Lola & Nicolas

Back in 2014, Nicolas proposed an idea to Lola: What if they left everything and started an adventure? They bought a Volkswagen Kombi, named her Dora and, after a year of work, turned her into their home on wheels.

From 2014 to 2016, Lola & Nicolas traveled from Argentina to Alaska, and now they are on their way back. They live this way to wake up and go to bed in different places, to slow down and to meet new people. And because of their lifestyle, they've done all those things.

Square Feet: 80

Imagination is more important than knowledge, because knowledge is limited and imagination surrounds the world.
— Albert Einstein

Years on the Road: 2.5

Make, Model, Year: 1981 Volkswagen Kombi

In the U.S., it is known as the "Bus," but since this one was made in Brazil, it is called the "Kombi." We named her Dora.

Catamarca, Argentina.JPG

Why did you pick that particular van?

We decided to travel in a VW Bus because you can find parts for it in the entire American continent (from Argentina to Canada). It also has a simple engine and is easy to repair.

It has enough space to live in, but it's not as big as an RV. It's a beautiful rig and people love them.

Would you change anything about your van?

When we bought the van it was empty, so we had to build all the furniture (bed, couch, kitchen, windows, pop-up roof, etc.).

We wouldn't change the van itself, but we did change several things on the inside to make our life in the van more comfortable.

We got rid of a lot of stuff we didn’t use and added a solar panel.

Tell us about your travels.

We started traveling from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Alaska on August 2014.

We arrived in Alaska in July 2016 and now we are in Florida heading south to Argentina.

Why live in a van?

We keep on living in the van because we are still traveling and for us, this is the best way to do it. We can stop wherever we want and sleep there, and then continue traveling. We have almost everything we need in our van.

How do you fund this lifestyle?

We sell postcards of photos from our trip. We make and sell earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

We also have Volkswagen stickers and t-shirts.

Was there a moment that made you want to quit this lifestyle?

There’s never been a moment where we wanted to quit this lifestyle.

What's it like sharing a small space as a couple?

Since we are together 24 hours a day, we know a lot about each other—much more than before we started traveling.

We have learned to be more patient with each other and to solve problems quickly. We also realized we need each other a lot and we couldn’t do this trip without the other. Both of us play a role in this lifestyle.

We divide the work, and that helps us have a better relationship and coexistence with each other.

What has been your favorite moment from vanlife?

The best moments come from our connection with nature.

When you camp in the wilderness, your living room becomes a beautiful beach or a big forest in front of a lake.

We also enjoyed seeing the Northern Lights in Canada, watching turtles lay their eggs in Costa Rica, witnessing a volcano erupting in Guatemala and swimming in a coral reef in Mexico.

Do you plan to go to your previous way of living?

We don't know what we are going to do when we get back to Argentina. The only thing we do know is that we don't want to live the same way we did before. We lacked freedom, working all day in an office, we didn't have time to do the things we wanted. Living this way and being on this trip changed our way of seeing the world.

After seeing so many things and different ways of living, we can’t go back to our previous life.

What would you tell someone thinking about living in a van?

This is the best way to travel and get to know the world.

It gives you a lot of freedom and it’s something you won’t regret.

What's next?

From Florida, we want to fly to Cuba for a couple of days and then ship the van to Colombia and go back to Argentina driving from there.

The most important thing is to never stop asking questions. Curiosity has its own reason to exist.
— Albert Einstein

Follow Lola & Nicolas of Kombi pa'l Norte

Produced by Kathleen Morton of Tiny House, Tiny Footprint.
Edited by Kate MacDougall.
Photos courtesy of Lucila Munilla Lacasa.