• Hilary Bird

Vanlife Backstory: FindingWilder

Hi! I’m Micayla Jean and I live in my converted 2015 Mercedes sprinter van, named Wilder ☺ I bought my van in October of 2019 but I would say I went full time van life right at the turn of the new year in January of 2020.


I live my life very intuitively and in the presence of each moment, open to the ebs and flows of each day. I have a spiritual mentorship practice where I work with humans, mostly women, on tapping into their own spirituality, intuition and vulnerability to live the life they dream of and what is aligned for their highest good. I’ve had a photography business, mostly weddings, elopements and empowerment portraiture, for the past almost four years, I co-founded a creative community workspace on the seacoast in New Hampshire and today I “work” mostly as a mentor in spirituality and an intuitive artist—writing, painting etc. All of these have allowed me to work “remotely” in their own way.


I’ve known my entire life I would live on the road. I was always fascinated with the notion of freedom that the open road brought me, the way I could instantly feel a smile on my face just by rolling down the windows and cruising back roads. After graduating from college I had my first intense bout of “what the hell am I supposed to be doing with my life” with a side of depression, which I didn’t know at the time that’s what I was experiencing. I felt trapped in my body, constantly afraid that I was doing something wrong.


I eventually came to the realization that I needed more life experience as a human being and wasn’t ready to use my college degree in nutrition and food sustainability. So, I bought a Jeep and drove across the country to Colorado, a place I’d never been before and where I didn’t know anyone. My only requirement when buying a vehicle was that I could put my mattress pad in the back and sleep wherever I wanted. My mom’s requirement was 4 wheel drive. So the Jeep worked well for all parties.


Less than a year living in the mountains I met a guy from New Zealand who was living in an RV traveling around the country. I quit my job, day-of, to hop in the RV with him and travel around. We didn’t travel together for a terribly long time, but long enough for me to continue falling in love with life on the road.


A few years later, I’d found myself feeling at a standstill with a life. I really loved Colorado, but I had this feeling and knowing that there was more out there that I needed to experience. So, I made a goal to see all fifty states by my 25th birthday. I sold everything I owned that didn’t fit in the Jeep, quit my job yet again, found a roommate to sublet my apartment and I hit the road. I landed (in a plane) in Alaska, my last of the fifty states, three days before my 25th birthday.


Fast forward a few years, after attempting to move to Australia, having an epiphany on an island in Indonesia, falling in love with my childhood neighbor, starting a photography business, falling in love with a community, starting a podcast, moving half a dozen times, and having my heart shattered to name a few, I found myself living in a 40 foot bus with one of my best friends.


To keep the story brief, a month into that adventure, I knew I was not in the right place for myself, so I manifested my perfect downtown seacoast apartment, which fell through a week before I was supposed to move in. This ended up being serendipitously the best gift ever, as it put me on track for realizing that everything in life was always happening for me, and I was on the fast track into the kind of life on the road I always knew I’d needed and desired.


One evening in September 2019 I was falling asleep when I had a ping to go on Craigslist and look for converted sprinter vans in Denver, Colorado. I was living in New Hampshire so this was weird, but I sat up in bed, grabbed my phone and searched anyway. The second van that popped up was the van I’d been dreaming about and writing about and saying thank you for in my head every day. I emailed the guy. He emailed me back the next day letting me know that not only was the van available but he had a sudden change in plans, and while he was in Colorado he had to drive the van from Denver to Boston. I lived 45 minutes from Boston. Two weeks later I bought my dream home, fully built out exactly as I’d envisioned.


Since then I have been all over the country, East Coast to West Coast and back. I’ve spent most of my time in Sedona, Arizona, a place that feels like home. I’ve spent time in different parts of Colorado—I absolutely loved being in Telluride. I spent a chunk of time in Asheville, North Carolina where the coffee scene is so good. Most recently, I’ve been on the East coast the last few months, in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire mostly.


Find me on insta @findingwilder where you can find me being very active in my day to day adventures, spiritual endeavors and my really bad but incredibly enjoyable dancing! And my website is www.micaylajean.com ☺ I’ve also recently started a Youtube channel, so I look forward to expanding through that!


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