Nov 2023

Adventurer Spotlight: Scarlet & Seth

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into overlanding?

We are Scarlet and Seth and we’ve been living full-time in a van for almost five years now with our two cats Lula and Sasha. In 2019, we sold everything to move into our self-converted 2004 T1N sprinter van. Our goal was to see as much of the country as possible, but COVID turned our plans upside down only 4 months into our cross country trip. As we waited for travel restrictions to lift, we started converting vans and found a passion for designing tiny, modern functional spaces. Eventually after completing 11 one-off builds as a team of two, we completed our 12th build and shut down the build business to pursue full-time travel again!

What inspired you to start overlanding and what kind of vehicle do you use for your adventures?

We’ve always loved the idea of reaching remote places with everything you need to feel at home. When you overland in a van, it’s like picking your house up and plopping it down on a mountain side, a river or an ocean. It’s a very cool feeling to be so far away from anything familiar but still feel so at peace in a space that remains unchanging and constant.

We’ve lived in three different self-converted vans and each has taught us something new about overlanding. Our first van was a 118”wb 2004 Sprinter and we loved the compact footprint but sacrificed a lot in terms of comfort. Our second van was a 144”wb 4×4 Sprinter van and was the perfect middle ground between off-road capability and comfort. The van we currently travel in is a 159”ext Promaster and it is definitely the most luxurious thing we’ve ever built but surprisingly, we’ve done more off-roading in our 2wd promaster than we ever did in our 4×4 sprinter (and have yet to get stuck)!

Image Credit: Scarlet & Seth

How did you hear about Aluminess?

We originally heard about Aluminess through Eamon and Bec, who were some of our earliest inspirations for vanlife back in 2018.

What modifications have you made to your vehicle to make it suitable for overlanding and travel in general?

We put a back tire carrier and ladder on! The spare was originally mounted underneath the vehicle, but by remounting it on the back we’re able to carry more water under the van for a total of 75 gallons. We love the tire-ladder combo because the ladder allows us to access our walkable solar roof deck, which is one of our favorite places to have a morning cup of coffee or watch the sunset! We’ve also made some suspension upgrades and added all-terrain tires, but for the most part we’ve kept the vehicle pretty stock to prioritize stealth for full-time travel. 

Image Credit: Scarlet & Seth

What are some of your favorite off-the-beaten-path destinations that you’ve discovered while travel?

We’ve traveled to all 48 lower states, but our favorite off-the-beaten path destinations would have to be found in Colorado. We recently just did the entirety of Last Dollar Road from Ridgeway to Telluride and that was quite the experience. While we were at the top, an entire fleet of Earth Roamers (10-12 of them) came up in a caravan which was very memorable. We wondered how silly they felt knowing that a stock 2wd Promaster made it up the same road!

Image Credit: Scarlet & Seth

What have been some of the most memorable experiences or encounters you’ve had while adventuring?

One of our more memorable experiences happened just recently! We just happened to be camped out right next to a river where a momma and baby moose frequented every single day to play and drink water. We got to experience these magical creatures in their natural habitat multiple times a day for a week from less than 20 feet away from the safety of our home. One night, we left our skylight open and fell asleep to the sound of them bathing and lapping water in the river right outside. It was so surreal. 

How do you balance the need for self-sufficiency and preparedness with the desire for spontaneity and flexibility in your travels?

We designed our van very intentionally to carry up to two weeks worth of food and water, and three things that have proven priceless: a set of maxx tracks, a spare tire and an engine code scanner. 

Image Credit: Scarlet & Seth

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out and considering an overland van?

Our best advice would be to think about your unique lifestyle and what kind of adventures you want to facilitate so you can build your van accordingly. Everyone has such different needs, preferences, hobbies,  and ways they prefer to spend their time so determine what you want your days to look like and plan from there. For example, if you are an avid biker or really enjoy sports that require big gear like snowboarding a fixed bed is probably the best move because you will have a garage space whereas if you work remotely from the road full-time and enjoy less intrusive activities like hiking or yoga, you may want to consider a convertible bed so that you have a dedicated place to work from during the day.

Every day, we make hundreds of small decisions like where you will park, eat, sleep, find water, etc. and eventually that weighs on you and you can really start to crave more stability. When we first started vanlife, we traveled so fast and as a result burned out really fast. We never gave ourselves any time to really become familiar with a place long enough to find healthy routines there. Now we are a lot more practical and really try to listen to our bodies. When we’re start to forget where we’re waking up and everything starts to blur together (because it will if you’re out on the road long enough), we return to a place we know and love and settle into routines there that ground us. We determined a few years ago that if this was a lifestyle was something we wanted to continue we had to slow down

Where can our readers follow along with your adventures?

We are “Scarlet and Seth” on Instagram, Youtube and TikTok. We also put out weekly vlogs on Youtube of our travels! 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your overlanding and travel experience?

Overall, we’d tell anyone that vanlife has changed our lives for the better. It’s really allowed us to lean into what we value and prioritize our inner peace. Our communication has improved as a couple and our commitment to the things that really matter have multiplied. We feel so at peace living below our means and can’t imagine what our lives would look like if we didn’t take the leap five years ago. Vanlife has taught us what we can live without and living with less has been one of the greatest lessons. 

"home is truly where you park it!"
- Scarlet & Seth

Image Credit: Scarlet & Seth

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