Janna Irons and Johnny Stifter’s 2009 Dodge Sprinter 2500
Last summer, Irons and her boyfriend Stifter realized a couple of things. One: they were probably in it together for the long haul. Two: after years of working in the Southern California outdoor-sports media industry, they were in the mood to travel—a lot.
Irons, a cousin of the late surfer Andy Irons, had been an editor and writer at Surfer before switching to a creative agency. Stifter was heading up the production studio at Powder magazine.
They considered backpacking across Asia but didn’t want to abandon their jobs. “You can only stay in hostels for so long,” Irons says. “So we looked at the #vanlife thing and realized we could work from the road.”
“We’d never built anything,” Irons says. “But there were details down to the size of the screws.” Among the upgrades is a Goal Zero solar generator and rooftop panels to power their fridge, interior lights, and fans.
Beginning last July, they made their way from Big Sur to Banff to the Tetons, all the while hitting their work deadlines. After holing up in a New England cabin for the winter, they started rolling down the East Coast in search of good surf and singletrack.
“Originally, we thought, Let’s do this for a year,” says Irons. “Now the conversation is, Do we really want to live in a city at all, ever? It seems harder to get back to real life than to just keep going.”