wouldn’t freeze to death as we worked. She even brought us cheese and coffee to lift our spirits. It’s the season of giving, y’all. Keep this in mind, we don’t remember days, we remember moments, and the greatest gift you can give is yourself and the gift of kindness. In the end that’s what will be remembered.
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Dec 24, 2017 at 3:58pm PST
However, after their terrifying experience, they drove down to Baja, Mexico, and met up with some fellow van dwellers.
“We surfed, cooked together, shared stories around the fire, and bonded over our love for nature, adventure, and travel,” she adds. “These friends quickly became family. This is when we found our community, a community we now have wherever we go. ”
Irie: powerful and pleasing; a state of feeling great. ~ As nomads we lead very simple lives. Our adventure is the most precious thing we have. We drive with no destination and without expectation. We have just two of everything, two forks, two plates, two cups. Sleeping under millions of stars is medicine for our souls & waking up to waves crashing is like a mantra. Nature embraces us everyday and teaches us how to embrace ourselves. We meet other travelers, we share clothes, food, love. We may see each other again, we may not. And sometimes, we just know we will. But the beauty of this lifestyle isn’t whether we will or won’t. It’s about the Irie vibes we leave behind. ❤️✌
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Dec 5, 2017 at 9:28am PST
For those who are considering taking the leap like they did, they say “don’t try to figure it all out in the beginning. You will change because your perspectives will change. Stay open and leave room for spontaneity,” says Noami.
When I was a child, running around in the jungle like Tarzan was more fun than sitting in front of any screen. I remember my brothers and I playing hide and seek with monkeys, climbing the tallest trees and swinging on vines, dropping into the river below with caimans patrolling the banks. We would catch fish and roast them over an open fire because we were in too deep to go home for lunch. Everything was pure and simple and time never ran out… I love the beaches and the mountains but the jungle is home to me. Thank you, Australia, for the nostalgia.
A post shared by Dustin & Noami & Irie (@irietoaurora) on Jan 11, 2018 at 4:32am PST
She adds: “This journey has been life-changing and life-giving.”
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