The Mind Unset - Strong Coffee Strong Women with blogger Kristin Hanes from The Wayward Home.

Episode 018 – Strong Coffee Strong Women™ with Kristin Hanes

“We gotta go see this nature while it’s still here. It’s important to see it, to write about it, take pictures of it because someday it’s probably not gonna be here. And that’s really a sad thing to think about, but it’s already happening.”

Kristin Hanes is a freelance business and travel writer and the publisher of the incredibly successful blog, The Wayward Home.

With over 400k readers per month, Kristin Hanes has become one of the authorities on living tiny. Whether it’s an RV, Sailboat, Tiny House, or Van Life, Kristin has done it and written about it.

Today we talk about the early days when she worked as a journalist in San Fransisco. She was in debt and living in her car and looking for a change. Today, Kristin travels full-time and sustains herself with her writing.

It’s an awesome story and she’s living proof that a simpler more fulfilling dream life is possible.

Until next time, be nice and do good stuff.


Follow Kristin


About Kristin

Kristin Hanes is a former radio journalist turned blogger of all things tiny living at She writes about van life, RVing, sailboats and tiny homes and teaches people how to ditch the traditional “American Dream” for a new one full of freedom and adventure.

[00:00:00] Chris: All right, time to unset. How you doing today? How you feeling? That’s enough small talk. Let’s get after it.

[00:00:11] Welcome to the Mind Unset in our once a month segment called Strong Coffee Strong Women, where I get to share a cup of fantastic Java with some badass women. My guest today is a freelance business and travel writer and the publisher of the incredibly successful. The wayward home with over 400,000 readers per month.

[00:00:30] Kristin Hanes has become one of the authorities on living tiny, whether it’s an RV sailboat, tiny house or van life. Kristin has done it and written about it today. We talked about the early days when she was living in her car to her current life, traveling full-time and sustaining yourself with a riding.

[00:00:47] This was a really cool conversation cuz Kristin was talking to me from her van. It’s real, it’s honest, and I hope you enjoy it. Kristin Haynes, welcome to Strong Coffee Strong Women. Thank you for doing this. Welcome to the Mind Onset. How are

[00:01:02] Kristin Hanes: you? I am great. Thanks for having me on. And in fact, I just brewed some coffee just for the podcast, so I am all set

[00:01:08] Chris: oh man. Tell me about it. What are you drinking over there?

[00:01:12] Kristin Hanes: So I’m drinking, it might sound a little sacrilegious, but I’m drinking this. I get these big bags of Starbucks coffee that are whole bean from Costco . So this gigantic bag, nice, whatever works. This gigantic bag lasts us a month, which I love.

[00:01:26] And I d use my little hand grinder and we just got our solar set up in the van. And so in. Battery system. So I used a little electrical, electric tea kettle to warm the water and that was all just a big treat. is when you live with less, these little things are like, Oh my gosh, this is amazing. I can use an electric kettle.

[00:01:43] So that was fun today.

[00:01:46] Chris: That’s great. We’re gonna get into all that. Are you recording from your van right now?

[00:01:50] Kristin Hanes: I am. I’m sitting in my van in an REI parking lot in Oregon. REI is one of my favorite stores and we frequent this a lot when we’re in the States. So that’s where I am. Right.

[00:02:00] Chris: That is so fun.

[00:02:02] Well, I am I’m drinking a little local blend Cafe Bole, which is a red honey blend. We went down in La Paz, we got this, stopped in this little market and found this little bag of coffee. It’s actually quite delicious. But I did a s sacri thing because I brewed just for the podcast too, and I dumped a bunch of almond milk in it.

[00:02:19] So . Everybody, all the coffee aficionados would kick my ass.

[00:02:25] Kristin Hanes: totally. Oh man. Well, I’ll have to try that sometime when we make it down to Loreto. I love the little local br, you know, the local coffee shops, so that’d

[00:02:34] Chris: be fun. Me too. So, let’s I know your I know your origin story since we’ve known each other for a little while, but I know you’re probably tired of telling it, but for those listeners of mine who might not know it, can you give us a real quick rundown of how you got started?

[00:02:47] And then we’ll catch everyone up to where you are cuz I just tease that you’re in your van and people are thinking what the hell’s going on? So, run it down for us if you would a little.

[00:02:57] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, of course. So I started the journey into Tiny Living back in 2015 when I met my current partner Tom, who had.

[00:03:04] The wild idea of living in a Prius to save some money and to get financially ahead and to just pay off debt and not pay crazy San Francisco rent. So I was like, Wow, that sounds like a wild idea. At first I wasn’t sold on it, but then I decided to try it and we lived in the, I lived in that Prius with him for about.

[00:03:21] Six weeks or two months and I was able to pay off this silly debt that had been lingering for about 15 years and save up some emergency funds cuz so many people just don’t even have a thousand dollars in emergency funds, which is crazy. So I wanted to fix that. And so that was the foray into Tiny Living and since then it’s really grown on me and we had an astro van and now we’re building out a sprinter van and we also have a sailboat in Mexico.

[00:03:44] So we’re now full on. Tiny living with two little homes, . And so that’s kind of where the quick evolution of where I’ve gotten to where I am today.

[00:03:52] Chris: And so this journey started in like what, 2015 is when you guys moved into the Prius around there.

[00:03:58] Kristin Hanes: Correct. Yeah, it was 2015 in the Bay area and we both still had jobs in San Francisco.

[00:04:02] So we would you know, spend the night in the Prius and then go to a gym, get, take showers, put on our nice clothes and head into work. And nobody was the wiser, nobody knew what we were doing. Cuz back in 2015, no people weren’t really doing this like you’d never heard. Band life. I was unaware of like Facebook groups dedicated to this, and so I felt like, Wow, we’re the only ones doing this.

[00:04:21] So at first we kind of tiptoed around and didn’t tell a lot of people. But luckily in the years since the movements exploded, and more and more people are living tiny, so it doesn’t feel like something you have to keep a secret

[00:04:30] Chris: anymore. Yeah. You guys were, were way ahead of the curve and what struck me about what you said in your origin story, which was immediate, was you had a.

[00:04:38] That was living, that was hanging over your head for 15 years and you managed to pick it to pay it off in six weeks, eight weeks.

[00:04:47] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, and what’s funny about it is the debt wasn’t even that much. I mean, it was honestly probably, I don’t remember the exact number, but four to $6,000 was all it was, and that’s low compared to a lot of debt that people have.

[00:04:57] But with, you know, the high rents with car payment, with all these expenses I had, I still like wasn’t putting enough money aside to pay that, which is. Really insane when I think about it now, but I’m glad I did that and knocked it all out cuz having a clean slate feels really good and I still haven’t been back in debt since.

[00:05:16] So, , it’s a great feeling.

[00:05:17] Chris: I can’t even tell you because we kind of did the same. We weren’t, we didn’t go as drastic as you did. We went from the house to a sailboat. But what I think is so empowering and what I want to talk to you about today is just when. Pay off that debt because no you’re paying the high astronomical rent in San Francisco.

[00:05:35] You’re paying the cost of living in San Francisco, parking in San Francisco fuel. You’re doing all that, so you don’t have a lot of your salary left to do anything. Probably more than the minimum payments, which is what? A lot of people are doing with their debt. They’re just keeping their credit at a level where they’re not bad, but you never get ahead of it.

[00:05:53] So in six weeks you crush this payment, you crush this debt that no matter how big it was, that’s gotta feel like a million bucks. And then since that time, you’ve still not gone back into debt. That is brilliant to me.

[00:06:07] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, and that’s definitely my goal. And with Living Tiny to try to, you know, save on expenses now so we can, you know, live the lifestyle we want, which is traveling and, you know, freedom instead of being locked down to jobs and rents and mortgages.

[00:06:21] So that’s definitely the goal in life right now, is just to have that amazing freedom and it’s a good

[00:06:26] Chris: feeling. And so you put all of this into action on your blog, the wayward, and this is where. Write about this, you offer courses. Now, you your whole experience has become a teaching moment for you as well.

[00:06:40] So that’s kind of how you’re sustaining yourself right now. Can you talk a little bit about that?

[00:06:45] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, of course. So I used to be a radio news journalist actually, and in 2016 I was laid off from that job along with the rest of the newsroom in a big job cut. And after that I just had no idea what to do.

[00:06:57] I knew I wanted to travel. With Tom, he has a sailboat and I didn’t really know. That much about Van Life in 2016 yet, but I knew like we wanted to go travel, and I was like, What kind of job could I get that would allow us to do this? Or do I just have to use my savings? Which, you know, I didn’t wanna do after spending time, you know, paying off debt and saving money.

[00:07:15] I just didn’t wanna do that. . And so I decided to start a blog. And honestly, I had no idea blogs made money at all. Like I, I randomly read an article that talked about Michelle Schroeder Gardner on making sense of sense. And I always love talking about her because she actually lives on a catamaran right now.

[00:07:33] But before she lived on an rv in an rv and then she lived in a smaller camper van, a sprinter van. But her blog. Pulls in like a hundred thousand a month. And when I read that article about her, I was like, Wow, maybe I should look into blogging. Cause I love writing. I love connecting with people. I love you.

[00:07:49] L learning new things. And so I just launched full on into learn mode. And I started taking courses and learning all I could about blogging. Cause it’s really like having a new career is, has similarities to radio news and journalism, but very different as well with online marketing. And so I just thrust myself into that and it took a long time to make money, but luckily I didn’t have rent.

[00:08:10] I was living on Tom’s sailboat and so I was able to just pour all my efforts. To making this happen without worrying about my expenses and needing to make tons of extra money. And so over time, the blog grew and it is this what’s sustaining us now. And I couldn’t be more thankful, you know, that I, it actually is working and allowing us to travel like this.

[00:08:29] It’s really cool.

[00:08:30] Chris: It’s really an amazing story because what and I will tell you that Michelle Gardner, it’s funny because all roads lead through making sense of sense because Melody and I discovered her a long time ago, Melody. Might have done some work with her when she was working with Selena and stuff like that.

[00:08:46] So, her, she was so forward thinking on her the way she put out her material as well. But the story is similar, you know, she paid off a bunch of debt, figured out that this lifestyle was attainable, and then went ahead and created this whole incredible income stream through her experience, which is the path that you followed.

[00:09:09] Being out of debt gives you the freedom, the mental clarity, to not be freaking out about losing your apartment, right? So you can go do this whole experiment with throwing yourself into relearning and getting these new skills that apply to your journalism and your writing skills, which kind of you married the two into this perfect scheme for you to create this blog, which is now.

[00:09:34] Flourished. It’s an amazing blog. It’s so full of information from anybody for if you wanna discover RV Living, sailboat, living van, Living, whatever, anything about Tiny Life, the way we’re home is where you need to go because she’s got it all there. But you’ve managed to take that. And I just keep coming back to the freedom you get from being out.

[00:09:53] Kristin Hanes: Oh yeah. Freedom. Also having cost, lower cost is something that really helps because then you’re not stressed out about how am I gonna, am gonna, and I did do travel writing other ways. Other voiceover. Voiceover. I had some other ways toing this. During this process I would block on a blog of the time, but in time, but then also doing this writing.

[00:10:10] I did have all in wall stream, stream, but it wasn’t massive. One would need one. The, I just haven’t just had an apartment . I was able to live on sail. I able to have that very low overhead. Gave all the time to my blog. It was really key making this happen. And

[00:10:27] Chris: so, what was the most difficult thing for you when you first started out?

[00:10:30] When you first, Do you remember what you. What was so difficult for you at first that now kind of seems effortless?

[00:10:36] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, so just trying to figure out how to get traffic. That’s one of the hardest parts about creating an online publishing business is, you know, how do you get traffic? It’s really hard to know when you’ve never done it before.

[00:10:47] And so what I did was I used to post articles in various Facebook groups, like for sailing, for RVing, and then I would get subscribers to my email list people. Come to my site and help boost the traffic. So it was really difficult to figure out, and that’s not really the best way to get traffic. That’s actually not advisable, but that’s what I knew at the time.

[00:11:06] And over time I learned. And then I did Pinterest and I was trying to upload all these pins to Pinterest to get traffic from there. And I was getting traffic from Pinterest and I still do. But then I learned about SEOs. Search engine optimization and get, and doing keyword research and writing articles based on the keywords I find.

[00:11:23] And now it feels like a game to me. I just love it. And most of my traffic does come from Google now, and I have a team of four writers. And so what I do is I go online, I do all my keyword research and I create outlines for them. And they write this really good content for my site. I have, you know, people that are within the niche.

[00:11:40] There’s someone who does Van Life, there’s someone who does RVing, and then I have another woman who lived on a sailboat and did some motor home travel in Europe. And she writes a lot of my articles too. So it’s kind of cool to have this team of people familiar with this lifestyle that Help me, you know, write articles for the way we’re at home.

[00:11:55] It’s really cool. So I am really glad I discovered how to get traffic through Google. It’s really the key in having any online business. So I took a course in that and that’s how I learned seo. And

[00:12:05] Chris: so when you’re living in a car, how do you keep your brain from telling yourself? That the negative dialogue of, Oh my God, I’m homeless, versus was it the goal that kept you from getting into this state of mind that some people may, What I’m trying to get to is the moving into a car seems really drastic, but I know a lot of people now.

[00:12:27] Especially tiny lifers and van lifers who they can’t afford big vans, They can’t afford sailboats. They’re doing maybe what you’re, do, what you did before, which was they’re trying to get out from under student loan debts or regular debts. And how do you keep from getting yourself into this mindset like, I’m homeless rather than working on a goal.

[00:12:44] If someone was gonna do that, what would you

[00:12:46] Kristin Hanes: tell ’em? Yeah, definitely. That was something that was really hard at first. Moving from, you know, the comfort of a home with four walls and everything. I needed a bathroom, kitchen, bed, you know, that was a very comforting place to be and to be thrust into a Prius Where you can sleep in a parking lot, but someone might knock on your window or you don’t have somewhere to just veg and hang out in the evening or you know, there’s so many where do you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night?

[00:13:08] You know, we didn’t go to the bathroom in the night. And that’s something that’s really stressful at first, and that’s stressful for a lot of people. So I did go through a lot of feelings of, Oh, I feel homeless. I’m like rummaging around in my trunk for clothes. I look disheveled. And so I did go through a lot of.

[00:13:22] at first. But then what happened was I don’t think Tom actually went through any of these feelings, more me, but so he would talk to me about it. He’s like, Kristen, this is just like an adventure. We’re having fun. We’re living this life where we go to work during the week and on the weekends we go backpacking in yo Yosemite.

[00:13:38] And he’s like, We have to just think of this as. You know, as a game, as something that we’re doing. And luckily we were doing it on purpose. I think that’s also a big part of it, is we could afford to go get an apartment if we had to or if we hated this lifestyle. So I didn’t feel trapped in the lifestyle.

[00:13:53] And so I think that did help me get through it. But I know a lot of people don’t have a choice, and that’s really hard. And I think. Another thing that made me feel extra homeless is living in a city. Like whenever I go back to San Francisco and we try to live in the van there, I feel I still to this day start feeling homeless in that city because there’s nowhere to park.

[00:14:10] Many streets and neighborhoods are unfriendly to vans. You just feel kinda like you’re not wanted, like. You feel like you need to get away from these areas where most people are living in houses, cuz the house people don’t really want the van life of people in their neighborhood. But once I get out of the city and I get into nature, I feel like at home.

[00:14:26] So it’s like nature has really become my home. And when I’m in cities, I feel like a fish outta water. Like I just wanna get outta here. So, That’s been an interesting evolution over time. So I guess if people are trying this for the first time, they might have to be in a city, but I would encourage to work or whatever, but I’d encourage people to get out, like go out into nature, get away from that city as often as possible, and you won’t feel as weird or as homeless because.

[00:14:49] Out in nature. You’ll also see other people doing this, and you can just, it’s just a good place to reconnect also with yourself, with alone time, with just the beauty around you with that nature. And you’ll get out of that feeling of being an outsider. And so I think that’s what I learned over the years.

[00:15:03] Chris: That’s a really interesting concept that you even, you know, you’re a reporter at this really successful station. You’re doing all this stuff, and yet the psychology of these people that are looking at you negatively, I mean, they don’t know your position, like you said. People that are having to do this out of necessity that didn’t, that don’t elect to do this on their own are, you know, whether they got evicted or they’re suffering losses from the pandemic or whatever.

[00:15:31] The psychological stigma that comes with people judging you because you’re living in your car has gotta be difficult, but, I think the cool thing is you had Tom there who was kind of cheerleading this on because you’re doing this for a reason. There’s an end goal. There’s pay off the debt, saved enough money to buy the sailboat.

[00:15:50] And so how has it, how does it change your relationship with Tom, with your partner when you’re living in a Prius? And I mean, people don’t have the benefit of knowing Tom and his personality, but maybe you could just shed a little light on how you. Dealt with the stressful moments and the fun moments.

[00:16:07] Kristin Hanes: Yeah. Weirdly, like we’ve just always gotten along like super well and we, you know, we’ve always, I guess since I’ve known him, lived in small spaces and so it ha it wasn’t like a huge change for us. I think it’d be harder if you were someone who’d been living in a 3000 square foot house and you suddenly go into like a van or even a boat.

[00:16:26] Since we’re kind of going up, because we started out in the Prius and then we got a bigger van and then now even a bigger van, and then the boat feels like a mansion to us. And so therefore, we never had that stress of readjusting to a small space. So I don’t know if you know, it changed anything about.

[00:16:41] How we interact with each other. We just Luckily we get along really well and seem, and we all, we like to do the same activities. We know when to give each other alone time. Sometimes Tom goes off and windsurf and surfs and I work or read or do my own workout. And so we’ve found a good balance of, you know, together time and then someone goes and does their own thing and it just all has worked out super well for us.

[00:17:01] So I’m thankful for that. That’s

[00:17:03] Chris: excellent. That’s really excellent. I mean, Mel and I also, we went from a small house to a smaller boat, but we also. Really well together in small spaces. And we joke that, you know, when you’re living on a boat, you should count your marriage or your relationship in dog years.

[00:17:17] Like 1 1 1 year is equal to seven years. You know, cuz you’re in a hundred square feet of space. So like we’re going on our like 70th wedding anniversary now. Totally . Yes. So , when you are in the upsides, like everyone loves to talk about the downsides you know, where do you go to the bathroom?

[00:17:34] I mean, it’s like every, it’s common knowledge now that we have composting toilets and all kinds of really cool cassette toilets and things available for van Life and stuff. So what is, I mean, I read somewhere that you guys, you know, you just said you do all the backpacking and stuff. What is the big, huge benefit your health, your mental.

[00:17:52] Your environmental consciousness. Can you talk a little bit about all those things you guys are living outdoors? It seems like we always had our doors open. We always had the boat open. We always, and really just kind of felt like we went inside to sleep. Is that kind of where you’re at as well?

[00:18:07] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, exactly. I’ve heard some van lifers say that you don’t live in the van, you live out of the van. And so you go into the van when there’s bad weather or if it’s cold in the morning and you wanna drink your coffee in there or to sleep. But most of the time you like hang out outside. We put our chairs outside.

[00:18:21] We love sitting outside listening to the birds and being really connected with the elements, the wind and the, you know what the temperature is outside the rain. It was funny cause I was staying in my sister’s house last night. It’s a very insulated new house and we were going to bed and I decided to open the window and I was like, Oh my gosh, it’s raining.

[00:18:37] I had no idea. And I just loved hearing the sound of the rain and feeling the air come in the window and smelling it. And I’m like, That’s so what I’m used to. So now it’s harder for me to be inside a house because I feel very disconnected. So I think you do get a lot of mental wellbeing from really being connected to your environment, to the nature around you.

[00:18:54] I think it creates senses of a sense of peace and belonging with the natural world. Get. So I think that’s a huge benefit. The mental part and also the physical part. Like we’re constantly like either finding exercise to do like hikes or windsurfing or that kind of thing. Or we’re exercising, just living our life, carrying water around, setting up our camp table every day, repacking the van.

[00:19:15] Like everything about our life is like, Exercise. And I notice when I do go stay in a house, like I use a Fitbit and I’m like, gosh, all my zone minutes and my steps went way down for the last three days. Like I barely moved. But when we’re living in the van or even on the boat, it’s just constant movement.

[00:19:31] And so I do think the physical benefits are also huge. So there’s definitely a lot of benefits associated with

[00:19:37] Chris: lifestyle. Yeah. And that’s what we found interesting too. Living on a boat or living in a van is hard. We’ve got so much convenience right now. Everything is at your fingertips. And I find the same since we’ve been off the boat now for a year.

[00:19:49] It’s crazy. Everything becomes easier, therefore you move less. Like we, And that’s kind of what I liked about living that way was think shit was hard, like launching the dinghy every day and dingy into the market if you had to, and walking with backpacks to the store. That was hard, but it kind of made you appreciate the.

[00:20:12] and I too wear a Fitbit and I kind of look at it and go, Man, I gotta move my ass cuz I’ve been sitting in this chair editing or writing or whatever like that. So, I do find that I miss that part of that like Yeah,

[00:20:24] Kristin Hanes: it is. You’re definitely constantly moving. You’re right about the putting the dinghy in.

[00:20:29] Man, that was hard work. I think we’re gonna ditch the dinghy this year and maybe just do paddle boards, but that’s also work. But I do remember like heaving that thing up on deck. Woo. It’s a workout , so Yeah. And yeah, you’re right. Everything is a little harder.

[00:20:42] Chris: Yeah. Just the whole process. Of your life is you’re way more engaged, I think is the word.

[00:20:48] It’s not, the harder, you know, easier. They’re not words that really are correct. I guess they are, but it’s more engaged or disengaged. Like when you can walk to the market you’re seeing the local neighborhoods, you’re dealing with the local vendors and stuff, rather than just getting in a car, driving, getting out of the car, your air conditioned car to your air conditioned.

[00:21:07] What is something that you, when you started this whole process, what’s something that you thought you could never live without, that you do just fine without right now?

[00:21:16] Kristin Hanes: Well, the thing that I think you know, a bathtub is something I definitely miss, like constantly. I don’t know if I’ve gotten used to living without it, but I have, you know, there are ways to go without it.

[00:21:27] Like you visit a hot spring or you visit a family member that has one that you can use, or maybe your family member has a hot tub. So these are ways that. Come to deal with not having a bathtub, but that’s definitely was one of the things that I missed the most in the lifestyle. And I’ll probably never get used to not having it.

[00:21:43] But I guess I’ll just have to go on the sailboat to warmer water and then maybe I’ll just jump in the water and feel like a bath . Yeah. I haven’t encountered that yet, but maybe something that’s

[00:21:50] Chris: interesting. That’s, you know, even no matter how the water warm the water is I think if you like chilling in a tub and.

[00:21:56] Reading a book, or drinking a glass of wine with your candles. That would be something that you will not get in tiny life unless you just get yourself a horse trough and hanging out in the back of the boat. ,

[00:22:08] Kristin Hanes: I know. Totally. I know it’s, that’s one hard thing that you just can’t have unless you have a tiny house with, maybe one of our dreams is a tiny house on a off-grid piece of land with an outdoor bathtub.

[00:22:18] So maybe that’ll happen one day. You know, you never know.

[00:22:21] Chris: Yeah. We’re kind of, I kind of dig that whole lifestyle. I love the idea. I used to say that I was a minimalist, Right? Like I, and I just, I, the more, it’s kind of funny that since this whole movement has exploded the whole tiny life, Consciousness thing of van life, all of it into the minimalist lifestyle.

[00:22:40] I think the the more I think about it, the less, I like the word minimal. Like I want to think about it more like leaner and not minimal. Cuz minimal when you say, or you try to talk to someone about minimalism, be it financial minimalism or whatever it’s more about getting your life to a leaner point, right?

[00:23:00] It’s minimal just gives you that connotation like you’re doing. . Does it make sense?

[00:23:05] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, that’s really an interesting way of, I was thinking about that as you were talking about that. It’s like, yeah, we don’t have to live without, you know, we have other things that we do live with like today. I was so excited to use my electric kettle, and I’m excited in this van that we actually have like a queen size bed.

[00:23:21] It feels very luxurious and it’s more comfortable to me than any bed in a house I could find. You know, I have the fresh air just blowing in on my face all night and I just, I’ve become so addicted to that. So I think we do. Yeah. When you live this lifestyle, you do live with still so much because I think a lot of that is appreciation.

[00:23:39] You do have, because you have little compared to maybe someone who lives in a traditional house. But I think the appreciation levels are very high, especially when you get a kind of a new aspect, like what we did just upgrade to a larger refrigerator in the van. I’m like, Wow, I can fit a dozen eggs in my fridge.

[00:23:54] So I do think you live in a different, you definitely have a different perspective on things for sure.

[00:24:00] Chris: Yeah. And I think, you know, when less doesn’t mean nothing. And when you have less, like I, in my book I talk about just because when you have less, you can have better, like you can buy a better, you can buy the best electric t kettle that they make because you only have one.

[00:24:20] And yeah, you can buy the best mattress. Freaking want because you don’t have a guest room and you don’t have, you know, you’re you can be discerning about. What you have and therefore because you’re in this smaller space with less stuff, you can buy better stuff.

[00:24:39] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, that’s a really good point too that cuz I just replaced my pressure cooker, but I bought like probably the best elec or stove top pressure cooker I could find.

[00:24:47] And that’s something I wouldn’t have probably dropped money on if I was also, you know, having a rent or a mortgage. And I have like tons of. Appliances I buy this one thing and I expect it to last a really long time. So there’s also that whole notion of you buy something of quality instead of buying a lot of crappy things that end up in landfills.

[00:25:04] I think we have become more environmentally conscious and part of that is like, I want this quality item and I want this thing to last me years and years and I don’t wanna throw things away as often. So I do think I like that point of like, it doesn’t have to mean you’re living with nothing or living.

[00:25:18] You know, bad things, That’s little things you do choose can be high quality, and that’s kind of a fun aspect of a lifestyle. You really think about what you buy and you buy very intentionally as

[00:25:28] Chris: well. Yeah I find that even though we live in our apartment now we still have the mentality that we’re living smaller and like I only have three pairs of jeans.

[00:25:40] You can buy really great quality jeans. I have 10 black t-shirts, three pairs of jeans, and like three pairs of shoes. One’s a pair of hiking boots. One are my Chuck Taylors that, you know, I call those my dress shoes. And then one are, one are, one pair is actually dress shoes. But because you’re on such a you’re buying less, like you’re a pressure cooker.

[00:25:59] You, you’re gonna use that pressure cooker probably several times a week. Whereas if you’re in your apartment, it’s gonna sit under your.

[00:26:06] Kristin Hanes: Exactly. Yeah. We have no appliances in the van that go unused. We have just two. Yeah, we have the pressure cooker and just one other pot, and those are just used all the time regularly.

[00:26:16] And so yeah, every single thing we have is a high use item. And if it’s not, then I get rid of it. . If it’s something I haven’t touched, I’m like, I don’t need that in my life. Cause my space is so small I just can’t store useless stuff that I never use. So everything’s, yeah, very intentional. So I do enjoy that part of the tiny life.

[00:26:35] Chris: Yeah. And I love your point about it’s not going into the landfill because you’re buying better quality stuff. It’s gonna last you through the whole journey. Yeah. So like what does your concept of home when I talk about home now the big thing for us when we were traveling by land, once we got off the boat in Mexico and we were traveling around, I learned, and it was kind of like an epiphany for me.

[00:26:58] I remember it was in Oaxaca, standing in the backyard, having my cup, a coffee watching jet run around the yard. That home became a state of mind rather than a zip code. Does that resonate with you guys at all?

[00:27:11] Kristin Hanes: Oh yeah, well actually like I feel the most at home with my van or with the boat. Like those are the places that feel like home to me.

[00:27:19] And it doesn’t matter where it’s parked or anchored or anything. I love that we can just come home and all our things are that we’re used to are here. We both sleep. Really well in the van and the boat because they are both our homes. And so it’s kind of neat to travel with something that you feel so comfortable in.

[00:27:34] Instead of getting a hotel that feels foreign smells, you don’t, you’re not sure how clean it is. You don’t know the quality of, you know, the sheets on your bed. Where here I just know everything so well and on the boat too. So my home is either one of those two places is where I feel where I’m at home and it doesn’t matter where it is in the world, which is really cool.

[00:27:55] Chris: Yeah, I love that too. I absolutely agree. And I understand what you say cuz when you get out of that zone, you don’t feel, you feel like you’re out of your zen space. You’re in your, like when you were talking about being at your sister’s, was it your sister’s house where you’re, it was sleeping in a house and you’re dis disconnected from the rain and the weather.

[00:28:13] Yeah. I find that

[00:28:14] Kristin Hanes: really, Yeah, I’ve noticed that a lot and that you know, most of the time the beds are too squishy. They, you know, I don’t like box springs anymore. There’s just so many things like, I like just a simple, you know, fairly firm surface with a lot of fresh air and then I sleep really well, but I seem to not be able to do that well in bedrooms anymore.

[00:28:33] It’s been quite the interesting change. So, I try to find people’s houses I can stay in, where I can park the van in the driveway and sleep in it . But unfortunately, many of my relatives have sloped driveways, but still, that’s what I seek out. And like who has that flat driveway? I can, We can go and park the van in.

[00:28:50] She loves stuff

[00:28:50] Chris: like that. Comfort. That’s what people don’t think about. Like life comes down to a sloped driveway. Right. It does your comfort and you’re like, Man, we can’t park there. It’s crooked .

[00:29:00] Kristin Hanes: I know. It’s traumatizing. I’m like, Oh, I can’t sleep in my van. Oh my gosh. So I deal with it.

[00:29:05] No, but it’s definitely not as good of a rest. It’s very interesting where people would assume opposite. People are like, We have a guest room, you don’t have to sleep in your van. But I’m like, But no, I want to . So that’s sometimes a hard concept for people to get at first. Oh,

[00:29:19] Chris: I love that you brought that up, because my mother would always call Melody and say, Listen.

[00:29:25] If you want to get off the boat, you’re welcome to come here. And Mel would say people just don’t understand. They think we’re like living under a bridge. Yeah. They think, yeah, our boat. Yeah. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cut

[00:29:36] Kristin Hanes: you off. Oh no, you go ahead. Yeah, about, about your boat. What were you gonna say about that?

[00:29:40] Chris: I was just gonna say, we had this luxurious memory foam mattress up front. It was small and it was, but the inside was solid mahogany, like Brazilian mahogany from it’s 50 year old boat. And, but we had refrigeration, we had ac, we had, it was comfortable, but people who. Know that, think, you know, and the respite was for them was, Oh, get off the boat, come to the house, and we would do everything possible not to offend them, of course.

[00:30:06] But yeah. To say, No we wanna be on the boat. That’s what you don’t understand.

[00:30:11] Kristin Hanes: Totally. It’s like, yeah, it’s your home. Even though it looks different than most people’s homes. And that’s, I think where it’s hard for them to quite understand. But yeah, being in a boat is a very cozy space. I miss our boat right now actually quite a bit.

[00:30:23] It has the beautiful, you know, tea interior and it just has such a homey feeling and just, you open the doors and your deck is just, You’re just in nature. Just walk two feet and you’re outside. So I love being on the boat as well, and we’re looking forward to when we get to go see her again. It’s been many months, so it’s funny in one home and you miss the other one.

[00:30:41] So

[00:30:42] Chris: Yeah. And, but both of them can move. And the beautiful thing about the boat is you’re in a lovely setting. You get out the boat, you go up into your cockpit and you’re usually in a really lovely setting, looking at something really. .

[00:30:54] Kristin Hanes: Oh yeah. You can get so deep into nature with the boat, which is what I like about it.

[00:30:57] I mean, you get to these islands where there’s no human for days and nobody lives on it’s uninhabited. So that’s a really special feeling. It’s almost like you’re on a different planet where the van is more your, you can get remote, but often it’s harder to be remote. So you will see a lot more people.

[00:31:12] You’ll be in cities more often, so it. Quite a different vibe to it, to me. And so I do miss that like really deep nature of being anchored on the islands of the sea of Cortez in the boat. It’s definitely a cool experience.

[00:31:24] Chris: Yeah. Because we’re also connected these days. When do we ever get the opportunity to not see or speak to another human for days?

[00:31:31] Like, you know, when, when every single day we interact with more people probably than our ancestors from, you know, the turn of the century did in a month. You know, so when you get on an anchorage, when you’re out in an anchor, Like you said, in the Sea of Cortez, and you don’t see anyone for two weeks until you need to refill your water tanks or whatever.

[00:31:50] If you’re not having a water maker, When is, That’s a rare opportunity. And to be in a place where you can actually see the stars at night when the, There’s no light pollution.

[00:32:00] Kristin Hanes: Yeah. Yeah. Part of what we talk about all the time is that, wow, the environment is changing so much. Like I just learned last night that 90% of the coral reefs off of.

[00:32:08] Florida are now dead, which is just astonishing. And so Tom and I always say like, We gotta go see this nature while it’s still here. Like it’s important to, to see it, to write about it, to, you know, take pictures of it because someday it’s probably not gonna be here. And that’s really a sad thing to think about, but it’s already happening.

[00:32:23] And so we really wanna be in nature all the time because I think nature is probably all of our homes, you know, humanity. But we’re just so used to this life of being in cities and in buildings that it’s kind of, we’re so removed from it. It does everybody good to be out in it and to go experience it, at least to the best of their ability.

[00:32:40] And so that’s kind of our goal is to where can we go next to see this nature, you know, before it’s lost. So, I mean, that sounds depressing, but it’s also something we do talk about cuz it is happening. So yeah, it’s our goal.

[00:32:53] Chris: No, we talk about it too. And it’s. I mean, because we live in Baja, so, and you know where we live.

[00:32:59] So we wake up in the morning, we see the mountains, we see the water and it is forefront in our minds as well because you can’t really sail and not be consumed with the state of the ocean and the water. So we’re probably way more in tuned you and I and other sailors and van loafers and stuff. To what’s going on out there.

[00:33:20] But like, even as you said, which was a great point at people getting out into nature as they can, as it’s available to them, Like a lot of people are working really hard right now. The economy’s really bad. But to get out and walk on a bike path in your neighborhood, like, we’ll change your life if you did that every day.

[00:33:38] Yeah, I, it’s,

[00:33:39] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. It’s really simple. It’s really simple or sitting in a park, you know, read your book outside or just anything to be outside. And it’s funny cause I’ve been noticing this a lot with really small children. Like I have a niece that’s two and anytime she’s outside she just seems like so happy and more at.

[00:33:58] Piece she gets, she’s a, you know, really energetic, rambunctious girl. And when she’s inside, you know, her energy is huge, but outside, she’s kind of slows down. She starts picking up pine cones. She kind of is looking like experiencing her senses. And I think at that age she’s probably still really in touch with like, Oh, I’m supposed to be out here.

[00:34:16] So I think that’s really was an interesting thing to witness. Or I think like sometimes adults can forget about it and to forget to go out and like, like you said, just go on your bike path. Just go somewhere where you’re close to a tree, you know, and smell it. Just these small little changes, I think can have a big impact on our mental state.

[00:34:32] And so that’s a good thing to think about, I think, regularly.

[00:34:35] Chris: Yeah, and I mean, just to retap into the explorer within each one of us, I mean, and by explorer, you know, most people feel like. That the pressure is to get in the car and drive 20 hours to some exotic location, and that’s really not what we’re talking about.

[00:34:51] We’re talking about walking out into your backyard and laying down in the grass and staring at the sky for 20 minutes if that’s all you have. Yeah. And reconnecting with that kind of your own exploration of your thoughts and exploration of, you know, Reconnecting and taking inventory maybe of what the hell’s going on in your life.

[00:35:09] Just quieting all the noise cuz we’re just constantly so stimula. Cool.

[00:35:14] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, totally. I totally agree. And that’s another reason I think that both of us like outdoor sports so much like hiking or windsurf or standup paddle boarding. Cuz you are in the moment and you are in the moment connecting with your surroundings and with nature instead of being so distracted and so overwhelmed by, you know, the internet or whatever, you have to work on just being in that activity.

[00:35:34] Puts you in the now and that is something people can do who live in cities, you know, just by going on a walk or riding their bike somewhere. You know, there are, you know, things you can do to kind of get away from that overstimulated environment just for a few minutes a day even. Could be helpful.

[00:35:48] Chris: Yeah. So what are you working on now that you’re excited about before I let you go?

[00:35:52] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, so I’m super excited. I’ve been working so hard for a while. I want, I’m working on writing a book about Van Life, kind of a how to guide for people who are interested in Van Life, but I have no idea how to start. I get tons of questions through the Wayward Home website, like on a daily basis, like, how do I get mail, how do I, you know, Pick a van.

[00:36:10] So I’m trying to address just this, it’s kind of like a guidebook of all the little aspects people need to start living nomadically. So I’m hoping to get that wrapped up in the next couple months and try to get that out to the world. And so that is my current project right now.

[00:36:26] Chris: That’s a big project as it is.

[00:36:28] Having written some books, I know exactly how hard it is, especially when you’re traveling and you’re, you’ve got all these other stimuli To find the time to sit down and devote to, to writing, getting in that space where you can actually be creative and productive on your days, word counts. Whatever you’ve got going on is tough.

[00:36:46] So in that book, when it comes out, it’ll be available on. The wayward

[00:36:52] Kristin Hanes: Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be available over there and probably some other locations as well, but that’s probably the best place. If people wanna find out about it or sign up to be on my mailing list, they can go to that site. And just, that’s the best way to keep in touch with me.

[00:37:03] People can always write me direct emails as well. Like, I always respond and read my emails. So I just love helping people achieve their dream of living nomadically. Cause I think a lot of people do have that dream, even if just for six months, if someone. To go roam around the states for a little while or in experience Van Life and then go back to their apartment, you know, people do that.

[00:37:21] It doesn’t have to be this permanent, gigantic life change. It can be a small change. And so I’m here to answer any questions people might have about it.

[00:37:29] Chris: That’s great. And then where can they find you on Instagram and Facebook as well?

[00:37:32] Kristin Hanes: Yeah. The way we’re at home is on Instagram and Facebook, and I love posting pictures on those platforms.

[00:37:37] So yeah, come over and find me. Follow me and send me a message. I would.

[00:37:42] Chris: Fantastic. Well, I really appreciate you taking some time to talk to us today and I know you’re busy and we’re gonna keep up with your travels and hopefully like we said get to see you when you guys get down to Baja.

[00:37:54] Kristin Hanes: Oh, I would love that. And thanks so much for having me on the show. It was really fun talking to you as normal. Yes,

[00:38:00] Chris: well it’s always good to talk to you as well. So again, thanks Kristen, and we’ll talk to you short.

[00:38:05] Kristin Hanes: Alright, have a great day.



The Quiet Goings On: A Collection of Short Stories and Poems

Burning Man: How Far Would You Go For a Friend?

Get on the email list →

Be the first to know when new episodes drop, new merch added, and other cool happenings.