The meaning of the term “vanlife” is constantly in flux. Three or four years ago, it was a catchall for a generation of young vagabonds fitting out brand new vans and using them to model or work remotely while traveling the continent. Today, it’s becoming more of a widely-accepted way of life — an active choice made by anyone looking to escape the grind in trying times.
Films like Nomadland highlight how you can realistically live the vanlife even if you aren’t a model traveling with a photographer partner. And while the glossy, bikini-clad, IG porn (and often all too white) #vanlife scene still exists, it’s no longer perceived as the only way to experience this travel movement. People of every background are fitting out cars, vans, RVs, delivery trucks, and campers to give life on the road a chance. Meanwhile, groups like Van Life Pride and Diversify Vanlife are giving LGBTI and BIPOC folks the chance to share their own visions of car-based vagabonding.
With Summer 2021 poised to be the ultimate “Road Trip Summer,” we’re profiling 30 vanlifers we think are worth a follow on Instagram. We’re starting off small — featuring a few accounts that are literally just starting out — and building to the bigger names in the community (plus one legit celebrity). Check how this diverse group of travelers are chasing their personal adventure dreams and let them inspire your next big trip.
Kojo + Yaya — 1.2k followers
Kojo and Yaya’s account is a great place to start following the vanlife movement, since they’re just starting out. The couple is taking on the #vanlife ideal through a “queer-Black lens” and adding plenty of keen eyed photography. Kojo is a filmmaker and Yaya is an actor. Their IG account is supported by a YouTube channel that’s also tracking their progress in building out their new home and the beginnings of their life on the road.
Libby Kasmer — 1.3k followers
Libby Kasmer’s account is one part vanlife and two parts rock climbing. Kasmer and her partner are living the nomadic existence in pursuit of their rock climbing goals, making this a great outdoors/rock climbing follow as well.
WildlySonia – Black Van Life — 1.9k followers
Wildy Sonia feels like a classic vanlife follow. The account is full of wind-swept beaches, yoga poses, waterfalls, van-side campfires, and more. Wildy Sonia also blogs about her experience on the road, traveling in deaf communities, and in her van on her own blog, — offering those wondering about the vanlife a black female voice with experience to learn from.
Raquel Lonewolf Casita — 3.4k followers
Latinx vanlifer Raquel, or Lonewolf Casita, is traveling the country, fitting out new vans, and enjoying every minute. That makes her account a very easy follow, especially if you’re looking for various ways vans can come to life as homes and the process of builds alongside the snapshot of Raquel’s journey.
Danya Schwertfeger — 4.3k followers
Danya Schwertfeger’s handle is partially about vanlife. But what you’re really getting is a professional photographer’s look at the travel world. Schwertfeger’s eye for travel and adventure sports photography is always engaging and covers a large swath of the globe. Add in a dash of the vanlife nomadic lifestyle and you have an easy and enticing follow.
Anaïs — 4.6k followers
Anaïs’ IG account is a great place for anyone looking to start out in vanlife. The handle follows along as Anaïs — a flight attendant by day — refits an old FedEx fleet vehicle, slowly transforming it into a home on wheels. Anaïs shows the hard work it takes to do this on your own with the important message that it can be done solo.
Brent Rose — 6.6k followers
Following Brent Rose’s vanlife handle is like following a veteran vanlifer whose face is wisened from the sun of the southern deserts and all those times he’s had to bail himself out on the open road. Rose is a professional photographer and writer who has been living the vanlife for five years. He’s spent those years testing technologies and his own mettle, giving him some serious depth when it comes to the real ins and outs of vanlife.
Deenaalee — 7.8k followers
Deenaalee (Deg Xit’an Dené/Sugpiaq) is an Indigenous activist, fishermxn, hunter, and roamer. Deenaalee’s account is filled with outdoor adventure, wild fish and game, and moments of life on the road out of a car or camper. A follow also takes you deep into the Alaskan wilds with an Indigenous framing of a life lived as close to nature as possible.
The Peace Bus with Kwabi — 8.2k followers
This might be more of the fringe of the vanlife movement than a classic vanlife follow. But it’s important work — from a van! — that deserves a nod of respect. Kwabi Amoah-Forson uses his light blue bus to help children around the Pacific Northwest and the rest of the country. Amoah-Forson travels around and helps out at schools with food drives, toy drives (he even dressed up as Santa and gave out gifts last year), and with general education for children of color who might slip through the cracks of the American school system.
It’s a follow that will inspire wanderlust and restore your faith in humanity.
Van Life Pride — 8.4k followers
Van Life Pride (started by vanlifers Nat and Abi … more on them later) is creating a “Safe space for LGBTQ nomads and allies to connect.” The handle celebrates “queer nomads” and helps connect vanlifers with each other and celebrates life on the road for the LBGTQ community.
Jupiter + The Hot Dogs — 12.3k followers
Jupiter is traveling the country in a re-fitted RV with a couple of dogs. The handle is a great place to get a look at living on the road through Black and queer POV while taking in the backcountry of the American West.
It’s also a really solid follow for anyone looking to build out their own ride/home as they go.
Whitney Whitehouse — 13.6k followers
Whitney Whitehouse is an outdoor and animal photographer with a vanlife backdrop to her travels. The vanlife aspects of Whitehouse’s feed are classic shots of fluffy dogs, bed racks, the outdoors, and campgrounds. That’s all framed by Whitehouse’s keen eye for wild vistas, wild animals, and all the dogs she meets along the way.
Lyn Sweet — 13.9k followers
Lyn Sweet’s IG handle offers a melding of vanlife and tattoo artistry. Sweet is a roaming tattoo artist and her feed is dominated by ink and art. Interspersed, you’ll find a life on the road, transcendental pop art, and plenty of outdoor adventure.
It’s an easy follow for anyone looking to add some ink and art to their feed.
Peter & Shruthi — 13.9k followers
Holiday at See, run by Peter & Shruthi, is a classic vanlife handle. The couple posts up images in dulcet tones from the desert to the forests to the beach. The overall vibe is a wanderlust/1970s feel of two people living an idyllic life on the road.
Linda Littlewing — 15.1k followers
Linda Littlewing’s account is for the adrenalin junkies who also happen to be vanlifers. Littlewing travels the canyons of America’s Southwest looking for the coolest places she can glide around in a squirrel suit or with a parachute. Some of the paragliding videos Littlewing posts are truly breathtaking (and scary AF if you’re not into walking off cliffs with only a parachute).
Sam & Greta — 15.8k followers
Is it still #vanlife if your nomadic home is an old-school Land Rover with a pop tent up top? We’d argue, “hells yes.” The beauty of Sam and Greta’s One Way North NZ is that it’s very specific. It’s all about Land Rover/Defender culture through their globetrotting camera lens. You’re transported to special places (Southern Europe, Western Australia, Northern New Zealand, and so forth) with a clear aesthetic and culture around Land Rovers, which are arguably the best adventure trucks out there.
Clarissa King — 18.8k followers
Clarissa King’s vanlife handle is very much about a model living an adventurous and beautifully photographed life. King’s backdrop is the sea and mountains of the Pacific Northwest between northern California and northern British Columbia with her Ram Roadtrek van providing a home on the road.
Anni & Her Mercedes Bus Elsa — 20.2k followers
Anni & Her Mercedes Bus Elsa offers a European view of the vanlife (which is very Southwest-U.S. centric at the end of the day). Anni’s feed feels like a breath of refreshing air, with a wholly unique look at the world while still feeling familiar. That familiarity is mostly thanks to the vanlife aesthetic translating very well to the Central European outdoors that fills this feed — stoking our wanderlust to travel overseas and rent a van once we get there.
Nat and Abi — 20.8k followers
Nat and Abi, who started Van Life Pride above, have one of the easiest vanlife follows on IG. Their feed is filled with outdoor adventure, vanlife cooking, and life on the road. You can also read our interview with Nat and Abi about adjusting to life during COVID as nomads.
Diversify Vanlife — 21.2k followers
Diversity Vanlife is another great resource for BIPOC and LGBTQ folks who are either in the vanlife already or looking to take their life nomadic. The handle is a great landing place for people to tell stories and share ideas, tips, and travails of life on the road. Diversity Vanlife also hosts a podcast, Nomads at the Intersections, which aims to give “underrepresented voices” a platform in the nomadic movement.
Ana Alarcon — 21.7k followers
Ana Alarcon’s IG feed is a look at the vanlife community through the POV of an Indigenous Mexican, vegan-friendly, fitness-forward, and outdoor-loving lens. The vanlife aspects are more in line with vanlife as a mode to travel as opposed to the everyday way of life with the beauty of America’s West (forests, mountains, beaches) as the backdrop.
Erin McGrady — 25.2k followers
Erin McGrady’s feed gives you a chance to see through the eyes of a gay Korean-American writer traveling the country with her partner (who’s also a travel writer and photographer). McGrady’s feed is filled with backwood campfires, good dogs, beautiful vistas, and plenty of wanderlust-inducing vanlife vibes.
Laura Edmondson — 28.1k followers
Laura Edmondson’s IG handle is a quintessential #vanlife feed. There are stunning shots of the American Southwest intermingled with tips for life on the road, stunning beaches, nomadic communities, and even a bit of rock climbing.
Also, there are plenty of dogs running around in front of eye-catching backgrounds from all over America’s wild spaces.
Alexandra and David — 28.8k followers
And They Travel, curated by vanlife duo Alexandra and David, is about vanlife, sure. But, it’s really about the phenomenal photography the couple capture as they travel coast to coast. While vanlife is at the heart of Alexandra and David’s travels, it’s really the stunning travel photography that’ll fill your feed every day.
The Beyonce of VanLife — 32.5k followers
Candyss Love, the Beyonce of VanLife (great handle), has built a vanlife feed that leans into healing and mental health guidance with nomadic travels as a backdrop. Love offers in-depth advice into her life on the road with plenty of vanlife tips that are often centered around mental well-being at the core of any travel experience (vanlife or not).
Noami, Dustin, and Amara — 56.7k followers
Noami and Dustin are digital nomads who are helping redefine the modern vanlife movement. Noami founded Diversity Vanlife (mentioned above) and hosts the podcast, Nomads at the Intersections, both of which aim to give voice to the often sidelined vanlifers out there.
Their personal feed is a peek into a classic vanlife couple (with a dog) who are out there grinding while living that nomad life, all while helping grow a more inclusive community.
Kathleen Morton — 97.5k followers
Kathleen Morton of Tiny House, Tiny Footprint was one of the early adopters of the vanlife movement. Morton runs Vanlife Diaries on IG, podcasts, and literally wrote the book on vanlife, Vanlife Diaries. While Vanlife Diaries is a great follow for the community aspects, Morton’s OG account is also essential for anyone looking to go nomadic or find a little help as they make their way.
Noël Russell — 113k followers
Noël Russell’s vanlife account is another classic. Mexican-American Russell, a travel creator for She Explores, writer, and photographer, has helped define what vanlife looks like on Instagram. Her handle is a masterclass in not only how to travel as a digital creator but how to curate a travel/vanlife feed.
Plus, the feed is full of gorgeous outdoor scenery, the most chill vibes, and a sweet little dog to boot.
May and Travel — 289k followers
May and Travel is an eclectic follow. The handle is all about that vanlife with a lot of music played by May, making the IG feed engaging in a unique way. The handle has a very clear aesthetic with the West Coast as the main backdrop. Still, there’s a real relaxed vibe to the photos that’ll entice you out on the road in search of something unique and beautiful.
Tom Green — 475k followers
Legendary comedian Tom Green struck out on the open road in his van to explore America’s Southwest with his trusty companion, Charlie, last year. Green took along a portable podcast studio and a set of cameras to capture his journeys while he and Charlie drove between national monuments, ancient Indigenous ruins, and campsites with fellow nomads.
Green’s vanlife feels raw and real, almost like watching a documentary or the quasi-doc/film like Nomadland (especially if you follow along on his YouTube channel). That authenticity is what makes this a great vanlife follow. You can read more about Green’s travels here.